Students learn about the periodic table and how pervasive the elements are in our daily lives. After reviewing the table organization and facts about the first 20 elements, they play an element identification game. They also learn that engineers incorporate these elements into the design of new products and processes. Acting as computer and animation engineers, students creatively express their new knowledge by creating a superhero character based on of the elements they now know so well. They will then pair with another superhero and create a dynamic duo out of the two elements, which will represent a molecule.
Students learn about energy and nutrient flow in various biosphere climates and environments. They learn about herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, food chains and food webs, seeing the interdependence between producers, consumers and decomposers. Students are introduced to the roles of the hydrologic (water), carbon, and nitrogen cycles in sustaining the worlds' ecosystems so living organisms survive. This lesson is part of a series of six lessons in which students use their growing understanding of various environments and the engineering design process, to design and create their own model biodome ecosystems.
Nitrogen, one of the most abundant elements in the universe, is essential to life. This interactive activity adapted from the University of Alberta provides an overview of the nitrogen cycle.
The nitrogen cycle game helps you learn how nitrogen atoms move through various forms including soil, the atmosphere, plants and animals. Actions such as lightening, bacteria digestion, plant assimilation, plant death, animal death, herbivorism and nitrogen fixing plant bacteria move nitrogen from one form to another.
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.
In this activity students learn that elements are the basic building blocks of all things found on Earth and in space including water, the human body, and the Earth, the Sun, and the planets. By counting elements extracted from sample of beads designed to simulate a Genesis sampling grid, they will learn how the extraction of atoms from the Genesis samples help scientists have a better understanding of the abundances of elements in the solar wind. The hands-on experience helps students to discover that the elemental abundances from the sun can be used as a baseline to compare with the diverse bodies of our solar system. A student worksheet and data spreadsheet are provided.