Parents, Educators & Engineers

Dream It. Build It. Teach It!

Get kids excited about engineering.

April 2011 Archives

Earth Day is April 22, so raise the (solar-paneled) roof and celebrate! Get your kids pumped about the planet--and engineering--with resources from these cool sites:

eGFI_logo.gifAmerican Society for Engineering Education
Check out the eGFI Teacher Blog for a list of Earth Day activities, lessons, and resources.

EYL.pngEngineer Your Life
Meet engineers Daniele Lantagne and Tanya Martinez. Daniele makes drinking water safe and Tanya helps communities access renewable energy sources.

nova-teachers.pngNOVA
Explore the NOVA Teachers site to learn about eight of the latest solar technologies, see inside a solar cell, find out how to capture carbon, and more.

NASAlogo2.pngNASA
See how NASA studies Earth from space and enter NASA's Earth Day video contest!

The Greens guide_cover.gifThe Greens
Encourage kids to take action and make green living a part of their lives. Download an activity guide with six activities ideal for after school programs.


Earth Day Network.pngEarth Day Network
Discover the Earth Day Educator's Network for standards-based lessons, school greening tips, grants for teachers and more.

TeachersDomain_72dpi.jpgTeachers' Domain
Examine environmental health issues with classroom-ready resources in TD's Environmental Public Health (EPH) collection.

ASCEville.bmpAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Take a trip to ASCEville to see how civil engineers make cities sustainable.



DS Nation Blue Logo.jpgDesign Squad Nation
Check out the Green resources in our Educators Library and don't miss the new 8-minute webisode Sustainable South Bronx. Judy and Adam help a South Bronx student build an air pollution monitoring device. Watch Part 1 and Part 2 now!


What do you do with your kids to recognize the importance of Earth Day?
(Leave a comment, we're all ears!)


Ever wish you could fly? Thanks to Red Bull's Flugtag competition, you can try.

German for "flying day," Flugtag gives everyday people a chance to achieve flight by challenging them to build homemade, human-powered flying machines and pilot them off a 30-foot high deck--into the water below it. And that's just what Adam and Judy did with the help of Felipe, a 15-year-old pilot in Miami, in the two-part episode One Giant Leap.

The aircraft (and I use that term loosely) are judged not only on distance, but on creativity and showmanship as well. Think flying hamburgers, muscle-bound torsos, cakes, wrestlers, trailer parks, and clowns in fire trucks. No, really.

Our gang teamed up with NASA to build a glider-inspired design that made an impressive showing in distance and style in front of a crowd of 85,000. Want to find out how we did? Check out Part 1 for the build and Part 2 for the competition. Seeing really is believing.





This episode packs a punch with the cool, creative, and fun side of engineering. You can also use it to teach engineering concepts related to space and flight--like buoyancy and air resistance. Take advantage of these resources from the Educators Library:

Hands-on Activities:
  • Sky Floater: Make a helium-filled balloon hover in one spot, then move it around the room without touching it.
  • Sky Glider: Use two helium-filled balloons to build a blimp that can travel in a straight path across the room.
  • Blimp Jet: Add a jet-propulsion system to a Sky Glider blimp so it flies under its own power.
  • Touchdown: Build a spacecraft with a shock absorber that will protect marshmallow astronauts when they land. Watch a demo.

Animations:

Video Shorts:
Engineer Profiles:
  • Blimps - Mark Caylao
: Meet an engineer who maintains and operates some of the world's largest blimps--for everyone from presidential candidates to the military--for things like research surveillance, and security.
  • NASA Toilet - Evan Thomas: Meet an engineer who designs water recovery and purification systems for NASA astronauts in space, and then applies similar principles in Rwanda as a volunteer for Engineers Without Borders.
  • GigaPan Camera - Leila Hasan: This engineer combines creativity with technology as the lead engineer for the GigaPan, a robotic device that takes high-resolution panoramic images.
Bonus Episode:
  • Band Cam: Teams use balloons to build flying video cameras.

Engineering in the form of flying rubber duckies, smart phones, and pretty much anything else you can dream up... I've seriously got to get myself to Flugtag next year.

If you're feeling inspired to build something giant with your kids (without the 30-foot-high launch), don't miss our BUILD BIG contest. No flight, or swim, required.

What design would you like to see entered in next year's Flugtag competition?