Name of Unit Detective Engineer: Intro to Different Types of Engineering
Author(s) Hannah Garfield and Kirsten Jorgensen
School Vinson Owen
Teacher Jill Papaps
Brief Description Students are introduced to a variety of types of engineering through the lens of a robbery in the Museum of Science. Each week the students will be investigating solutions to different problems that arose from the robbery. Each problem will need to be solved using the expertise from a specific field of engineering. This will all build up to a final project connecting all the different types of engineering investigated with an activity on how to prevent this from happening again.
Grade(s) 5 (but could be adapted for any grade)
Keywords Intro to Engineering, Introduction, Detective, Robbery, Security
Number of Weeks 9
Week 1 Intro to thinking about engineering, testing, and redesign – spaghetti towers
Week 2 See activity 1- Electrical Engineering
Week 3 See activity 2 – Civil Engineering
Week 4 See activity 3 – Environmental Engineering
Week 5 See activity 4 – Mechanical Engineering
Week 6 Continue to work on activity 4
Week 7 See activity 5 – Solving the Mystery
Week 8 Final project: Talk to the students about security and preventing a break-in like this one. Have students brainstorm how they could use engineering solutions to prevent a break-in. Split students up into 3 large groups depending on their interest: Civil, Mechanical, or Electrical engineering (you may want to ask your teacher for help dividing kids because they may go where their friends go instead of where they are actually interested). Talk a little about the importance of group work and how to make a group function (listening and being polite!). Have each group brainstorm ideas about how they could make some sort of security system using the type of engineering they chose. Tell the groups their materials: – civil: Popsicle sticks, masking tape, string, rubber bands, toothpicks – mechanical: legos/gears, string (same as simple machines unit) – electrical: snap circuit kits After the students have a plan let them start building.
Week 9 Continue to work on final project, have kids present and test their projects at the end of class.

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