Grand Challenges

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Grand Challenges for Engineering

Students will be exposed to 5 of the 14 grand challenges as a way to introduce them to the topics that relate to them in their science curriculum. Further, these lessons will be used to set the tone for a Grand Challenges Engineering and Science fair.

Mapping Species Distributions

The lesson asks students to develop maps based upon climate variables. These maps are created as "overlays" on tracing paper so that they students can stack the "Layers" to examine relationships between the variables.

Science Fair for Grand Challenges

This lesson plan is meant to provide teachers with a guide in developing a science fair surrounding the theme of the Grand Challenges. Outcomes include increasing interest in engineering among middle school students, introducing students to the scientific and engineering methods, to challenge students to develop their own science and engineering questions.

How the Brain sees the Body

Students will discover and learn how various parts of the body have greater representation in the body and brain than others. Students will be introduced to the nervous system's structure through measurement of its sensory capability which varies in different sections of the body (i.e. how does the brain see the body). Additionally students will discuss and consider the potential societal impacts that reverse engineering the brain could have.

Growing Pains of the Phoenix Metro Area

Purpose:
• To engage students in the engineering design process through the creation of a new neighborhood in their area
• To determine the current infrastructure needs of their city and to generate ideas to expand the design life of the need
• To examine the impacts of new development on current infrastructure, landscapes, and perceived quality of life

Membrane Transport Lesson with Candy Models

This lesson will give the students chances to visualize transport phenomena that would not be visible at the macro scale. Additionally this activity will allow students to work with their own materials and with a team to simulate various cellular transport phenomena. Students will also gain valuable experience with experimental procedure and good scientific methods.

Flash Freezing Ice Cream Spheres for a Lesson on Surface Tension

BioMEMS (biological microelectromechanical systems) and Lab-on-a-chip devices are becoming prominent systems for medical diagnostics as well as excellent platforms for biological testing. It is important to understand the effects surface tension has on these devices as they become smaller and surface tension forces dominate. Work towards the Grand Challenge of Engineering the Tools of Scientific Discovery using BioMEMS and Lab-on-a-chip devices requires an understanding of surface tension.

Saving Lives with Solubility

Students will learn and apply fundamental physical science principles to design a carrier for a hydrophobic drug. Additionally, students will be introduced to the applications of controlling solubility in everyday items including medicine, food, and cosmetics. Concepts illustrated to students in these activities include solubility, surface tension, phase change, phase separation, the engineering design process, and polar vs. nonpolar compounds.

Water Survivor Class Lesson: Incorporating the Grand Challenges into the Classroom

Supplying access to clean water is one of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) grand challenges for the 21st century. The lack of clean water is estimated to be responsible for more deaths in the world than war. About 1 in every 6 people living today doesn’t have access to clean water and double that value is lacking access to basic sanitation. The shortage of water is a factor of the supply not always being located where it is needed. In many instances, economic and political barriers can prevent access to water even in areas where it is otherwise available.

The Grand Gel Challenge

The lesson is designed for students to learn the following:
• Characteristics of physical and chemical changes and how to differentiate between them
• How two substances can be combined to form a new one through a chemical reaction
• How different stimuli can cause a physical change to take place, and that it can be reversed
• How motion of particles differ in a gas, liquid or solid state
• Experiment with polymer gels, with both physical and chemical polymer solutions
• Design-a-gel
• Present observations and designed gels to the class

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