The Story of the Atom: Unit 1 - The Steam Engine

The Story of the Atom: Unit 1 - The Steam Engine


Schedule: This is a Self-Paced Course
Grade Span: 6th, 7th and 8th grade

  • About This Course

     From a few simple experiments on air (not hard to find!), students uncover a hidden force lurking right on top of our heads and literally equivalent to multiple elephants! Hint: how forcefully does nature snap back when you try to pull a vacuum? 18th century engineers figured out a way to harness this force, convert it to mechanical energy, and wallah, you have a steam engine, oh, and an industrial revolution. 


    The challenge for students is to connect the theoretical findings to the immensely useful and ubiquitous applications. 

  • Prerequisites

    • Solving for one unknown in an algebraic equation. Ideally, students should have taken or be currently enrolled in pre-algebra or algebra. 

    • Proficiency with graphing. Students can determine a scale for coordinate axes and properly draw and label axes

    • Familiarity with the scientific method and the ability to design simple experiments

    • Ability to collect and record data

    • Ability to maintain an orderly and safe space for small lab experiments.

  • How a Self-Paced Course Works

    Students advance through a series of really interesting labs. Each lab goes like this:


    • Kid takes materials out of a box 

    • Kid watches a 3-minute video

    • Kid runs a 10-30-minute lab. (Kid is pumped up!)

    • Kid does a lab write-up and a little problem set for quick feedback 

    • Kid notches a win, has brand new knowledge, and moves to the next lab! 


    In addition, there are bonus videos and readings and even a problem set designed to deepen an intuitive understanding of the topics.