In this lesson, students expand their understanding of solid waste management to include the idea of 3RC (reduce, reuse, recycle and compost). They will look at the effects of packaging decisions (reducing) and learn about engineering advancements in packaging materials and solid waste management. Also, they will observe biodegradation in a model landfill (composting).
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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.
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.
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).
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 explore the concept of biodegradability by building and observing model landfills to test the decomposition of samples of everyday garbage items. They collect and record experiment observations over five days, seeing for themselves what happens to trash when it is thrown "away" in a landfill environment. This shows them the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable and serves to introduce them to the idea of composting. Students also learn about the role of engineering in solid waste management.
Students learn the meaning of preservation and conservation and identify themselves and others as preservationists or conservationists in relation to specific environmental issues. They use Venn diagrams to clarify the similarities and differences in viewpoints. They see how an environmental point-of-view affects the approach to an engineering problem.
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.
In this activity, students investigate different methods (aeration and filtering) for removing pollutants from water. They will design and build their own water filters.
Students use a sponge and water model to explore the concept of relative humidity and create a percent scale.
In this activity, students create a "web" to identify and demonstrate the interactions among the living and non-living parts of an environment. This information allows students to better understand what an environment is and to also consider how engineers use teamwork to solve problems.
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 build and observe a simple aneroid barometer to learn about changes in barometric pressure and weather forecasting.
This lesson introduces students to the concepts of air pollution and technologies that have been developed by engineers to reduce air pollution. Students develop an understanding of visible air pollutants with an incomplete combustion demonstration, a "smog in a jar" demonstration, construction of simple particulate matter collectors and by exploring engineering roles related to air pollution. Next, students develop awareness and understanding of the daily air quality and trends in air quality using the Air Quality Index (AQI) listed in the newspaper. Finally, students build and observe a variety of simple models in order to develop an understanding of how engineers use these technologies to clean up and prevent air pollution.
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.
In this lesson, students will learn about types of land use by humans and evaluate the ways land is used in their local community. They will also consider the environmental effects of the different types of land use. Students will assume the role of community planning engineers and will create a future plan for their community. (Note: Teachers will need to check out the following book from the local or school library: Durell, Ann, Craighead George, Jean, and Paterson, Katherine. The Big Book For Our Planet, New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1993).
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.