Types of Engineering – Rock + DiPaola

Name of Unit

Types of Engineering


Amanda Rock and Daniella DiPaola


Vinson Owen



Brief Description

We are going to introduce the students to all types of engineering while having them create projects to solve clues to find the thief in a mystery story.




engineering, mystery

Number of Weeks


Week 1

Environmental Engineering: Water Filters     We told the students that a puddle was left at the scene of the crime so we made water filters to analyse what was in the water. We wanted the kids to see that the water was milky because next week we were going to give them the results of what was in the dirty water and tell them that there was baking soda and vinegar to lead them to the next clue.We had a worksheet with the problem statement, materials, a labeled design, results, and summary of the clues they could get from the water.Materials: two cups per group, beans, cotton, and cheese cloth.  *we needed paper towelsI made dirty water using flour to make the water milky, the inside of tea bags for dirt, and rice. I couldn’t actually put baking soda and vinegar in the water because it would react.  I should have added some vinegar because the kids would have smelled it.  They could smell the tea and it made the water brown.  The rice just stayed at the bottom of the jug and it didn’t come out when I poured the water. The flour in the water made it not go through the cheese cloth very well.The students were able to filter out the tea bits and we had them describe what the water looked like when it came out, and it was still brown and cloudy.

Week 2

Chemical Engineering: Baking Soda and Vinegar Volcanoes     We told the students that we sent the water into a lab and the results came back as a mixture of a smelly liquid and white powder. We said that the footprints and fingerprints were washed away by the liquid and it covered so much of the ground that it had to be from an explosion. Their job was to make combinations of two white solids and two smelly liquids until they found the one that made an “explosion”. They were asked to record the results of each of the tests on a table.Materials: eight small measuring cups per group, 1/2 teaspoon of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon of tea, paper towelsThe results were that the baking soda and vinegar caused the explosion. Because there are no fingerprints and footprints, we will look at the “video footage” next week to figure out who the culprit could be.** Lesson was shorter than expected, would be good for a less than hour class or modifications could be made to fit the whole hour.

Week 3

Electrical Engineering: Squishy Circuits-FlashlightsMaterials: Playdough, LEDs, tin foil, paper, 9V batteriesWe told the students that the lights in the museum went out so we couldn’t see the video footage and wanted them to build flashlights to look for clues in a dark room.  We introduced them to current, resistance, closed and open circuits, and short circuits. We had them experiment with the amount of playdough they used and how bright the light would be. We gave them tin foil to use to direct the light but some of them put it in the playdough to decrease the resistance. We tried to get them to make a device that could be held and transported like a flashlight.

Week 4

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