Concrete for Kids is a fun, hands-on activity to introduce students to engineering and concrete as an engineered material that engineers use to make the structures we use every day, including bridges, buildings, and roads. In this two-period lesson, teams of students in grades K-12 mix and pour concrete to form beams which, once hardened, are tested to see how much weight they can hold before breaking.
You don’t have to be an engineer to introduce engineering concepts and design into your classroom. The eGFI site includes scores of inexpensive, engaging lessons – searchable by grade level or subject – that cover the various engineering disciplines. To kick off the school year and acquaint you with eGFI, we’ve assembled a dozen of 2011’s most popular lessons and activities. Have fun putting some “E” in your STEM classes this semester!
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eGFI teachers’ newsletters have featured activities and lesson plans developed by PBS’s Design Squad Nation, with video links and suggested modifications for different age groups. Here’s a sampler:
In this lesson, students in grades 3 – 12 will explore the engineering design process by building a device that can launch a ping-pong ball high enough for them to catch it.
Understanding how friction works helps engineers design moving objects so they can be controlled. In this activity, students in grades 7 – 9 gain first-hand experience on how friction affects motion by building a hovercraft that uses air from a balloon to levitate a craft made from a compact disc (CD).
These references and resources were initially developed for presentations at the Central PA STEM Conference and the 2011 ASEE K12 Workshop, which included a presentation focused on the green-roof lesson on the eGFI website.
In this lesson, teams of students in grades 6 to 12 will explore the engineering design process by modifying a paper cup to carry a marble down a zip line and drop it precisely on a target. They will learn to brainstorm, test, evaluate, and redesign their devices to improve accuracy and effectiveness of the remote-release mechanism.
Student teams in grades 9-11 gain a better understanding of heat transfer and engineering by designing and building solar water-heating devices that mimic those used in residences. Once the model devices are constructed, students perform efficiency calculations and compare designs.
In this activity, teams of students 8 – 18 learn about engineering design by constructing rubber-band-powered cars from everyday materials that can travel in a straight line for a distance of at least 3 meters within a 1 meter wide track. They test their rubber-band racers, evaluate their results, and present to the class.