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Videos: Material Marvels

Ainissa RamirezAinissa Ramirez, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Yale, explains the wonders of her ever-expanding field in a series of YouTube videos. In the latest, she describes how a layer of carbon that is one atom thick, called graphene, will revolutionize our lives.

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Lesson: On Target!

Lesson SuppliesIn this lesson, teams of students in grades 6 to 12 will explore the engineering design process by modifying a paper cup to carry a marble down a zip line and drop it precisely on a target. They will learn to brainstorm, test, evaluate, and redesign their devices to improve accuracy and effectiveness of the remote-release mechanism.

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Student Invents ‘Walking Chair’

Walking ChairA British product-design student has invented a wheel-chair alternative whose legs can lift up and step over obstacles. Martin Harris, 21, hopes his invention will give people with mobility issues more freedom. He also believes his design, which was inspired by the kinetic sculpture of Dutch engineer-artist Theo Jansen, has potential uses in agricultural machinery or military vehicles.

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Feature: Help on Four Wheels

Brian Copes and Students with BUVStudents at a rural Alabama school are putting their mechanical skills to use developing inexpensive utility vehicles that can be shipped to poor countries and assembled. Boasts teacher Brian Copes: “These students are on the fast track of changing the world.”

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A Boost for Vocational Education

A Hammer in a Student WorkspaceLincoln Unified school district in Stockton, California, is betting that the newly-opened Jeff Wright Engineering and Construction Academy will be well worth its $8.5 million investment. Some 500 students will study topics ranging from carpentry to computerized drafting to mechanical engineering.

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Feature: Teaching the Engineer’s Way

Chris Tolbert's Students and their Award-Winning Electric CarAn engineer-turned-teacher, Christopher Tolbert inspires both at-risk and advanced students with challenges that convert gasoline-powered cars to run on electricity. In Tolbert’s high-octane classroom, “every student is held accountable.”

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Resource: Vintage Engineering Video

Vintage CarThis vintage engineering tutorial, made by General Motors, clearly and engagingly explains how differential gears work. Posted on YouTube last year, it has now received close to a million views — not bad for something made in 1937. Ever wonder how cars can make turns without skidding? Engineers came up with the solution.

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Activity: Solve a Transfer Challenge

Radioactive Golf BallsIn this Techbridge lesson, students in grades 5-12 collaborate to solve a fun engineering challenge: to create a device capable of transferring a set of “radioactive” golf balls from one bag to another – with no human contact. Which team can complete the task in the shortest amount of time possible?

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Lesson: Reverse Engineer a Camera

View Inside a Disposable CameraStudents in grades 6-12 disassemble one of two different single-use cameras and create a systems diagram and precise reassembly instructions for the device. They then attempt to rebuild the other camera using instructions developed by their peers. Through this reverse engineering activity, students learn about the work of systems engineers.

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