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  • NGSS.4.PS3.4 - Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that conve...
Aqua-Thrusters!
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Educational Use
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In this activity, students construct their own rocket-powered boat called an "aqua-thruster." These aqua-thrusters will be made from a film canister and will use carbon dioxide gas produced from a chemical reaction between an antacid tablet and water to propel it. Students observe the effect that surface area of this simulated solid rocket fuel has on thrust.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Brian Argrow
Janet Yowell
Jay Shah
Jeff White
Luke Simmons
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Build a Toy Workshop
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Working as if they are engineers who work for (the hypothetical) Build-a-Toy Workshop company, students apply their imaginations and the engineering design process to design and build prototype toys with moving parts. They set up electric circuits using batteries, wire and motors. They create plans for project material expenses to meet a budget.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Carleigh Samson
Eszter Horanyi
Jacob Crosby
Jonathan McNeil
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
William Surles
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Bulbs & Batteries Side by Side
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We are surrounded everyday by circuits that utilize "in parallel" and "in series" circuitry. Complicated circuits designed by engineers are made of many simpler parallel and series circuits. In this hands-on activity, students build parallel circuits, exploring how they function and their unique features.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Denise W. Carlson
Joe Friedrichsen
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Sabre Duren
Xochitl Zamora Thompson
Date Added:
10/14/2015
The Car with a Lot of Potential
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Educational Use
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Working in teams of three, students perform quantitative observational experiments on the motion of LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robotic vehicles powered by the stored potential energy of rubber bands. They experiment with different vehicle modifications (such as wheel type, payload, rubber band type and lubrication) and monitor the effects on vehicle performance. The main point of the activity, however, is for students to understand that through the manipulation of mechanics, a rubber band can be used in a rather non-traditional configuration to power a vehicle. In addition, this activity reinforces the idea that elastic energy can be stored as potential energy.

Subject:
Applied Science
Chemistry
Engineering
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Brian Kay
Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Janet Yowell
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Completing the Circuit
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Educational Use
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In the everyday electrical devices we use calculators, remote controls and cell phones a voltage source such as a battery is required to close the circuit and operate the device. In this hands-on activity, students use batteries, wires, small light bulbs and light bulb holders to learn the difference between an open circuit and a closed circuit, and understand that electric current only occurs in a closed circuit.

Subject:
Applied Science
Career and Technical Education
Electronic Technology
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Daria Kotys-Schwartz
Denise W. Carlson
Janet Yowell
Joe Friedrichsen
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Sabre Duren
Xochitl Zamora Thompson
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Concord Consortium: Solar Oven
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Elementary grade students investigate heat transfer in this activity to design and build a solar oven, then test its effectiveness using a temperature sensor. It blends the hands-on activity with digital graphing tools that allow kids to easily plot and share their data. Included in the package are illustrated procedures and extension activities. Note Requirements: This lesson requires a "VernierGo" temperature sensing device, available for ~ $40. This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. The Consortium develops digital learning innovations for science, mathematics, and engineering.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Lecture Notes
Provider:
Concord Consortium
Provider Set:
Concord Consortium Collection
Author:
The Concord Consortium
Date Added:
04/02/2013
Cooking with the Sun
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Educational Use
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Students learn about using renewable energy from the Sun for heating and cooking as they build and compare the performance of four solar cooker designs. They explore the concepts of insulation, reflection, absorption, conduction and convection.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Denise Carlson
Geoffrey Hill
Jeff Lyng
Jessica Butterfield
Jessica Todd
Malinda Schaefer Zarske
Sabre Duren
Xochitl Zamora-Thompson
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Design a Solar City
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Educational Use
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Students design and build a model city powered by the sun! They learn about the benefits of solar power, and how architectural and building engineers integrate photovoltaic panels into the design of buildings.

Subject:
Applied Science
Architecture and Design
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Abbie Watrous
Bev Louie
Denise W. Carlson
Jean Parks
Lesley Herrmann
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Electrical Cards
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CC BY-SA
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“Circuit” comes from the same root word as “circle” because of the way a circuit works. A wire, connected to a power source, makes contact with a device requiring power to function or operate. A second wire runs from the device back to the power source. These connections make a pathway, allowing electrons to flow through the “circle” of wires.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Author:
Lesson contributed by GO-STEM. Adapted from National Inventors Hall of Fame “Brighten someone’s day” activity.
Date Added:
04/01/2021
Everyday Electricity
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CC BY-ND
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Students use electricity every day. It is important to know how it works. Why does the light come on when they flip the switch? With a simple knowledge of circuits, students will understand how electrical energy moves from one place to another. Students will provide evidence to describe why the light bulb turned on, including the idea that energy can be transferred from place to place by electrical currents.

Subject:
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Author:
Allyson Loomis
Julianne Wenner
Date Added:
10/21/2019
Explore the Salish Sea - Unit 5: Ocean Tech
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CC BY-NC-SA
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The moon is more explored than the ocean, and that includes the Salish Sea. Where it is inconvenient or even impossible for people to go, we can engineer technology to go there for us, like the Mars Rovers, space probes, automatic unmanned vehicles, drones, and in this unit, remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s). Ocean Tech revisits the engineering process, but this time it requires physical, mechanical, and electrical engineers working together as a team to achieve a student-driven mission.

Chapter 5, Life in the Deep: The Subtidal World, is our first look into the amazing life forms that live their whole lives underwater. Is there access to the subtidal world near your school? If you can get to one (even if it is a pond or a pool), your students’ engineering efforts will find their reward. What mystery or problem will your students explore with their own ROV? Dive in!

Subject:
Applied Science
Environmental Science
Life Science
Physical Science
Space Science
Material Type:
Lesson
Lesson Plan
Unit of Study
Author:
Pacific Education Institute
SeaDoc Society
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine
Junior SeaDoctors
Date Added:
04/25/2023
Master Driver
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Educational Use
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As part of a design challenge, students learn how to use a rotation sensor (located inside the casing of a LEGO® MINDSTORMS ® NXT motor) to measure how far a robot moves with each rotation. Through experimentation and measurement with the sensor, student pairs determine the relationship between the number of rotations of the robot's wheels and the distance traveled by the robot. Then they use this ratio to program LEGO robots to move precise distances in a contest of accuracy. The robot that gets closest to the goal without touching the toy figures at the finish line is the winning programming design. Students learn how rotational sensors measure distance, how mathematics can be used for real-world purposes, and about potential sources of error due to gearing when using rotation sensor readings for distance calculations. They also become familiar with the engineering design process as they engage in its steps, from understanding the problem to multiple test/improve iterations to successful design.

Subject:
Applied Science
Career and Technical Education
Electronic Technology
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Nishant Sinha
Pranit Samarth
Satish S. Nair
Date Added:
09/18/2014
Naked Egg Drop
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Educational Use
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Student pairs experience the iterative engineering design process as they design, build, test and improve catching devices to prevent a "naked" egg from breaking when dropped from increasing heights. To support their design work, they learn about materials properties, energy types and conservation of energy. Acting as engineering teams, during the activity and competition they are responsible for design and construction planning within project constraints, including making engineering modifications for improvement. They carefully consider material choices to balance potentially competing requirements (such as impact-absorbing and low-cost) in the design of their prototypes. They also experience a real-world transfer of energy as the elevated egg's gravitational potential energy turns into kinetic energy as it falls and further dissipates into other forms upon impact. Pre- and post-activity assessments and a scoring rubric are provided. The activity scales up to district or regional egg drop competition scale. As an alternative to a ladder, detailed instructions are provided for creating a 10-foot-tall egg dropper rig.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Lauren Jabusch
Date Added:
10/14/2015
Rube Goldberg Machine
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CC BY-SA
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As the item moves through the contraption, energy is transferred from one object to the next, moving each one.
Designing something that works often takes many attempts, tests, and redesign. The final creation is often a combination of aspects of those many previous designs.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Author:
STEM Bites are a project of the Oregon STEM Hub network. This lesson adapted from a contribution by Saturday Academy and Portland Metro STEM Partnership.
Date Added:
04/01/2021
STEM Magnetic Raceway
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CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, students will use their knowledge of area and perimeter to create a racetrack. Once they have the correct specifications they will guide their car through the track using the properties of magnets.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Geometry
Mathematics
Measurement and Data
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Date Added:
06/16/2021
STEM Magnetic Raceway
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, students will use their knowledge of area and perimeter to create a racetrack. Once they have the correct specifications they will guide their car through the track using the properties of magnets.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Geometry
Mathematics
Measurement and Data
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Date Added:
09/25/2018
STEM Magnetic Raceway
Conditional Remix & Share Permitted
CC BY-NC-SA
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In this activity, students will use their knowledge of area and perimeter to create a racetrack. Once they have the correct specifications they will guide their car through the track using the properties of magnets.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Geometry
Mathematics
Measurement and Data
Physical Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Date Added:
04/12/2021
Smithsonian Science Starter: An Egg-cellent Return to Earth
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CC BY-NC
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Investigate why and how spacecraft must dissipate energy when landing back on Earth, or on Mars, or anywhere else for that matter.

Subject:
Applied Science
Engineering
Physical Science
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
National Air and Space Museum
Author:
National Air and Space Museum
Date Added:
09/02/2022