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For Toy Engineers, Work is Child’s Play

rubber duckyEver walk through a store’s toy department and wonder: Who dreams up these action figures, games, and other fun stuff? Toy engineers do! They get to play for a living, designing and making new toys to engage or educate kids of all ages.

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Build-a-Toy Workshop

toy car engineeringIn this hands-on activity, student teams apply the engineering design process to create prototype toys with moving parts. They set up electric circuits using batteries, wire, and motors, and plan project materials to meet budget constraints.

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Asteroid Impact!

asteroid impactIn this first of eight activities, students in grades 6 – 8 learn about the engineering design process and earth science by beginning to design an underground cavern that can shelter people for one year after an asteroid strike makes Earth uninhabitable.

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Harvard STEM Teaching Videos

hands on science experimentLooking for a way to make probability come to life in your multicultural math class or give students a hands-on feel for fundamental calculus concepts? The Harvard-Smithsonian Center for for Astrophysics has compiled an extensive digital video library designed to enhance the understanding and teaching of K-12 STEM that includes with activities, assessment tools, and case studies – all developed by teachers for use in their classrooms. The 1,017 films are searchable by strand, national or state content standards, and instructional criteria such as engaging students in real-world problems.

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Curious George, Engineer

curious georgeLike Curious George, children are naturally inquisitive and eager to learn by doing. To help kindergarten and first graders explore science and engineering, the PBS team that produces the Curious George series for TV and online has published a new family STEM activity booklet.

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Lesson: Target Practice – Pumpkin Launcher

target practiceStudents in grades 1 to 6 follow the engineering design process to build and test a catapult that launches projectiles, such as marshmallow “pumpkins.” They then make changes to improve their launcher’s aim and distance it can hurl the projectile.

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Contest: 3D Printing Challenge

extreme redesignThe Extreme Redesign 3D Printing Challenge invites middle school, high school, and college-level students worldwide to send the Stratasys 3D printing company their best redesigns. Along with cash prizes, the top 10 entries for each category will be printed on a Stratasys 3D Printer. Deadline: Feb. 6, 2013.

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Contest: AbilityOne Design Challenge

abilityone design challengeThe AbilityOne® Design Challenge encourages students to develop assistive technologies that empower people with disabilities to overcome barriers to employment. The design challenge is a service learning opportunity for students in grades 9-12 in the High School Program. Deadline: Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, 12:00 p.m.

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Lesson: Dance Pad Mania

dance pad revolutionIn this lesson, pairs of students in grades 4 to 7 will learn about the engineering design process and electrical circuits by building a dance pad that sounds a buzzer or flashes a light when stepped on.

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