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.
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 make a simple conductivity tester using a battery and light bulb. They learn the difference between conductors and insulators of electrical energy as they test a variety of materials for their ability to conduct electricity.
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 are introduced to sound energy concepts and how engineers use sound energy. Through hands-on activities and demonstrations, students examine how we know sound exists by listening to and seeing sound waves. They learn to describe sound in terms of its pitch, volume and frequency. They explore how sound waves move through liquids, solids and gases. They also identify the different pitches and frequencies, and create high- and low-pitch sound waves.
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.
In this activity, students will use a tutorial on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website to learn about how surface water is treated to make it safe to drink.
Students are introduced to the idea of electrical energy. They learn about the relationships between charge, voltage, current and resistance. They discover that electrical energy is the form of energy that powers most of their household appliances and toys. In the associated activities, students learn how a circuit works and test materials to see if they conduct electricity. Building upon a general understanding of electrical energy, they design their own potato power experiment. In two literacy activities, students learn about the electrical power grid and blackouts.
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 observe and discuss a vacuum cleaner model of a baghouse to better understand how this pollutant recovery method functions in cleaning industrial air pollution.
This lesson will allow students to explore an important role of environmental engineers: cleaning the environment. Students will learn details about the Exxon Valdez oil spill, which was one of the most publicized and studied environmental tragedies in history. In the accompanying activity, they will try many "engineered" strategies to clean up their own manufactured oil spill and learn the difficulties of dealing with oil released into our waters.
This hands-on experiment will provide students with an understanding of the issues that surround environmental cleanup. Students will create their own oil spill, try different methods for cleaning it up, and then discuss the merits of each method in terms of effectiveness (cleanliness) and cost. They will be asked to put themselves in the place of both an environmental engineer and an oil company owner who are responsible for the clean-up.
Students learn about oil spills and their environmental and economic effects. They experience the steps of the engineering design process as they brainstorm potential methods for oil spill clean-up, and then design, build, and re-design oil booms to prevent the spread of oil spills. During a reflective session after cleaning up their oil booms, students come up with ideas on how to reduce oil consumption to prevent future oil spills.
Students engage in an interactive "hot potato" demonstration to gain an appreciation for the flow of electrons through a circuit. Students role play the different parts of a simple circuit and send small items representing electrons (paper or candy pieces) through the circuit.
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.
Students use potatoes to light an LED clock (or light bulb) as they learn how a battery works in a simple circuit and how chemical energy changes to electrical energy. As they learn more about electrical energy, they better understand the concepts of voltage, current and resistance.
Students examine the existence of sound by listening to and seeing sound waves while conducting a set of simple activities as a class or in pairs at stations. Students describe sound in terms of its pitch, volume and frequency. They use this knowledge to discuss how engineers study sound waves to help people who cannot hear or talk.
Student groups rotate through four stations to examine light energy behavior: refraction, magnification, prisms and polarization. They see how a beam of light is refracted (bent) through various transparent mediums. While learning how a magnifying glass works, students see how the orientation of an image changes with the distance of the lens from its focal point. They also discover how a prism works by refracting light and making rainbows. And, students investigate the polar nature of light using sunglasses and polarized light film.