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In Aeronautical Engineering, hot-air balloons and various types of model airplanes are used to illustrate key principles of aeronautics and to develop associated skills. By constructing and launching hot-air balloons, engineering students understand the significance of surface area, volume, radius, and lifting force of the balloons as well as learn about the gas laws and what forces act on the balloons. They also learn how to make logic-based predictions. Then, students move on to airplanes – the basic paper airplane, balsa glider, foam wing glider, and rubber band-powered airplane. They learn about aspect ratio, stability, thrust, drag, lift, gravity, initial velocity, control surfaces, and more.
In the Surface Area and Volume activity, students use the hot-air balloons they constructed in the previous activity. Applying area estimation methods and formulas, they find the surface area of the tissue paper used to build each balloon and of the gores cut from the tissue paper. Using this information, they estimate the surface area of the assembled balloon.
Modeling each hot-air balloon as a sphere, students then calculate the volume in cubic units. They launch the balloons, recording the wind speed, outside temperature, and flight time. All the data is recorded, graphed, and evaluated.
An excellent activity for experimentation, rocketry is thoroughly explored in Aerospace Engineering. In this course, students build and launch rockets and record results from activities with four different types of rockets: fun-and-easy straw rockets, air-powered tube rockets, water-fueled bottle rockets, and solid-fuel rockets. With straw rockets, they understand center of gravity and independent, dependent, and control variables. Using air-powered (AP) tube rockets, students learn how to design a rocket experiment to achieve specific results and how to measure apogee using an altimeter. Water-bottle rocket activities help students understand how to apply basic trigonometry and to calculate apogee. Finally, students build and launch solid-fuel rockets to explore energy, ascending and descending velocity, and the process of design and documentation.
For the Computing Apogee II activity, students learn ways to calculate the apogee of a water-bottle rocket. They launch a rocket built in a previous activity several times as they stand 10, 20, 30, and finally 40 meters from the launchpad while recording the altimeter angle of each launch.
Using the recorded launch data and trigonometric functions, students calculate the height of apogee for each rocket launch.
One of the most prominent forms of engineering, civil engineering is the cornerstone of modern society. In this course, students learn the principles important to building strong and stable structures. The first unit focuses on foundational elements such as material strength, the strength of different joints and shapes, load, compression, and tension. Students apply this information in the following units where they build and test balsa wood bridges and towers. They experiment to see how the structures stand up to strength, mass distribution, and wave frequency testing. Along the way, they understand efficiency, load, wave forms, and more.
Students take on the role of civil engineers by designing a bridge for the state transportation department in the Designing for Efficiency activity.
Given a list of specifications for the roadbed, height, span, substructures, and construction techniques, students brainstorm and create sketches of several design options. This includes thorough labeling and providing a scale. After selecting the best design, students explain why the chosen design is the best option.
OVERVIEW The 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report describes causes, effects, and ways of dealing with climate change resulting from global warming. In Climate Change, students are introduced to the IPCC Report. They learn the effect of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases on global temperature increase. Then, they use graphing, polynomials, and matrices to analyze data from the report and develop possible carbon mitigation strategies. STUDENT OBJECTIVES
In the Engineering Design & CAD course, students are introduced to computer-aided drafting and learn how to use it to design engineering projects. Working through the Introduction to Engineering Design with SolidWorks guide, students build a solid foundation in how to use the SolidWorks CAD program. They become familiar with the interface, understand the software’s function and how to draw and create parts and assemblies, and complete several exercises and projects. In Unit 2, students model a TETRIX® part and then use it to build and model a motorized chassis with wheels. Then, they design and build a robot that moves billiard balls to goals and another that completes a timed maze challenge. These activities help students understand how to apply the SolidWorks concepts and skills they have learned.
After learning how to design with the SolidWorks computer-aided drafting program in Unit 1, students make use of these practical skills in the Model TX activity. Here, young designers create a digital version of a physical model they built earlier using the TETRIX Building System.
First, students learn about drafting tools and instruments and basic concepts for using them, such as lettering, measuring, and line conventions. After they master these basics, they move on to dimensioning – including holes – and drawing techniques. Throughout the course, students learn techniques common to all areas of drafting. In both units, students are challenged with drawing exercises. These help teachers assess students on their knowledge of the material by allowing them to demonstrate the drafting concepts and techniques they have learned.
Students prepare to start drafting as they learn about the tools of the trade in the Drafting Equipment activity. One at a time, students learn about and then learn to use the following items: triangles, protractors, compasses, dividers, erasers and eraser shields, French curves, technical pens, templates, scales, and drafting machines. Student utilize these tools in the production of both full-scale and scaled technical drawings.
Designed to give students the essential skills to succeed in the Engineering Academy, the Engineering Principles & Problem Solving course delves into measurement, force and motion, and energy. Though not mandatory, this is the suggested first course for the Engineering Academy. By working with and making rulers, students learn about linear measurement and fractions. As they create a Rube Goldberg-inspired machine, students discover how to use simple machines together to create mechanical advantage. And they apply concepts such as kinetic and potential energies, velocity, and designing for efficiency and to specifications by building and experimenting with mousetrap and egg-drop vehicles.
The Simple Machines: Pulleys activity provides students the opportunity to learn about the mechanical advantage gained by using a pulley.
Experimenting with a Forces & Simple Machines Kit, students create fixed and movable pulley systems. They use spring scales and hooked masses to determine the force required to hold up each mass with each pulley system, recording the data as they go. Students evaluate the data to answer questions about mechanical advantage, angle of effort, and which system would be best to lift a large load.
Green careers are predicted to have exponential growth, making green engineering skills not only important for the future of the environment but also for future career potential. In Green Engineering, students learn how to become energy conscious and to assess the environmental impact of products. Then, they delve into green technologies by experimenting with solar vehicles, solar cookers, wind turbines, maglev technology, and fuel cell vehicles. Plus, they learn about recycling and watersheds. Throughout the course, students are challenged to apply what they learn to assess and make suggestions to make their school and home more energy efficient, to design an off-the-grid house, and to create a water-filtration system.
The culminating activity for Unit 1 is the Sustainable School Challenge, which encourages students to utilize the knowledge they gained about alternative energy and energy consciousness in earlier activities.
To complete the challenge, students work in teams of four to evaluate their own school’s sustainability. Using an electrical watt meter and a careful physical examination of the school building, they collect data regarding the building’s construction, water heating, heating and cooling systems, lighting, and more. Each team makes recommendations for ways the school can become more energy efficient and use alternative energies.