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Throughout this series on simple machines, we have provided lesson plans, experiments, and classroom ideas to assist you in making engineering education a regular part of the classroom experience. Activity 7: Enable Engineering Challenge Using these lessons and the concepts learned within them, we challenge you and your learners to come up with your own Continue...

As an instructor, it is often easiest to just teach scientific fact.  However, this wasn’t always the most effective way to engage students.  I found that the best way to let students grow in engineering education was to give them simple experiments that related to everyday experience. Activity 6: Screw Lesson For this lesson plan, Continue...

Programming is a tough concept for all types of learners.  Giving students the chance to practice a complex assignment will give them the confidence to handle engineering education. Using the LEGO WeDo programming software, our interns have designed an easy-to-program guide and how-to video to assist in allowing you to teach basic programming fundamentals. Let Continue...

Homework, or after school assignments, often take the form of worksheets and take- home readings.  This can work for many subject areas, but isn’t ideal for engineering education.  At Enable, we’re big on the idea that learning begins with doing.  With this in mind, we have developed an at-home experiment that will emphasize learning concepts Continue...

Another challenge of engineering education is using multiple teaching blocks to teach a single lesson.  Often there is a time crunch in class to complete curriculum requirements before assessments.  Teachers can combat this by extending lessons that work into usable extension activities. This approach will hit all your curriculum goals, while still allowing your learners Continue...

Teaching science always posed challenges for me as an instructor, as I had limited experience in practical engineering, but really wanted to inspire my students.  This is probably the case for most elementary teachers.  What I needed was confidence.  We’ve designed this lesson plan to help build this sort of by encouraging instructors to let Continue...

For our first blog entry, we have provided two lessons of varying difficulty.  The first is intended for learners capable of handling complex ideas and instruction.  The second borrows on previous knowledge to introduce a complex topic.  Be sure to base your selection on the capabilities, background knowledge, and interests of your learners. And now, Continue...

Rube Goldberg Machine – a mechanism that performs a simple task using a complicated series of actions, named after an American cartoonist/artist/writer/inventor My name is Matthew Dear and I am the Senior Curriculum Developer here at Enable Education. I have my Masters in Education and have had the wonderful opportunity to teach multiple grades and Continue...

With NI Week looming in the horizon, the offices of Enable Training and Consulting have been alive with the buzz of activity.  New proposals are being written, seminars and conferences are being scheduled, and the Delta-bot (now officially known as the Trace-a-Tron) is having the final touch-ups done to its programming. Early this week, the Continue...

The main components of our Delta-bot game were complete, but it was not time for the team to rest on their laurels, for there was still work to be done.  Firstly, the Delta-bot and the spinner, both constructed from LEGO Mindstorms, would need to be attached to the Tetrix frame.  Luckily, Tetrix kits come with Continue...

The Delta robot was looking sharp, as Smit and Navjot worked through the afternoon assembling the components onto the frame.  Ben would be testing it the next day to give it final approval, but there were still a major part missing. The Egg dispenser was envisioned as being a gravity-fed machine that would give out Continue...

With the robot part of the Delta-bot complete, and with the striking realization that no part of this project would transform from a robot into a race car; Andrew promptly remembered that he had important work to do, and declared to no one in particular, that he would not be helping any further with this Continue...