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Playful STEM: OK Go Sandbox

OK Go SandboxOK Go is a wildly popular band that “likes to make stuff.” AnnMarie Thomas, a University of St. Thomas engineering educator and amateur circus aerialist, likes to make stuff, too. Put them together and the result is OK Go Sandbox, a free, video-rich repository of design challenges, curricula, and other resources that put the *fun* in fundamental STEM concepts while fostering creativity.

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Presidential STEM Teaching Award

music graphic from Dec 2011 ASEE Prism Nominate an outstanding K-6 mathematics, science, or computer science teacher for the 2018 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Nominations are due April 1, with applications due May 1.

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Wind Chimes

wind chimesHigh school students design and build wind chimes using their knowledge of physics and sound waves, and under such constraints as weight, cost, and the number of musical notes their chimes must generate. They make mathematical computations to determine the pipe lengths. Links to similar activities for younger students included in activity scaling section.

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Choose Your Best Way

map of Danville, VaIn this lesson on using mathematical modeling to solve real-world problems, middle and high school students work in teams to build a graph/model of their city map, then try to solve a real problem based on the model. They evaluate their solutions and present their reflections to the class.

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Solar Geometry

longitudeMiddle school students learn about the Earth’s geometrical relation to the sun by calculating where the sun will be in the sky for any date or time given a particular location on Earth, such as their school. The three-activity module was developed by lighting engineer Tony Esposito, Ph.D., during his graduate studies at Pennsylvania State University and made available to eGFI Teachers.

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Measuring Light Pollution

Measuring light intensity at Ft. Meade Earth DayStudents in grades 6-7 build light meters and investigate the nature, sources, and levels of light in their classroom. learning about the adverse effects of artificial light on humans, animals, and plants as well as the engineering concepts of sensors and lumen and lux (lx) illuminance units. They also learn how to better use light and save energy as well as some of the technologies designed by engineers to reduce light pollution and energy waste.

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Amazing Grace

Grace HopperRear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics from Yale, pioneered computer programming languages, discovered the first computer “bug,” and retired as the Navy’s highest ranking, longest-serving female officer in history. They even named a naval destroyer after her.

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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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