Investigating STEM Skills

Investigating STEM Skills students are introduced to a wide variety of baseline employability skills as well as specific career pathways. Engineering, Food Science, Sustainability, Energy, Medical, Agricultural and Biotechnologies, Manufacturing and Transportation are all areas covered during this course. UNITS: Teamwork; Systems and Optimization; Problem Solving; Design and Modeling; Exploring Engineering; History of Engineering; Introduction to Sustainability; Energy; Food Science and Sustainability; Medical Technologies Design; Agriculture and Related Biotechnologies; Manufacturing Technologies; Transportation Technologies; Underwater ROV Challenges (Sea Perch Challenges).

138-178 Clock Hours Total

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Individual Units in this Course:


Teamwork is important in the classroom and the engineering field. Students read about why teamwork is so important in this field and how engineers work together on projects. Students complete activities that focus on working with and communicating with team members.

Time: 1-2 Hours

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Systems and Optimization

This unit explores parts of a system and how systems work. Students apply what they learn about input, output, and feedback by creating a poster to demonstrate the process.

Time: 4-5 Hours

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Problem Solving

This unit reviews different types of problem solving and then students apply it to creating and testing structures. Students use boards, bolts, and cables to investigate tension and compression on square and triangular structures. Students use various materials to create a truss in a small group and then collaborate with a second group to create a bridge. This is then applied to sketch a design for a real world scenario.

Time: 3 Hours

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Design and Modeling

This unit introduces factors in the design process and takes students through designing and modeling a solution to a problem. Students design, create, and draw pictogram directions for building a container that will hold and protect 25 pieces of fruit.

Time: 1-3 Hours

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Exploring Engineering

This unit introduces what engineers do and different types of engineering fields. Students collect data and reflect on their processes as they investigate water usage, experiment with efficiently filling molds, and explore wind as an energy source.

Time: 7-11 Hours

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History of Engineering

This unit introduces students to the history of engineering by highlighting major discoveries and famous engineers and inventors. Students reflect on these ground breakers and write a report on the greatest engineer. They get a chance to model a historical weapon by designing and creating their own catapults.

Time: 10-14 Hours

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Introduction to Sustainability

This unit introduces sustainability and helps students reflect on their own impacts on the environment. Students research sustainability and come up with a vision for their future highlighting the importance of sustainability. They distinguish the difference between needs and wants and participate in simulations. Students use an online tool to calculate their personal ecological footprint and discuss how their locus of control might influence their life.

Time: 5 Hours

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Students learn about different forms of energy, energy sources, how energy is measured, and the first two laws of thermodynamics. This unit explores how energy is used in the US and what types are used around the world. Students investigate and measure how they use energy at home and school and create a proposal for an energy management plan.

Time: 19 Hours

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Food Science and Sustainability

This unit explores changes in birth and death rates, factors that determine the relative well-being of a region, impacts of inequitable resource distribution, and the production of food. Students investigate how the production of food, ingredients in their food, and their own food choices impacts others while growing and experimenting with their own mutant corn. They collaborate in teams to educate others on sustainable food choices.

Time: 18 Hours

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Medical Technologies Design

This unit investigates how engineering is used within the medical field. Students investigate advancements in medical technologies, sanitation, and genetic engineering. Students get to design and construct their own medical instruments, track a virus being spread in the classroom, and grow bacteria in petri dishes.

Time: 4 Hours

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Agriculture and Related Biotechnologies

This unit explores agribusiness, biotechnology, environmental conservation, and artificial ecosystems. Students investigate by designing and constructing a package that will preserve food, an insulated cup that will regulate temperature, and a conveyor belt for transporting food.

Time: 3-6 Hours

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Manufacturing Technologies

Almost everything around us has been manufactured. This unit explores types of manufacturing, manufacturing processes and materials, automation and computers in manufacturing, and chemical technologies. Students make business decisions in a mining simulation, design and evaluate solutions by constructing a cup, and investigate the marketing side of manufacturing through making an advertisement.

Time: 3-6 Hours

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Transportation Technologies

How do your students get to school? Transportation impacts our daily lives. This unit investigates vehicles, subsystems in transportation, government regulations, and transportation processes. Students get to design and modify their own vehicle, a balsa glider, and compete for the greatest hang time. Safety in transportation is explored through an egg drop challenge, and students investigate the effects of friction as they construct hovercrafts.

Time: 3-4 Hours

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Underwater Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV) Challenges

Students bring STEM to life as they start from scratch to build, test, and modify an underwater ROV. This unit reviews how to safely use tools, measure materials, wire motors, solder wires and circuit boards, and test electrical connections. Students modify their ROV in order to measure light intensity at different depths, collect samples of different environments, and record video and audio footage under water.

Time: 14-19 Hours

Coding and 3D Design

Students use instructional videos to learn about drag-and-drop programming, loops, and the basics for creating a 3D game. Their new skills are tested through completing the Microsoft Kodu Grand Challenge where they have to create their own game based on the challenge’s criteria.

Time: 5-6 Hours

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