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  • High School

    Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts. HS-ETS1-3

    Clarification Statement and Assessment Boundary

A Peformance Expectation (PE) is what a student should be able to do to show mastery of a concept. Some PEs include a Clarification Statement and/or an Assessment Boundary. These can be found by clicking the PE for "More Info." By hovering over a PE, its corresponding pieces from the Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts will be highlighted.

By clicking on a specific Science and Engineering Practice, Disciplinary Core Idea, or Crosscutting Concept, you can find out more information on it. By hovering over one you can find its corresponding elements in the PEs.

Planning Curriculum

Common Core State Standards Connections

ELA/Literacy

  • RST.11-12.7 - Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem. (HS-ETS1-3)
  • RST.11-12.8 - Evaluate the hypotheses, data, analysis, and conclusions in a science or technical text, verifying the data when possible and corroborating or challenging conclusions with other sources of information. (HS-ETS1-3)
  • RST.11-12.9 - Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible. (HS-ETS1-3)

Mathematics

  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (HS-ETS1-3)
  • MP.4 - Model with mathematics. (HS-ETS1-3)

Model Course Mapping

First Time Visitors

Resources & Lesson Plans

  • More resources added each week!
    A team of teacher curators is working to find, review, and vet online resources that support the standards. Check back often, as NSTA continues to add more targeted resources.
  • This is an engineering activity that requires students to build a mousetrap car based on certain constraints. Constraints include students having a virtual budget that they use to buy approved parts for their car, the car having specified maximum dim ...

  • This article by Dr. Stuart Burge provides step-by-step directions on how to use a Pugh Matrix (also called a Pugh Chart, Pugh Method, and Decision Matrix). A Pugh Matrix is used by engineers to evaluate multiple design options based on a set of crite ...

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  • In this activity, students assume the role of a team of architects that has been commissioned to build a solar house containing both active and passive solar components. First, they must design the house and then build a model. The model is tested to...

  • This is a team-based activity that teaches students about the scale of the greenhouse gas problem and the technologies that already exist which can dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Students select carbon-cutting strategies to construct a carbon...

  • Students explore energy efficiency, focusing on renewable energy, by designing and building flat-plate solar water heaters. They apply their understanding of the three forms of heat transfer (conduction, convection and radiation), as well as how they...

  • In this activity, students assume the role of a team of architects that has been commissioned to build a solar house containing both active and passive solar components. First, they must design the house and then build a model. The model is tested to...

  • This carbon footprint calculator is set up for easy-to-use inputs for three sectors: home energy use, local transportation, and home waste generation.

  • This is a team-based activity that teaches students about the scale of the greenhouse gas problem and the technologies that already exist which can dramatically reduce carbon emissions. Students select carbon-cutting strategies to construct a carbon...

  • Students investigate passive solar building design with a focus on heating. Insulation, window placement, thermal mass, surface colors, and site orientation are addressed in the background materials and design preparation. Students test their project...

  • This activity describes the flow of carbon in the environment and focuses on how much carbon is stored in trees. It goes on to have students analyze data and make calculations about the amount of carbon stored in a set of trees at three sites in a w...

  • In this activity learners work in pairs or small groups to evaluate energy use in their school and make recommendations for improved efficiency. Students create and use an energy audit tool to collect data and present recommendations to their class. ...

  • This lesson plan engages students in a real-life exploration of climate change as it is affected by greenhouse emissions from vehicles. The aim of this activity is for students to realize the impact of vehicle use in their family and to give students...

  • In this role-play activity, students take the roles of various important players in the climate change policy negotiation including politicians, scientists, environmentalists, and industry representatives. Working in these roles, students must take a...

  • This activity features video segments from a 2007 PBS program on solar energy. Students follow a seven-step invention process to design, build, and test a solar cooker that will pasteurize water. In addition, they are asked to describe how transmissi...

  • In this activity, students will determine the environmental effects of existing cars and a fleet consisting of their dream cars. They compute how many tons of heat-trapping gases are produced each year, how much it costs to fuel the cars, and relate...

  • This introductory video summarizes the process of generating solar electricity from photovoltaic and concentrating (thermal) solar power technologies.

  • This video introduces the concept of daylighting - the use of windows or skylights for natural lighting and temperature regulation - and how it is a building strategy that can save operating costs for homeowners and businesses.

  • This activity includes an assessment, analysis, and action tool that can be used by classrooms to promote understanding of how the complex current issues of energy, pollution, supply, and consumption are not just global but also local issues.

  • This introductory video describes the basic principles of residential geothermal heat pumps.

  • This video provides a simple introduction to wind turbines and how they generate electricity.

  • This introductory video covers the basic facts about how to keep residential and commercial roofs cool and why it is important to reducing the heat island effect and conserving energy.

  • This video from the U.S. National Academies summarizes the energy challenges the United States faces, including the technological challenges, and the need for changes in consumption and in energy policy.

  • This video provides an overview of the research of the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on converting biomass to liquid fuels.

  • In this activity, students research various topics about ocean health, e.g. overfishing, habitat destruction, invasive species, climate change, pollution, and ocean acidification. An optional extension activity has them creating an aquatic biosphere ...

  • This activity focuses on applying analytic tools such as pie charts and bar graphs to gain a better understanding of practical energy use issues. It also provides experience with how different types of data collected affect the outcome of statistical...

  • This is a debate-style learning activity in which student teams learn about energy sources and are then assigned to represent the different energy sources. Working cooperatively, students develop arguments on the pros and cons of their source over th...

  • This activity is a learning game in which student teams are each assigned a different energy source. Working cooperatively, students use their reading, brainstorming, and organizational skills to hide the identity of their team’s energy source whil...

  • This PBS video shows how Klaus Lackner, a geophysicist at Columbia University, is trying to tackle the problem of rising atmospheric CO2 levels by using an idea inspired by his daughter's 8th-grade science fair project. The video examines the idea of...

  • In this activity, students use Google Earth to investigate a variety of renewable energy sources and select sites within the United States that would be appropriate for projects based on those sources.

  • This animation illustrates how heat energy from deep in Earth can be utilized to generate electricity at a large scale.

  • This Flash animation describes how hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) combine the benefits of gasoline engines and electric motors and can be configured to obtain different objectives, such as improved fuel economy, increased power, or additional auxili...

  • This is a series of 10 short videos, hosted by the National Science Foundation, each featuring scientists, research, and green technologies. The overall goal of this series is to encourage people to ask questions and look beyond fossil fuels for inno...

  • This video segment examines ethanol, a cleaner-burning fuel alternative to gasoline, and the efforts to produce it more efficiently.

  • This video segment is adapted from Building Big, a PBS series hosted by David Macaulay. It explores Hoover Dam's hydroelectric capabilities by explaining how it is able to harness the potential energy stored in the reservoir and convert it to electri...

  • This is a utility-scale, land-based map of the mean annual wind speed 80 meters above the ground. This map can be used to evaluate the potential for wind energy in the US. State maps and more information are linked from the main map.

  • In this activity, students explore energy production and consumption by contrasting regional energy production in five different US regions.

  • This video describes how geothermal heat resources in California have been tapped to supply 850 MW of electricity. Images and animations show how the area known as The Geysers has been developed to capture steam, produced from trapped rainwater and ...

  • This slideshow lays out a photo story with short descriptions of how designers of city buildings all over the world are taking climate change and rising sea level seriously.

  • This video reviews the benefits and drawbacks associated with growing corn to make ethanol.

  • This activity comes at the beginning of a sequence of activities in an energy module. Students observe the transfer of solar energy to different appliances with a solar cell and then they investigate the effect of using different solar sources to s...

  • In this interactive, students can investigate a typical hydrogen fuel cell prototype car from its fuel cell stacks to its ultracapacitor, a kind of supplementary power source. The limited-production vehicle seen in this feature is a Honda 2005 FC...

  • In this activity, students learn about the pros and cons of co-firing woody biomass fuels with coal to produce electricity.

  • This hands-on activity introduces students to the process of fermenting different carbohydrate sources into ethanol. Teachers demonstrate yeasts’ inability to metabolize certain food sources.

  • This suite of short video clips is part of a series produced by the Switch Energy project. There are several video segments that discuss different perspectives of biofuels as a renewable source of energy.

  • This short video shows how different biomass feedstocks are processed and refined into sustainable biofuels via biochemical and thermochemical processes.

  • This is a long-term inquiry activity in which students investigate locations they believe harbor cellulose-digesting microbes, collect samples, isolate them on selective media, and screen them for cellulase activity. These novel microbes may be usefu...

  • This video reviews key points as well as pros and cons of nuclear power.

  • This video is essentially an infomercial about electric cars - components, challenges, benefits - narrated by Antonio Neves of the.News and featuring various members of the auto industry.

  • This video addresses the importance of efficiency in providing power to an increasingly large global population.

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    This interactive addresses the question if we can reduce CO2 emissions by 20% of 1990 levels and help avoid dangerous climate change? Users of this interactive can manipulate changes to various sources and uses (supply and demand) of energy with the ...

  • In this hands-on activity, students explore whether rooftop gardens are a viable option for combating the urban heat island effect. The guiding question is: Can rooftop gardens reduce the temperature inside and outside of houses?

  • These five short videos are an introduction to the pros and cons of energy issues, including cost, choices, efficiency, environmental impact, and scale. The videos are segments of a feature documentary entitled, Switch: Discover the Future of Energy.

  • This video describes how Colorado has planned for and uses clean energy resources to reduce its carbon footprint.

  • This video discusses how methane digesters turn waste from dairy cows, food garbage, and other organic matter into usable gases and other fuels.

  • This video features a number of different climate scientists describing the effects of the increasing amount of carbon dioxide on global climate and proposing a series of solutions to mitigate these effects. Video addresses health problems and other ...

  • This video is about the Rebuild by Design competition offered to address the structural and social vulnerabilities exposed by Superstorm Sandy.

  • This interactive visualization provides information in text, graphic, and video format about renewable energy technologies. Resource in the Student's Guide to Global Climate Change, part of EPA Climate Change Division.

  • In this activity, students play the role of energy consultants to a CEO, assessing and documenting the feasibility, cost, and environmental impact of installing solar power on 4 company facilities with the same design but in different geographical lo...

  • In this activity, students become familiar with the online Renewable Energy Living Lab interface and access its real-world solar energy data to evaluate the potential for solar generation in various U.S. locations.

  • This small-group activity uses engineering concepts to design energy systems for three off-the-grid towns in Mali, Ethiopia, and Namibia.

  • This series of activities introduces students to the technologies of batteries and fuel cells. Activities include a mix of lectures, demonstrations, and lab activities.

  • In this activity, students calculate electricity use by state and determine, using Google Earth, how much land would be required to replace all sources of electricity with solar panels.

  • In this activity, students investigate the impacts of changing climatic conditions on human health and consider the benefits of climate mitigation and adaptation to human health.

  • This video, one in a series of Global Weirding videos featuring Texas climate scientist Katherine Hayhoe, attempts to dispel the misconception that Texans don't care about climate change.

  • Students analyze an assortment of popular inventions to determine whom they are intended to benefit, who has access to them, who might be harmed by them, and who is profiting by them. Then they re-imagine the devices in a way that they believe would ...

  • Student pairs reverse engineer objects of their choice, learning what it takes to be an engineer. Groups each make a proposal, create a team work contract, use tools to disassemble a device, and sketch and document their full understanding of how it ...

  • Students design, build and test reflectors to measure the effect of solar reflectance on the efficiency of solar PV panels. They use a small PV panel, a multimeter, cardboard and foil to build and test their reflectors in preparation for a class comp...

  • Students apply high school-level differential calculus and physics to the design of two-dimensional roller coasters in which the friction force is considered, as explained in the associated lesson. In a challenge the mirrors real-world engineering, t...

Planning Curriculum gives connections to other areas of study for easier curriculum creation.