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Ripening Fruit in Space

spaceship shaped like appleIn this NASA activity, students in grades 1-8 learn about the challenges of space nutrition and designing food packaging by observing, measuring, comparing, and contrasting the ripening of fruits and vegetables when exposed to air and the effect of chemical treatments to inhibit ripening.

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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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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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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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Think Like a Bird!

bird at nestStudents in grades 2 to 4 learn about wildlife habitats, environmental engineering, and the complexities of nest construction by attempting to design and build a nest themselves.

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Engineering for the Three Little Pigs

Three Little Pigs laying bricksStudents learn about the importance of using the right materials for the job by building three different sand castles and testing them for strength and resistance to weathering. They then discuss how the buildings are different and what engineers need to think about when using rocks, soils, and minerals for construction.

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Simple Musical Instruments

Cardboard guitarPairs of students in grades 3 – 5 investigate sound frequencies and acoustic engineering by creating four different instruments – a shoebox guitar, water-glass xylophone, straw panpipe, and soda bottle organ.

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Build a Bobsled Racer

bobsled on track Teams of students in grades 3 to 8 learn about friction, forces, and the engineering design process by building and testing miniature bobsleds to see which can race down an icy slope either the fastest or slowest.

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