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Engineering the National Pastime

baseball and batBaseball traditions may not have changed much, but engineering has helped improve performance, safety, and equipment – including perfecting the swing. Baseball also offers a great context for teaching math and science, and eGFI has compiled some helpful sites.

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Trash Sliders

Trash sliders at 2015 ASEE K12 workshopIn 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.

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Fun With Bernoulli

paper planesStudents in grades 5 to 7 use Bernoulli’s principle to manipulate air pressure in a series of fun activities so its influence can be seen on the objects around us.

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A Shot Under Pressure

super soaker water gunTeams of high school students use their understanding of projectile physics and fluid dynamics to calculate the water pressure in squirt guns by measuring the range of the water jets. They create graphs to analyze how the predicted pressure relates to the number of times they pump the water gun before shooting.

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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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Activity: Catapult Marshmallow Launch

MashmallowsThis simple catapult activity for students in grades 4 – 8 teaches them how energy is transferred when a plastic spoon is pulled back, then released, rocketing its payload — a single marshmallow.

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Lesson: Build a Catapult

CatapultIn this lesson, students in grades 4-12 learn about the history of catapults and how they work. They assemble their own catapult model, making adjustments to improve its performance. Students gain engineering experience while learning principles of physics and working with the scientific processes of experimentation and trial and error.

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Lesson: Punting and Projectile Motion

NFL_PARABOLAS2This lesson teaches students in grades 5-8 about projectile motion through a hands-on activity, an online video from “Science of NFL Football,” and a computer simulation project.

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Class Activity: Build a Roller Coaster

In this activity, late-elementary school students work in small groups to build a roller coaster with at least one loop and one jump, demonstrating how potential energy transforms into kinetic energy. Students observe the relationship of height to potential energy and the resulting kinetic energy.

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