Course title

Engineering Concepts



Course description

I. Class Description

The Engineering Concepts course is a laboratory science course designed for students who may go to college. This integrated science course will give students a thorough understanding; and direct experience of the real-life application of science concepts through the lens of engineering. This course will push creative thinking and the application of science and engineering concepts. Students will learn the physics; chemistry; and earth science concepts that tie into the projects in this interdisciplinary science course.† This course will run through an introduction to engineering; engineering designs; and a student-driven capstone project. The science and engineering practices are developed not only via projects; but also in multi-day and frequent laboratory investigations. Work in this class will be engineering project-based with lectures; activities; research; and labs using conceptual science principles. Laboratory work; scientific method; and the engineering process will be emphasized. Topic covered: Music and Technology; Climate and Alternative Energy; the Universe and Space Technology; and Newton?s laws.††

Course Overview

Unit #

Essential Questions and Purpose:† What does it mean to say that science and engineering is everywhere? Students explore science through the evolution of music and technology. They define engineering and science by relating it to their future plans and engaging in challenges in teams. Students research and learn about different scientists; engineers; and various STEM disciplines.

Unit 1: Science & Engineering is Everywhere

Unit Topics and Projects/Labs

Standards Covered

Topic: TeamWork†

1-Day Teamwork Building Challenges (Building a Structure out of spaghetti; newspapers; etc) 6 at the beginning of each unit throughout the year

Topic: Scientific Method and Engineering Process

-Safety Expectations of the classroom

-Safety and Equipment Lab

-Scientific Method Lab about sound waves†

Plus HS.Phy.P4U1.6

Analyze and interpret data to quantitatively describe changes in energy within a system and/or energy flows in and out of a system.

Topic: Waves; Music; and Technology

-Sound and Pitch Lab

-Frequency and Wave Speed Lab

-Investigation Project of Scientists and Engineers and their impact on music technology

-Robotic Arm Project

Essential HS.P4U1.10 Construct an explanation about the relationships among the frequency; wavelength; and speed of waves traveling in various media; and their applications to modern technology.

Unit 2: Engineering is Creative

Essential Questions and Purpose:† How does creativity relate to engineering?

Students engage in a guided whole class engineering challenge tethered to a teacher-provided issue regarding energy; climate; and related to a local problem. The students design; construct; test and evaluate their product(s) to address a need (e.g. climate change and alternative energy sources.)

Unit Topics and Projects/Labs

Standards Covered

Topic: Energy and its impact on climate

-The Angle of Insolation Lab

-Climate Change Research

-Alternative Energy Sources Research

-Solar Energy Oven Project†

Essential HS.E1U1.11 Analyze and interpret data to determine how energy from the Sun affects weather patterns and climate.

Essential HS.E1U1.12 Develop and use models of the Earth that explains the role of energy and matter in Earth?s constantly changing internal and external systems (geosphere; hydrosphere; atmosphere; biosphere).

Essential HS.E1U1.13 Evaluate explanations and theories about the role of energy and matter in geologic changes over time.

Plus HS+E.E1U3.9 Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources; the occurrence of natural hazards; and changes in climate have influenced human activity.

HS.P4U3.9 Engage in argument from evidence regarding the ethical; social; economic; and/or political benefits and liabilities of energy usage and transfer.†

Plus HS+Phy.P4U1.6 Analyze and interpret data to quantitatively describe changes in energy within a system and/or energy flows in and out of a system.†

Plus HS+Phy.P4U2.7 Design; evaluate; and refine a device that works within given constraints to transfer energy within a system.

Unit 3 & 4: Engineering is Human-Centered

Essential Questions and Purpose:† What is our place in the universe? How do we know that the universe is continuously evolving/expanding? How has technology aided us in our study of the universe? How does space exploration help humans to solve problems on Earth? Students proceed through an engineering design process; define a problem; interact with stakeholders; design and construct a prototype and wrap it up with a Design-a-thon planetarium project.

Unit Topics and Projects/Labs

Standards Covered

Topic: Understanding the origin of the Universe; Solar System; and other objects in space†

- Expanding Universe Lab

- Solar System Scale Experiment

-Nebula Theory Lab†

-Life Cycle of a Star Lab

-Devise a Space Station Model for the planetarium project

Essential HS.E2U1.17 Construct an explanation of the origin; expansion; and scale of the universe based on astronomical evidence.†

Plus HS+E.E2U1.16 Obtain; evaluate; and communicate information about patterns of size and scale of our solar system; our galaxy; and the universe.†

Essential HS.E2U1.15

Construct an explanation based on evidence to illustrate the role of nuclear fusion in the life cycle of a star.

Essential HS.E2U1.16 Construct an explanation of how gravitational forces impact the evolution of planetary motion; structure; surfaces; atmospheres; moons; and rings.

Essential HS.P2U1.5 Construct an explanation for a field?s strength and influence on an object (electric; gravitational; magnetic).

Plus HS+E.E2U2.17 Obtain; evaluate; and communicate the impact of technology on human understanding of the formation; scale; and composition of the universe

Unit 5: Engineering is Responsive


Essential Questions and Purpose: How can we tell an object is moving? How do we know an object is moving and can we measure the way an object is moving? What happens when objects collide? What are the different forces that can act on an object? What factors affect the motion of an object? Students examine their lives and community to find problems that can be tackled by teams of 3 to 4 students. The process is student-driven; teacher-guided; and highly informed by the experiences from the previous units. This is the culminating team project of the course that incorporates all facets of the engineering design process and Newton?s Laws of physics. Unit 5 is an open-ended; creative; and empowering opportunity for students to realize that engineering can have a meaningful impact.

Unit Topics and Projects/Labs

Standards Covered

Topic Application of Motion in Systems

-Inertia and Force Lab

-2nd Law Lab

-Coffee Filter Lab

-Momentum Lab

-Create an adaptive toy for a child or animal based on their needs.†

Essential HS.P3U1.6 Collect; analyze; and interpret data regarding the change in motion of an object or system in one dimension; to construct an explanation using Newton?s Laws.†

Essential HS.P3U2.7 Use mathematics and computational thinking to explain how Newton?s laws are used in engineering and technologies to create products to serve human ends.

School country

United States

School state


School city


High school

Gateway Early College High School

School / district Address

108 North 40th street

School zip code


Requested competency code

Lab Science

Date submitted



Approved competency code

  • CTE
  • Career and technical education
  • LPHY
  • Physics

Approved date

Online / Virtual