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Introduce students to experimenting with variables and finding velocity with this unit on air-powered rockets. In the first section, students build simple straw rockets and test how different rocket lengths and launch angles affect flight. Students record the resulting data and use it to calculate velocity. In the second part, the class turns to rockets launched by the powerful AP Launcher. These tube rockets are ideal for outdoor or gymnasium launches that help students explore fin placement and design their own rockets. Finally, they build and launch rocket-boosted gliders.
The Varying Launch Angles activity delves into the effect of launch angles on the flight of straw rockets. After building a basic rocket, students complete two launches at a given launch angle and repeat this process while increasing the angle in increments of 15 degrees. As they work, students measure and record each launch’s flight time and range. After completing the launches, the data collected is evaluated to learn about the connection between launch angle and rocket performance.
OVERVIEWIn 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
OVERVIEW In Aquaculture, students learn fish biology, care, and management by maintaining their own goldfish tank. After an introduction to the history of aquaculture, they conduct chemical tests of tank water, learn fish anatomy and metabolism, calculate fish growth and productivity, and maintain records of their activities. Along the way, they learn the processes involved in a large-scale aquaculture operation and consider environmental impacts of aquaculture. STUDENT OBJECTIVES
OVERVIEW In Astronomy, students learn about the solar system and their relationship to it from a mathematical perspective. They investigate the Sun-Moon-Earth system and the characteristics, sizes, and distances of planets in the solar system. They construct a small refracting telescope and learn how it functions. They explore gravity and orbits, distinguish between weight and mass, and relate the kinetic energy equation to crater impacts. STUDENT OBJECTIVES
By combining geometry, material science, and graphic design, Basic Structures delivers great learning potential. After building structures from straws and pipe cleaners, students compare the strengths of three different polyhedrons and then calculate the efficiency of each. Then, they are challenged to construct the tallest self-supporting straw tower possible. In the second part of the unit, students enter the world of package design to create a telescoping box with a tessellation design. Then, they test the strength of different bonding materials used in packaging and design and build a box to hold a specific volume.
This unit begins with the Comparing Strength of Polyhedrons activity. First, students learn about static forces and geometric figures in order to develop a hypothesis about which geometric figure is the strongest.
Using pipe cleaners and straws, they build three polyhedrons: a cube, rectangular prism, and triangular prism. The strength of each polyhedron is tested with hanging weights that are progressively increased until the figure can no longer hold the weight. Then, students evaluate the results and compare them to their original hypotheses.
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
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
Bridge the gap between construction and engineering with this unit. Students start by constructing toothpick bridges and testing them to the point of destruction. Then, they use this data to calculate each bridge’s efficiency. Moving on to the more detailed balsa bridge construction, students learn about material strength. As the culminating activity, students design and build a bridge to strict specifications with the goal of holding the maximum load possible.
Following the unit’s coverage of bridge construction and building a model toothpick bridge, the Calculating Efficiency activity focuses on determining the efficiency of the completed bridge.
Using these bridges, students weigh them and then perform a destructive test on them, noting how much test weight broke each bridge. They use basic math skills to calculate the efficiency of each bridge based on its weight and the weight it was able to hold.