• Back
  • Middle School

    Engineering Design

Students who demonstrate understanding can:

Performance Expectations

  1. Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved. MS-ETS1-4

    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

  • SL.8.5 - Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest. (MS-ETS1-4)

Mathematics

  • 7.SP.C.7 - Develop a probability model and use it to find probabilities of events. Compare probabilities from a model to observed frequencies; if the agreement is not good, explain possible sources of the discrepancy. (MS-ETS1-4)
  • MP.2 - Reason abstractly and quantitatively. (MS-ETS1-4)

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 activity from the Teach Engineering Digital Library engages students in the engineering design process as they build physical models of roller coasters using foam pipe insulation and marbles.  The lesson features a host of instructional sup ...

  • Students will experiment with magnets to identify magnetic properties and the differences between contact and non-contact forces.  They will use their discoveries, based on the results of their experiments, to design and build a "levitating ...

  •   Musical Plates-A Study of Plate Tectonics is an internet-based multidisciplinary project. Musical Plates - A Study of Plate Tectonics is one of 3 Musical Plates projects found on the k12 science.org” This review is a description of th ...

  • Do you have a great resource to share with the community? Click here.
  • Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing. The design process integrates energy concepts as they test and evaluate designs that address the task as an engineer would. The goal is for students to understand the basics of ...

  • 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 human body temperature,...

  • Working as if they were engineers, students design and construct model solar sails made of aluminum foil to move cardboard tube satellites through “space” on a string. Working in teams, they follow the engineering design thinking steps—empathize, def...

  • In this activity, students examine how to grow plants the most efficiently. They imagine that they are designing a biofuels production facility and need to know how to efficiently grow plants to use in this facility. As a means of solving this design...

  • 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. Teams brainstorm ideas that...

  • 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 merits of each method in t...

  • 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 organizer to help organize th...

  • 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 learn about the four ver...

  • 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 activity introduces wind energy concepts through a reading passage and by answering assessment questions. The main section of the activity involves constructing and testing a windmill to observe how design and position affect the electrical ener...

  • 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...

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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?

  • In this hands-on activity, students examine how the orientation of a photovoltaic (PV) panel -- relative to the position of the sun -- affects the energy-efficiency of the panel.

  • This online activity challenges students to design a renewable energy system for one of five different cities, each with different energy resource potential and budgets. Students can test their designs using real-time weather data in each city.

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