Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten-5th
In this activity, students learn how engineers use solar energy to heat buildings by investigating the thermal storage properties of some common materials: sand, salt, water and shredded paper. Students then evaluate the usefulness of each material as a thermal storage material to be used as the thermal mass in a passive solar building.Engineering Connection Engineers design technologies that can turn sunlight into electricity to power households and… Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Working as if they were engineers, students design and construct model solar sails made of aluminum foil to move cardboard tube satellites… Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-8th
Help your students learn about solar energy, physical forces, and other science topics with this hands-on engineering experience. This lesson plan will show you how to get your classroom started building solar-powered cars that your students can enter, if desired, in regional Junior Solar Sprint competitions. No previous experience with electronics or building things is necessary. Get the dates and location for your regional competition here. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-3. Plan and carry out fair tests in which variables are controlled and failure points are considered to identify aspects of a model or prototype that can be improved.
  • MS-ETS1-4. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Lesson Plan Grade: 4th-8th
Would it be possible to power everything in your classroom using clean, renewable solar power? Inspired by Global Problem Solvers: The Series, in this lesson plan, your students will research and design a solar power system for a mobile classroom that can be used after natural disasters or in remote areas without permanent schools. This lesson is one of three independent lesson plans inspired by Global Problem Solvers: The Series. You can read more about the series and the lesson plans… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 3-5-ETS1-1. Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
  • MS-ETS1-1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Lesson Plan Grade: 1st
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Young students know that they can hear sounds, but do they know what causes sounds? In this lesson they will learn that sounds are caused by vibrations, and they will build a fun musical instrument of their own. In the Sound and Vibrations 2: Make Sprinkles Dance, students will learn that sounds can also cause vibrations. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 1-PS4-1. Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.
Lesson Plan Grade: 1st
Can you make something move by using only sound? Your students will find out in this lesson plan as they explore the connection between sound and vibrations. This is the second in a pair of lessons about sound. Click here for the first lesson. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 1-PS4-1. Plan and conduct investigations to provide evidence that vibrating materials can make sound and that sound can make materials vibrate.
Lesson Plan Grade: Kindergarten-2nd
Give your students a chance to practice their engineering skills in this fun sports-themed activity! Your motivation: You want to play a game in which you use something to hit a ball (hockey, mini golf, whiffle ball, etc.)... but you don't have any equipment. The students will need to use recycled materials (and some creativity) to build their own! Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • K-PS2-2. Analyze data to determine if a design solution works as intended to change the speed or direction of an object with a push or a pull.
  • K-2-ETS1-1. Ask questions, make observations, and gather information about a situation people want to change to define a simple problem that can be solved through the development of a new or improved object or tool.
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
If your doctor prescribes antibiotics, why do you have to take them for several days and not just once? Why do you need to finish taking them even if you feel better? If you do not follow the doctor's orders, you might contribute to the creation of antibiotic-resistant "superbugs"! In this lesson, your students will roll dice to model how bacteria respond to treatment by antibiotics, and find out what happens if treatment is stopped too early. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
  • MS-LS4-6. Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Students observe natural selection in action and investigate the underlying mechanism, including random mutation and differential fitness based on environmental characteristics. They do this through use of the free AVIDA-ED digital evolution software application.Engineering Connection Computer scientists and engineers work together to create software and hardware to model complex systems and create new technologies. The digital evolution software, Avida, was… Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th
How do our everyday actions contribute to our ecological footprint? Can we change our individual actions to be more environmentally friendly and create a more sustainable lifestyle? In this lesson, students will evaluate their own environmental impact using an online tool called Your Plan, Your Planet, and evaluate simple ways to reduce their ecological footprint as an individual or community. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 5-ESS3-1. Obtain and combine information about ways individual communities use science ideas to protect the Earth's resources and environment.
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Free science fair projects.