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  • Middle School

    Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions. MS-ETS1-1

    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.6-8.1 - Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts. (MS-ETS1-1)
  • WHST.6-8.8 - Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, using search terms effectively; assess the credibility and accuracy of each source; and quote or paraphrase the data and conclusions of others while avoiding plagiarism and following a standard format for citation. (MS-ETS1-1)

Mathematics

  • 7.EE.B.3 - Solve multi-step real-life and mathematical problems posed with positive and negative rational numbers in any form (whole numbers, fractions, and decimals), using tools strategically. Apply properties of operations to calculate with numbers in any form; convert between forms as appropriate; and assess the reasonableness of answers using mental computation and estimation strategies. (MS-ETS1-1)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-ETS1-1)

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 assessment is one of the first that was published by Achieve, the organization that coordinated the writing of the Next Generation Science Standards.  It includes a standards bundle (integration) of nine CCSS-Math standards, three ...

  • The article describes an engineering project that is to be done as the culminating event in a unit on biodiversity and adaptation.  Students apply what they have learned about these disciplinary core ideas to design products for humans that are ...

  • In the Pollution Patrol lesson, students work in teams to design and build their own outdoor air pollution detectors out of everyday items. They design, refine and then test their air pollution detectors, and then see how many particulate pollutants ...

  • The overarching unit has students learn about, design, and build biosuits - suits designed to protect people in potentially dangerous conditions while allowing for complex tasks to still be completed. This review focuses on lessons 3 and 4 of that tw ...

  • This 25 minute movie from PBS highlights the work of a group of female, middle school students in a science club. Very short cartoon portions of the video can be edited off of the beginning and end. The goal of the group of students is to improve the ...

  • In this lesson, students become bioengineers, trying to effectively and safely restore “blood flow” through a model clogged artery. Background work, including dissection ideas, provides students with an understanding of circulatory system ...

  • The president has sent out a memo to engineers in the state of “Alabraska”—your help is needed to save the human population from an asteroid impact! This lesson plan is the first in a series of 8 developed at the Colorado School of Mines. In this int ...

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  • This is a guide given in Science 8 class on Day 1.

  • Science Class Day 2 worksheet

  • Reading for Day 3 of Science, or to be used as a homework reading.

  • From TeachEngineering - Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing, toothpicks and masking tape. As if they are engineers, teams compete to create the winning design based on costs and aesthetics. Guided by three workshee...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students apply the concepts of conduction, convection and radiation as they work in teams to solve two challenges. One problem requires that they maintain the warm temperature of one soda can filled with water at approximately...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students act as structural engineers and learn about forces and load distributions as they follow the steps of the engineering design process to design and build small-scale bridges using wooden tongue depressors and glue. Tea...

  • From TeachEngineering - This hands-on experiment provides students with an understanding of the issues that surround environmental cleanup. Student teams create their own oil spills, try different methods for cleaning them up, and then discuss the me...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students are introduced to two real-life problems that can be solved by using the engineering design process. For the first one, they follow along with a slide presentation that describes how a group of students built an organ...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students are presented with a guide to rain garden construction in an activity that culminates the unit and pulls together what they have learned and prepared in materials during the three previous associated activities. They ...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students are introduced to renewable energy, including its relevance and importance to our current and future world. They learn the mechanics of how wind turbines convert wind energy into electrical energy and the concepts of ...

  • PowerPoint used within the session. Notes on the slides contain all links, videos and activity guides.

  • 300+ teacher developed middle school and high school challenge-based learning engineering units - created through University of Cincinnati NSF program

  • 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...

  • 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 hands-on activity will provide students with an understanding of the issues that surround environmental clean-up. Students will create their own oil spill, try different methods for cleaning it up, and then discuss the merits of each method in t...

  • Students explore how various energy sources can be used to cause a turbine to rotate and then generate electricity with a magnet.

  • 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 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 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 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 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.

  • 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 conduct a life cycle assessment of energy used and produced in ethanol production, and a life cycle assessment of carbon dioxide used and produced in ethanol production.

  • A set of eight photographs compiled into a series of slides explain how urban areas are facing challenges in keeping both their infrastructure and their residents cool as global temperatures rise. Chicago is tackling that problem with a green design ...

  • 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?

  • 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 explore real data about renewable energy potential in their state using a mapping tool developed by NREL (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) to investigate the best locations for wind energy, solar energy, hydropower, g...

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

  • From TeachEngineering - In this two-part activity, students design and build Rube Goldberg machines. This open-ended challenge employs the engineering design process and may have a pre-determined purpose, such as rolling a marble into a cup from a di...

  • From TeachEngineering - How can you tell if harmful bacteria are growing in your food? Students learn to culture bacteria in order to examine ground meat and bagged salad samples, looking for common foodborne bacteria such as E. coli or salmonella. A...

  • From TeachEngineering - Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own ...

  • From TeachEngineering - Student groups are challenged to design and construct model towers out of newspaper. They are given limited supplies including newspaper, tape and scissors, paralleling the real-world limitations faced by engineers, such as ec...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students design and build model landfills using materials similar to those used by engineers for full-scale landfills. Their completed small-size landfills are "rained" on and subjected to other erosion processes. The goal is ...

  • From TeachEngineering - Student teams investigate biomedical engineering and the technology of prosthetics. Students create lower-leg prosthetic prototypes using various ordinary materials. Each team demonstrate its device's strength and consider its...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students work with specified materials to create aqueduct components that can transport two liters of water across a short distance in the classroom. The design challenge is to create an aqueduct that can supply Aqueductis, a ...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students reinforce their knowledge of the different parts of the digestive system and explore the concept of simulation by developing a pill coating that can withstand the churning actions and acidic environment found in the s...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students use their knowledge about how healthy heart valves function to design, construct and implant prototype replacement mitral valves for hypothetical patients' hearts. Building on what they learned in the associated lesso...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students groups use balsa wood and glue to build their own towers using some of the techniques they learned from the associated lesson. While general guidelines are provided, give students freedom with their designs and encour...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students design and build their own model levees. Acting as engineers for their city, teams create sturdy barriers to prevent water from flooding a city in the event of a hurricane.

  • From TeachEngineering - Students act as Mars exploratory rover engineers. They evaluate rover equipment options and determine what parts fit in a provided NASA budget. With a given parts list, teams use these constraints to design for their rover. Th...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students design and build devices to protect and accurately deliver dropped eggs. The devices and their contents represent care packages that must be safely delivered to people in a disaster area with no road access. Similar t...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students use simple household materials, such as PVC piping and compact mirrors, to construct models of laser-based security systems. The protected object (a "mummified troll" or another treasure of your choosing) is placed "o...

  • From TeachEngineering - Students gain a basic understanding of the properties of media—soil, sand, compost, gravel—and how these materials affect the movement of water (infiltration/percolation) into and below the surface of the ground. They learn ab...

  • Four secondary lessons that accompany the documentary film, Ocean Frontiers III. Part 3 of a 3-part set for the series.

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