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Cardboard Pedal Pusher

cardboard bikeIzhar Gafni’s eureka moment came a few years ago when he heard about a cardboard canoe and wondered: “Why not a cardboard bicycle?” It took several years of trial-and-error work before he succeeded in building a reliable model that weighs a mere 20 pounds, is stronger than carbon fiber, and costs only about $10 to make.

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Snack Bag Assembly

Cookie decoratingIn this delicious exercise, middle school students in teams of 3 to 5 learn about the field of industrial engineering by creating an assembly line to pack as many snack bags in 2 minutes as possible. They then see if they can improve their process.

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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: Life Support Systems

Life SupportWith their problem-solving techniques and technologies engineers are well-positioned to help render U.S. healthcare more efficient, effective, and affordable. And as new and different models are conceived, engineers can help design and support them, analyzing if and how well they are working.

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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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Web Resource: K-12 Engineering Projects from Stevens Institute of Tech

The Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education sponsors and designs interdisciplinary projects that teachers can use to enhance their curriculum through compelling use of the Internet. CIESE focuses on projects that utilize real time data available from the Internet, and collaborative projects that utilize the Internet’s potential to reach peers and experts around the worldm as well as a list of online resources. Each project has a brief description and links to the National Science Standards and NCTM math standards it supports.

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