Engineering Science Projects
This article has information, ideas, and tips on creating engineering science projects. These engineering science project ideas can be used for public schools, private schools, homeschools, or science fair presentations.
This collection of engineering science projects are made to be adapted for varying purposes. There are extension suggestions that you can include, reshape for your particular situation or ignore. The projects can be used in a homeschool, as public or private school science class projects, or developed into science fair presentations. The projects were chosen to be modifiable either to make them easier for younger or less experienced students as well as to be extended for students who could handle a greater challenge. The projects address the engineering areas of: aerodynamics, construction materials, and fasteners.
• Buy a project book that has a set of paper airplanes or find a set of designs on the Internet or design and build a set of your own with at least five different planes. The airplanes should be primarily paper or cardstock, but can have small items, such as paperclips or coins attached. Predict which plane will fly farthest; which planes, if any, will crash; and which planes, if any, will be easy to throw with a curve. Explain why you think as you do.
- Develop a set of tests to compare the planes’ abilities and test your predictions.
- Based on what you’ve learned in your tests, see if you can modify the planes to make them fly farther and straighter.
- Based on what you’ve learned, try building a new plane that will outdo all the planes you’ve already built.
- Based on what you’ve learned build a plane that will crash every time, but that has the appearance of being a good flier (and define what it means to “have the appearance of being a good flier”). Design an experiment in which you offer your best flying plane and this crashing plane to at least 10 people with no hints - just ask if they’d like to try flying one of your planes and tell them to choose which one they wish to fly. After they fly the plane, ask them the reasons for their choice. Explain what you’ve learned from this.
• Collect materials such as wood, particle board, plywood, sheetrock, and other building materials that come in sheets, getting several, nearly identical examples of each. Use samples that are close to each other in size and shape, as much as possible. Decide which material you think is strongest and explain why.
- Test the material to see if your prediction is true. Try hitting each material with a hammer. Try dropping it on a concrete pavement. Try seeing how much weight it will balance. What are your test results? What do these tests and their results mean?
- Add other materials to your collection, including ones with different shapes, for example, cinder blocks, oriented strand board (OSB), bricks, and stones. How can these be compared fairly with each other? with the sheet materials?
- What other tests could you do to reveal more about the construction qualities of these materials that would help a building engineer or architect choose between them?
• There are many ways to connect two different pieces of material. To start, brainstorm (and research) as many types of affixing two things together and create a categorization system for them.
- Develop a way to test the relative holding power of the different types of fastener.
- Develop a set of criteria for choosing appropriate fasteners in different situations.
- Compare and contrast the class of liquid fasteners with the class of solid fasteners. What insights does your comparison reveal?
- Suppose you could invent a fastener with qualities that do not currently exist in any fastening product. Describe the fastener that you think is most needed and explain why.