Adrift in a Sea of Plastic Unit Plan

Grades:
5-8
Description:
In this unit students will investigate the phenomena of plastic trash islands floating in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The students will work to solve the problem of plastic trash islands through the engineering and design process. Using 3D printers,...
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Learning Goal(s):
·       Students will design 3D models using Tinkercad software.·       Students will define the problem of plastic trash islands.·       Students will describe possible solutions to the problem of plastic trash islands.·       Students will research the plastic trash problem and create google slideshows the problem and how we might fix it.·       Students will investigate different ways to build structures that both float and hold weight.·       Students will build a model of a device that could collect plastic from the ocean.·       Students will test the models they build.·       Students will communicate their results from scientific inquiry to identify factors that are important to optimizing the design of the plastic collecting device.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Solar Mobile

Solar Mobile Design Challenge Unit Plan

Grades:
6-8
Description:
This unit involves students learning about transferring solar energy to small motors, exploring the center of gravity and testing light sources (including the sun). The culminating engineering design project gives students the chance to pull together their...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will design circuits using various solar panels in order to power motors with propellers. Students will learn about solar energy transfer in order to power the motors on their solar aircraft.Students will research an aircraft and draw an outline of the aircraft onto foam board. Students will explore the concept of center of gravity. Students will test the efficiency of various light sources (incandescent, fluorescent, LED, halogen) for usage by a PV cell.Students will use their prior testing results and knowledge to engineer a solar-powered mobile. Students will work to transfer the most energy from the solar panels considering all the tested variables in order to power the fastest, most efficient mobile.Students will demonstrate and explain why their solar mobile should be chosen for the solar mobile display in the children’s museum. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec
Hot Pack

Unit Plan - Chemical Differences in Emergency Energy Sources

Grades:
7-8
Description:
Students develop atomic and molecular models of energy resources, analyze combustion of various fuels and build circuits with Photovolatic (PV) modules to evaluate and suggest revisions to a disaster preparedness supply list. They then research and evaluate...
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Learning Goal(s):
To build empathy for people in emergency situations and an understanding of how access to energy resources can increase one’s safety, health, and comfort. To understand the nature of a variety of energy needs and how different applications have different optimal solutions. To develop models to explain the molecular and extended structures of energy resources, including how the resources change when energy is generated (Electron movement in PV cells, combustion reactions in fuel). To understand that the properties of substances depends upon the atomic / molecular structure, which changes with chemical reactions. To build a circuit that includes a solar module and measure the voltage and current. To gather and evaluate information to describe the impact on society of converting natural resources into PV cells. To design, build and test a device that uses a chemical reaction to generate or absorb thermal energy. Evaluate and revise a plan for the energy resources one should store to prepare for a natural disaster. 
Author:
Melody Childers
Estimated Activity Length:
0 sec

TinkerCAD: Introduction to 3D Printing

Grades:
5-8
Lesson Number:
1
Description:
This lesson is designed to span 5 days with 50-minute sections. After the introduction day, each day the students work toward mastery on the TinkerCAD tutorial online to learn how to create printable 3D models. At the end of the 4 days the students will have...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will complete several computer aligned design tutorials, lessons, and one project to fully understand and implement unique 3D printed designs.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
4 hours
Earth Sun

Individual Independent Projects

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
12
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to allow students to choose an area of interest regarding solar power and research it further in a manner of their choice. Students will produce a final product to display or share at the “Salute to the Sun” culminating event at...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will plan, gather research materials and create a project of their choice. In doing so student will learn proper research methods (i.e., reliable sources) and how to categorize and translate information. In addition students will become comfortable and familiar presenting information to others. Lastly, students will also learn how to create a rubric for self evaluation.
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Estimated Activity Length:
10 hours
Solar Mobile

Exploring Circuits and Optimum Power

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
This lesson is an exploratory learning cycle that will give the instructor input as to where students are in their understanding of circuits and also scaffolds student learning. This lesson starts by engaging students by using an Energy Stick. Then, students...
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Learning Goal(s):
Students build series circuits using “grain of wheat bulb” and LEDs powered by various low voltage solar panels. Students build parallel circuits using grain of wheat and LED bulbs powered by various low voltage solar panels. Students demonstrate and draw the energy transfer using solar energy. Students draw a circuit diagram of their final optimal circuit. Students design an optimal circuit model that will be used in their final project. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
3 hours
Earth Sun

The Amazing Cardboard Cook-O-Matic

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
2
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to introduce the students to the concept of solar ovens and cooking with energy from the sun.
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson students will understand that the sun can be used to cook food. They will also be introduced to the basic components required to build a successful solar oven.
Pedagogy & Practice:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
1 hour
Solar Mobile

Exploring Center of Gravity

Grades:
6-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
Since the concept Center of Gravity (mass) is a key factor in a mobile, students will participate in some activities to help them experience and understand this principle so it can be applied to their final Solar Mobile design. This lesson starts with a...
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
Students will observe a discrepant event and write down questions about what they observed. Students will participate in a variety of activities using a meter stick in order to experience and learn about center of gravity.Students will find the center of gravity of an irregular shaped paper object by using a plumb line. Students will apply the concept of Center of Gravity and find the center of their solar aircraft that is to be used on their solar mobile. 
Author:
Kristy Schneider
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours
Earth Sun

Our Sensational Sun

Grades:
3-5
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
The purpose of this lesson is to record information that the students learn about the sun on a chart. This chart will be used for the entire unit. It will serve as a good reference for guiding the lessons and providing information for student research.
Energy Content:
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Learning Goal(s):
At the end of this lesson, students will have written numerous facts about the sun that they 1) already know, 2) want to know and 3) have learned.
Pedagogy & Practice:
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:
Author:
Lisa Morgan
Relevant NGSS PE:
Other Subjects Covered:
Estimated Activity Length:
30 min

Engineering 101

Grades:
5-8
Lesson Number:
3
Description:
This lesson is designed for 3, 50-minute sessions. The students will engage in multiple mini-engineering challenges to develop their understanding of structures and how to build models. The students will also learn to use the 3D pens to create a 3D object.
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Learning Goal(s):
·       Students will understand some basics of engineering.·       Students will become familiar with 3D pens and how to use them.
Author:
Jonathan Strunin
Estimated Activity Length:
2 hours

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