Engineering Lessons: Preschool – 5th grade
STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Mathematics) lessons are adaptable to various developmental levels of students. Grades noted next to descriptions are mere recommendations.
Students will observe intricate images of ant colonies, learn about the body structure and unique characteristics of an ant and then implement the engineering design process to construct an ant capable of holding a designated amount of weight.
Architect! (Inspired by the children’s book by Angela Beatty, Iggy Peck Architect)
Students will implement the engineering design process and complete a design challenge inspired by Iggy Peck.
Big Box Mazes
Students will construct a maze with found objects. There will be obstacles that must be incorporated in their design when getting an object from point A to point B.
Students will implement the engineering design process and design a working bobblehead.
Students will build a vibrating robot from toothbrushes that will then be used in various ways to perform simple challenges.
Build an Earthquake Proof Home
Students will discover how the earth relieves stress through volcanoes and earthquakes. They’ll put their engineering and architectural skills to the test by building an earthquake proof home.
Cars from the Future
Students will brainstorm alternate ways to power a vehicle to reduce emissions. Student teams will design an eco-friendly car using the engineering design process, and make a presentation to showcase their product.
2 class periods recommended.
Designed by Nature
Students will discover how engineers can use biomimicry to enhance their designs. They learn how the careful observation of nature—becoming a nature detective, so to speak—can lead to new innovations and products. In this activity, students reverse engineer a flower to glean design ideas for new products.
Engineer! (Inspired by the children’s book by Angela Beatty, Rosie Revere, Engineer!)
Students examine the components of a paper helicopter and then design and construct their own working paper helicopter.
Engineer A Seed
Students will handle and observe a variety of seeds, discover why some sink, float and are carried by wind, then construct a seed from found objects that mimics a seed in nature.
Student teams will be challenged to navigate a table tennis ball through a timed obstacle course using only the provided unconventional “tools.” Teams act as engineers by working through the steps of the engineering design process to complete the overall task, with each group member responsible to accomplish one of the obstacle course challenges.
Goldilocks Engineers a Chair!
Students find inspiration from this classic story to then implement the engineering design process to design and construct a chair given certain parameters.
Humpty Dumpty Egg Drop
Students find inspiration from this classic story to then implement the engineering design process to design and construct a container to safely drop an egg from a given height.
Inquiry and Engineering Gliders
Student teams will implement the engineering design process and design, build and test small-sized gliders to maximize flight distance.
Insulate An Ice Cube
Students will implement the engineering design process to design and construct a container to insulate an ice cube.
Students will construct a marshmallow catapult and experiment with trajectory.
Students will design and build a shock-absorbing system for their astronaut to land safely on Mars.
2 class periods recommended.
Mystery Bag Challenges
Students will be given a bag of tools and a challenge. They will work in teams to complete the challenge with the tools given.
Lego Balloon Car!
Students will study velocity by designing and testing a Lego Balloon car.
Live Like a Cactus
Students will be introduced to water conservation by learning about plant drought tolerance, how cacti have adapted to the desert environment and come up with some of their own designs based on these observations.
Students will examine the environmental effects of oil in a lake and shoreline, then perform an oil spill clean up.
Play With Your Food! – Candy Architecture
Students will explore geometry while constructing towers and structures with sticks and candy.
Students will design and construct a working vehicle that moves by wind power.
Rock No Roll
Students will design and build a device that will rock back and forth without rolling away when blown on it through a straw.
Students will implement the engineering design process to create a sail to help move a “boat” across the water using their breath as the wind.
Students construct a working solar oven and learn about solar energy.
Students will design vehicles to explore how elastic potential energy from twisted rubber bands can roll the spools. They brainstorm, prototype, modify, test and redesign variations to the basic spool racer design in order to meet different design criteria.
STEM a Bird Beak!
Students will comprehend that birds have physically adapted in relation to their type of food supply and deduce what beaks are most efficient for given foods by experimenting with imitation beaks and creating beaks out of supplies.
Students will observe a variety of nests then put their engineering skills to the test. Finding inspiration in nature, students will design and construct a nest.
Students will explore air pressure, Newton’s laws of motion, mass, gravity by constructing working stomp rockets.
Tennis Ball Lift
Students will implement the engineering design process and construct a simple machine.
Three Little Engineers
Students will construct homes and towers with magic noodles that can withstand the power of wind from a fan.
Velcro Case Study
Students begin with a Case Study of biomimicry focused on Velcro technology, then construct physical replicas of burrs (the design inspiration for Velcro) and work in teams to run a relay race where they pick up and drop off their burr models using a ball of string.
Students will design and build a boat out of specific materials designed for a specific challenge.
Students will design and build a working water wheel and calculate how much work is being performed by it.
Wet Suit for the Gingerbread Man!
Students will design and create a wet suit for their gingerbread man or animal so it will stay dry when dunked in water for 10 seconds.
Students will measure wind speed and construct a building that can withstand strong winds.