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Students visit second- and fourth-grade classes to measure the heights of older students using large building blocks as a non-standard unit of measure. They also measure adults in the school community. Results are displayed in age-appropriate bar graphs (paper cut-outs of miniature building blocks glued on paper to form bar graphs) enabling a comparison of the heights of different age groups. The activities that comprise this activity help students develop the concepts and vocabulary to describe, in a non-ambiguous way, how heights change as children age. This introduction to graphing provides an important foundation for creating and interpreting graphs in future years.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Mathematics
Measurement and Data
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students randomly select jelly beans (or other candy) that represent genes for several human traits such as tongue-rolling ability and eye color. Then, working in pairs (preferably of mixed gender), students randomly choose new pairs of jelly beans from those corresponding to their own genotypes. The new pairs are placed on toothpicks to represent the chromosomes of the couple's offspring. Finally, students compare genotypes and phenotypes of parents and offspring for all the "couples" in the class. In particular, they look to see if there are cases where parents and offspring share the exact same genotype and/or phenotype, and consider how the results would differ if they repeated the simulation using more than four traits.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Genetics
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/26/2008
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students apply the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation as they work in teams to solve two challenges. One problem requires that they maintain the warm temperature of one soda can filled with water at approximately human body temperature, and the other problem is to cause an identical soda can of warm water to cool as much as possible during the same 30-minute time period. Students design their engineering solutions using only common everyday materials, and test their devices by recording the water temperatures in their two soda cans every five minutes.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students conduct experiments to determine what environmental factors favor decomposition by soil microbes. They use chunks of carrots for the materials to be decomposed, and their experiments are carried out in plastic bags filled with dirt. Every few days students remove the carrots from the dirt and weigh them. Depending on the experimental conditions, after a few weeks most of the carrots have decomposed completely.

Subject:
Applied Science
Education
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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In this lesson and its associated activity, students conduct a simple test to determine how many drops of each of three liquids can be placed on a penny before spilling over. The three liquids are water, rubbing alcohol, and vegetable oil; because of their different surface tensions, more water can be piled on top of a penny than either of the other two liquids. However, this is not the main point of the activity. Instead, students are asked to come up with an explanation for their observations about the different amounts of liquids a penny can hold. In other words, they are asked to make hypotheses that explain their observations, and because middle school students are not likely to have prior knowledge of the property of surface tension, their hypotheses are not likely to include this idea. Then they are asked to come up with ways to test their hypotheses, although they do not need to actually test their hypotheses. The important points for students to realize are that 1) the tests they devise must fit their hypotheses, and 2) the hypotheses they come up with must be testable in order to be useful.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Most of the flavoring in gum is due to the sugar or other sweetener it contains. As gum is chewed, the sugar dissolves and is swallowed. After a piece of gum loses its flavor, it can be left to dry at room temperature and then the difference between its initial (unchewed) mass and its chewed mass can be used to calculate the percentage of sugar in the gum. This demonstration experiment is used to generate new questions about gums and their ingredients, and students can then design and execute new experiments based on their own questions.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Life Science
Nutrition
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Kindergartners measure each other's height using large building blocks, then visit a 2nd and a 4th grade class to measure those students. They can also measure adults in the school community. Results are displayed in age-appropriate bar graphs (paper cut-outs of miniature building blocks glued on paper to form a bar graph) comparing the different age groups. The activities that comprise this lesson help students develop the concepts and vocabulary to describe, in a non-ambiguous way, how height changes as children get older. The introduction to graphing provides an important foundation for both creating and interpreting graphs in future years.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Mathematics
Measurement and Data
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students set up and run the experiments they designed in the Population Growth in Yeasts associated lesson, using simple yeast-molasses cultures in test tubes. Population growth is indicated by the amount of respiration occurring in the cultures, which in turn is indicated by the growth of carbon dioxide bubbles trapped within the culture tubes. Using this method, students test for a variety of environmental influences, such as temperature, food supply and pH.

Subject:
Applied Science
Biology
Engineering
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students plant sunflower seeds in plastic cups, and once germinated, expose them to varying light or soil moisture conditions. They measure growth of the seedlings every few days using non-standard measurement (inch cubes). After a few weeks, they compare the growth of plants exposed to the different conditions and make bar comparative graphs, which they analyze to draw conclusions about the needs of plants.

Subject:
Applied Science
Botany
Engineering
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students explore the relationships between genetics, biodiversity, and evolution through a simple activity involving hypothetical wild mouse populations. First, students toss coins to determine what traits a set of mouse parents possesses, such as fur color, body size, heat tolerance, and running speed. Next they use coin tossing to determine the traits a mouse pup born to these parents possesses. These physical features are then compared to features that would be most adaptive in several different environmental conditions. Finally, students consider what would happen to the mouse offspring if those environmental conditions were to change: which mice would be most likely to survive and produce the next generation?

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Genetics
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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This lesson is the second of two that explore cellular respiration and population growth in yeasts. In the first lesson, students set up a simple way to indirectly observe and quantify the amount of respiration occurring in yeast-molasses cultures. Based on questions that arose during the first lesson and its associated activity, in this lesson students work in small groups to design experiments that will determine how environmental factors affect yeast population growth.

Subject:
Applied Science
Biology
Engineering
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students use a spring scale to drag an object such as a ceramic coffee cup along a table top or the floor. The spring scale allows them to measure the frictional force that exists between the moving cup and the surface it slides on. By modifying the bottom surface of the cup, students find out what kinds of surfaces generate more or less friction.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Through two lessons and their associated activities, students do the work of scientists by designing their own experiments to answer questions they generate. Through a simple activity involving surface tension, students learn what a hypothesis isâand isn'tâand why generating a hypothesis is an important aspect of the scientific method. In the second activity, with bubble gum to capture their interest, students learn to design and conduct controlled experiments to answer their own questions about the amounts of sugar (or artificial sweetener) in bubble or chewing gum.

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Full Course
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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0.0 stars

Students conduct an experiment to determine whether or not the sense of smell is important to being able to recognize foods by taste. They do this by attempting to identify several different foods that have similar textures. For some of the attempts, students hold their noses and close their eyes, while for others they only close their eyes. After they have conducted the experiment, they create bar graphs showing the number of correct and incorrect identifications for the two different experimental conditions tested.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Life Science
Nutrition
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students simulate the spread of a virus such as HIV through a population by "sharing" (but not drinking) the water in a plastic cup with several classmates. Although invisible, the water in a few of the cups has already be tainted with the "virus" (sodium carbonate). After all the students have shared their liquids, the contents of the cups are tested for the virus with phenolphthalein, a chemical that causes a striking color change in the presence of sodium carbonate. Students then set about trying to determine which of their classmates were the ones originally infected with the virus.

Subject:
Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
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Students learn how viruses invade host cells and hijack the hosts' cell-reproduction mechanisms in order to make new viruses, which can in turn attack additional host cells. Students also learn how the immune system responds to a viral invasion, eventually defeating the viruses -- if all goes well. Finally, they consider the special case of HIV, in which the virus' host cell is a key component of the immune system itself, severely crippling it and ultimately leading to AIDS. The associated activity, Tracking a Virus, sets the stage for this lesson with a dramatic simulation that allows students to see for themselves how quickly a virus can spread through a population, and then challenges students to determine who the initial bearers of the virus were.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Health, Medicine and Nursing
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

Students conduct a simple test to determine how many drops of each of three liquids water, rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil can be placed on a penny before spilling over. Because of their different surface tensions, more water can be piled on top of a penny than either of the other two liquids. However, the main point of the activity is for students to come up with an explanation for their observations about the different amounts of liquids a penny can hold. To do this, they create hypotheses that explain their observations, and because middle school students are not likely to have prior knowledge of the property of surface tension, their hypotheses are not likely to include this idea. Then they are asked to come up with ways to test their hypotheses, although they do not need to actually conduct these tests as part of this activity.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
10/14/2015
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

Students use modeling clay, a material that is denser than water and thus ordinarily sinks in water, to discover the principle of buoyancy. They begin by designing and building boats out of clay that will float in water, and then refine their designs so that their boats will carry as great a load (metal washers) as possible. Building a clay boat to hold as much weight as possible is an engineering design problem. Next, they compare amount of water displaced by a lump of clay that sinks to the amount of water displaced by the same lump of clay when it is shaped so as to float. Determining the masses of the displaced water allows them to arrive at Archimedes' principle, whereby the mass of the displaced water equals the mass of the floating clay boat.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

In a class discussion format, the teacher presents background information about basic human genetics. The number of chromosomes in both body cells and egg and sperm cells is covered, as well as the concept of dominant and recessive alleles. Students determine whether or not they possess the dominant allele for the tongue-rolling gene as an example.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Genetics
Life Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank
09/18/2014
Read the Fine Print
Educational Use
Rating
0.0 stars

With the help of simple, teacher-led demonstration activities, students learn the basic physics of heat transfer by means of conduction, convection, and radiation. They also learn about examples of heating and cooling devices, from stove tops to car radiators, that they encounter everyday in their homes, schools, and modes of transportation. Since in our everyday lives there are many times that we want to prevent heat transfer, students also consider ways that conduction, convection, and radiation can be reduced or prevented from occurring.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Mary R. Hebrank