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The Way Things Work Now, Part Two

Through dynamic and fun learning, grasp how everyday objects work – from light and images, to telecommunications and sound, to electricity and magnetism, and more!

Total classes: 14

Prerequisite: The Way Things Work Now, Part One, or equivalent

Suggested grade level: 6th to 9th grade

Suggested credit: One full semester Engineering or Applied Science


Using David Macaulay’s book The Way Things Work Now, we will explore how everyday objects work. Too often, the technology around us seems like magic; in this course we will learn everything from doorknobs to sewing machines to computers!


Week 1: Light
Week 2: Images and Photography
Week 3: Printing
Week 4: Sound and Music
Week 5: Telecommunications
Week 6: Electricity
Week 7: Magnetism
Week 8: Review for Midterm
Week 9: Sensors and Detectors
Week 10: Making Bits
Week 11: Storing Bits
Week 12: Processing Bits
Week 13: Sending Bits
Week 14: Review for Final

Materials and Homework

Course materials: The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay, ISBN: 978-0544824386 (https://amzn.to/3qoQTt1 or BookFinder.com).

Homework: Each week students will be required to read a selection from the textbook, take a short 10-question quiz, and try to find and examine a machine in their own house that uses the principles talked about in class.

Important Dates

Class dates: Fridays, January 12 to April 26, 2024. No class February 16 (mid-semester break) or March 29 (Good Friday) or April 5 (Easter Friday).

Class times: 11:30 AM Eastern (10:30 Central, 9:30 Mountain, 8:30 Pacific)

Duration per class: 45 minutes

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