All resources in Hawaii DOE Science

Natural Disasters

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Students are introduced to our planet's structure and its dynamic system of natural forces through an examination of the natural hazards of earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, tsunamis, floods and tornados, as well as avalanches, fires, hurricanes and thunderstorms. They see how these natural events become disasters when they impact people, and how engineers help to make people safe from them. Students begin by learning about the structure of the Earth; they create clay models showing the Earth's layers, see a continental drift demo, calculate drift over time, and make fault models. They learn how earthquakes happen; they investigate the integrity of structural designs using model seismographs. Using toothpicks and mini-marshmallows, they create and test structures in a simulated earthquake on a tray of Jell-O. Students learn about the causes, composition and types of volcanoes, and watch and measure a class mock eruption demo, observing the phases that change a mountain's shape. Students learn that the different types of landslides are all are the result of gravity, friction and the materials involved. Using a small-scale model of a debris chute, they explore how landslides start in response to variables in material, slope and water content. Students learn about tsunamis, discovering what causes them and makes them so dangerous. Using a table-top-sized tsunami generator, they test how model structures of different material types fare in devastating waves. Students learn about the causes of floods, their benefits and potential for disaster. Using riverbed models made of clay in baking pans, students simulate the impact of different river volumes, floodplain terrain and levee designs in experimental trials. They learn about the basic characteristics, damage and occurrence of tornadoes, examining them closely by creating water vortices in soda bottles. They complete mock engineering analyses of tornado damage, analyze and graph US tornado damage data, and draw and present structure designs intended to withstand high winds.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Naturally Disastrous

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Students are introduced to natural disasters, and learn the difference between natural hazards and natural disasters. They discover the many types of natural hazards avalanche, earthquake, flood, forest fire, hurricane, landslide, thunderstorm, tornado, tsunami and volcano as well as specific examples of natural disasters. Students also explore why understanding these natural events is important to engineers and everyone's survival on our planet.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Authors: Denise W. Carlson, Geoffrey Hill, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

Save Our City!

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Students learn about various natural hazards and specific methods engineers use to prevent these hazards from becoming natural disasters. They study a hypothetical map of an area covered with natural hazards and decide where to place natural disaster prevention devices by applying their critical thinking skills and an understanding of the causes of natural disasters.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Authors: Denise Carlson, Geoffrey Hill, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

Faraday's Electromagnetic Lab

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Play with a bar magnet and coils to learn about Faraday's law. Move a bar magnet near one or two coils to make a light bulb glow. View the magnetic field lines. A meter shows the direction and magnitude of the current. View the magnetic field lines or use a meter to show the direction and magnitude of the current. You can also play with electromagnets, generators and transformers!

Material Type: Simulation

Authors: Archie Paulson, Carl Wieman, Chris Malley, Danielle Harlow, Kathy Perkins, Michael Dubson

Got Energy? Spinning a Food Web

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Students learn about energy flow in food webs, including the roles of the sun, producers, consumers and decomposers in the energy cycle. They model a food web and create diagrams of food webs using their own drawings and/or images from nature or wildlife magazines. Students investigate the links between the sun, plants and animals, building their understanding of the web of nutrient dependency and energy transfer.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Authors: Christopher Valenti, Denise Carlson, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

Energy Conversions

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Students evaluate various everyday energy conversion devices and draw block flow diagrams to show the forms and states of energy into and out of the device. They also identify the forms of energy that are useful and the desired output of the device as well as the forms that are not useful for the intended use of the item. This can be used to lead into the law of conservation of energy and efficiency. The student activity is preceded by a demonstration of a more complicated system to convert chemical energy to heat energy to mechanical energy. Drawing the block energy conversion diagram for this system models the activity that the students then do themselves for other simpler systems.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Authors: Jan DeWaters, Susan Powers

Conservation of Mass

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This activity was designed for blind learners, but all types of learners can participate to learn about conservation of gas. This is one of the classic experiments using baking soda and vinegar. The expansion of a balloon with gas provides a tactile experience as the gas is captured rather than being released into the air. The evidence of conservation of mass is supported by the collection of data, by weighing the masses of the reactants before and after the experiment. Learners with visual impairments and sighted students can also learn that matter is neither created nor destroyed during a chemical change.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Perkins School for the Blind

Food Packaging

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This lesson focuses on how food packages are designed and made. Students will learn three of the main functions of a food package. They will learn what is necessary of the design and materials of a package to keep food clean, protect or aid in the physical and chemical changes that can take place in a food, and identify a food appealingly. Then, in the associated activity, the students will have the opportunity to become packaging engineers by designing and building their own food package for a particular type of food.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Author: Chloe Mawer

Classify That!

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In this lesson, from Science NetLinks, students will get acquainted with diverse forms of life by using modern biological classification systems to group animals that are related. Students will learn about basic scientific groupings like genus, species, mammals, fish, birds, amphibians, and reptiles. One of the websites featured in this lesson allows them to pair different vertebrate animals and learn more about their common traits. By doing this, students will begin to classify organisms in a more sophisticated way.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy