To the Skies! | grades 2-4

  • Jared Alosio

There are four basic forces that explain the motion of an aircraft during flight – Weight, Lift, Thrust, and Drag.  Weight is the downward force on the airplane from gravity.  It is made up of the gross weight of the aircraft, the payload, the fuel, and the passengers combined.  Lift is the upward force underneath and above the wings, pushing and pulling the plane up off of the ground.  Thrust is the forward force in the direction of the airplane’s motion, which is driven by the propeller or the jets, depending on the type of plane.  Drag is the backward force which opposes motion of the plane, due to friction between air and the aircraft.

Students will learn these forces and how to design an aircraft to accomplish several flight purposes, primarily through building differently shaped paper airplanes.  After completing the lesson, students will have a base understanding of aircraft flight and why planes are designed in the way they are.

Charged Up | grades 3-4

  • Sydney Jeffs

In this lesson, through  inquiry and discussion, students will explore basic principles and topics regarding electricity such as the components of an atom, the associated charges, and static electricity.

Go With the Flow | grades 3-4

  • Sydney Jeffs

This lesson will provide a brief introduction to simple water filtration systems and global challenges acquiring clean drinking water. Students will test filtration systems that they design and attempt to quantify their results.  At the end of the lesson, students will have completed independent research on water accessibility, designed a water filter, and present their project to the class in a 5-minute presentation in a format of their choosing.

Marshmallow Tower – An Introduction to Civil Engineering | grades 3-5

  • Benjamin Schoenleber

This lesson plan is designed to help middle school students understand the concepts of civil engineering and the thought process behind building design.  It will also teach them the principles behind the engineering design process and will describe just who engineers are and what they do.  The goal of this plan is for students to design and construct the highest and most stable tower possible comprised of only marshmallows and toothpicks.

States, What’s the Matter? | grades 3-5

  • Mark Chen

There are three main states of matter that surrounds us: solid, liquid, and gas.  Each one of these states has their own unique properties that distinguish it from the others.  Students should be able to determine the properties of each state, and how these properties can interact with one another.  Specifically, students should predict and observe how energy can be transferred.

Students will first be exposed to the molecular configurations of different states of matter.  They will draw out how “close” molecules are to one another, and how that distance affects the state of matter.  They will also build their own device to record energy transfer.

Roller Coaster – Ups and Downs of Energy | grades 3-5

  • Jared Alosio

Energy cannot be created or destroyed – however, it can be transferred from one form to another.  This is the law of conservation of energy; one of the paramount laws which govern our universe.  From it, numerous studies in engineering, physics, chemistry, and biology have emerged, as have all Grand Challenges of Engineering.  Every Grand Challenge involves studying energy in closed systems, so foundational knowledge about what energy is and how it transfers between forms is important to establish.

Biomes | grades 3-5

  • Jenna Freedman

This lesson is created to stress the idea of interrelationships among organisms and their environment. This lesson helps the students to compare and contrast the five major biomes: tundra, desert, forests, aquatic, and grasslands. Students build a model biome within their groups and document and investigate the changes that occur over a week period.

How Big Is The Solar System? | grades 3-5

  • Nicholas Danyluk

This lesson is an attempt to give students a sense of the scale of the planets in the solar system. There are two parts of the lesson. The first will demonstrate the scale of the planets to the sun. The second will show students the relative distances between the planets.

Light Properties | grades 4-5

  • Robert Vogel

The goal for the lesson is for students to recognize that light travels in a straight line until it strikes or an object or travels from one medium to another and that light can be reflecting, refracted, and absorbed.  Students will do inexpensive and simple activities involving reflection, refraction, and absorption of light to explore these concepts.  Students will then discuss results as a group and apply these concepts to phenomenon experienced in their own lives.

Momentum | grades 4-5

  • Robert Vogel

Students will be able to observe the conservation of momentum and explain its relation to the masses and velocities of objects in a 1 dimension system.  They will reinforce these concepts by conducting a momentum lab themselves. The students will learn why Newton’s cradle, a commonly seen yet often misunderstood object, works and then be able to experiment with momentum themselves.

Speed, Distance, and Time Forensics | grade 5

  • Mark Chen

 Speed, distance, and time form a fundamental relationship that builds the foundation for future scientific and mathematic explorations.  This lesson plan allows students to conduct a forensic investigation.  After being exposed to the speed equation, students will apply the speed equation to see which of three cars actually was part of a crime scene.  Students will use “evidence” such as police speed camera photos and individuals’ “testimony” to determine a car’s speed and infer how far the car has travelled.  Students will also graph this motion to demonstrate visually location of each car.

Basic Circuits | grades 4-5

  • Adarsh Ettyreddy

The purpose of this lesson is to teach kids the concepts of electricity through demonstrations and construction of circuits. Students will relate the concepts of voltage, current, power, etc. to physical demonstrations and build circuits with lights in parallel and in series to see how these values change. 

Echolocation- Seeing with sound! | grades 3-5

  • Mark Chen

This lesson will introduce students to how mechanical systems act to minimize the energy in their systems. The concepts of mass, gravity, potential energy, and stability will be introduced to students. These basic concepts will be extended to applications like finding the center of gravity and balancing seemingly complex systems. These concepts will converge in relevance to the tools and principles that we use to design and build infrastructure.

Learn to code with Logo and the turtle | grades 3-5

  • Patrick Terry

Students are introduced to the concept of a programming language while learning a simple programming language called Logo, which is used for drawing. Basic introduction to fundamental programming concepts of functions, variables and loops. Lesson is designed to concisely teach these concepts, and to promote future exploration through challenges, bonus sections, and time experiment. Goal of the lesson is to get students’ feet wet and lead to a greater interest in learning Logo and to computer programming/Computer Science as a whole.

Less is more | grades 3-5

  • Marley Zelinger

This lesson will use the context of resources to introduce the concept of problem solving with constraints. The concept of limited resources, regarding renewable and nonrenewable, and how to use resources effectively will be explored through a problem solving game in which the students will need to cross the floor with limited materials. The need for actions such as “reduce, reuse, recycle”, as well as what it means to have a limited amount of something, will be discussed and connected to the activity. A worksheet is included in the lesson plan for concept assessment.

Truss building: shapes and structures of popsicle sticks bridges| grades 3-5

  • Henry Quach

This lesson will provide an introduction to how force, energy, and motion are related while a load is applied to a bridge. Students will learn and apply the concepts of trusses and forces when designing, building, testing, and evaluating their own popsicle stick bridges. These concepts will converge in relevance to new building materials for applications in infrastructure for the Grand Challenges of Engineering.