Students conduct a simple experiment to model and explore the harmful effects of acid rain (vinegar) on living (green leaf and eggshell) and non-living (paper clip) objects.
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Students are introduced to the differences between acids and bases and how to use indicators, such as pH paper and red cabbage juice, to distinguish between them.
By watching and performing several simple experiments, students develop an understanding of the properties of air: it has mass, it takes up space, it can move, it exerts pressure, it can do work.
Students learn how forces are used in the creation of art. They come to understand that it is not just bridge and airplane designers who are concerned about how forces interact with objects, but artists as well. As "paper engineers," students create their own mobiles and pop-up books, and identify and use the forces (air currents, gravity, hand movement) acting upon them.
Using gumdrops and toothpicks, students conduct a large-group, interactive ozone depletion model. Students explore the dynamic and competing upper atmospheric roles of the protective ozone layer, the sun's UV radiation and harmful human-made CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons).
In this math activity, students conduct a strength test using modeling clay, creating their own stress vs. strain graphs, which they compare to typical steel and concrete graphs. They learn the difference between brittle and ductile materials and how understanding the strength of materials, especially steel and concrete, is important for engineers who design bridges and structures.
Students explore how tension and compression forces act on three different bridge types. Using sponges, cardboard and string, they create models of beam, arch and suspension bridges and apply forces to understand how they disperse or transfer these loads.
Students are presented with a brief history of bridges as they learn about the three main bridge types: beam, arch and suspension. They are introduced to two natural forces tension and compression common to all bridges and structures. Throughout history, and today, bridges are important for connecting people to resources, places and other people. Students become more aware of the variety and value of bridges around us in our everyday lives.
Students create their own anemometers instruments for measuring wind speed. They see how an anemometer measures wind speed by taking measurements at various school locations. They also learn about different types of anemometers, real-world applications, and how wind speed information helps engineers decide where to place wind turbines.
Students observe and discuss a simple balloon model of an electrostatic precipitator to better understand how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.
Students learn about the many types of expenses associated with building a bridge. Working like engineers, they estimate the cost for materials for a bridge member of varying sizes. After making calculations, they graph their results to compare how costs change depending on the use of different materials (steel vs. concrete). They conclude by creating a proposal for a city bridge design based on their findings.
By tracing the movement of radiation released during an accident at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, students see how air pollution, like particulate matter, can become a global issue.
Students learn about the types of possible loads, how to calculate ultimate load combinations, and investigate the different sizes for the beams (girders) and columns (piers) of simple bridge design. Students learn the steps that engineers use to design bridges: understanding the problem, determining the potential bridge loads, calculating the highest possible load, and calculating the amount of material needed to resist the loads.
Students use a sponge and water model to explore the concept of relative humidity and create a percent scale.
Students are introduced to the idea that energy use impacts the environment and our wallets. They discuss different types of renewable and nonrenewable energy sources, as well as the impacts of energy consumption. Through a series of activities, students understand how they use energy and how it is transformed from one type to another. They learn innovative ways engineers conserve energy and how energy can be conserved in their homes.
Students search for clues of energy around them. They use what they find to create their own definition of energy. They also relate their energy clues to the engineering products they encounter every day.
This six-day lesson provides students with an introduction to the importance of energy in their lives and the need to consider how and why we consume the energy we do. The lesson includes activities to engage students in general energy issues, including playing an award-winning Energy Choices board game, and an optional graphing activity that provides experience with MS Excel graphing and perspectives on how we use energy and how much energy we use.
Students learn about applied forces as they create pop-up-books the art of paper engineering. They also learn the basic steps of the engineering design process.
Students drop water from different heights to demonstrate the conversion of water's potential energy to kinetic energy. They see how varying the height from which water is dropped affects the splash size. They follow good experiment protocol, take measurements, calculate averages and graph results. In seeing how falling water can be used to do work, they also learn how this energy transformation figures into the engineering design and construction of hydroelectric power plants, dams and reservoirs.
Air is one of Earth's most precious resources, and we need to take care of it in order to preserve the environment and protect human health. To this end, students develop their understanding of visible air pollutants with an incomplete combustion demonstration, a "smog in a jar" demonstration, and by building simple particulate matter collectors.
Students explore the effects of regional geology on bridge foundation, including the variety of soil conditions found beneath foundations. They learn about shallow and deep foundations, as well as the concepts of bearing pressure and settlement.
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Students build and observe a simple aneroid barometer to learn about changes in barometric pressure and weather forecasting.
Students observe demonstrations, and build and evaluate simple models to understand the greenhouse effect and the role of increased greenhouse gas concentration in global warming.
Students develop an understanding of air pressure by using candy or cookie wafers to model how it changes with altitude, by comparing its magnitude to gravitational force per unit area, and by observing its magnitude with an aluminum can crushing experiment.
Students develop their understanding of the effects of invisible air pollutants with a rubber band air test, a bean plant experiment and by exploring engineering roles related to air pollution. In an associated literacy activity, students develop visual literacy and write photograph captions. They learn how images are manipulated for a powerful effect and how a photograph can make the invisible (such as pollutants) visible. Note: You may want to set up the activities for Air Pollution unit, Lessons 2 and 3, simultaneously as they require extended data collection time and can share collection sites.
Student teams model the Earth's greenhouse effect using modeling clay, ice chunks, water, aluminum pie tins and plastic wrap. They observe and record what happens in this closed environment and discuss the implications of global warming theory for engineers, themselves and the Earth.
Students identify types and sources of indoor air pollutants in their school and home environments. They evaluate actions that can be taken to reduce and prevent poor indoor air quality. In an associated literacy activity, students develop a persuasive peer-to-peer case against smoking with the goal to understand how language usage can influence perception, attitudes and behavior.
Students observe and discuss a vacuum cleaner model of a baghouse to better understand how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.
Students observe demonstrations, and build and evaluate simple models to understand the greenhouse effect, the role of increased greenhouse gas concentration in global warming, and the implications of global warming theory for engineers, themselves and the Earth. In an associated literacy activity, students learn how a bill becomes law and research global warming legislation.
Students take a hands-on look at the design of bridge piers (columns). First they brainstorm types of loads that might affect a Colorado bridge. Then they determine the maximum possible load for that scenario, and calculate the cross-sectional area of a column designed to support that load. Choosing from clay, foam or marshmallows, they create model columns and test their calculations.
Students observe and discuss a cup and pencil model of a cyclone to better understand the science behind how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.
The application of engineering principles is explored in the creation of mobiles. As students create their own mobiles, they take into consideration the forces of gravity and convection air currents. They learn how an understanding of balancing forces is important in both art and engineering design.
In a class demonstration, students observe a simple water cycle model to better understand its role in pollutant transport. This activity shows one way in which pollution is affected by the water cycle; it simulates a point source of pollution in a lake and the resulting environmental consequences.
Students explore the causes and effects of the Earth's ozone holes through discussion and an interactive simulation. In an associated literacy activity, students learn how to tell a story in order to make a complex topic (such as global warming or ozone holes) easier for a reader to grasp.
Students are introduced to acids and bases, and the environmental problem of acid rain. They explore ways to use indicators to distinguish between acids and bases. Students also conduct a simple experiment to model and discuss the harmful effects of acid rain on our living and non-living environment, as well as how engineers address acid rain. In an associated literacy activity, students learn how persuasive techniques are used to develop an argument, and create an environmental case study.
Looking at models and maps, students explore different pathways and consequences of pollutant transport via the weather and water cycles. In an associated literacy activity, students develop skills of observation, recording and reporting as they follow the weather forecast and produce their own weather report for the class.
To further their understanding of sound energy, students identify the different pitches and frequencies created by a vibrating ruler and a straw kazoo. They create high- and low-pitch sound waves.
To develop an understanding of modern industrial technologies that clean up and prevent air pollution, students build and observe a variety of simple models of engineering pollutant recovery methods: scrubber, electrostatic precipitator, cyclone and baghouse. In an associated literacy activity, students become more aware of global environmental problems and play a part in their solution by writing environmental action campaign letters.
Why do we care about air? Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in... most, if not all, humans do this automatically. Do we really know what is in the air we breathe? In this activity, students use M&M(TM) candies to create pie graphs that show their understanding of the composition of air. They discuss why knowing this information is important to engineers and how engineers use this information to improve technology to better care for our planet.
Students learn how water is used to generate electricity. They investigate water's potential-to-kinetic energy transformation in hands-on activities about falling water and waterwheels. During the activities, they take measurements, calculate averages and graph results. Students also learn the history of the waterwheel and how engineers use water turbines in hydroelectric power plants today. They discover the advantages and disadvantages of hydroelectric power. In a literacy activity, students learn and write about an innovative new hydro-electrical power generation technology.