Middle school students learn that ordinary people like themselves can make meaningful contributions to science by reviewing examples of citizen science projects on Zooniverse, an interactive website. They then form “engineering teams” to brainstorm projects for their own community and design conceptual interactive websites that could organize and support them.
Want to engage your students while helping scientists get the “big picture” on what’s happening to bird populations worldwide? Grab some binoculars and join the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which takes place February 17-20, 2017.
One of the oldest and biggest citizen-science projects is the annual Great Backyard Bird Count, held this year from February 17 to 20
In this lesson, high school students learn the value of writing and art in science and engineering by designing visual diagrams to communicate the results of thermal conductivity (heat flow) experiments they have conducted to anyone with little background on the subject. The principles of visual design include contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity, and involve such elements as the use of lines, color, texture, shape, size, value, and space.
In this three-part activity, students in grades 5 to 7 act as agricultural engineers, learning about and testing the effectiveness of a sustainable pest-control technique that uses organic waste and sunlight rather than toxic chemicals to reduce weeds.
Students in grades 3 – 5 learn how alphanumeric symbols can be encoded for many fun purposes. In the first of two sessions, they learn about codes by making their own with a limited number of symbols. They then attempt to break each other’s codes and discover the relationship among encryption, decryption, and shared keys.
Teams of middle school students use the engineering design process to design, build, and test a pair of wearable platform or high-heeled shoes, taking into consideration the stress and strain on the wearer’s foot. They activity concludes with a “walk-off” to test the shoe designs and discuss the design process.
In this activity, teams of middle school students express their creativity while learning the fundamentals of engineering design, sustainability, and the basic physics of forces and motion by building a vehicle out of recycled trash that is capable of transporting liquid over rough terrain with as little spillage as possible.
Note: This activity can be scaled for high school or upper elementary students.
After reading the story Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary, students will build an alarm system for something in the classroom, as the main character Leigh does to protect his lunchbox from thieves. Students will learn about alarms and use their creativity to create an alarm system to protect their lockers, desk, or classroom door.
Students in grades 6 to 8 investigate the accuracy of sundials and the discrepancy that lies between “real time” and “clock time.” They track the position of the sun during the course of a relatively short period of time as they make a shadow plot, a horizontal sundial, and a diptych sundial. In the process, they learn that time is among the criteria that engineers must factor into their designs.