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Middle-Level Engineering Curriculum

Middle Level Engineering

The Intersection of Science, Technology, and Math

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Curriculum Titles

Overview

Students learn how athletes have increased in size, strength, and speed; how equipment protects them; and how new equipment is needed to continue to protect them. They use the engineering design process to create a vehicle to safely transport and protect an egg during a crash.

Essential Question

What is the best way to absorb the energy of contact in sports?

Student Objectives

  • Learn about the increase in size and strength of athletes at all levels.
  • Explore the size increase in athletes.
  • Learn about inertia and momentum.
  • Learn how Newton's laws affect athletes.
  • Use the engineering design process to create a vehicle to safely transport and protect an egg during a crash.

 

OVERVIEW
In Alternative Energy, students explore the basic concepts of energy as well as the law of conservation of energy. Information is presented about renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and how these resource types are important for meeting global energy demands. The advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy forms such as solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower are presented. Hands-on experiences include experiments with a wind turbine, solar cells, and hydrogen fuel cells.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

  • Learn the characteristics of renewable and nonrenewable energy resources.
  • Explore traditional and nontraditional, or alternative, forms of energy.
  • Gain an understanding of the scientific law of conservation of energy.
  • Learn about the use of wind energy and perform an efficiency experiment using a wind turbine.
  • Learn the important role the Sun plays in the production of energy on Earth.
  • Explore hydropower and geothermal power.
  • Complete a fermentation experiment to explore biomass energy.
  • Perform an experiment to simulate hydrogen fuel cell technology.
  • Evaluate various energy resources and draw conclusions based upon statistical data.
ACTIVITIES
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Energy – investigate various energy resources and their classifications; 2) Solar Energy – name characteristics of solar energy and explain how a solar cell works; and 3) Fuel Cell Energy – understand and explain how fuel cell technology functions.

 

OVERVIEW
In Applied Physics, students learn about the wonderful forces of nature that they must control and learn to live with to make their lives more enjoyable. Using an air track, students learn about motion by calculating the velocity and acceleration of air track cars using a photogate timer. Students study data transmission using a laser. Students also learn about radio waves, light, and heat and do experiments using mathematics.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

  • Define and calculate velocity and acceleration.
  • Explain the relationship between gravity and acceleration.
  • Define the relationships among frequency, pitch, amplitude, and loudness.
  • Experiment with different sound waves and list the steps necessary to hear sound.
  • Define hypothesis and make and test a hypothesis regarding heat transfer.
  • List the steps of the scientific method.
  • Differentiate between an insulator and a conductor.
  • Discover how light waves travel.
  • Explore various uses of lasers.

ACTIVITIES
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Heat Experiment – explain a hypothesis,
list the steps of the scientific method, and set up and complete an experiment; 2) Light Filter
Experiments – set up and conduct light experiments and verbalize how tinted sunglasses filter
light; and 3) Laser Experiments – demonstrate the proper care and use of a laser and utilize one
or more mirrors in the transfer of sound through a laser and photocell.

 

Overview

Students examine the bodies of our solar system and their interactions with one another. Students also determine the needs of a permanent Mars colony, construct a scale model of a Mars colony, and use evidence to justify their decisions.

Essential Question

What is necessary for us to arrive at and establish a permanent colony on Mars?

Student Objectives

  • Explore relative distances between bodies in our solar system.
  • Examine the role of gravity in the motion of planets and moons.
  • Construct a model of the relative distances of the Sun and planets in our solar system.
  • Determine the path a rocket must follow to get from Earth to Mars.
  • Build a model of a Mars colony.
  • Evaluate Mars colony designs.
  • Construct a model shelter for a Mars colony.
  • Construct a model oxygen production system for a Mars colony.
  • Construct a model water facility for a Mars colony.
  • Construct a model food production system for a Mars colony.
  • Evaluate other students' Mars colony models.

 

Overview

Students assist in the design of a store's new outlet by helping the owner make decisions about genetically modified produce. Students research biotechnology, evaluate sources of information for validity, and make recommendations for the store justified by valid evidence that he or she has collected.

Essential Question

How should genetically modified organisms be labeled and displayed in a store?

Student Objectives

  • Develop a preliminary layout for The Produce Aisle.
  • Build a model of a DNA molecule.
  • Model the use of a restriction enzyme to create recombinant DNA.
  • Model mitosis and list the major events of each phase.
  • Model meiosis and list the major events of each phase.
  • Use Punnett squares to predict possible offspring in a cross.
  • Compare actual random numbers to predicted outcomes and explain the difference.
  • Distinguish between natural and artificial selection.

 

OVERVIEW
In BioEngineering, students explore topics related to kinesiology and sports performance. They cover mathematical concepts including measuring and classifying angles, absolute values, positive and negative rational numbers, data collection, and simple algebra. Students perform flexibility tests, take digital images of the tests, and use the computer to analyze their flexibility.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

  • Practice absolute value, number lines, and positive and negative numbers.
  • Measure, classify, and identify angles using a protractor, a goniometer, a digital camera, and imaging software.
  • Gather, graph, and interpret data on projectiles, relating angle size to distance achieved.
  • Relate angle measurement to physical therapy, physical fitness, and sports performance.

ACTIVITIES

Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Projectile Data – estimate and justify the best angle from which to release a projectile in order to achieve a maximum distance; 2) Measure Body Angles – demonstrate and explain how to measure a joint angle using both a goniometer and a protractor; and 3) Angle Analysis – explain how angles apply to the function of the flexibility tester and identify the angle of joint ROM required in order to achieve maximum reach.

 

OVERVIEW
In Biotechnology, students explore the past, present, and future of biotechnology. Through hands-on activities, computer simulations, and laboratory experiments, they investigate the structure of the DNA molecule and learn how it can be changed through genetic engineering, including recombinant DNA, gene splicing, and transgenic biotechnology. They consider some implications of using biotechnology in medicine, agriculture, and other fields.

STUDENT OBJECTIVES

  • Define terms relating to genetics and biotechnology.
  • Identify important historical events in the development of biotechnology.
  • Construct and explain a model of a DNA molecule.
  • Use pop-bead models to illustrate the processes of gene splicing and recombinant DNA.
  • Complete a DNA extraction.
  • Complete an enzyme experiment and analyze data from the experiment.
  • Use multimedia and simulations to understand transgenic biotechnology.
  • Learn about important applications of biotechnology in medicine and agriculture.
  • Consider ethical problems related to biotechnology.

ACTIVITIES
Students complete three performance assessments: 1) Biotechnology and DNA – define biotechnology, explain areas in which biotechnology is used, and explain the structure of DNA; 2) Gene Splicing – use models to demonstrate and explain the structure of DNA and the process of gene splicing; and 3) Data Analysis – document experimental data, explain differences between experimental and control groups, and explain why careful analysis of any type of genetic engineering is mandatory.

 

Overview

Students work as civil engineers for the Plan-it Span-it bridge construction company while exploring types of bridges and the roles civil engineers play in the design and construction of bridges and other projects. Students work through the stages of the engineering design process as they design, plan, construct, and test a model balsa bridge using given specifications. Students also learn how to use equipment designed specifically for building the model as well as techniques to improve the design.

Essential Question

What is the best bridge design for spanning a distance?

Student Objectives

  • Learn about types of bridges.
  • Brainstorm possible bridge designs and sketch those designs.
  • Select a final bridge design for proposal and create detailed drawings.
  • Identify the forces of compression, tension, and shear.
  • Distinguish between static and dynamic forces in relation to load on a bridge.
  • Create a detailed technical drawing of a selected bridge design.
  • Test the bridge to failure and record relevant data.
  • Propose possible improvements to the bridge design.