Grades 3-5

Evaporating Puddles/Umbrella Challenge

Thinking about the properties of water and evaporation, students will experiment with making the slowest evaporating puddle.  Then students will use the engineering process to build an effective umbrella out of everyday materials and test their prototypes.

Earthquake Resistant Buildings/A Force to be Reckoned With

Students will learn about earthquakes, discuss why we don’t need to be afraid even when earthquakes happen because we have a God who made us and loves us watching over us, design an earthquake resistant building using provided materials and the gifts they have been given, then test their prototypes with a Jell-O earthquake.  Then students will learn about gravity, friction, and forces.  Finally students will participate in a BreakoutEDU Game culminating in a Mentos and Diet Coke geyser.

Mars Rover with Scratch

In this activity, students will create a Mars exploration game using the Scratch programming language. They will engage in computational thinking and include elements of real rover-mission planning to design their game.

Oil Spill Clean-Up Challenge

Students will learn about the negative impact of oil spills on water ecosystems and use the engineering process to develop prototypes for cleaning up the oil from mock oil spill disasters.

I Scream for Dry Ice – Ice Cream

We may scream for ice cream, but there would be no screaming if not for our lungs.  In this activity, students will create a simulation of their lungs and diaphragm.  Then they will learn how to make dry ice ice cream with the same by product humans produce with their breathing, carbon dioxide.

Sink or Float: What Shape Makes the Best Boat?

Students will make predictions about whether given objects will sink, float, or rest somewhere in-between.  Then students will experiment with the objects.  Finally, students will engage in a design challenge for the Mississippi Cookie Company and their request for transportation of their cookies on a well-engineered boat down the Mississippi River.

Let’s Break Gravity & Build a Roller Coaster

When building a roller coaster, students will explore the qualities of inertia, gravity, kinetic and potential energy and use their forces to build a roller coaster that meets specifications for each of the three goals.  Students will also learn the science behind a couple of tricks that seem to break the laws of gravity.

Solar System Bead Activity & Crater Creator

Students will create a scale model of the solar system with beads to create a piece of jewelry they can wear.  Then students will build and experiment with a simulation of the moon’s surface to study craters and what we can learn from crater characteristics such as rays.

Birds – 3D Designing with SketchUp and Tinkercad

Students will either design a bird that can be 3D printed at the library using Tinkercad or an aviary exhibit for a zoo with SketchUp.  The Tinkercad project introduces students to the world of 3D designing.  Students will need to follow specifications to design their birds in order to be able to 3D print them at the library.  The SketchUp project requires that students consider the needs for an enclosed zoo habitat.  The will learn how to use SketchUp to design an enclosure for the type of bird of their choosing.

Building DNA

Students will encode a model of DNA with a secret message that their friends can decode using the codon chart and their understanding of the building blocks of DNA.

Grades 6-8

What Floats Your Boat?

Students will make predictions about whether given objects will sink, float, or rest somewhere in-between.  Then students will experiment with the objects.  Finally, students will engage in a design challenge for the Mississippi Cookie Company and their request for transportation of their cookies on a well-engineered boat down the Mississippi River.

Algorithms of Plants & Coding

In Part 1, students will discuss and look for various patterns in nature.  They will examine visual patterns, temporal patterns, cycles and so forth.  In Part 2, students will learn about the algorithm found in the Fibonacci sequence and how plants exhibit this sequence for optimum performance through puzzles and by exploring images with examples that occur in nature.  In Part 3, students will explore an introductory way to program which involves coding algorithms.

Fidget Spinners

Students will craft their own DIY fidget spinners.  After creating and exploring their star fidget spinners, students will find the average spinning time of their group’s fidget spinners and graph their results.  Students will explore probability with their spinners and verify their observations about probability while playing a game.  Students will consider variables that may impact the performance of their spinners, conduct research and make improvements to their star spinner.

Sharks and Shorelines

The student will observe the erosion of shorelines through a hands-on shoreline lab and apply this knowledge to their understanding of the need for sharks in aquatic ecosystems.  Then students will analyze online shark tracking tools to identify how the tagging of sharks helps scientists to learn more about their behavior.

Building DNA/Extracting DNA

Students will encode a model of DNA with a secret message that their friends can decode using the codon chart and their understanding of the building blocks of DNA. Then, students will extract DNA from living things like strawberries and split peas.

Engineering Wings
Trebuchet Adventures
Bridging the Gap with Spaghetti
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