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Home  >  Education & Careers  >  Pre-university  >  Teacher In-Service Program Training

Find engaging engineering lesson plans for your pre-university students that will make engineering fun.

 
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Category Description Ages
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

A Century of Plastics

Lesson focuses on how plastics of all sorts have been engineered in to everyday products over the past century, with emphasis on materials selection and engineering.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
 

A Question of Balance

Lesson focuses on the use of weight scales and measurement by manufacturing engineers. Teams of students are posed with the challenge of developing a system to fill jars with a specific weight or count of products such as marbles or paperclips.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
 

Adaptive Device Design

Lesson focuses on the engineering of adaptive or assistive devices, such as prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, eyeglasses, grab bars, hearing aids, lifts, or braces.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Engineering Design
  • Technology
 

Arduino Blink Challenge

Lesson explores computer programming and the impact of computers on society. Students build and test a program to turn a light on and off using an Arduino board. They connect the hardware, program the code, test their system, adapt it for variations in blinking times, evaluate their results, and share observations with their class.

 

14 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
 

Assembly Line

This lesson demonstrates the power of mass production. Students work in teams to design, construct, test, and redesign an assembly line to manufacture a product as quickly and efficiently as possible to meet the quality control criteria.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

Be a Scanning Probe Microscope

Lesson focuses on how engineers have developed and use special tools that can observe the landscape of materials when they are working at the nano scale. Students learn about Scanning Probe Microscopes (SPM) and then work in teams using a pencil to explore and identify the shape of objects they cannot see, just as the SPM does at the nano level. They draw what their mind "sees" on paper, compare their results with other student teams, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
 

Biomimicry in Engineering

Lesson focuses on the concept of Biomimicry and students learn how engineers have incorporated structures and methods from the living world in products and solutions for all industries. Students then work in teams to develop a structure or system based on an example in nature that would help people living on the moon. They design their structure on paper, learn about patents, and share their designs with the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Blast Off!

Lesson focuses on aerospace engineering and how space flight has been achieved from an engineering vantage point. Students build and launch a model rocket and consider the forces on a rocket, Newton's Laws, and other principles and challenges of actual space vehicle launch. They design their structure on paper, learn about aerospace engineering, launch their rocket, and share observations with their class.

 

14 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Build a Big Wheel

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind big wheels (sometimes called Ferris wheels). Teams of students explore the engineering behind the "London Eye," explore the history of big wheels, and construct a working wheel model using pasta, glue, and teabags.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Robotics
  • Technology
 

Build Your Own Robot Arm

Develop a robot arm using common materials. Students will explore design, construction, teamwork, and materials selection and use.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Can You Canoe?

Lesson focuses on how canoes, which have been hand built for centuries, have been impacted by engineered materials and manufacturing processes over the years. Student teams design and build a model canoe frame and then cover their frame with everyday materials and test their design in a basin. Student model canoes must be able to float, travel a distance of 4 feet, and support a load. Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their canoes and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

Can You Copperplate?

Lesson explores chemical engineering and explores how the processes of chemical plating and electroplating have impacted many industries. Students work in teams to copperplate a range of items using everyday materials. They develop a hypothesis about which materials and surface preparations will result in the best copperplate, present their plans to the class, test their process, evaluate their results and those of classmates, and share observations with their class.

 

12 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
 

Cast Your Vote

Lesson focuses on how technology and engineering impact society, and how poll-taking has been influenced by engineering over time. Students design and construct a voting or polling machine out of everyday items, then evaluate the effectiveness of the design.

 

8 - 12

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Chair Lift Challenge

Lesson focuses on unique challenges in transportation engineering, such as devising a method for skiers or hikers to get to the top of a mountain. Students work in teams to design a "chairlift" out of everyday items that can transport a ping pong ball in an open-front cup from the bottom of a "valley" to the top of a "mountain" along a clothes line or wire without the ball falling out. Students design their chairlift on paper, execute their design, test it, reflect on the challenge, and share their experiences with the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Choose Your Best Way

Lesson focuses on how mathematic models help to solve real problems and are realized in computers. Students work in teams to build a graph model of their city map while learning how mathematic models work. Students should be encouraged to use this model to solve real problems.

 

12 - 18

 
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Classroom Paper Recycling

Lesson focuses on how engineers and others have developed and improved the manufacturing of recycled paper. Students work in teams to recycle and manufacture their own recycled paper while learning how recycled paper is manufactured on a larger scale in paper facilities. Student teams evaluate current processes for creating paper and develop improvement to the procedure.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
  • Simple Machines
 

Clipper Creations

Develop a working model of a nail clipper.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Complexity – It’s Simple

This lesson allows students to playfully understand algorithms and complexity.

 

14 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Simple Machines
 

Conveyor Engineering

Lesson explores the engineering behind the conveyor belt and considers the impact this invention has had on transportation and the coordinated shipping and delivery of goods. Students work in teams to design and build a conveyor system out of everyday materials that can transport pieces of candy 4 feet (120 centimeters). The conveyor must make a 90-degree turn as it moves along. Student teams design their system, build and test it, evaluate their designs and those of classmates, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Cracking the Code

Lesson focuses on how computerized barcodes have improved efficiency in product distribution; explores the barcoding process and engineering design.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Critical Load

Lesson focuses on issues civil engineers face, including critical load and how to reinforce the design of a structure to hold more weight.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Design a Dome

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind building framing for structures, and explores examples of geodesic domes and other buildings. Students work in teams to design and build a small dome frame out of everyday items that can hold a weight on top without collapsing.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Design and Build a Better Candy Bag

Demonstrate how product design differences can affect the success of a final product -- in this case a bag for holding candy. Students work in pairs to evaluate, design, and build a better candy bag.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Dispenser Designs

Lesson focuses on how engineers have to design objects to meet the needs of users, while considering the limitations of materials, and the implications of cost.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Technology
 

EEEEK- A Mouse!

Lesson focuses on computer and mechanical engineering and explores how computer mice operate and how engineering provided an interface between man and machine.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Technology
 

Electric Messages: Then and Now

Lesson focuses on exploring electric message systems, from light signals using International Morse Code to text messaging. Students construct a simple telegraph using a battery, wires, a switch, and bulb, and explore the impact of communications on society.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Technology
 

Electric Switches

Demonstrate how electric circuits can be controlled with a simple switch. Note: This lesson plan is designed for classroom use only, with supervision by a teacher familiar with electrical and electronic concepts.

 

8 - 11

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Technology
 

Engineer a Cane

Lesson focuses on how engineers improve assistive devices such as a cane to meet the needs of the elderly. Students work in teams to re-engineer a cane for a "client." They are assigned a client profile, develop a design to suit the needs of the user, and those in older grades build a working prototype of their design.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Engineer a Dam

Lesson focuses on the different uses of dams and how they are engineered. Students work in teams to develop a system of damming water in a trough. The system must completely hold back the water and also have a way of executing a controlled release.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Engineering Design
  • Technology
 

Engineered Memory

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind storage devices, and engineering improvements over time. Though exploring the operation of the "floppy" disk, students explore the mechanics underlying operation, and then test the disk under a variety of conditions.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Engineered Music

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind the design of musical instruments. Teams of students explore the engineering behind recorder manufacturing, and then design, construct, test, and evaluate a working musical instrument using easily found materials.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Engineered Sports

Lesson focuses on how the principles of aerospace engineering have impacted golf ball design, along with equipment used in other sports. Students analyze the use of dimples on golf balls, and work as a team of engineers to determine whether adding dimples to airplanes would increase fuel efficiency for the airline industry. They also explore the physics of bounce as it relates to several sports balls.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
  • Technology
 

Engineering Air Traffic

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind air traffic control systems. Students work in teams to evaluate data generated for a virtual air traffic system, and determine a plan to bring three planes safely through a set airspace. They then recommend engineering enhancement to the current system.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Simple Machines
 

Engineering Ups and Downs

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind elevators. Teams of students explore principles and requirements of vertical travel, then design and construct a working elevator to service a toy car garage using wheels, pulleys, string, cardboard and other materials.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
 

Exploring at the Nanoscale

Lesson focuses on how nanotechnology has impacted our society and how engineers have learned to explore the world at the nanoscale. Students participate in hands-on activities to understand exactly how small the nanoscale is, explore how surface area changes at the nano scale, and work in teams to develop futuristic applications of nanotechnology.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Engineering Design
 

Failure: Seeds of Innovation

Lesson focuses on how failure is part of the engineering process. Students work in teams and learn about how many inventions and advances in engineering were brought about after a mistake or failure. Students research an example of such an innovation and develop a presentation related to how the tenacity of the engineer allowed him or her to move past a failure and into the realm of innovation. Students reflect on the value of moving on after a failure or setback, present the results of their research to the class, and provide examples of how the innovation they researched has impacted society—only because the engineer didn't give up.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
 

Filtration Investigation

Lesson focuses on how filtration systems solve many problems throughout the world such as improving drinking water. Through this lesson, students work in teams to design and build a filtration system to remove dirt from water. Students select from everyday items to build their filter, test the resulting system evaluate the effectiveness of their filters and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Technology
 

Find it with GPS!

Lesson focuses on exploring how the development of global positioning systems has revolutionized both defense and consumer product engineering. Students work in teams to understand the technology behind GPS, explore current applications, and brainstorm new applications for global use of GPS. They use both a simple GPS handheld device and online resources to understand the functioning and potential of this engineering technology.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
 

Fizzy Nano Challenge

Lesson focuses on how materials behave differently as their surface area increases. Students learn about nanotechnology and how engineers can harness the behavior of materials at the nanoscale to create solutions in many industries. Students work in teams to explore examples of how surface area impacts functionality. They hypothesize how surface area will impact the performance of antacid tablets, conduct an experiment using whole and crushed tablets to see how they behave when introduced to water, observe what they see, extrapolate to other examples, compare their hypotheses and the results with those of other student teams, reflect on the experience, and share observations with the class.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Technology
 

Flashlights and Batteries

Lesson focuses on the concept of electron flow through the demonstration of electrical circuits in a flashlight, and how batteries operate.

 

8 - 11

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Technology
 

Folding Matters

Lesson focuses on how the process of folding has impacts on engineering and is evident in nature. Students consider many applications of folding such as parachutes, wings in a cocoon, heart stents, and solar panels in space. They work in teams to create a model out of everyday items of a solar panel that can be folded (for transport) and expanded (in space). Students design their solar panel on paper, build it for transport, and open or test it. All teams evaluate their results, reflect on their design, and present to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Fun with Sorting

The lesson focuses on introducing the fundamental problem of “sorting an array” to pre-university students.

 

10 - 16

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Fun with Speedboats

Lesson focuses on how engineers and ship designers have developed boats with a goal of breaking a water speed record. Students work in teams to develop a boat out of everyday materials that will prove to be the fastest in the classroom covering a distance of 5 feet or 150 centimeters along a classroom trough. Students design, build, and test their speedboats; evaluate their designs and those of classmates; and share observations with their class.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Get Connected With Ohm's Law

Demonstrate Ohm's Law using digital multi-meters. Fun hands-on activities are presented that demonstrate Ohm's Law. Teachers use digital multi-meters to collect data that are plotted to show that voltage and current are related by linear functions for ordinary resistors and by power functions for light bulbs.

 

10 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Get it Write

Lesson focuses on how writing instruments have been engineered over time. Students work in teams to design and build a functional "pen" out of everyday materials that can deliver washable liquid watercolor (ink) to a sheet of paper in a controlled manner. They design their pen, build and test their design, evaluate their results, and share observations with the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Getting Your Bearings

Lesson focuses on the concept of friction and the use of ball bearings to reduce friction.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Give Binary a Try!

Lesson focuses on how binary codes function and binary applications for computer engineers. The lesson offers students an activity to learn to download software and read online binary clock, and advanced students an opportunity to build one from a kit.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Give Me a Brake

Lesson focuses on brakes, force, and friction, using bicycle rim brakes to demonstrate basic braking mechanisms to stop, slow, or prevent motion.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Human Body
  • Mathematical Applications
 

Hand Biometrics Technology

Lesson focuses on engineering applications of biometric technologies for identification or security applications. After exploring hand geometry biometrics, students work in teams of "engineers" to evaluate pros and cons of incorporating a hand recognition biometric technology into a new security system for a museum.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Human Body
  • Motion And Forces
 

Heart of the Matter

Lesson focuses on the engineering and operation of artificial heart valves, and the interface between man and machine.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Light And Heat
 

Here Comes the Sun

Lesson focuses on solar panel design, and its application in the standard calculator. It explores how both solar panels and calculators operate and explores simple circuits using solar power.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

How the Rubber Meets the Road

Lesson focuses on how engineers design tire treads to increase safety and reliability. Students are presented with the challenge of designing a new tire tread that will be safe when driving in rainy conditions. Student teams will design and construct a sample tread out of clay, then test and evaluate the effectiveness of the design, evaluate their results, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Hull Engineering

Lesson focuses on how the shape of ship's hull can impact its speed and stability potential in water. Teams of students design and test their own ship's hull on paper, and build it using foam and other everyday materials.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Light And Heat
  • Technology
 

Infrared Investigations

Lesson focuses on how infrared technology is used by engineers creating equipment and system for a variety of industries. Teams of students explore the application of infrared in remote controls, test materials that encourage or prevent infrared transmission, and develop systems that allow transmission of infrared in restricted environments.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Technology
 

Insulators and Conductors

Demonstrating the concept of conducting or insulating electricity. Note: This lesson plan is designed for classroom use only, with supervision by a teacher familiar with electrical and electronic concepts.

 

8 - 11

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Interactive Gumball Machine

Students explore potential and kinetic energy while working in teams to design and build an interactive gumball machine.

 

10 - 18

 
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
 

Irrigation Ideas

Lesson focuses on how through the centuries man has had the need to move water from one place to another. Engineered irrigation has proved critical throughout the world. Through this lesson, students work in teams to design and build a system to move water from one source to two different delivery areas. The challenge is to move two cups of water for at least three feet and distribute it evenly in two separate containers. They work with everyday items, develop a plan, build their "irrigation" system, and test their system. Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their own irrigation systems and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Light And Heat
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Keep it Cool

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind keeping food and other items cool. Students work in teams to develop a system to make an insulated liquid container that will keep chilled water as cool as possible for an hour using everyday items. Students will need to devise a way to have a thermometer rest in the water and be able to read the temperature throughout the hour. They plan their design, execute and test their system and share their experiences with the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Life Vest Challenge

Lesson explores the engineering behind life vests or personal flotation devices and the challenges met by these devices. Students work in teams to design and build a flotation device out of everyday materials that can keep an unopened can of soup or vegetables afloat in a bucket of water or sink for a minute. They design their life vest, build and test it, evaluate their designs and those of classmates, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
  • Weather
 

Making Sense of Sensors

Lesson focuses on how sensors are used in many applications to gather information about our environment. This lesson focuses on the hygrometer, a sensor used to measure humidity. Through this lesson, students work in teams to design and build a hygrometer out of everyday items to measure humidity levels. The student hygrometers are not meant to be exact, but are expected to indicate a change. Students select from everyday items to build their hygrometer, test their machine using a spray bottle to increase humidity, evaluate the effectiveness of their system and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
  • Weather
 

Measuring the Wind

Lesson focuses on how anemometers are engineered to measure the speed of wind, and how designs have changed over time. Student teams design and build a working anemometer out of everyday products and learn about how anemometers are used for feasibility tests on locations considering alternative energy from wind turbines. Student anemometers must be able to sustain the wind generated by a fan or hairdryer at varying speed and students must develop a way to measure and chart rotations at different wind speeds. Students evaluate the effectiveness of their anemometer and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Move That Lighthouse!

Lesson focuses on how engineers have to evaluate multiple structural, economic, and environmental factors when moving a building.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

Nano Waterproofing

Lesson focuses on how nanotechnology has impacted the design and engineering of many everyday items, from paint to fabrics. Students learn about the hydrophobic effect and how similar properties can be introduced by reengineering products at the nano level. Students work in teams to develop a waterproof material and compare their results with nano waterproof materials developed recently by engineers and scientists.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
 

Oil Spill Solutions

Lesson focuses on how engineers use various techniques to provide speedy solutions to oil spills or other threats to natural water resources. Through this lesson, students work in teams to analyze an "oil spill" in the classroom, then design, build, and test a system to first contain, and then remove the oil from the water. Students select from everyday items to build their oil containment and clean-up systems, evaluate the effectiveness of their solution and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Pendulum Time

Lesson focuses on how pendulums have been used to measure time and how mechanical mechanism pendulum clocks operate. Students work in teams to develop a pendulum out of everyday objects that can reliably measure time and operate at two different speeds. They will determine the materials, the optimal length of swing or size of weight to adjust speed, and then develop their designs on paper. Next, they will build and test their mechanism, compare their results with other student teams, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
 

Pipeline Challenge

Lesson focuses on how engineers develop pipeline systems to transport oil, water, gas, and other materials over very long distances. Students work in teams of "engineers" to develop a pipeline system to transport both a golf ball and ping pong ball across the classroom terrain.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Environments And Resources
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Planting with Precision

Lesson introduces students to agricultural engineering by challenging them to engineer a system out of everyday materials that can drop a seed every 15 centimeters over a 60 centimeter distance. Students learn about seed drills and planters and consider the impact these inventions have had on farming and agriculture over the years. Students build and test their planters, evaluate their designs and those of classmates, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
 

Playing with Parachutes

This lesson focuses on parachute design. Teams of students construct parachutes from everyday materials. They then test their parachutes to determine whether they can transport a metal washer to a target on the ground with the slowest possible rate of descent.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Pollution Patrol

This lesson focuses on devices that are used to detect air pollution. Teams of students construct outdoor air pollution detectors from everyday materials. They then test their devices to see how much particulate pollutants they can capture.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Popsicle Bridge

Lesson focuses on how bridges are engineered to withstand weight, while being durable, and in some cases aesthetically pleasing. Students work in teams to design and build their own bridge out of up to 200 popsicle sticks and glue. Bridges must have a span of at least 14 inches and be able to hold a five pound weight (younger students) or a twenty pound weight (older students). Students are encouraged to be frugal, and use the fewest number of popsicle sticks while still achieving their goals. Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their own bridge designs and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Program Your Own Game

Lesson focuses on how software engineers design computer games and other software. Student teams work together to develop a simple computer program using free software that is available in multiple languages.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Simple Machines
 

Pulleys and Force

Lesson focuses on the concept of force and the use of pulleys to reduce required force.

 

8 - 11

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Technology
 

Radio Reception and Transmission

Lesson explores the electronics behind radio and its impact on society. Students work in teams to build and test a radio receiver and optional transmitter from either a snap or soldering kit (depending on level and age). They review challenges encountered in the building and testing process, evaluate their results, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Simple Machines
 

Rescue Rover

This lesson focuses on the tools and equipment used during technical rescue operations. Teams of students construct rescue devices from everyday materials. They then test their devices to determine whether they can rescue a puppy from a sewer.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
  • Robotics
  • Simple Machines
 

Robot Basketball

This lesson demonstrates the difference between precision and accuracy. Students design a device that can shoot a basketball free-throw shot accurately every time.

 

10 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
 

Rotational Equilibrium

Demonstrate the concept of rotational equilibrium.

 

14 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
 

Rubber Band Racers

The focus of this lesson is on rubber band powered car design. Teams of students construct rubber band powered cars from everyday materials. Students must design their cars to travel in a straight line for a distance of at least 3 meters within a 1 meter wide track.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Sail Away

Lesson focuses on watercraft engineering and sailing. Students work in teams to design a sailboat out of everyday objects that can catch a breeze from a fan, stay afloat with a set load, and sail four feet.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Technology
 

Search Engines

Lesson focuses on exploring how the development of search engines has revolutionized the Internet. Students work in teams to understand the technology behind search engines and explore how they can retrieve useful information using search engines.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Technology
 

Series and Parallel Circuits

Demonstrate and discuss simple circuits and the differences between parallel and serial circuit design and functions. Note: This lesson plan is designed for classroom use only, with supervision by a teacher familiar with electrical and electronic concepts.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Technology
 

Shake it up with Seismographs!

Lesson focuses on exploring how the development of seismographs has helped save lives around the world. Students work in teams to design their own seismograph out of everyday items, and test its ability to record a simulated classroom earthquake. Students evaluate their own seismographs, those of classmate teams, and present findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Ship the Chip

Lesson focuses on engineering package designs that meet the needs of safely shipping a product. Students work in teams of "engineers" to design a package using standard materials that will safely ship a single chip through the mail to the school address.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Shipping for Survival

Lesson focuses on how packaging engineers develop customized shipping and packaging containers to meet the needs of many different industries. Students learn about different packages that have been engineered to transport hearts for surgery, blood for analysis, and foods to retain freshness. Students then work in teams to build a container that will allow a flower to be shipped without damage and with water using everyday items. Flowers must remain fresh and not wilted for 24 hours after being sealed in the box.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Motion And Forces
  • Simple Machines
 

Simple Kitchen Machines

Lesson focuses on simple machines and how they can be found in many everyday items. Students explore the different types of simple machines, how they work, and how they are integrated into many items. Students explore common kitchen machines and identify how many simple machine types are incorporated into each item.

 

8 - 11

 
  • Motion And Forces
  • Simple Machines
 

Simple Machines

Simple machines: their principles and uses.

 

8 - 11

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Human Body
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Robotics
 

Smooth Operator

This lesson focuses on surgical instrument design. Teams of students construct surgical instruments from everyday materials. They then test their surgical instruments to determine how well they can perform a simulated "surgical procedure".

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
  • Light And Heat
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Solar Structures

This lesson focuses on how the sun's energy can be used to heat and cool buildings. Teams of students construct passive solar houses from everyday materials. They then test their solar houses to determine how well they regulate temperature.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Technology
 

Solving a Simple Maze

Lesson focuses on algorithmic thinking, programming, and application. Students are challenged to develop an algorithm to solve a simple maze.

 

14 - 18

 
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Solving Problems with Decision Trees

This lesson focuses on how computing decision trees are used to specify and solve problems.

 

14 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Sort it Out!

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind industrial sorting processes. Working as an engineering group, students then work in teams to design and build a system to sort different sized coins for packaging.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Spring Scale Engineering

Lesson focuses on the engineering behind building a spring scale and its use as a measuring device. Students work in teams to design, build, and test their own spring scale that can measure the weight of an apple using everyday items. They compare their designs with those of other student teams and reflect on the experience.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Statue Display Tower

Students design, build, test and redesign a display tower that will meet a specific set of criteria and constraints.

 

10 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Sticky Engineering Challenge

Lesson focuses on how engineers work to solve problems and impact daily life through new and improved products. As engineers do, teams of students select adhesive options to help them meet a construction goal.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Technology
 

Stop and Go

Lesson focuses on how engineers have developed and improved traffic management over time by engineering and re-engineering the traffic light. Students work in teams to design a new traffic light system to meet the needs of a potential client. They must devise a system or technical enhancement to accommodate a busy bicycle lane and roadway that intersects a hospital emergency room entrance. As a team they devise their planned improvements, draw a design of the improved traffic signal, develop a written and verbal presentation to the client, present their designs to the class, provide feedback on other team's designs, and share observations about re-engineering.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

Sugar Crystal Challenge

Lesson focuses on surface area and how the shape of sugar crystals may differ as they are grown from sugars of different grades of coarseness. Students explore surface area, nanostructures, and work in teams and participate in hands-on activities.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Tall Tower Challenge

Lesson focuses on the growth of tall buildings and their structures. Students work in teams to develop the tallest tower they can build with limited materials that can support the weight of a golf ball for two minutes. They develop a design on paper, build their tower, present and test their tower to the class, evaluate their results and those of their teammates, and complete reflection sheets.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Light And Heat
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Telescoping Periscope

Lesson focuses on the many uses of periscopes and how this simple device was designed and is used in many applications. Students work in teams to design and build their own working periscope out of everyday materials. They design their periscope, build and test it, evaluate their designs and those of classmates, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Technology
 

Temperature Tactics

Lesson focuses on how thermometers have been impacted by engineering over time, and also how materials engineering has developed temperature sensitive materials. Student teams design and build a temperature gauge out of everyday products and test a variety of materials for thermal properties. Students evaluate the effectiveness of their temperature gauge and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Tennis Anyone?

Lesson focuses on sports engineering and advanced materials development. Students work in a team to devise a racquet out of everyday materials that could be used to volley a ping pong ball across a table against an opponent's racquet. Students design their racquet on paper, build the racquet, and test it against those made by other student teams. All teams evaluate their results, reflect on their design, and present to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

The Power of Graphene

Lesson focuses on graphene and its electrical properties and applications. Students learn about nanotechnology and how engineers can harness the differences in how materials behave when small to address challenges in many industries. Students work in teams to hypothesize and then test whether graphene is an electrical conductor or insulator. They build a simple circuit using everyday items and create a graphene sample using soft pencils on paper. They observe what they see, extrapolate to broader applications, present their ideas to the class, and reflect on the experience.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Tinkering with Tops

In this lesson, students build spinning tops out of everyday materials. Their challenge is to design a spinning top that can spin for at least 10 seconds within a circle 30 centimeters in diameter.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
 

Toxic Popcorn Design Challenge

This lesson introduces students to the engineering design process (EDP)- the process engineers use to solve design challenges. Students work in teams to solve the challenge by designing both a product and process to safely remove "toxic" popcorn and save the city.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Simple Machines
 

Trebuchet Toss

This lesson focuses on trebuchet design. Teams of students construct trebuchets from everyday materials. They then test their trebuchets to determine the farthest distance they can hit a target with a marshmallow projectile.

 

12 - 18

 
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

Try Your Hand at Nano

Lesson focuses on two simple activities younger students can do to gain an appreciation of nanotechnology. First, students measure their hands in nanometers; second, students learn about liquid crystals, their applications, and nanotechnology connections, and test how the heat of their hands changes the color of the crystals. They observe what they see, present their findings to the class, and reflect on the experience.

 

8 - 11

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Technology
 

Two Button Buzzer Circuit

Demonstrate how two switches interact in an electrical circuit such as that used to sound a buzzer. Note: This lesson plan is designed for classroom use only, with supervision by a teacher familiar with electrical and electronic concepts.

 

8 - 14

 
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Energy
  • Mathematical Applications
  • Technology
 

Using Ohm's Law to Build a Voltage Divider

Students will design, build, and characterize one of the basic circuits of electrical engineering, the voltage divider. These circuits produce a wide range of output voltages and are building blocks for more complex circuits. Circuit design will emphasize the concepts of Ohm's Law and students will explore mathematical relationships of parallel and series resistors. Students will demonstrate their design efforts by building prototype circuits and using test measurement tools to confirm their predictions.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Water Fountain

This lesson demonstrates how a hydraulic pump works. Students work in teams to design and build a unique water fountain that employs a hydraulic pump.

 

10 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Properties Of Materials
 

Water Rocket Launch

Lesson focuses on aerospace engineering and how space flight has been achieved from an engineering vantage point. Student teams build and launch a rocket made out of a soda bottle and powered with an air pump and consider the forces on a rocket, Newton's Laws, and other principles and challenges of actual space vehicle launch. Teams design their structure on paper, learn about aerospace engineering, launch their rocket, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

Water Tower Challenge

Lesson focuses on water storage and how engineering helps communities preserve and supply water to populations. Students work in teams to design and build a water tower out of everyday materials that can "supply" and "shut off" water as needed. The system will need to deliver water in a controlled manner to a paper cup that is about 36 inches or 90 centimeters away in a controlled manner. They design their tower, build and test their system, evaluate their results, and share observations with their class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

Waterproof that Roof!

Lesson focuses on how structural engineers have improved the designs of building -- specifically roofing -- over the years to improve the quality of homes and life. Teams of students work together using simple materials to design a roof that will keep the contents of a box dry during a water test. Students determine both the shape of the roof and materials used for construction, test their designs, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Engineering Design
  • Properties Of Materials
  • Structure Of Matter
  • Technology
 

What is a Nanometer?

Lesson focuses on how to measure at the nano scale and provides students with an understanding of how small a nanometer really is."Students learn about electron microscopes, participate in hands-on activities to measure common classroom objects in the metric scale, and then convert the result to nanometers.

 

8 - 12

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Wind Tunnel Testing

Lesson focuses on wind tunnel tests that engineers in many industries use to when developing products such as airplanes, cars, and even buildings. Teams of students build their own model car out of everyday products and test their design in a wind tunnel made of a fan blowing through a long cardboard box.

 

11 - 18

 
  • Buildings and Structures
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
 

Working with Watermills

Lesson focuses on how watermills generate power. Student teams design and build a working watermill out of everyday products and test their design in a basin. Student watermills must be able to sustain three minutes of rotation. As an extension activity, older students may design a gear system that is powered by the watermill. Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their watermill and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18

 
  • Energy
  • Environments And Resources
  • Engineering Design
  • Motion And Forces
  • Technology
  • Weather
 

Working with Wind Energy

Lesson focuses on how wind energy can be generated on both a large and small scale. Student teams design and build a working windmill out of everyday products and learn about anemometer and site testing. Student windmills must be able to sustain the wind generated by a fan or hairdryer at medium speed at 2 feet and rotate, lifting a small object upward. Students evaluate the effectiveness of their windmill and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.

 

8 - 18