engineering activities

5 Engineering Activities for Your STEM Classroom

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Bring engineering activities into the classroom to engage students and address the engineering practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards.

To offer comprehensive STEM studies based upon Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), teachers must incorporate engineering activities that fulfill the eight necessary skills for a well-rounded education. Through engaging in simple engineering activities, using common–and cheap–household materials, teachers can relay engineering concepts to meet these standards.

1. Paper Planes Redesigned

engineering activitiesRelying on the ring airplane design, groups of students will construct a paper model aircraft of the future. Much different from a traditional paper (or real) airplane design, this model relies on a single wing that wraps into a ring. Students will need only a few materials to complete this activity: 8.5″x11″ printer paper, transparent tape, and a ruler. Through performing engineering activities such as this, students will experience on a smaller scale the planning that NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate perform when developing innovative new aircraft designs.

Once your students have completed the activity, have them reconsider other engineering assumptions—if an airplane doesn’t need two wings, does a car need four wheels? Are there other designs for aircraft we haven’t considered? How can they redesign common objects to be more efficient, use less material, or keep users safer?

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Dorothy Crouch is a California-based writer who has covered many topics such as financial technology, travel and the pet-goods industry. Born and raised in New York City, she pursued her undergraduate degree at Hunter College and an M.S., Publishing degree through Pace University. Combining her love of learning and curiosity of the world, Dorothy studied abroad at Dublin, Ireland’s Trinity College, igniting a passion for travel. Dorothy’s thirst for knowledge and love of learning has led her to travel the world and pursue higher learning, including scuba certification. A lifelong animal lover, Dorothy lives in Los Angeles with her husband, their fish and two lovable, spoiled dogs.

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