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).
Students learn about the differences between types of water (surface and ground), as well as the differences between streams, rivers and lakes. Then, they learn about dissolved organic matter (DOM), and the role it plays in identifying drinking water sources. Finally, students are introduced to conventional drinking water treatment processes.
Students learn that dams do not last forever. Similar to other human-made structures, such as roads and bridges, dams require regular maintenance and have a finite lifespan. Many dams built during the 1930-70s, an era of intensive dam construction, have an expected life of 50-100 years. Due to inadequate maintenance and/or for environmental reasons, some of these dams will fail or be removed in the next 50 years. The engineers with Splash Engineering have an ethical obligation to remind Thirsty County of the maintenance and lifespan concerns associated with its dam.
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).
Our mission is to inspire the next generation of environmental stewards while protecting our planet's most precious pollinators. The resources we have provided are designed to engage students through observation-based and hands-on learning with a little help from our tiny friends -- the bees! This unit of study has ample resources including teacher guides, video links, material lists, background information, standards mapping, and engaging work for students.
Students learn about power generation using river currents. A white paper is a focused analysis often used to describe how a technology solves a problem. In this literacy activity, students write a simplified version of a white paper on an alternative electrical power generation technology. In the process, they develop their critical thinking skills and become aware of the challenge and promise of technological innovation that engineers help to make possible. This activity is geared towards fifth grade and older students and computer capabilities are required. Some portions of the activity may be appropriate with younger students. CAPTION: Upper Left: Trey Taylor, President of Verdant Power, talks about green power with a New York City sixth-grade class. Lower Left: Verdant Power logo. Center: Verdant Power's turbine evaluation vessel in New York's East River. In the background is a conventional power plant. Upper Right: The propeller-like turbine can be raised and lowered from the platform of the turbine evaluation vessel. Lower Right: Near the East River, Mr. Taylor explains to the class how water currents can generate electric power.
Bycatch can be defined as the act of unintentionally catching certain living creatures using fishing gear. A bycatched species is distinguished from a target species (the animal the gear is intended to catch) because it is not sold or used. Marine mammals (whales, dolphins, porpoises), seabirds, sea turtles and unwanted or undersized fish are some examples of animals caught as by-catch The incidental capture of these animals can significantly reduce their populations. The most well known example of by-catch may be the unintentional mortality of spotted and spinner dolphins in the tuna fishing industry. "Dolphin-Safe" tuna was a result of this interaction (Be prepared to discuss how this came about with students, as it is something close to their daily lives). One important aspect to consider when discussing this issue is that laws protect some of the animals caught as by-catch (Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act). In this lesson, students will first be shown pictures of entangled marine animals and will discuss the definition of by-catch This will lead to discussions on why by-catching exists, how it impacts specific animals as well as humans, whether the students believe it is an important issue, and how by-catch can be reduced.
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 a special branch of engineering called bioremediation, which is the use of living organisms to aid in the clean-up of pollutant spills. Students learn all about bioremediation and see examples of its importance. In the associated activity, students conduct an experiment and see bioremediation in action!
Meaningful STEM learning can happen at home as we use our imagination to solve real problems! This STEM project introduces students to the problem of oil spills around the world. The project culminates with students using their imagination to design a solution to the problem.
This resource is for teachers to develop their knowledge around climate science along with NGSS-aligned teaching strategies . Teachers can learn more about the following climate change impacts: coastal hazards, fire, human health, floods & droughts, agriculture and species & ecosystems. Users should reference the "STEM Seminar Slides_Template" as a guide for a daylong training and use the other materials as supplemental information and resources.
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.
Students are introduced to the world of creative engineering product design. Through six activities, teams work through the steps of the engineering design process (or loop) by completing an actual design challenge presented in six steps. The project challenge is left up to the teacher or class to determine; it might be one decided by the teacher, brainstormed with the class, or the example provided (to design a prosthetic arm that can perform a mechanical function). As students begin by defining the problem, they learn to recognize the need, identify a target population, relate to the project, and identify its requirements and constraints. Then they conduct research, brainstorm alternative solutions, evaluate possible solutions, create and test prototypes, and consider issues for manufacturing. See the Unit Schedule section for a list of example design project topics.
Students learn how the process of soil solarization is used to pasteurize agricultural fields before planting crops. Soil solarization is a pest control technique in agriculture that uses the sun’s radiation to heat the soil and eliminate unwanted pests that could harm the crops. The approach is compared to other pest control methods such as fumigation and herbicide application, highlighting the respective benefits and drawbacks. In preparation for the associated hands-on activity on soil biosolarization, students learn how changing the variables involved in the solarizing process (such as the tarp material, soil water content and addition of organic matter) impacts the technique’s effectiveness. A PowerPoint® presentation and pre/post-quiz is provided.
While the creation of a dam provides many benefits, it can have negative impacts on local ecosystems. Students learn about the major environmental impacts of dams and the engineering solutions used to address them.
Through eight lessons, students are introduced to many facets of dams, including their basic components, the common types (all designed to resist strong forces), their primary benefits (electricity generation, water supply, flood control, irrigation, recreation), and their importance (historically, currently and globally). Through an introduction to kinetic and potential energy, students come to understand how dams generate electricity. They learn about the structure, function and purpose of locks, which involves an introduction to Pascal's law, water pressure and gravity. Other lessons introduce students to common environmental impacts of dams and the engineering approaches to address them. They learn about the life cycle of salmon and the many engineered dam structures that aid in their river passage, as they think of their own methods and devices that could help fish migrate past dams. Students learn how dams and reservoirs become part of the Earth's hydrologic cycle, focusing on the role of evaporation. To conclude, students learn that dams do not last forever; they require ongoing maintenance, occasionally fail or succumb to "old age," or are no longer needed, and are sometimes removed. Through associated hands-on activities, students track their personal water usage; use clay and plastic containers to model and test four types of dam structures; use paper cups and water to learn about water pressure and Pascal's Law; explore kinetic energy by creating their own experimental waterwheel from two-liter plastic bottles; collect and count a stream's insects to gauge its health; play an animated PowerPoint game to quiz their understanding of the salmon life cycle and fish ladders; run a weeklong experiment to measure water evaporation and graph their data; and research eight dams to find out and compare their original purposes, current status, reservoir capacity and lifespan. Woven throughout the unit is a continuing hypothetical scenario in which students act as consulting engineers with a Splash Engineering firm, assisting Thirsty County in designing a dam for Birdseye River.
Students create a concept design of their very own net-zero energy classroom by pasting renewable energy and energy-efficiency items into and around a pretend classroom on a sheet of paper. They learn how these items (such as solar panels, efficient lights, computers, energy meters, etc.) interact to create a learning environment that produces as much energy as it uses.
Zombie Guacamole is a 6-8th unit created for migrant students engaged in summer learning. This 12 lesson unit offered in English and Spanish is driven by a real world phenomenon of a bowl of guacamole that was discovered at the bottom of a 25-year-old landfill perfectly preserved! Students in this unit develop models, investigate decomposition, and learn about local food webs and their waste stream through hands on activities. Contact EarthGen at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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 begin by reading Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" as an example of how overdevelopment can cause long-lasting environmental destruction. Students discuss how to balance the needs of the environment with the needs of human industry. Student teams are asked to serve as natural resource engineers, city planning engineers and civil engineers with the task to replant the nearly destroyed forest and develop a sustainable community design that can co-exist with the re-established natural area.