Mobile engineering education lab

We will be providing our Mobile Engineering Education Lab (ME2L) virtually. In addition to our existing lessons, we are a proud to be part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that allows us to expand our solar-water lessons. We are excited to provide this new opportunity and bring the College of Engineering into your classrooms!

Our engineering students facilitate grade-appropriate, interactive lessons. The ME2L program trains University engineering students to foster your students’ curiosity about engineering topics through engaging activities. This will be done via Zoom or you will be given access to recorded lesson videos on FlipGrid. 

For participating in the solar-water lesson, teachers will have an opportunity to sign-up for an additional ME2L lesson of their choice to show our appreciation for your support! 

In an effort to connect students, we offer the following variety of virtual options to engage students in the engineering lessons;

  1. Students at home or in class provide their own supplies and participate in the activity with the University of Nevada, Reno students. 
  2. Students actively observe at home or in class the University of Nevada, Reno students conducting the experiment without supplies.
  3. If the teacher and students are in person together, the teacher demonstrates the activity in class for the students (using their own supplies) along with direction from the University of Nevada, Reno students.

ME2L sign-ups

Due to limited availability, teachers will be allowed two time slots per semester. Lessons will be available February 2-May 4. To schedule a ME2L lesson, please contact Samantha Bickert and provide the following information; 

  • Name 
  • Email 
  • School 
  • Grade 
  • Number of Students 
  • Lesson Name (if interested in two lessons, provide two lesson names). (See below for current lessons and descriptions.) 
  • Two Timeslot Preferences

Available Time Slots: 

  • Tuesdays 2pm
  • Wednesdays 9am and 1pm
  • Thursdays 9am and 2pm
  • Fridays 9am, 1pm, and 2:30pm

Current Lessons

Bioengineering a Fish (Biomedical)

Students become a bioengineer, designing a new species of fish! They will create a double helix for its physical characteristics. Students will discuss how biology and engineering can be combined, as well as how radiation pollution can change the DNA of living things.

Save the Truckee River! (Chemical)

Students must build barriers to protect the Truckee River from the leaching chemicals from the Asian Union Electronic Chemical Corp explosion! They will discuss the effects of the chemicals on water, and how the contaminated water will affect living things in the local environment. Students will discuss what humans can do to prevent contamination and protect their local habitat. They will discuss solutions with their classmates and draw their ideas.

Programming Spongebob (Computer Science)

Even Spongebob likes a hot bath, but he doesn’t know how to heat his water! Students learn how computers understand instructions by writing a series of steps for Spongebob to follow so that he can heat his bathwater. Spongebob will follow the series of instructions that will lead him to his bathtub. He needs to charge his solar panels in the light of the flashlight, then plug the solar panels into his bathwater heater. Students will discuss which flashlight will produce more energy. The dim flashlight or the bright flashlight? Students will also discuss what time of year his bathwater will be the warmest. They will discuss the differences between the amount of daylight in the summer versus the amount of daylight in winter.

Solar S'Mores (Mechanical)

Students make a solar oven and use solar energy to cook a marshmallow and make a s’more. Have the students think about the position of the sun during the day and the temperature. Is it constant or does it change? The angle of the sun relates to how much direct sunlight we receive, and, therefore, how much energy we receive. Earth rotates on an axis. The rotation causes us to have day and night. It is daytime when your location on earth is facing away from the sun. At midday, the sun’s light is direct and very strong. In the morning and at night, the sun’s light is indirect and not as strong. So, we receive sunlight at different angles and that affects how much energy we obtain from the sun.

Aliens Steal the Sun! (Environmental)

What would happen if, hypothetically speaking, aliens stole the sun from our galaxy? Students learn all the ways that the sun provides for life and earth. Our energy source is the sun. The sun provides energy as light and radiation. Plants need light to grow and we eat the plants as food, which gives us energy. Also, we need radiation to stay warm. The wind is due to temperature differences caused by the sun heating the earth. The sun’s energy also gets stored as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. All these forms of energy are traced back to the sun. The students must brainstorm ideas for harnessing the energy from geothermal vents in order to replace the energy from the sun and discuss their ideas in groups.

Mining for Treasure (Environmental)

Across the world, mining contributes to wastewater disposal issues, ground service water, and acid mine drainage, and contamination in soil. In this lesson, students will be mining for treasure! By doing so, they will see how the impact of mining can contaminate the soil. Students will discuss ways they can reduce the impact of mining on the environment. They will learn that there are ways to make mining sustainable. For example, using lower-impact mining techniques like in-situ leaching.

All of our K-12 outreach programs are made possible through the generous support of The Mallory Foundation, Teichert Foundation and WEDCO. We appreciate their continued support.