EDD Unit 3
Materials & Machines
Materials & Machines Introduction
Welcome to Unit 3

Engineers rely heavily on materials for their various properties so they can create machines that accomplish various tasks.  In this unit, we’ll investigate the properties of a range of materials that we use in the lab and consider what applications they might be best suited for.  As you do this, you will be expected to:

  • Take some brief notes on a few videos of materials and machines
  • Conduct a range of activities to test the properties of some of our materials
  • Describe the function of some of our complex machines

In addition to our engineering work, we’ll also do some work related to college and the future.  While you investigate different materials and machines, you also need to put together an application for the Presidential CTE Scholars award, and also write a short personal essay.

  • Compile documents for the Presidential CTE Awards  
  • Write a 2-page personal essay

When you’re done you will have completed your application and written your first scholarship-style essay.


Part 1: Materials

Materials Research Overview

In this unit, you’ll get to learn more about various materials.  We’ll start by watching a few videos about some weird new materials that engineers have developed.  You’ll also work with your E-Group to brainstorm possible uses of those new materials.

Now, you’ll  conduct some materials research.  We have the options of testing metals, woods, extruded plastics, 3D filaments, composites, adhesives, or foams.  You’ll make a plan for which materials you want to test and how you want to test them. Then, you’ll put your plan into action as you test the materials and collect data on their properties.


 Take notes on the four materials videos

 Plan materials research

 Have Mr. Benshoof approve your research plan

 Conduct your materials research

 Take notes on your research and summarize

 Have Mr. Benshoof check-off your completed research


Spray-On Fabric

Printable Magnets


Self-Assembling Elements

Part 2: Machines

Machine Research

In this part, we’ll think about various complex machines. First, you’ll review the 6 simple machines that you might have seen in POE.  Then we’ll watch some videos and take notes on some cool complex machines in action. You’ll then choose one of the many complex machines we have in the lab and investigate how various simple machines come together to make it work.


 Take brief notes on the 6 simple machines

 Take notes on the three machines videos

 Choose one of the big machines in the lab and draw a careful diagram

 Identify and label all the simple machines that work together to make the machine you’re investigating


Complex Machine 1: Tree Planter

Complex Machine 2: Goofy Rube Goldbergs

Complex Machine 3: Production Processes

Complex Machine 4: Engineering Machines

Part 3: College Tasks

College Tasks Overview

Each year, Lathrop Engineering is able to nominate a few students for the Presidential Scholars Award for CTE & Engineering.  This school, state, and national recognition is for students that demonstrate excellence in the field of engineering and a devotion to their academics.  In this part of our unit you’ll complete an application for this recognition by putting together the needed documents.  

You’ll also need to write one 2-page essay that describes your engineering experience, your overall academic abilities, your leadership, and your creativity.  This is a very open-ended personal essay, but should focus on your accomplishments as a student and citizen while in high school.


 Compile application documents

 Write 2-page Personal Essay 

 Have Mr. Benshoof edit your essay!