Transportation


Alternative Energy Vehicles: The Commuter Scooter
Using a small electric motor, acrylic chassis, model airplane wheels and other small components, students produce a mini working model of an electric car.


Automotive Aerodynamics
First students study aerodynamics and drag coefficient to find out how wind tunnels help engineers build efficient cars. Then they build their own cars and a gravity track raceway to test their designs.


Bat Wing Flyer: A Glider Challenge
By constructing model gliders from foam egg cartons, students are introduced to the parts of an airplane and learn how to balance for maximum flight performance.


The Bicycle: A Great Vehicle for Learning
Students learn about the bicycle’s evolution, manufacturing processes and physics concepts, then rank bikes on a spreadsheet in this activity that kids can really relate to.


Boomerangs!
Studying and making boomerangs teaches students about four forces that affect an airplane’s flight: thrust, gravity, drag and lift. Flying the boomerangs is motivating for students and teachers alike!


Cardboard Boat Challenge
Students research, design, construct, and race cardboard boats, gaining substantial math, science, communication, and engineering experience. Includes key definitions, detailed student instructions, 13 pages of student work sheets, plus an evaluation sheet.


Cardboard Wind Tunnel
Middle schoolers on a budget can make their own wind tunnel to test the aerodynamic qualities of CO2 racers. Includes design brief and assembly instructions, testing procedures, short-answer quiz and list of references.


Cheapo Aerospace Technology
Students learn about simple orbital mechanics, design and construct a model rocket, balance it prior to flight, measure its altitude with a homemade sextant and recover it after launch.


Combustion Rocket
Thrill and amaze your students while introducing them to the process of combustion and Newton’s laws of motion with this dramatic teacherbuilt and -demonstrated rocket made with inexpensive materials. Vocabulary development and extension activities included.


Constructing a Simple Gyroscope
Students learn about the physics of gyroscopes and their various applications, then construct a simple gyroscope based on the design of a spinning top.


Crash Testing Challenge Aims to Save Egg/Driver
In this twist on the classic egg-drop activity, students modify a small crash test vehicle to protect its raw egg occupant. Project appeared in the November 2011 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use. Mini project, only $2.95.

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Crash Testing in the Lab
Students find crash testing CO2 cars really exciting--and in the course of the activity they learn a lot about the nature of force, mass, energy absorption, crumple zones, passenger containment and automotive safety.


Crumple Zones
Teach your students how energy is dissipated by crash barriers and product packaging in ways that keep people safe and products unbroken. In this project, students build a freeway barrier and a vehicle to test the barrier.


Designing and Testing a Model Car Frame
I
n this activity, students explore "crash worthiness" aspects of automobile design by designing, constructing, and testing a balsa wood scale-model car frame.


Glider Design for Beginners
Aeronautics is a motivating subject for students and educators alike. This hands-on activity—appropriate for upper elementary or middle school students—provides an excellent introduction to airplane design and the science of aerodynamics.


Ground Effect Vehicles
Students study hydrofoils, aerofoils and hovercrafts—vehicles designed to skim across bodies of water while transporting people and things. Project culminates in students building a tabletop hovercraft.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Hovercraft Curriculum
Want a great capstone activity for your Tech Ed class? We’ve got you covered! Hovercraft Curriculum brings together the concepts of force, work, and rate, and shows how they apply to mechanical, fluid, electrical, and thermal systems. This 39-page comprehensive curriculum describes how a tech ed teacher challenged his students to build an actual working hovercraft and how they went on to compete in a national hovercraft race event! Project includes a teacher intro, student handouts on the science and physics involved in hovercraft design, homework sheets, lab activities, and vocabulary lists. (Hovercraft plans not included.)


Hovercraft Design and Testing
Activity uses very inexpensive materials—foam board, a pop-up bottle cap, and a balloon—to teach design and testing procedures. Includes background information on engineering processes and detailed instructions. This project appeared in the August 2011 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use and also includes a grading rubric, drawings, and additional photos.

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Hydrodynamics and Boat Hull Design
A week-long, hands-on project on mechanics and fluids for middle schoolers. Includes project notes for teachers, a unit calendar, evaluation rubric, bill of materials, quiz and quiz key—17 pages in all!


Lighter-Than-Air-Vehicles: The Hot-Air Balloon
Students learn the basics of lighter-than-air flight, then construct a simple, small hot-air balloon from a plastic bag, thread, paper, and cardboard.


Mini Solar Race Car
Here’s a miniature solar-powered electric car that students can construct, plus background on how transmissions work and advice on sources of information on solar cars.


Model Glider
Move over Wright Brothers! This project gives students background information on the history of aviation that they use to then build and fly a small model glider.


Power: Gyroscopes
After introducing middle schoolers to principles of inertia, momentum and centrifugal force, students build a simple gyroscope and an inertial navigation course.


Power: Magnetic Levitation
Introduce your middle schoolers to the principles of magnetic levitation and build a Maglev train! Includes test questions, directions for assembling a Maglev train and Maglev train evaluation questions.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Pressurized Air/Water Rocketry—Build, Test and Learn!
The history of rocketry, the functioning of liquid-fuel and pressurized-air rockets and Newton’s laws are covered. Then, students and/or instructor build a launcher using wood and PVC tubing and launch bottle rockets.


Project X Air Cannon
A student simulation of NASA’s historic Project X-15 high speed and altitude program. Challenge your middle schoolers to design, construct and test models of rockets and aircraft made from simple materials while learning about aerodynamics, physics and mathematics.


The Solar Water Skimmer
Students attach a teacher-made solar panel and motor system to a Styrofoam boat of their own design.


Stop and Go Vehicle
Introduce electronic switching circuits by constructing a small robot-like electronic vehicle that runs quickly along the floor and stops, then goes again. Includes detailed background on the field of robotics, review questions, and a teacher’s guide.


Submarines: Building a Water Elevator
With a syringe, plastic hose and container for water, students build a small-scale elevator system in which they can submerge and raise a small capsule.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Supertankers
Background on the physics involved in keeping heavy ships afloat, plus activities for building four types of small-scale boats.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Understanding Automotive Relays
Many students have trouble understanding and working with relays. A trainer board and accompanying activity can provide just the help they need to be informed about relay design, function and testing.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Up Periscope
Students learn about buoyancy, propulsion, and control systems in the course of designing, constructing, and testing a submarine that uses PVC pipe and a basic dc switching circuit. High school level.


Vehicle Safety Awareness Project
A multidisciplinary approach to vehicle inspection teaches students about numerous automotive systems and increases safety awareness. This project appeared in the April 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted for classroom use. It includes ready-to-hand-out student instructions, a full-size Sample Vehicle Safety Checklist, and adds an activity assessment form, a link to the checklist in Word format, and a list of standards met.

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Wing on a String
This inexpensive activity teaches students Bernoulli’s principle and how air speed affects lift--clearly demonstrating how heavier-than-air flight occurs.
Mini project, only $2.95.


The Wright Brothers' Bat
Wilbur and Orville Wright first showed interest in flight during childhood play with a toy helicopter they called "the Bat." Students can build their own bats using simple materials, then experiment and compete with flying them.
Mini project, only $2.95.


Wright Wings: An Introduction to Aero-Modeling Basics
Middle school students learn how to identify and model basic aircraft by learning its characteristics. They are then challenged to produce a model glider/airplane, using research information to solve an instructor-created design problem and such simple and cheap materials as foam, paper and wood.


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Written by teachers for teachers, these ready-to-use, hands-on projects for technology education and applied science classes are great curriculum enhancement tools. They really get students motivated!

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