Mobile Engineering Education Laboratory

Nevada engineering and elementary school students build a K'NEX bridge

Want to bring us to your class?

Registration for spring 2019 begins Jan. 17th at 4:00 pm.

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Should you have questions, please contact Claire Parker at claireparker@unr.edu.

Our engineering students are ready to bring grade-appropriate, interactive lessons to your classroom. The Mobile Engineering Education Lab, or ME2 L, program hires and trains current Nevada students to present engineering topics to your students.

We begin with an introductory presentation about going to college, engineering majors, careers in engineering and why math and science are important. We then explain the specific lesson you have requested and work with students to complete a hands-on activity.

We can present to one class of students or to a larger group. Our 60-minute presentation can be given to any size group, and then our team works with up to 30 students at a time to complete the hands-on lesson. We bring all the materials we need, and there is no charge for our visits.

Hands-on engineering lessons get students involved

Our engineering students and K-12 outreach coordinator have worked to develop the following lessons that comply with national science standards. Most lessons can be adapted for any grade level.

  • Environmental engineering: Students explore water contamination and treatment systems by identifying pH levels of different solutions. The contribution to our community of environmental engineers is also discussed.
  • Electric Motors: This lesson focuses on basic electricity concepts and demonstrates how electricity can be converted into mechanical energy. Before creating their own copper coil train, the class will create a human circuit to activate an energy stick.
  • Renewable energy: This lesson introduces what renewable energy is and possible sources including wind and solar. Students build a wind-powered turbine and explore solar power with mini solar powered cars.
  • Simple machines: Gears, pulleys, wheels and axles are just a few of the concepts students will experience as they build their own simple machines.
  • Structural design: Students become civil engineers during this lesson as they work in small groups using K'nex to build bridges that can withstand increasing amounts of weight. The engineering design process of identify, brainstorm, create, test and evaluate is also introduced in this lesson.
  • Computer science and engineering: As computer technology capabilities continue to skyrocket, students will need to have a basic understanding of computers and coding. In this lesson, students learn how computers "think" in order to teach it how to do new tasks. The code.org Hour of Code activity is used to introduce students to programming concepts and basic algorithmic thinking. In order to request this lesson, you must have an internet-connected computer lab with computers for all students.
  • Shake it up! Earthquakes in the classroom: What design features are required for a LEGO tower to withstand an earthquake? Students work in groups to build a LEGO tower that will be "shaken up" and tested on a mini shake table. The engineering design process of identify, brainstorm, create, test and evaluate is also introduced in this lesson.
  • Batteries: What does a material science engineer do? Students work in pairs to create a battery from household items that will turn on an LED light. Throughout this activity students learn how material science engineers study the mechanical, electrical and chemical properties of materials to create new materials or improve current materials used in everyday life.

NEW: Looking for a hands-on opportunity for students to explore programming?

The Discovery Museum and the Mobile Engineering Education Lab (ME2L) have teamed up to offer educators a unique multi-lesson experience. First, take a field trip to the Discovery Museum where students will learn how to program sequences to navigate a robot. Next, our ME2L engineering students will come to your classroom to build upon the skills developed during your Discovery Museum field trip. Students will expand on programming sequences to programming loops in order to make the robot complete more complex tasks. For more information or to book your field trip, please contact Kevin Perez at kperez@nvdm.org or 775-398-5954.

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.

Scheduling tips

Please take the following into account when scheduling:

  • Lessons may only be scheduled up to 90 days in advance.
  • A second notice will be sent for the spring semester sign-ups in January.
  • We will be limited to teaching lessons primarily in the Reno/Sparks area this year. Lessons for areas outside of Reno/Sparks will be scheduled at a later date.
  • Please note that due to demand and limited lesson availability, we ask that teachers sign up for no more than one lesson each semester. If you surpass one lesson in one semester, we reserve the right to cancel any subsequent lessons.
  • Due to our engineering student-teachers' schedules, all lesson requests are tentative until final confirmation is sent out one month prior to the lesson date.
  • Finally, please keep in mind that we depend on our engineering college students to teach all lessons. Occasionally our students' schedules change, and although we do our best to give as much notice as possible, we ask that you understand if we may need to change or cancel an appointment occasionally.