In 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.
Students in grades 5-12 try to build the tallest structure they can using only two sheets of newspaper. As they do so, they learn about building design.
The egg drop is a fun and dramatic way to get students involved in engineering design. After a discussion of safety features, students experiment packaging an egg to produce a design that will allow it to fall from a considerable height without cracking.
Students grades 5-12 assume the role of civil engineers in constructing a model suspension bridge. They learn about other types of spans — including arch, girder, truss, and cantilever — and of the careful balance of compression and tension required in bridge building.