Criteria. Constraints. Creativity. Comprehension.

Engineering icon on a purple background

"Engineering is the art of directing the great sources of power in nature for the use and convenience of man."

Thomas Tredgold, 18th Century Railway Engineer

Engineering investigations—opportunities for students to design, build, refine, and innovate—have always been present in FOSS programs over the years. With the increased emphasis on engineering practices and disciplinary core ideas in the Next Generation Science Standards, these investigations are now given greater prominence in the FOSS Next Generation program for grades K-8.

Engineering Investigations in FOSS Next Generation

Integrated Middle Grades

Grade 8

Waves
  • Inv 1 Extension: Make Another Wave Model
  • Inv 2.2: Bridge Collapse
  • Inv 2.3: Energy in Sound Waves
  • Inv 2 Extension: Make another wave model
Heredity and Adaptation
  • Inv 2.3: Modeling Heredity
  • Inv 2.4: Punnett Squares
  • Inv 2 Extension: Redesign Alan’s Family Tree
Gravity and Kinetic Energy
  • Inv 4.1: Helmet Design Challenge
  • Inv 4 Extension: Test Water Balloons
Electromagnetic Force
  • Inv 2 Extension: Make a Compass
  • Inv 3.1: Building a Circuit
  • Inv 3.2: Building an Electromagnet
  • Inv 3.3: Improving the Design
  • Inv 3 Extensions: Make a Rheostat, Build the Ultimate Electromagnet
Planetary Science
  • Inv 3 Extension: Design Additional Models
  • Inv 5.1: Moon Craters
  • Inv 8.2: Exploration of the Solar System

Grade 7

Chemical Interactions
  • Inv 3 Extension: Create new Particle Models
  • Inv 4 Extension: Create new Particle Models
  • Inv 5 Extension: Explore Energy Transfer of Other Materials
  • Inv 6.1: Insulation
  • Inv 6.2: Thermos Design
  • Inv 8.3: Freezing Water
Earth History
  • Inv 3 Extension: Create Model Sedimentary Rocks
  • Inv 5 Extension: Grow Rock Crystals
Populations and Ecosystems
  • Inv 9.2: Evaluating Solutions

Grade 6

Diversity of Life
  • Inv 2 Extension: Make a Water-Drop Microscope
Weather and Water
  • Inv 2 Extension: Build a Wind Sock
  • Inv 5.2: Insulation
  • Inv 5.3: Home Design
  • Inv 6 Extension: Create a 3D Model of Wind

Elementary Grades

Grade 5

Mixtures and Solutions
  • Inv 1.3: Separating a Dry Mixture
  • Inv 1 Extension: Engineers Without Borders
  • Inv 2.1: Black Boxes
  • Inv 2.2: Drought Stopper
  • Inv 2.3: Models for Change in Properties
  • Inv 2 Extensions: Draw Blueprints, Do a Model-Building Activity, Develop a Soft-Drink Dispensing Machine Model
  • Inv 4.4: What’s in Your Water?
  • Inv 4 Extension: Get involved with World Water Monitoring Day™
  • Inv 5 Extension: Apply the Reaction
Earth and Sun
  • Inv 1.2: Sun Tracking
  • Inv 1 Extensions: Research Engineers Using Circles, Research Sundials
  • Inv 1: Home/School Connection
  • Inv 3 Extension: Engineer a Device to Slow a Falling Object
  • Inv 4.4: Color and Energy Transfer
  • Inv 4 Extensions: Investigate Direct Sunlight, Design Other Solar Water Heaters, Solar-Energy Technology in your Community, Design a Solar Oven
  • Inv 5 Extension: Make a Rain Gauge
Living Systems
  • Inv 3.2: Circulatory Systems

Grade 4

Energy
  • Inv 1.1: Lighting a Bulb
  • Inv 1.4: Solving the String-of-Lights Problem
  • Inv 1 Extensions: Make Schematic Diagrams, Make a Single-Pole-Double Throw Switch, Build a Flashlight, Make a Silent Alarm
  • Inv 2 Extensions: Make a Compass, Conduct More Force Investigations, Building an Electromagnet
  • Inv 3.3: Reinventing the Telegraph
  • Inv 3 Extensions: Make a Rheostat, Make a Model Motor, Build a Cardboard Telegraph
  • Inv 5.3: Engineering with Solar Cells
  • Inv 5 Extension: Construct a Periscope
Environments
  • Inv 1.2: Designing an Isopod Environment
  • Inv 1 Extensions: Make a Terrarium of Local Organisms, Make Critter Replicators, Build a Compost Pile
  • Inv 2.1: Designing an Aquarium
  • Inv 2 Extensions: Design and Build Another Class Aquarium, Investigate Water Holes to Mini-Ponds
  • Inv 4: Make Terrariums from Around the World
Soils, Rocks, and Landforms
  • Inv 2.2: Stream-Table Investigations
  • Inv 2 Extension: Find a Local Erosion-Control Expert
  • Inv 3.1: Making a Topographic Map
  • Inv 3.4: Mount St. Helens Case Study
  • Inv 4.2: Making Concrete
  • Inv 4.3: Earth Materials in Use
  • Inv 4 Extension: Make “Concrete” Using Plaster of Paris

Grade 3

Motion and Matter
  • Inv 1 Extension: Make a Compass
  • Inv 2.3: Twirly Birds
  • Inv 2.4: Tops
  • Inv 2 Extension: Construct Big and Little Tops
  • Inv 3.1: From Here to There
  • Inv 3.2: Distance Challenge
  • Inv 3.3: Investigating Start Position
  • Inv 3.4: Cart Tricks
  • Inv 3 Extension: Design a Mouse Trap Cart
  • Inv 4 Extension: Separate a Mixture
Structures of Life
  • Inv 1.4: Seed Dispersal
  • Inv 4.3: Joints and Muscles
  • Inv 4 Extension: Build a Model Thumb
  • Inv 4 Extension: Add Extensor Muscles to the Models
Weather and Climate
  • Inv 2.2: Build a Thermometer
  • Inv 5.3: Waterwheels
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Grade 2

Solids and Liquids
  • Inv 1.4: Construct with Solids
  • Inv 1 Extension: Provide for Ongoing Construction, Build a Paper Bridge, Separate Mixtures with Magnets
  • Inv 4 Extension: Make an Ocean in a Bottle, Make Liquid Layers, Make Beverages, Mix Colors and Media
Pebbles, Sand, and Silt
  • Inv 1 Extension: Build Rock Towers
  • Inv 3.2: Observing Sandpaper
  • Inv 3.3: Sand Sculptures
  • Inv 3.4: Clay Beads
  • Inv 3.5: Making Bricks
  • Inv 3 Extensions: Look at Construction Materials, Make Paving Stone Habitats
  • Inv 4.1: Homemade Soil
  • Inv 4.2: Local Soil
  • Inv 4.4: Land and Water
  • Inv 4: Home/School Connection
Insects and Plants
  • Inv 2.4: Planting Outdoors
  • Inv 2 Extension: Plan Student Projects
  • Inv 3.4: Insect Search
  • Inv 3 Extension: Make a Pitfall Trap
  • Inv 4 Extension: Invent an Insect
  • Inv 5.2: Chrysalises
  • Inv 5.4: Flower Powder

Grade 1

Sound and Light
  • Inv 2.4: Sound Challenges
  • Inv 2 Extension: Make a Garden-Hose Listening Tube, Design a String-Cup Party Line, Make Instruments from Recycled Objects
  • Inv 3 Extension: Make a Sundial, Create Sunprints
  • Inv 4.4: Designing with Light
  • Inv 4 Extension: Construct a Periscope, Make a Solar Oven
Air and Weather
  • Inv 1.2: Parachutes
  • Inv 1.4: Air and Water
  • Inv 1 Extension: Plan and Conduct Simple Investigations, Construct an Air Cannon
  • Inv 3.3: Pinwheels
  • Inv 3.5: Kites
  • Inv 3 Extension: Construct a Wind Catcher, Try New Kite Designs and Materials, Make Wind Chimes
Plants and Animals
  • Inv 1 Extension: Grow Plants in the Dark
  • Inv 2 Extension: Make Newspaper Pots for Seedlings
  • Inv 3.1: Setting Up Terrariums
  • Inv 3.4: Squirrel Behavior
  • Inv 3 Extension: Set up an Aquarium, Make a Pitfall Trap, Make a Worm Bin

Grade K

Materials and Motion
  • Inv 1.3: Testing a Raft
  • Inv 1.6: Making Particleboard
  • Inv 1.7: Making Plywood
  • Inv 2.2: Using Paper
  • Inv 2.4: Paper Recycling
  • Inv 2.5: Papier-Mache
  • Inv 2 Extensions: Take Apart and Reassemble Paper Boxes, Make a Paper Box or Paper Envelope, Weave a Paper Mat, Teach Students Simple Origami
  • Inv 3.5: Reuse and Recycle Resources
  • Inv 3.6: Building Structures
  • Inv 3 Extensions: Show How Knit Fabric is Made, Take a Field Trip
  • Inv 4.2: Colliding Objects
  • Inv 4.3: Rolling Outdoors
Animals Two by Two
  • Inv 3 Extension: Set up a Vermicompost System
  • Inv 4.4: Animals Living Together
Trees and Weather
  • Inv 3.3: Wind Direction
  • Inv 3 Extension: Make Carp Wind Socks

"Engineering is quite different from science. Scientists try to understand nature. Engineers try to make things that do not exist in nature. Engineers stress invention. To embody an invention the engineer must put [their] idea in concrete terms, and design something that people can use."

Yuan-Cheng Fung, The "Father" of Modern Biomechanics