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  • Lauren Jabusch
Algae: Tiny Plants with Big Energy Potential
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Students are introduced to biofuels, biological engineers, algae and how they grow (photosynthesis), and what parts of algae can be used for biofuel (biomass from oils, starches, cell wall sugars). Through this lesson, plants—and specifically algae—are presented as an energy solution. Students learn that breaking apart algal cell walls enables access to oil, starch, and cell wall sugars for biofuel production. Students compare/contrast biofuels and fossil fuels. They learn about the field of biological engineering, including what biological engineers do. A 20-slide PowerPoint® presentation is provided that supports students taking notes in the Cornell format. Short pre- and post-quizzes are provided. This lesson prepares students to conduct the associated activity in which they make and then eat edible algal cell models.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Biology
Chemistry
Material Type:
Lesson
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
Lessons
Author:
Lauren Jabusch
Date Added:
05/16/2017
Edible Algae Models
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Students make edible models of algal cells as a way to tangibly understand the parts of algae that are used to make biofuels. The molecular gastronomy techniques used in this activity blend chemistry, biology and food for a memorable student experience. The models use sodium alginate, which forms a gel matrix when in contact with calcium or moderate acid, to represent the complex-carbohydrate-composed cell walls of algae. Cell walls protect the algal cell contents and can be used to make biofuels, although they are more difficult to use than the starch and oils that accumulate in algal cells. The liquid juice interior of the algal models represents the starch and oils of algae, which are easily converted into biofuels.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Biology
Chemistry
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
Activities
Author:
Lauren Jabusch
Date Added:
05/16/2017
Elementary School Engineering Design Field Day
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This unit provides the framework for conducting an “engineering design field day” that combines 6 hands-on engineering activities into a culminating school (or multi-school) competition. The activities are a mix of design and problem-solving projects inspired by real-world engineering challenges: kite making, sail cars, tall towers, strong towers and a ball and tools obstacle course. The assortment of events engage children who have varied interests and cover a range of disciplines such as aerospace, mechanical and civil engineering. An optional math test—for each of grades 1-6—is provided as an alternative activity to incorporate into the field day event. Of course, the 6 activities in this unit also are suitable to conduct as standalone activities that are unaffiliated with a big event.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Unit of Study
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
Units
Author:
Alexander Kon
Alisa Lee
Andrew Palermo
Christopher Langel
Destiny Garcia
Duff Harold
Eric Anderson
Jean Vandergheynst
Jeff Kessler
Josh Claypool
Kelley Hestmark
Lauren Jabusch
Nadia Richards
Sara Pace
Tiffany Tu
Travis Smith
Date Added:
02/17/2017
Is It Shocking?
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Educational Use
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To better understand electricity, students investigate the properties of materials based on their ability to dispel static electricity. They complete a lab worksheet, collect experimental data, and draw conclusions based on their observations and understanding of electricity. The activity provides hands-on learning experience to safely explore the concept of static electricity, learning what static electricity is and which materials best hold static charge. Students learn to identify materials that hold static charge as insulators and materials that dispel charge as conductors. The class applies the results from their material tests to real-world engineering by identifying the best of the given materials for moving current in a solar panel.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Andrew Palermo
Cristian Heredia
Lauren Jabusch
Date Added:
10/14/2015
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:
Engineering
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Lauren Jabusch
Date Added:
10/14/2015
What Is Electricity?
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Educational Use
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Students are introduced to the concept of electricity by identifying it as an unseen, but pervasive and important presence in their lives. They are also introduced to the idea of engineers making, controlling and distributing electricity. The main concepts presented are the science of electricity and the careers that involve an understanding of electricity. Students first review the structure of atoms and then learn that electrons are the particles behind electrical current and the motivation for electron movement. They compare conductors and insulators based on their capabilities for electron flow. Then water and electrical systems are compared as an analogy to electrical current. They learn the differences between static and dynamic forms of electricity. A PowerPoint(TM) presentation is included, with review question/answer slides, as well as assessment handouts to practice using electricity-related terms through storytelling and to research electricity-related and electrical engineering careers.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Lesson Plan
Provider:
TeachEngineering
Provider Set:
TeachEngineering
Author:
Andrew Palermo
Cristian Heredia
Lauren Jabusch
Date Added:
10/14/2015