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Digest This!

multicolor pills Student teams in grades 6-8 reinforce their knowledge of the digestive system and explore the concepts of simulation and the engineering design process by developing a pill coating that can withstand the churning and acidic environment of the stomach. They test the coating’s durability using a clear soda to simulate gastric acid.

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Activity: Conveyor Engineering

sushiIn this activity, teams of students in grades 3 to 12 explore how engineers work to solve such societal problems as moving goods, materials, and people by designing and building a conveyor system out of everyday materials than can transport pieces of candy 4 feet, including a 90-degree turn.

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Feature: Peril in Small Places

Things Made with NanotechnologyMore and more consumer products are being developed using super-small particles, but is it safe? This article examines the steps scientists are taking to try and find an answer, including research being done that has already shown some startling and complicated results.

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Class Activity: Fabricating Glass — and Candy

Glass-like hard candyThis lesson uses candy as a medium to illustrate the creation of glass, engaging students in three separate experiments as they predict, observe, and record the outcome of varying controls. The lesson is drawn from the curriculum “Contrasts: A Glass Primer,” developed by the Museum of Glass in Takoma, Washington, which aims to help students comprehend the medium of glass, while emphasizing oppositions in its creation, use, and aesthetics.

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Feature: Packaged for the Classroom

Juice BoxesFood processing requires a lot of engineering, from developing farm equipment to the automated baking and mixing machines used in prepared desserts. One of the most inventive stages comes toward the end, when the food is packaged. Johannah Frueh, a science teacher at Orange Charter School in Hillsborough, North Carolina, has incorporated the engineering behind designing and making food packaging into her seventh and eighth grade elective lab classes.

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Lesson: Engineered Music

In this lesson series for ages 8-18, teams of students explore the engineering behind recorder manufacturing, and then design, construct, test, and evaluate a working musical instrument using easily found materials. Time required: Two to three 45-minute sessions.

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