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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Mini Projects, only $2.95!


NEW! Materials Testing and Material Strength—‘Sweet’ Activity Teaches the Basics
Fun project uses Tootsie Rolls to teach the key concepts of materials testing and material strength.The activity appeared in the April 2014 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted as an independent student project with ready-to-copy student instructions. It does not contain any additional information.

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3-D Visualization Practice with Cube Puzzles
Solving Piet Hein’s cube puzzles gives students great experience with the 3-D visualization skills essential to success with drafting, CAD and engineering graphics.


Biotechnology: Waste Management
Students learn how toxic waste makes its way into water systems, what radioactive elements such as plutonium, cesium and uranium are made up of, and how these radioactive materials can be measured at a waste site.


Building a Better Mousetrap Offers Cross-Curricular Connections
Technology students create and test innovative designs that allow a mouse to survive the trapping process. Cross-curricular connections include social studies, English, math, science, art, and ecology. The activity appeared in the October 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted. Extras include a grading rubric and design handouts.

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Career Posters
This activity combines researching the details of various technical careers with creation of a poster that organizes and displays gathered information. Students can introduce their posters through two-minute oral presentations.


Collapsible Wooden Table Project Teaches Design and Engineering
Challenge students to design a collapsible table. Project adapts woodworking technology to teach design and engineering. It appeared in the February 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted to provide a student handout listing the Design Challenge. It does not include specific design plans.

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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.

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Creating a Coin Sorter
With simple materials (cloth, paper plates, plastic cups, tape, thread, etc.), students design and construct a device to sort pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.


Cryptology
Scytale transposition ciphers, substitution ciphers, picture alphabets, grill ciphers and one-time systems are all covered. Includes two encryption activities, one of which requires middle schoolers to build and use an encryption wheel.


Descriptive Geometry Project
Descriptive geometry shows that engineering answers may be found two ways: by using math and by drafting an answer.


Designing a Self-Sustaining Community
Students assume the role of consultant for a small community that wishes to be self-sustaining in terms of electrical service. The activity appeared in the November 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted. Student handouts and worksheets are now included.

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Designing Machine Elements in CAD
Introduce postsecondary CAD students to elements of three-dimensional industrial design.


Electric Power: Decisions for the Future
Extensive background on the use of electricity in the U.S., plus an experiment for individual students related to personal electricity use and strategies for conservation.
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Engineering Design: Testing Paper Clip Strength
This project discusses the roles of failure, conflict and serendipity, as well as production concerns involved in engineering design, and includes an engaging, low-cost fatigue-testing activity.


Experiments Demonstrate Geothermal Heating Concepts
A series of experiments conducted using an inexpensive teacher-built testing box demonstrate the basics of geothermal heating. This project appeared in the March 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted for classroom use. It includes student work sheets, data collection tables, and graphs for studet use.

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Factory Layout and Planning
Discusses the different advantages of process plants and product plants, and eight essential qualities of safe and maximally efficient factories. Middle schoolers then design their own toy factory layout. Project includes machine template, room patterns and accessories.


Fire as Technology
A one-week activity gives students ample research and design practice and shows the life-or-death importance of technological creativity and persistence.


Gears
What a gear is, how are they used, how they work and how to figure out gear ratios are all covered in this project. Students then build their own machines and measure the gear ratio of their gear train.


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.


Inexpensive Guitar Stand Is Customizable
Handy stand built from sturdy, inexpensive plastic pipe is ideal for guitarists—and rock band video players! Design can be altered to hold from one to four guitars. Note: This project appeared in the October 2010 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use.


Lasers
Four separate activities make up this laser project. Students design and arrange the course of a laser, then learn how to draw and measure angles using protractors. Next they draw shapes and check their accuracy using a laser, and finally try their hand at laser surveying.


Manufacturing: PHD Blocks
The "pretty hard drawing" (PHD) block activities give students practice with computer-aided drafting (CAD), which is used in the manufacturing process to create working drawings of products and their subcomponents.


Mass Producing a Paper-Cup Dispenser
Mass-producing this paper-cup dispenser teaches both mass-production procedures and woodworking skills.


NEW! Materials Testing and Material Strength—‘Sweet’ Activity Teaches the Basics
Fun project uses Tootsie Rolls to teach the key concepts of materials testing and material strength.The activity appeared in the April 2014 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted as an independent student project with ready-to-copy student instructions. It does not contain any additional information.

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Planned Community
You don’t have to look very far to find a planned community nowadays, they’re all around us. In this activity, students individually construct one piece of property, following strict covenants, that together will make up one large planned community.


Platonic Solids
Students learn to identify the five platonic solids (tetrahedron, hexahedron, octahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron) and construct paper models. They then play a baseball board game that uses the dodecahedron-like dice.


Pneumatics
Background on the use of pneumatics in industry, along with an introduction to the components of a pneumatic system (regulator, pressure gauge, valve and cylinder). Plus procedure for constructing a durable pneumatics mockup board and a pneumatic-circuit-design activity for students.


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.


Soils Engineering and Its Impact on Construction
Students gather and test a variety of types and mixes of soil to learn how builders and engineers are influenced by local soil considerations when they design and construct buildings.


Structures and Bridges
After learning about the forces of tension, compression and shear, students build a simple beam-and-truss bridge to test for its resistance against these forces.


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.


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


Teach Drafting Concepts with Students’ Favorite Foods
Students sometimes find some aspects of introductory drafting and design a bit boring, but you can make section and exploded views fun to learn with an activity in which they draw their favorite foods. This project appeared in the November 2010 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use.


Teach Energy Savings with Cardboard ‘House’
Practical experiments that require only common household materials give students insight as to how heat is lost through the walls and ceilings of a home plus various properties of insulation. This project appeared in the April 2011 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use.

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Teach Geometry Concepts with the Aid of the Great Pyramids
Students first create a square using simple technological tools available to the ancient Egyptians, then using modern instruments (protractor, compass, pencil), and finally using mathematical software. Requires Geometer's Sketchpad or similar software.


Technical Reading and Writing
Introduce your students to the simple techniques of technical reading and writing. Includes a project in which students create a CD-ROM Book Report.


Time-Motion Study
Students set up, perform and analyze time-motion studies like those performed in industry.


Toast Anyone?
Students measure the electricity needed to toast bread, then use their findings to compute the cost of doing so. Excellent introduction to electricity terminology—and math practice.Note: This project appeared in the February 2010 issue of techdirections. It has been reformatted to include ready-to-copy worksheets.


Transportation Signals
Background on the many types of signals used in transportation, along with plans and schematics for four model signaling devices that students can make: traffic stoplight, train crossing guard, ambulance light and semaphore message light. Plus instructions for a semaphore maze game.


Turbines
Build a simple turbine engine and teach your students about the uses for and principles behind water, steam, gas and wind turbines.


Twenty-Second Timer
Using simple materials (paper cups, rubber bands, paper clips, plastic straws, etc.) students construct a timing device and learn the process of problem solving. From Technology Projects for the Classroom, in ready-to-use format.


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.


Understanding How Heat Works
Use thermometers or temperature sensors on a stick to help students understand how heat disperses through air and water. Project appeared in the February 2012 issue of Tech Directions and has been reformatted to provide student worksheets and data collection pages.

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Wanted! Famous Technologists Posters
Students practice research, word processing, design and information technology skills, and learn a bit of technology history, in the course of making a poster of a notable technologist or inventor.


Water Pressure Basics
Students experiment with water pressure and flow using two simple, easy-to-make water tank designs.
This project appeared in the January 2011 issue of Tech Directions. It has been reformatted for easy classroom use with added student data recording sheets.


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.


Wooden Game Project
This lab activity makes an excellent mass-production project.


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.


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