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Lift Your STEM PD with NASA

NASA logoLooking for hands-on ways to teach forces and motion or refresh your Earth science lessons with the latest research? NASA’s STEM Educator Professional Development Collaborative at Texas State University has you covered with free webinars, activities, and other useful resources.

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Building Roller Coasters

marble roller coaster in classroomStudents in grades 7 to 9 build model roller coasters using pipe insulation and marbles, then analyze them using physics principles, including conversions between kinetic and potential energy and frictional effects. A class competition using various marbles to represent different passenger loads determines the most innovative and successful designs.

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Engineering Thrills

roller coasterA lot of engineering goes into making today’s gravity-defying rides both exciting and safe. Read about some roller coaster designers and the skills they bring to creating the world’s most thrilling wooden, steel, and virtual-reality experiences.

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Pedal Power

Kid riding bikeIn this activity, small groups of students in grades 3 to 8 learn about forces, energy, and efficiency by measuring a bicycle’s gear ratios, calculating tire revolutions, and testing who can ride a course the swiftest based on that information.

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Build a Bike Helmet

bike helmetStudents in grades 9 and 10 are introduced to the biomechanical characteristics of helmets and challenged to incorporate them into helmet designs. They come to understand the role of engineering associated with safety products – in this case protecting the brain and neck of a bicyclist in the event of a crash, with the design dependent on the user’s needs and specifications.

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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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March Madness STEM Resources

Basketball MadnessJust as athletes “learn from the game,” the annual NCAA March Madness basketball competition offers students a timely, engaging way to hone their STEM knowledge and skills. eGFI has compiled some bracket-busting resources to pep up your math and science classes.

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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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Engineering the National Pastime

baseball and batBaseball traditions may not have changed much, but engineering has helped improve performance, safety, and equipment – including perfecting the swing. Baseball also offers a great context for teaching math and science, and eGFI has compiled some helpful sites.

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