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Engineering Basics with Tiny Bits

There is a lot of excitement about engineering. This can be something that is difficult to teach as teachers must learn how to give students access to circuit and programming activities. This lesson allows teachers to provide students with pre-made circuits, switches, and transformers. This is a fun activity that will lead to a lot of fun results. Try this easy to do science lesson.

Smoke Rings – Air Vortex Movements

A vortex ring is a circular shaped ring of spinning gasses that move together as a unit. A vortex ring can happen in liquid or gasses, but are rarely seen because they happen inside of liquids or gases. When a vortex ring happens inside of suspended particles—as in the smoke rings which are often produced by smoke they can be seen. Visible vortex rings can also be formed by the firing of certain artillery, in mushroom clouds, and in microbursts.[1][2]

A vortex ring usually tends to move in a direction that is perpendicular to the plane of the ring and such that the inner edge of the ring moves faster forward than the outer edge. Within a stationary body of fluid, a vortex ring can travel for relatively long distance, carrying the spinning fluid with it.

The Simplest Electric Motor

Flick a switch and get instant power—We loved to use electric motors even when we don’t know we are using them! You can find them in everything from electric lights to to remote-controlled cars—and you might be surprised how common they are. How many electric motors are there in the room with you right now? There are probably two in your computer for starters, one spinning your hard drive around and another one powering the cooling fan.

Make Makey – Introducing Engineering Through Circuts

Circuits are central to how we interact with the world You need a closed path, or closed circuit, to get electric current to flow. If there’s a break anywhere in the path where electricity travels, you have an open circuit, and the current stops flowing — and the metal atoms in the wire quickly settle down to a peaceful, electrically neutral existence. This lesson teaches this concept in a simple and engaging way.

A closed circuit allows current to flow, but an open circuit leaves electrons stranded.
Picture a gallon of water flowing through an open pipe. The water will flow for a short time but then stop when all the water exits the pipe. If you pump water through a closed pipe system, the water will continue to flow as long as you keep forcing it to move.

The Science of Ice Cream

To make ice cream, the ingredients—typically milk (or half and half), sugar and vanilla extract—need to be cooled down. One way to do this is by using salt. If you live in a cold climate, you may have seen trucks spreading salt and sand on the streets in the wintertime to prevent roads from getting slick after snow or ice. Why is this? The salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes, so with salt ice will melt even when the temperature is below the normal freezing point of water. This is an easy way to teach phase change.

Air Powered Hoover Crafts

All of our most widely used modes of transportation rely on Friction to move. Airplanes, Cars, Boats, Bikes, and Skateboards all rely on generating friction against something. In the case of the Airplane, it is the friction between the air and the airplane jets. For the Car, Bike, and Skateboards it is the friction between the tires and the ground. If the tires have a good grip (another word for friction) cars, bikes, and skateboards can travel. So what would happen if a care or skateboard did not have a good grip?

A Cloud In a Bottle

This lesson is a great way to teach young people about gas laws and the water cycle. Using a small bottle and an air pump you can create the air pressure differential that you need to cause water droplets to move from their gas form to the liquid form of a cloud. This simple lab will teach your students to understand the states of water during the water cycle and how air pressure influence that change.

Fractions – Working with Equivalent Fractions

Teaching fractions can be tough. As students are thinking about new ways to represent fractions they can struggle with making sense of numerical relationships. This lesson provides students a chance to explain, manipulate, and alter fractions by using online software. This lesson is based on PHET software that will allow the students to use and manipulate fractions.

The Flint Water Crisis – The Water Cycle

The basic concept of the water cycle can be one that is hard for students to connect to larger sociocultural issues. In helping students set a sense of how the water cycle matters to their lives, this lesson uses the issues of The Flint Water Cycle to help students understand how the water cycle is a vital component in providing clean water for everyone. This lesson includes slides, lesson plans, and handouts to be used for instruction. All of the lessons are available in downloadable and accessible in MS Word and Powerpoint formats that you can adjust.

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