‘Smart buildings’ meld environmentally responsible design with cutting-edge computing technology. This lesson explores the practical, scientific, ethical, and environmental issues that emerge in building ‘smart buildings’ that rely on ‘the internet of things’. Students work in teams using resourced technology to design and perhaps later implement, smart building solutions to make their school a better place in which to live.
Lesson focuses on the growth of tall buildings and their structures. Students work in teams to develop the tallest tower they can build with limited materials that can support the weight of a golf ball for two minutes. They develop a design on paper, build their tower, present and test their tower to the class, evaluate their results and those of their teammates, and complete reflection sheets.
Lesson focuses on water storage and how engineering helps communities preserve and supply water to populations. Students work in teams to design and build a water tower out of everyday materials that can "supply" and "shut off" water as needed. The system will need to deliver water in a controlled manner to a paper cup that is about 36 inches or 90 cm away in a controlled manner. They design their tower, build and test their system, evaluate their results, and share observations with their class.
Lesson focuses on how structural engineers have improved the designs of building -- specifically roofing -- over the years to improve the quality of homes and life. Teams of students work together using simple materials to design a roof that will keep the contents of a box dry during a water test. Students determine both the shape of the roof and materials used for construction, test their designs, and present their findings to the class.
Lesson focuses on the concept of Biomimicry and students learn how engineers have incorporated structures and methods from the living world in products and solutions for all industries. Students then work in teams to develop a structure or system based on an example in nature that would help people living on the moon. They design their structure on paper, learn about patents, and share their designs with the class.
Lesson focuses on the different uses of dams and how they are engineered. Students work in teams to develop a system of damming water in a trough. The system must completely hold back the water and also have a way of executing a controlled release.
Lesson focuses on the engineering behind building framing for structures, and explores examples of geodesic domes and other buildings. Students work in teams to design and build a small dome frame out of everyday items that can hold a weight on top without collapsing.
Students design, build, test and redesign a display tower that will meet a specific set of criteria and constraints.
Lesson focuses on how bridges are engineered to withstand weight, while being durable, and in some cases aesthetically pleasing. Students work in teams to design and build their own bridge out of up to 200 popsicle sticks and glue. Bridges must have a span of at least 14 inches and be able to hold a five pound weight (younger students) or a twenty pound weight (older students). Students are encouraged to be frugal, and use the fewest number of popsicle sticks while still achieving their goals. Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their own bridge designs and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.
Lesson focuses on wind tunnel tests that engineers in many industries use to when developing products such as airplanes, cars, and even buildings. Teams of students build their own model car out of everyday products and test their design in a wind tunnel made of a fan blowing through a long cardboard box.


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