Middle & High School

Solar Cooker | grades 6-12

  • Benjamin Schoenleber

This lesson plan is designed to help middle school students understand the concepts of heat and energy.  It will also teach them the principles behind the engineering design process and describe just who engineers are and what they do.  The goal of this plan is for students to design and construct an oven that will increase the temperature of the contents using only the Sun as an energy source.

The Pop-Pop Boat | grades 6-12

  • Benjamin Hoover

The pop-pop boat was originally designed by the Frenchman Thomas Piot in 1891. Its design capitalizes on the simple properties of liquid water and its gaseous form, and is in essence a fun toy steam engine. The water is heated inside the boiler to produce steam, which builds pressure inside the boiler forcing water out the back of the boat. As the gas expands, it cools, which causes it to shrink and suck some water back in through the exhaust pipes. This process repeats for as long as the candle is burning. While the design of the engine is relatively easy to grasp, this design easily captures the mind of young children and college students alike. How can the design be improved? How does the engine keep running? What would happen if we were to make the boiler larger? With such a simple design, there is so much room to run away with design ideas and improvements.

Applications of X-Rays | grades 9-12

  • Jenna Freedman

This lesson is created to demonstrate the applications of some of the invisible waves found in the electromagnetic spectrum, specifically X-Rays. This lesson emphasizes wave properties and their importance as well as provides students with a hands on representation of how X-Ray imaging modalities, X-Ray machines and Computer Tomography scanners, function.

Acidic, Basic or Neutral? | grades 5-7

  • Raina Kishan

Acids and bases are two special kinds of substances. From the milk you drink with your cereal, to the dressing on your salad, almost all liquids are either acids or bases to some degree. The degree of acidity or basicity depends on the types of ions it contains. Highly acidic liquids, such as lemon juice, contain a large concentration of hydrogen ions. Whereas, basic liquids such as baking soda, contain a large concentration of hydroxide ions. Each student will perform their own experimental procedure using an indicator solution to determine if different solutions are acidic, basic or neutral.

Decoded: An introduction to Cryptography and Cybersecurity | grades 4-7

  • Sydney Jeffs

This lesson will introduce students to cryptography, the art of using codes and ciphers to hide secret information. Cryptography has ancient roots in Egyptian civilizations and has maintained a strong foothold in the realm of warfare and in its most modern form is implemented in cyberwarfare. Cyber has been deemed the fifth warfront behind air, space, land, and sea. Students will practice coding and decoding messages, and will be introduced into the binary language used by computers. A worksheet is provided to accompany the lesson and may be collected for evaluation.

Decoding the brain | grades 5-8

  • Mark Chen

We are surrounded by stimuli, which can be anything that causes a response. Some of that includes touch, light, sound – basically anything we can sense, and more (like electrical, magnetic). These senses are then converted to signals (or action potentials) that travel down our nerves to the brain, which then further processes it and either makes a response (move hand away from fire) or a memory (fire is hot). Specifically, students will first understand how the stimuli can travel down the nerve. Then, students will learn how the stimuli should be encoded as digital signals so that more information can be transmitted.

Get focused! The Physics of Pinhole Cameras | grades 5-7

  • Sydney Jeffs

This lesson will provide an introduction to the properties of light and the ways in which it is reflected, absorbed and transmitted. These principles will be applied to the process of taking a photo. Students will construct pinhole cameras, and test various exposure times in a given setting. A worksheet evaluation concludes the lesson.

Journey of Nitrogen atoms | grades 6-8

  • Nancy Zhang

The nitrogen cycle is a biogeochemical cycle by which nitrogen is converted into various chemical forms as it circulates among the atmosphere and terrestrial and marine ecosystems. The students will first learn the importance of nitrogen and nitrogen cycle. Then each group will act as a nitrogen atom and explore the translocation of nitrogen in the ecosystem. Students will have the opportunity to investigate the effect of human interference on the nitrogen cycle and use their knowledge and creativity to devise a solution to this Grand Challenge.

Rube Goldberg | grades 5-8

  • Marley Zelinger

This lesson plan consists of two stages. The first is the introduction of simple machines and their relationship with force and work. In addition to introducing each individual simple machine the history and practice of Rube Goldberg machines is discussed as well. The second is the application of this knowledge to the building of a Rube Goldberg machine. This allows the students to think independently, gain experience with building something with their hands, consider problems in new ways, and practice the process of developing a machine.

A balancing act | grades 7-9

  • Raina Kishan

To keep us alive, every cell in the human body must obtain an internal steady state to properly perform their function. This steady state is homeostasis, which will be studied in this lesson plan by investigating a cell’s ability to maintain a steady state despite a changing environment. Each student will perform their own experimental procedure and gather their own observations before participating in a discussion and completing the assessment.

Arduino programming | grades 9-10

  • Adarsh Ettyreddy

The purpose of this lesson is to teach kids different types of sensors as well as how to solder. Students will then learn how to program using Arduino coding language and create their own light sensor and possible sound sensor.

Solar energy: Constructing a Blackberry Solar Cell | grades 9-12

  • Nancy Zhang

In this lesson, students will investigate the development and use of solar power. They will examine the role of the sun as a source of energy and explore various methods humans use to utilize sun as an energy source. Students will also explore the history of solar energy. Then, students will construct their own solar cell.

Water bottle capacitors | grades 9-12

  • Benjamin Hoover

This lesson will strive to provide the students an intuitive and qualitative grasp of how a capacitor works in storing electric charge. At the end of the lesson, students will be able to: distinguish a capacitor from a battery, understand how voltages and energy can be stored in a capacitor, know where the capacitor fits into the history of electricity and science., and understand how to safely handle a capacitor with lots of charge (to discretion of teacher).

Wave pendulum: Harmonic motion | grades 6-12

  • Benjamin Hoover

Pendulums were not formally recognized for their simplicity and usefulness until Galileo in the 1500’s. Truth is, pendulum motion can be described as a cycle just like many other phenomena in the observable universe. Can we experiment with data that corroborates / invalidates Galileo’s equations?

It's Only Rocket Science | grades 10-12

  • Nicholas Danyluk

Students will learn to calculate the trajectory of a real projectile. Specifically finding the initial velocity of a projectile in free fall from trajectory equations and from direct measurement. The students will compare these results and discuss what factors account for the discrepancy between the two values. Lastly, students will discuss Energy. Calculate the Kinetic and Potential Energy at different points in the trajectory.