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Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Students become biomedical engineers and create model viruses for use in therapeutic applications, such as gene therapy. In constructing their models, students carefully plan for side effects and modify a virus that can be used to safely to deliver gene therapy. This process involves taking a "wild type" (or unmodified) virus so it can target a specific area of the body.Engineering Connection Genetic engineering is the artificial manipulation, modification, and recombination of… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
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 through "space" on a… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 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.
  • MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object's motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
  • MS-PS2-1.. Apply Newton's Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
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 created by a group of… Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 6th-8th
Students simulate the spread of a virus such as HIV through a population by "sharing" (but not drinking) the water in a plastic cup with several classmates. Although invisible, the water in a few of the cups has already be tainted with the "virus" (sodium carbonate). After all the students have shared their liquids, the contents of the cups are tested for the virus with phenolphthalein, a chemical that causes a striking color change in the presence of sodium carbonate. Students then… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS1-3. Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
Lesson Plan Grade: 5th-10th
Why do birds migrate? How do seasonal changes in primary productivity influence the behaviors of higher order consumers like raptors? Visualize and explore the connectedness of organisms within and across ecosystems in this teacher-guided activity. Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • MS-LS2-2. Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
  • MS-LS2-3. Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
  • MS-LS2-4. Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Building on an introduction to statics, dynamics free-body diagrams, combustion and thermodynamics provided by the associated lesson, students design, construct and test their own rocket engines using sugar and potassium nitrate—an opportunity to apply their knowledge of stoichiometry. This activity helps students understand that the energy required to launch a rocket comes from the chemical energy stored in the rocket fuel. The performance of each engine is tested during a… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-PS3-3. Design, build, and refine a device that works within given constraints to convert one form of energy into another form of energy.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus solely on heating. They learn how insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • HS-ETS1-2. Design a solution to a complex real-world problem by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through engineering.
  • HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
Students learn how astronomers use the transit method to detect exoplanets, by measuring how the brightness of a star changes over time. Animations illustrate how light curves vary for systems with single versus multiple planets, and for planets of different sizes. Students interpret and analyze light curve data from actual exoplanet discoveries, and make connections to Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Read more
Lesson Plan Grade: 1st
In this lesson, students explore firsthand what transparent, translucent, and opaque mean, and how they are related to light. They will place a variety of materials in front of an illuminated object and predict if and how well they will be able to see the object through the material sheet. In doing that, students will realize that different materials allow different amounts of light to pass through. Remote learning: This lesson plan can be conducted remotely. The Engage section of the… Read more
NGSS Performance Expectations:
  • 1-PS4-3. Plan and conduct investigations to determine the effect of placing objects made with different materials in the path of a beam of light.
Lesson Plan Grade: 9th-12th
A lesson plan to teach students about the transit method of detecting exoplanets. Optionally build a model of a transiting system and take measurements. Read more
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