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Digest This!

multicolor pills Student teams in grades 6-8 reinforce their knowledge of the digestive system and explore the concepts of simulation and the engineering design process by developing a pill coating that can withstand the churning and acidic environment of the stomach. They test the coating’s durability using a clear soda to simulate gastric acid.

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Seeing the World Through a Different Lens

dolls with disabilities Students in grades 6 to 8 gain an understanding of physical limitations and the biomedical engineering design process by performing a variety of tasks without using their thumbs, eyes, or legs, then working in teams to create or improve and adaptive device.

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Program a Friend

man in mazeIn this activity, students working in pairs learn basic computer programming and software engineering concepts by building an obstacle course, then steering a blindfolded friend through it by using a series of commands. They re-run the maze to improve on their “program.”

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Asteroid Impact!

asteroid impactIn this first of eight activities, students in grades 6 – 8 learn about the engineering design process and earth science by beginning to design an underground cavern that can shelter people for one year after an asteroid strike makes Earth uninhabitable.

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Mission: Solar System

Teachers TryScience logoTo mark the Year of the Solar System, NASA and PBS’s Design Squad Nation have teamed up to create a series of fun, space-based engineering challenges for children in grades 4 to 8.

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Build a Big Wheel

nysc1In this activity, teams of students in grades K-12 learn about the history and engineering behind Ferris wheels by constructing a working model using pasta, glue, and teabags.

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Watercraft

raft bugIn this activity, students in grades 6 to 8 learn about the engineering design process and the physical principles of buoyancy by working together to build a boat out of straws and plastic wrap that can hold 25 pennies for at least 10 seconds before sinking.

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What a Dump!

landfillIn this activity, teams of students in grades 5 to 7 learn about environmental, civil, and sanitation engineering by designing and building model landfills that hold the most garbage, minimize costs, and prevent trash and contaminated “rainwater” from polluting the nearby “city.” Teams test their landfills, and graph and compare designs for capacity, cost, and performance.

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Activity: Robot Basketball

basketball robotIn this activity, students in grades 5 to 12 learn about accuracy, precision, and simple machines by working in teams to design and build a robotic basketball “player” that can nail a free-throw shot three times in a row.

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