IMLS Curation Group

Collecting resources for Science Inquiry and STEM
2 members | 108 affiliated resources

All resources in IMLS Curation Group

The Changing Geographic Distribution of Malaria with Global Climate Warming

(View Complete Item Description)

This activity engages students in the analysis of climate data to first find areas in the southern United States that are now close to having conditions in which the malaria parasite and its mosquito hosts thrive and then attempt to forecast when areas might become climatically suitable.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Carleton College, Kendra Murray, Mary Savina, SERC Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences Collection

Bubbling Plants

(View Complete Item Description)

Students learn a simple technique for quantifying the amount of photosynthesis that occurs in a given period of time, using a common water plant (Elodea). They can use this technique to compare the amounts of photosynthesis that occur under conditions of low and high light levels. Before they begin the experiment, however, students must come up with a well-worded hypothesis to be tested. After running the experiment, students pool their data to get a large sample size, determine the measures of central tendency of the class data, and then graph and interpret the results.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Author: Mary R. Hebrank

Digest Your Food!

(View Complete Item Description)

In a multi-week experiment, student teams gather biogas data from the mini-anaerobic digesters that they build to break down different types of food waste with microbes. Using plastic soda bottles for the mini-anaerobic digesters and gas measurement devices, they compare methane gas production from decomposing hot dogs, diced vs. whole. They monitor and measure the gas production, then graph and analyze the collected data. Students learn how anaerobic digestion can be used to biorecycle waste (food, poop or yard waste) into valuable resources (nutrients, biogas, energy).

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Caryssa Joustra, Daniel Yeh, Emanuel Burch, George Dick, Herby Jean, Ivy Drexler, Jorge Calabria, Lyudmila Haralampieva, Matthew Woodham, Onur Ozcan, Robert Bair, Stephanie Quintero

The Great Algae Race

(View Complete Item Description)

In a multi-week experiment, student groups gather data from the photobioreactors that they build to investigate growth conditions that make algae thrive best. Using plastic soda bottles, pond water and fish tank aerators, they vary the amount of carbon dioxide (or nutrients or sunlight, as an extension) available to the microalgae. They compare growth in aerated vs. non-aerated conditions. They measure growth by comparing the color of their algae cultures in the bottles to a color indicator scale. Then they graph and analyze the collected data to see which had the fastest growth. Students learn how plants biorecycle carbon dioxide into organic carbon (part of the carbon cycle) and how engineers apply their understanding of this process to maximize biofuel production.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Caryssa Joustra, Daniel Yeh, Emanuel Burch, George Dick, Herby Jean, Ivy Drexler, Jorge Calabria, Lyudmila Haralampieva, Matthew Woodham, Onur Ozcan, Robert Bair, Stephanie Quintero

Exploring NCAR Climate Change Data Using GIS

(View Complete Item Description)

This Earth Exploration Toolbook chapter uses ArcGIS and climate data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Climate Change Scenarios GIS Data Portal to help users learn the basics of GIS-based climate modeling. The five-part exercise involves calculating summer average temperatures for the present day and future climate modeled output, visually comparing the temperature differences for the two model runs, and creating a temperature anomaly map to highlight air temperature increases or decreases around the world.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Cathy Reznicek, Constantin Cranganu, David Smith, Earth Exploration Toolbook, Jennifer Boehnert, Lawrence Buja, Michele Thornton, Olga Wilhelmi

Counting Calories

(View Complete Item Description)

The students discover the basics of heat transfer in this activity by constructing a constant pressure calorimeter to determine the heat of solution of potassium chloride in water. They first predict the amount of heat consumed by the reaction using analytical techniques. Then they calculate the specific heat of water using tabulated data, and use this information to predict the temperature change. Next, the students will design and build a calorimeter and then determine its specific heat. After determining the predicted heat lost to the device, students will test the heat of solution. The heat given off by the reaction can be calculated from the change in temperature of the water using an equation of heat transfer. They will compare this with the value they predicted with their calculations, and then finish by discussing the error and its sources, and identifying how to improve their design to minimize these errors.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: James Prager, Janet Yowell, Malinda Zarske, Megan Schroeder

Creepy Silly Putty

(View Complete Item Description)

Students learn about viscoelastic material behavior, such as strain rate dependence and creep, by using silly putty, an easy-to-make polymer material. They learn how to make silly putty, observe its behavior with different strain rates, and then measure the creep time of different formulations of silly putty. By seeing the viscoelastic behavior of silly putty, students start to gain an understanding of how biological materials function. Students gain experience in data collection, graph interpretation, and comparison of material properties to elucidate material behavior. It is recommended that students perform Part 1of the activity first (making and playing with silly putty), then receive the content and concept information in the associated lesson, and then complete Part 2 of the activity (experimenting and making measurements with silly putty).

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Brandi N. Briggs, Denise W. Carlson, Marissa H. Forbes

Using a mass balance model to understand carbon dioxide and its connection to global warming

(View Complete Item Description)

Students explore the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 40 years with an interactive online model. They use the model and observations to estimate present emission rates and emission growth rates. The model is then used to estimate future levels of carbon dioxide using different future emission scenarios. These different scenarios are then linked by students to climate model predictions also used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Robert MacKay, SERC - Teaching Quantitative Skills in Geoscience Collection

Modeling the Process of Mining Silicon Through a Single Displacement / Redox Reaction

(View Complete Item Description)

The heart of this activity is a laboratory investigation that models the production of silicon. Students learn about silicon and its sources, uses, properties, importance in the fields of photovoltaics (solar cells/renewable energy) and integrated circuits industries, and, to a limited extent, environmental impact of silicon production.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Alexis Durow, Andrea Vermeer, National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)

Molecules: The Movement of Atoms

(View Complete Item Description)

Students work as engineers to learn about the properties of molecules and how they move in 3D space through the use of LEGO MINDSTORMS(TM) NXT robotics. They design and build molecular models and use different robotic sensors to control the movement of the molecular simulations. Students learn about the size of atoms, Newman projections, and the relationship of energy and strain on atoms. This unique modular modeling activity is especially helpful in providing students with a spatial and tactile understanding of how molecules behave.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Jennifer S. Haghpanah, Jill Fonda, Jin Kim Montclare, Noam Pillischer

Concord Consortium: Chemical Bonds

(View Complete Item Description)

This interactive activity helps learners visualize the role of electrons in the formation of ionic and covalent chemical bonds. Students explore different types of chemical bonds by first viewing a single hydrogen atom in an electric field model. Next, students use sliders to change the electronegativity between two atoms -- a model to help them understand why some atoms are attracted. Finally, students experiment in making their own models: non-polar covalent, polar covalent, and ionic bonds. This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology.

Material Type: Lesson

Authors: National Science Foundation, The Concord Consortium

Concord Consortium: Atomic Structure

(View Complete Item Description)

This interactive, scaffolded activity allows students to build an atom within the framework of a newer orbital model. It opens with an explanation of why the Bohr model is incorrect and provides an analogy for understanding orbitals that is simple enough for grades 8-9. As the activity progresses, students build atoms and ions by adding or removing protons, electrons, and neutrons. As changes are made, the model displays the atomic number, net charge, and isotope symbol. Try the "Add an Electron" page to build electrons around a boron nucleus and see how electrons align from lower-to-higher energy. This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. The Concord Consortium develops deeply digital learning innovations for science, mathematics, and engineering. The models are all freely accessible. Users may register for additional free access to capture data and store student work products.

Material Type: Lesson

Author: The Concord Consortium

Compact Fluorescent and LED Cost-Benefit Analysis

(View Complete Item Description)

In this activity, students collect data and analyze the cost of using energy in their homes and investigate one method of reducing energy use. This activity provides educators and students with the means to connect 'energy use consequences' and 'climate change causes.' Through examining home energy use and calculating both pollution caused by the generation of electricity and potential savings, students can internalize these issues and share information with their families.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Connecticut Energy Education

Accelerometer: Centripetal Acceleration

(View Complete Item Description)

Students work as physicists to understand centripetal acceleration concepts. They also learn about a good robot design and the accelerometer sensor. They also learn about the relationship between centripetal acceleration and centripetal force governed by the radius between the motor and accelerometer and the amount of mass at the end of the robot's arm. Students graph and analyze data collected from an accelerometer, and learn to design robots with proper weight distribution across the robot for their robotic arms. Upon using a data logging program, they view their own data collected during the activity. By activity end , students understand how a change in radius or mass can affect the data obtained from the accelerometer through the plots generated from the data logging program. More specifically, students learn about the accuracy and precision of the accelerometer measurements from numerous trials.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Carlo Yuvienco, Jennifer S. Haghpanah

Biomimicry: Echolocation in Robotics

(View Complete Item Description)

Students use ultrasonic sensors and LEGO© MINDSTORMS© NXT robots to emulate how bats use echolocation to detect obstacles. They measure the robot's reaction times as it senses objects at two distances and with different sensor threshold values, and again after making adjustments to optimize its effectiveness. Like engineers, they gather and graph data to analyze a given design (from the tutorial) and make modifications to the sensor placement and/or threshold values in order to improve the robot's performance (iterative design). Students see how problem solving with biomimicry design is directly related to understanding and making observations of nature.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: James Muldoon

Solar Water Heater

(View Complete Item Description)

Student teams design and build solar water heating devices that mimic those used in residences to capture energy in the form of solar radiation and convert it to thermal energy. In this activity, students gain a better understanding of the three different types of heat transfer, each of which plays a role in the solar water heater design. Once the model devices are constructed, students perform efficiency calculations and compare designs.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Denise W. Carlson, Landon B. Gennetten, Lauren Cooper, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, TeachEngineering from Integrated Teaching and Learning Program