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NAE Connects Educators with Experts

LinkEngineeringAs a teacher, you’re supposed to have all the answers–but you know that sometimes, you just don’t. What if you always had an engineering expert to provide inspiration and advice? The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) recently announced the launch of LinkEngineering, a new website that connects preK-12 teachers with engineering experts, fellow educators, lesson plans, tips, and tools.

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Carving Out the Landscape

Car on roadElementary students investigate major landforms (e.g., mountains, rivers) in groups of two. They build a 3D model of a landscape depicting several of these landforms. Once they have built their model, they act as civil and transportation engineers to build a road through the landscape they have created.

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Berry Organic Solar Energy

Raspberries on vineHigh school students working in teams of four learn how a device made with dye from berries can be used to convert light energy into electrical energy by building their own organic solar cells and measuring performance based on power output.

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Disaster-Proof Housing

storm damaged house illustrationIn this activity for middle school science, high school physics, or engineering, groups of students explore the housing crisis caused by natural disasters by applying appropriate technology and fluid mechanics to design sustainable shelters that can withstand flooding and high winds.

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Groundwater Pollution Detectives

Water pumpTeams of students in grades 5 to 7 locate a contaminant spill in a hypothetical site by measuring the pH of soil samples. They then predict the direction of groundwater flow using mathematical modeling and use the engineering design process to come up with alternative treatments for the contaminated water.

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Inspirational Math

female geometry studentMath 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.

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Earth Day 2015

Earth in handsPlant a tree. Snap a selfie for NASA. There are countless ways students and teachers can celebrate the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22. This year’s theme: It’s Our Turn to Lead. See how your small steps can lead to big change!

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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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