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Hydraulic Arm Challenge

Energy Department Robot with armTeams of students in grades 6 to 8 follow the engineering design process to develop and build a mechanical arm that can lift and move an empty 12-ounce soda can using hydraulics for power. One group designs and builds the grasping hand, another team the lifting arm, and a third team the rotation base. The three groups must work to communicate effectively through written and verbal communication and sketches.

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How the Rubber Meets the Road

tire in rainIn this hands-on activity, teams of students in grades 3 to 12 learn how engineers design tire treads to increase safety and reliability, then follow the design process to construct, test, and evaluate treads sculpted from clay that will be safe when driving in heavy rain.

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Squishy Circuits

squishy circuitIn this fun activity developed by St. Thomas University engineering associate professor AnnMarie Thomas, students of all ages learn the basic principles of electricity by fashioning circuits from play dough, batteries, and LEDs. No soldering necessary!

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Pipe-Cleaner Towers

pipe cleanersIn this short, fun activity for students in grades 2 to 12, teams learn about the engineering design process, including constraints on time and materials, by building the tallest free-standing tower out of pipe-cleaners.

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Where’s Your Teacher?

compass and mapIn this activity, students in grades 7 to 9 will learn how to take a bearing with a compass and find an object in their classroom.

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Live Like an Animal

prairie dogMiddle school students learn about the engineering design process by building a model of an innovative human shelter inspired and informed by an animal habitat. They then present their work, explaining what attribute of the animal structure influenced their design.

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What Are Gears?

education appIn this activity, students in grades 4 to 8 use LEGO spur gears to learn about different types of gears and how they are used in many engineering devices, including bicycles, to change the speed, torque, and direction of a power source.

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Robot Soccer Challenge

robocup 2009In this activity, part of a robotics design curricular unit, teams of students in grades 4 – 8 learn how to program LEGO® MINDSTORMS® NXT intelligent bricks so that one can remotely control the other, gaining skills and an appreciation for wireless communications as they play “robot soccer.”

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Pedal Power

Kid riding bike

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