Math can be a tough sell. Many students think it’s too hard, or that they’re no good at it. It doesn’t have to be this way, says Stanford Graduate School of Education Professor Jo Boaler, who has designed a free program for teachers to change mindsets and inspire their fifth through ninth graders to think more deeply in mathematics.
Teams 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.
In 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.
In 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!
Tags: afterschool activities, circuits, Class Activities, Electrical Engineering, electricity, Energy, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Grades K-5, LEDs, lights, Squishy Circuits, St. Thomas University, STEM education
In 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.
Tags: build, Building Design, Civil Engineering, Class Activities, Design, design contest, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12, Grades K-5, North Carolina State University, pipe cleaner challenge, pipe cleaners, STEM education, Structural Engineering, tower
In 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.
Middle 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.
In 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.
In 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.”