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Lesson: Winter Insulation

Winter InsulationIn this lesson, students in grades 3 through 8 assume the role of building engineers, testing several materials to determine which would provide the best house insulation. They learn about the role of insulation in preventing heat transfer and discuss the importance of energy conservation in buildings.

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Activity: Cornstarch Ooze

Cornstarch OozeThis fun — but gooey — experiment with cornstarch has students in grades 3-8 creating, then testing, a batch of cornstarch ooze. They learn about the unusual properties of this and other non-Newtonian fluids.

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Lesson: Build a Lunar Lander


In this lesson, students assume the role of NASA aerospace engineers, following the engineering design process to learn the steps for designing, creating, and improving equipment. They design and build a shock-absorbing system that will protect two “astronauts” when they land, and come to understand some of the challenges of lunar landings.

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Lesson: Sand and Water

Sand CastleIf you’re fortunate enough to live near a beach or sandy banks or dunes, this sand-castle construction lesson from the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve will both instruct and entertain, helping your students understand the cohesive force of water tension and the adhesive force of capillary action.

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Contest: California Energy Calendar 2011

California students grades 3 through 8 are invited to create award-winning artwork for the 2011 Energy Calendar, in a contest sponsored by the California Energy Commission. Twelve entries will be chosen to illustrate the calendar for the year 2011. Prizes included a $250 U.S. Savings Bond and copies of the Energy 2011 Calendar. Deadline: April 15, 2010.

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Lesson: The Luge

Austrian Luge Championships 2010 by Christian JanskyStudents build a simulated luge track and make predictions about the impact of surface type, wind resistance, size of slope, and shape of luge on their track; test their predictions by conducting several simulated luge runs; and make conclusions about the effects of physical forces on the sport of luging.

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Lesson: Tsunami Survival

TsunamiStudents in grades 3 to 8 use a table-top tsunami generator to observe the devastation of these huge waves. They make villages of model buildings to test how different material types are impacted, and they learn how engineers design buildings to survive tsunamis.

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