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Ball Bounce Experiment

soccer ball jugglingIn this activity, elementary students in grades 3 to 5 learn about reverse engineering and how to collect and represent data graphically by investigating different balls and their abilities to bounce.

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Resources: Dyson Educational Materials

dyson2The James Dyson Foundation offers several educational resources online and through loans to teachers. Among them, the Engineering Box, available to Chicago-area schools, is designed to teach reverse engineering, can be borrowed for four weeks at a time for free. The Box’s items, which include a Dyson DC26 vacuum cleaner, are used in combination with the Foundation’s Teacher’s Pack and Product Analysis resources.

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What Happens When Snow Meets Inflatable Roof

Stadium Roof FailSnow rarely makes news in Minneapolis. It did on December 12, 2010, when the inflatable roof of the Metrodome–home of the Minnesota Vikings–collapsed during a weekend blizzard, forcing the National Football League to move the team’s already-postponed game against the New York Giants to Detroit.

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Feature: Some Disassembly Required

TEACHING: SOME DISASSEMBLY REQUIREDWhen the iPhone first came out in June 2007, some people bought one just so they could take it apart, examining the components, how the devices were assembled, and the design choices Apple made. These curious gadget freaks were engaging in reverse engineering, a practice instructors are now bringing into the classroom. By dismantling simple machines like bicycles, power tools and toys, students get hands-on experience that helps them design products of their own.

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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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High Schoolers to the Rescue

Sikorsky HH-60H SeahawkAs the Navy’s main combat search-and-rescue gunship, the Sikorsky HH-60H Seahawk is a workhorse of a helicopter that’s been in service since the mid-1980s. That means it sometimes needs updating. Now, help for the new redesign is coming from an unexpected quarter — a San Antonio high school.

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