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Balloon Brain: Designing a Helmet

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As humans, we thankfully have more going for us than the balloon brains depicted in this video segment adapted from ZOOM. Still, the failed efforts of some of the ZOOM cast members to design adequate protection for their balloon brains illustrates the importance of wearing a proper helmet and protecting your own brain whenever you skate, rollerblade, ski, or ride a bike.

Triangles: Designing a Newspaper Chair

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Once it's been read, there's often little more to do with the daily newspaper than to add it to that towering stack of recyclables we collect each week. In this video segment, however, the ZOOM cast demonstrates how innovative design can turn this otherwise flimsy material into a relatively solid piece of furniture.

A - Z Overview

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Watch and learn how to explore career options from A to Z with the Lab Squad kids as they meet and interview career professionals.

Snow Shelter

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This DragonflyTV segment demonstrates how and why an igloo-like shelter called a quinzhee can keep you warm at night, and illustrates how snow and clouds affect air temperatures and serve as insulators against extreme cold and heat.

SciGirls | Dolphin Dive 06: Analyze

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The SciGirls have finished collecting all their observations and are now totaling their data and organizing them into a graph to see if they can make some conclusions about whether or not the dolphins can recognize themselves in a mirror.

Measuring for an Exact Fit

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In this Cyberchase video segment, Matt and Jackie must figure out how to construct rectangular lids that match the size of two boxes precisely. They enlist the carpentry skills of one of the Three Little Pigs, who shows them how to use different tools to accurately measure the rectangular lids. For the first box, Jackie finds that she can easily trace the box to make a lid that fits perfectly. The second box cannot be traced, so Matt and Jackie decide to measure the sides of the box and then use the measurements to cut a rectangle of equal size out of a piece of Herculanium.

Lifting with Levers

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In this video segment from Cyberchase, Jackie, Matt, and Inez try to move a stack of slabs blocking a doorway. They decide to use a long board as a lever, but they soon realize they need a longer board in order to move the heavy slabs. The problem is that they are not sure exactly how long the lever should be. Since they do not have the time to try out levers of varying lengths, Inez decides to construct a scale model. While testing their model levers, they learn about the relationship between the length of a lever and its lifting capability.

Is It Square?

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See three techniques for determining whether a rectangle truly has square corners. Learn more about construction technologies in this animation from Design Squad Nation.

GPS: Gravity Fountain

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This DragonflyTV follows two girls as they learn about the effect of pressure on the stream of water from a fountain, and set out to design a gravity-fed fountain that shoots water 20 feet into the air

Horsepower

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In this video, a young man talks about buying a new car and tries to understand what horsepower really means. With some help from a young woman who explains where the term comes from, he sets out to look for more information to find his perfect car. In the accompanying classroom activity, students conduct an experiment to calculate how much horsepower they can produce. This resource is part of the Math at the Core: Middle School Collection.

Star Trek at 50: Science Fiction or Science Fact? | STEM in 30

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50 years ago this September, one of the most popular shows in the history of television premiered. Star Trek has inspired generations of scientists, astronauts, and engineers, and introduced many technologies that have gone from science fiction to science reality. Boldly go on a voyage with STEM in 30 as we explore the Star Trek universe, including the studio model of the starship Enterprise on display in our Boeing Milestones of Flight Hall.

Design Squad: Sound

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Learn about the fundamentals of sound as student teams create percussive and stringed instruments for a local band, in this video segment adapted from DESIGN SQUAD—a PBS TV series featuring high school contestants tackling engineering challenges. In the process, the teams learn about the physics of sound and music and then apply this knowledge to the construction of their own instruments. Watch to find out which instruments the band finds worthy of debuting in their next live show.

Kites | STEM in 30

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Did you know that the first aeronautical object in the National Air and Space Museum collection is a kite acquired in 1876? Kites aren’t only fun objects to fly at the beach or on the National Mall, they have a long and important history. The Wright brothers tested their wing warping theory with a kite and kites have also been used during wartime. In this episode of STEM in 30 we’ll look at not only how kites fly but their importance to aviation history.

MN Original | Assemblage Artist Jan Elftmann

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Learn how Jan Elftmann’s penchant for collecting objects shines through in all of her work. She makes art approachable for the every day person in her playful assemblage work and eye-catching art cars.

Elftmann helped found the Minnesota ArtCar Parade after she completed her first art car–a pick up truck covered with 10,000 wine bottle corks. She’s currently working on her third art car.

For more MN Original resources, click here.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

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This video segment from Building Big highlights the Clifton Suspension Bridge, one of the earliest of its kind. Though it was completed in 1864, when pedestrians, animals, and horse-drawn carriages were its main forms of traffic, its iron chain-link cables and stone piers today carry four million cars and other vehicles a year.

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