A new approach to engineering labs

Christopher Klemm’s Principles of Engineering students at Northland High School enjoyed GrowNextGen’s Biodiesel lab “Making biodiesel from soybeans”. After attending the Ohio Soybean Council-sponsored summer workshop, Klemm decided to introduce the lab in his classroom.

Klemm said his sophomore students were very excited about making biodiesel and testing it with the putt-putt boats. “I was not prepared for their lack of lab skills—they had virtually no experience running a chemical lab. They made mistakes, but learned a great deal about lab safety and following directions. This lab also helped them with process skills and lab techniques, all related to state standards.”

This lesson helped Klemm realize the need to do more labs in engineering that are not related to robotics, programming, and electrical. “This type of lab opens a more diverse discussion of engineering opportunities.” His students enjoyed the process, culminating in testing the fuel product and discussing how the boats functioned and the reasons that some of the fuels did not work.

Klemm said, “This lab reminded me to keep the class the class fun and interesting. It is clear to me the students need labs like this often because everything they learned was applicable to the engineering curriculum.”

Be sure to consider our labs for your science lessons!