At this point in the unit, students have learned about Pascal's law, …

At this point in the unit, students have learned about Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle, Bernoulli's principle, and why above-ground storage tanks are of major concern in the Houston Ship Channel and other coastal areas. In this culminating activity, student groups act as engineering design teams to derive equations to determine the stability of specific above-ground storage tank scenarios with given tank specifications and liquid contents. With their floatation analyses completed and the stability determined, students analyze the tank stability in specific storm conditions. Then, teams are challenged to come up with improved storage tank designs to make them less vulnerable to uplift, displacement and buckling in storm conditions. Teams present their analyses and design ideas in short class presentations.

Students work as physicists to understand centripetal acceleration concepts. They also learn …

Students work as physicists to understand centripetal acceleration concepts. They also learn about a good robot design and the accelerometer sensor. They also learn about the relationship between centripetal acceleration and centripetal force governed by the radius between the motor and accelerometer and the amount of mass at the end of the robot's arm. Students graph and analyze data collected from an accelerometer, and learn to design robots with proper weight distribution across the robot for their robotic arms. Upon using a data logging program, they view their own data collected during the activity. By activity end , students understand how a change in radius or mass can affect the data obtained from the accelerometer through the plots generated from the data logging program. More specifically, students learn about the accuracy and precision of the accelerometer measurements from numerous trials.

In this activity, students research scientific discoveries that happened by accident in …

In this activity, students research scientific discoveries that happened by accident in the past, and learn how gamma-rays were discovered by 20th century scientists. In the process, students develop an understanding that science theories change in the face of new evidence. This acitivity is part of the "Swift: Eyes Through Time" collection that is available on the Teacher's Domain website.

Students play and record the “Mary Had a Little Lamb” song using …

Students play and record the “Mary Had a Little Lamb” song using musical instruments and analyze the intensity of the sound using free audio editing and recording software. Then they use hollow Styrofoam half-spheres as acoustic mirrors (devices that reflect and focus sound), determine the radius of curvature of the mirror and calculate its focal length. Students place a microphone at the acoustic mirror focal point, re-record their songs, and compare the sound intensity on plot spectrums generated from their recordings both with and without the acoustic mirrors. A worksheet and KWL chart are provided.

Students construct rockets from balloons propelled along a guide string. They use …

Students construct rockets from balloons propelled along a guide string. They use this model to learn about Newton's three laws of motion, examining the effect of different forces on the motion of the rocket.

In this activity, students construct adding slide rules, scaled with linear calibrations …

In this activity, students construct adding slide rules, scaled with linear calibrations like ordinary rulers. Students learn to move these scales relative to each other in ways that add and subtract distances, thus calculating sums and differences. This is Activity A1 in the "Far Out Math" educator's guide. Lessons within the guide include activities in which students measure, compare quantities as orders of magnitude, use scientific notation, and develop an understanding of exponents and logarithms using examples from NASA's GLAST mission. These are skills needed to understand the very large and very small quantities characteristic of astronomical observations. Note: In 2008, the GLAST mission was renamed Fermi, for the physicist Enrico Fermi.

In this lesson, students learn about work as defined by physical science …

In this lesson, students learn about work as defined by physical science and see that work is made easier through the use of simple machines. Already encountering simple machines everyday, students will be alerted to their widespread uses in everyday life. This lesson serves as the starting point for the Simple Machines Unit.

This astronomy program is designed for middle school children in out-of-school-time settings. …

This astronomy program is designed for middle school children in out-of-school-time settings. The program explores basic astronomy concepts (like invisible light, telescopes) and focuses on the universe outside the solar system (stars, galaxies, black holes). The program is structured for use in a variety of settings, including astronomy days, summer camps, or year-long afterschool programs. Although session activities build concepts sequentially, each session activity is designed to be freestanding as not all participants may attend every session. A manual provides background information and descriptions of how to conduct each activity. A companion website provides additional information and resources for the program leader.

Air pressure is pushing on us all the time although we do …

Air pressure is pushing on us all the time although we do not usually notice it. In this activity, students learn about the units of pressure and get a sense of just how much air pressure is pushing on them.

Students will examine and understand the potential of online collective fundraising (e.g. …

Students will examine and understand the potential of online collective fundraising (e.g. Kickstarter, GoFundMe, IdieGoGo) and it’s potential impact on alternative sources of energy (Gravity, Electricity, Wind Energy). The example that I will show them is called the Gravity Light. It uses the principle of conservation of energy to convert gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy and then into electrical energy. Students will then do some research on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and/or GoFundMe to find an alternative source of energy that is in development and awaiting funding. Students will look at areas including potential impact to the environment, potential impact to the economy, barriers to success, alternative ideas that they have thought of because of doing this research, amount of money that can be made from this project, etc.

The lesson begins with a demonstration introducing students to the force between …

The lesson begins with a demonstration introducing students to the force between two current carrying loops, comparing the attraction and repulsion between the loops to that between two magnets. After formal lecture on Ampere's law, students begin to use the concepts to calculate the magnetic field around a loop. This is applied to determine the magnetic field of a toroid, imagining a toroid as a looped solenoid.

Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The …

Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The design process integrates energy concepts as they test and evaluate designs that address the task as an engineer would. The goal is for students to understand the basics of engineering design associated with kinetic and potential energy to build an optimal roller coaster. The marble starts with potential energy that is converted to kinetic energy as it moves along the track. The diameter of the loops that the marble traverses without falling out depends on the kinetic energy obtained by the marble.

Traditionally, spectral images are two dimensional, and related to text. This kinesthetic …

Traditionally, spectral images are two dimensional, and related to text. This kinesthetic activity has groups of students position themselves along a printed spectrum to make spectral patterns and model various elements. Includes photos, teachers notes and instructions, related resources (e.g., color pdf of a visible light spectra image that can be projected onto a white board or wall to do the activity), and alternative suggestions.

Students prepare for the associated activity in which they investigate acceleration by …

Students prepare for the associated activity in which they investigate acceleration by collecting acceleration vs. time data using the accelerometer of a sliding Android device. Based on the experimental set-up for the activity, students form hypotheses about the acceleration of the device. Students will investigate how the force on the device changes according to Newton's Second Law. Different types of acceleration, including average, instantaneous and constant acceleration, are introduced. Acceleration and force is described mathematically and in terms of processes and applications.

Students investigate the motion of a simple pendulum through direct observation and …

Students investigate the motion of a simple pendulum through direct observation and data collection using Android® devices. First, student groups create pendulums that hang from the classroom ceiling, using Android smartphones or tablets as the bobs, taking advantage of their built-in accelerometers. With the Android devices loaded with the (provided) AccelDataCapture app, groups explore the periodic motion of the pendulums, changing variables (amplitude, mass, length) to see what happens, by visual observation and via the app-generated graphs. Then teams conduct formal experiments to alter one variable while keeping all other parameters constant, performing numerous trials, identifying independent/dependent variables, collecting data and using the simple pendulum equation. Through these experiments, students investigate how pendulums move and the changing forces they experience, better understanding the relationship between a pendulum's motion and its amplitude, length and mass. They analyze the data, either on paper or by importing into a spreadsheet application. As an extension, students may also develop their own algorithms in a provided App Inventor framework in order to automatically note the time of each period.

This experimental activity is designed to develop basic understanding of the relationship …

This experimental activity is designed to develop basic understanding of the relationship between the angle of light rays and the area over which the light rays are distributed, and the potential to affect changes in the temperature of materials. Resources needed to conduct this activity include a flashlight, cardboard, protractor and ruler. The resource includes background information, a pre-activity inquiry exploration for students, teaching tips and questions to guide student discussion. This is chapter 4 of Meteorology: An Educator's Resource for Inquiry-Based Learning for Grades 5-9. The guide includes a discussion of learning science, the use of inquiry in the classroom, instructions for making simple weather instruments, and more than 20 weather investigations ranging from teacher-centered to guided and open inquiry investigations.

Antimatter, the charge reversed equivalent of matter, has captured the imaginations of …

Antimatter, the charge reversed equivalent of matter, has captured the imaginations of science fiction fans for years as a perfectly efficient form of energy. While normal matter consists of atoms with negatively charged electrons orbiting positively charged nuclei, antimatter consists of positively charged positrons orbiting negatively charged anti-nuclei. When antimatter and matter meet, both substances are annihilated, creating massive amounts of energy. Instances in which antimatter is portrayed in science fiction stories (such as Star Trek) are examined, including their purposes (fuel source, weapons, alternate universes) and properties. Students compare and contrast matter and antimatter, learn how antimatter can be used as a form of energy, and consider potential engineering applications for antimatter.

In this activity, students construct their own rocket-powered boat called an "aqua-thruster." …

In this activity, students construct their own rocket-powered boat called an "aqua-thruster." These aqua-thrusters will be made from a film canister and will use carbon dioxide gas produced from a chemical reaction between an antacid tablet and water to propel it. Students observe the effect that surface area of this simulated solid rocket fuel has on thrust.

Students are introduced to Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and Bernoulli's principle. Fundamental …

Students are introduced to Pascal's law, Archimedes' principle and Bernoulli's principle. Fundamental definitions, equations, practice problems and engineering applications are supplied. A PowerPoint® presentation, practice problems and grading rubric are provided.

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