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Cardboard Pedal Pusher

cardboard bikeIzhar Gafni’s eureka moment came a few years ago when he heard about a cardboard canoe and wondered: “Why not a cardboard bicycle?” It took several years of trial-and-error work before he succeeded in building a reliable model that weighs a mere 20 pounds, is stronger than carbon fiber, and costs only about $10 to make.

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Wind Power for Your Home

wind turbineIn this activity, students in grades 9-11 learn how engineers harness the energy of the wind by following the engineering design process to create and test two prototype wind turbines to see which works best. They also learn about where to place a wind turbine for maximum effectiveness, and to weigh the advantages and disadvantages compared with other energy sources.

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Contest: Shell Eco-marathon

shell carsShell Eco-marathon is a global challenge that motivates students to drive farther than their peers on one gallon of fuel. Student teams participate in one or both of the Prototype and UrbanConcept classes. The Prototype class invites student teams to enter futuristic streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction.

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Video Tour: The Ultimate ‘Green’ Building

hot air cool airHere’s a quick, fun video guide to environmental engineering produced by Channel One News. It explores the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the museum’s signature fully planted roof. It also explains the engineering behind the temperature control system in the four-story interior rain forest and includes an interview with an environmental engineer and advice on how to prepare for a career like his.

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Contest: Spirit of Innovation Challenge

spirit of innovation winnersThis annual Spirit of Innovation Challenge from the Conrad Foundation invites high school student teams to use STEM skills to develop the products of tomorrow. Along the way, coaches, world-renowned scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs act as mentors to help turn their ideas into a reality.

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Student Invents Solar Tree

Aiden DwyerOn a hike through the Catskill Mountains in New York, Aidan Dwyer, a seventh-grader, noticed that the branches of oak trees seemed to follow a pattern. Inspired, he created a tree-like arrangement of small solar panels capable of generating 20-50% more energy than a traditional flat designs.

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EPA Teacher Resources

EPA LogoThe Environmental Protection Agency has a collection of materials that can be used to teach environmental topics like conservation, human health, stewardship, waste & recycling, and water. The EPA also offers publications, awards and grants, workshops, conferences, student scholarships, community service projects, and a club for kids.

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Lesson: Solar Water Heater

Water Heater SetupStudent teams in grades 9-11 gain a better understanding of heat transfer and engineering by designing and building solar water-heating devices that mimic those used in residences. Once the model devices are constructed, students perform efficiency calculations and compare designs.

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Feature: Kart Me Away

evGrandPrix Line UpA Purdue University engineering professor has found that building and racing go-karts is a great way not only to interest his own students in science and engineering, but at-risk middle-school kids as well.

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