All resources in Nebraska Science K -12

Keepers of the Gate

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Through two lessons and five activities, students explore the structure and function of cell membranes. Specific transport functions, including active and passive transport, are presented. In the legacy cycle tradition, students are motivated with a Grand Challenge question. As they study the ingress and egress of particles through membranes, students learn about quantum dots and biotechnology through the concept of intracellular engineering.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Author: Melinda M. Higgins

Ramp and Review (for High School)

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In this hands-on activity rolling a ball down an incline and having it collide into a cup the concepts of mechanical energy, work and power, momentum, and friction are all demonstrated. During the activity, students take measurements and use equations that describe these energy of motion concepts to calculate unknown variables and review the relationships between these concepts.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Ben Sprague, Chris Yakacki, Denise W. Carlson, Janet Yowell, Malinda Schaefer Zarske

Clean Up This Mess

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Students are challenged to design a method for separating steel from aluminum based on magnetic properties as is frequently done in recycling operations. To complicate the challenge, the magnet used to separate the steel must be able to be switched off to allow for the recollection of the steel. Students must ultimately design, test, and present an effective electromagnet.

Material Type: Unit of Study

Author: Justin Montenegro

Solar Water: Heat it Up!

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Students explore energy efficiency, focusing on renewable energy, by designing and building flat-plate solar water heaters. They apply their understanding of the three forms of heat transfer (conduction, convection and radiation), as well as how they relate to energy efficiency. They calculate the efficiency of the solar water heaters during initial and final tests and compare the efficiencies to those of models currently sold on the market (requiring some additional investigation by students). After comparing efficiencies, students explain how they would further improve their devices. Students learn about the trade-offs between efficiency and cost by calculating the total cost of their devices and evaluating cost per percent efficiency and per degree change of the water.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Amanda Giuliani, Darcie Chinnis, Marissa H. Forbes, Odessa Gomez

All Things Being Equal

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This set of a teacher and student guides provides instruction on a 2-3 day series of activities about Le Chatelier’s principle, which shows the effect of changes to conditions in an equilibrium reaction. Students work in pairs or groups to develop their concepts of equilibrium and the effects of changing the amount of reactants or products on an equilibrium system. The concepts are presented and analyzed using graphical representations, qualitative lab data, and modelling. The first part addresses the misconception that equal amounts are required for equilibrium through using a mini-activity that involves the transfer of water between beakers. The second part is a lab activity where students will see how an equilibrium system reacts to a change in concentration. The third part uses manipulatives to understand how an equilibrium operates using the mathematical equilibrium constant (Ksp) at the particulate view.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Hybrid Vehicle Design Challenge

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Through four lessons and four hands-on associated activities, this unit provides a way to teach the overarching concept of energy as it relates to both kinetic and potential energy. Within these topics, students are exposed to gravitational potential, spring potential, the Carnot engine, temperature scales and simple magnets. During the module, students apply these scientific concepts to solve the following engineering challenge: "The rising price of gasoline has many effects on the US economy and the environment. You have been contracted by an engineering firm to help design a physical energy storage system for a new hybrid vehicle for Nissan. How would you go about solving this problem? What information would you consider to be important to know? You will create a small prototype of your design idea and make a sales pitch to Nissan at the end of the unit." This module is built around the Legacy Cycle, a format that incorporates findings from educational research on how people best learn. This module is written for a first-year algebra-based physics class, though it could easily be modified for conceptual physics.

Material Type: Full Course, Unit of Study

Author: Joel Daniel

Environmental Challenges in China: From Rural Villages to Big Cities

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Students learn about the wonderful and fascinating country of China, and its environmental challenges that require engineering solutions, many in the form of increased energy efficiency, the incorporation of renewable energy, and new engineering developments for urban and rural areas. China is fast becoming an extremely influential factor in our world today, and will likely have a large role in shaping the decades ahead. China is the world's largest energy consumer and the largest producer of carbon dioxide emissions, leading engineers and scientists to be concerned about the role these emissions play in rural and urban public and environmental health, as well as in global climate change. Through exploring some sources of air pollution, appropriate housing for different climate zones, and the types of renewable energy, the lessons and activities of this unit present ways that engineers are helping people in China, using an approach to cleaner, smarter, healthier and more-efficient ways of living that apply to people wherever they live.

Material Type: Full Course, Unit of Study

Authors: Abigail T. Watrous, Denise W. Carlson, Janet Yowell, Stephanie Rivale

Solar System!

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An introduction to our solar system the planets, our Sun and Moon. To begin, students learn about the history and engineering of space travel. They make simple rockets to acquire a basic understanding Newton's third law of motion. They explore energy transfer concepts and use renewable solar energy for cooking. They see how engineers design tools, equipment and spacecraft to go where it is too far and too dangerous for humans. They explore the Earth's water cycle, and gravity as applied to orbiting bodies. They learn the steps of the design process as they create their own models of planetary rovers made of edible parts. Students conduct experiments to examine soil for signs of life, and explore orbit transfers. While studying about the International Space Station, they investigate the realities of living in space. Activities explore low gravity on human muscles, eating in microgravity, and satellite tracking. Finally, students learn about the context of our solar system the universe as they learn about the Hubble Space Telescope, celestial navigation and spectroscopy.

Material Type: Full Course, Unit of Study

Solar Sense

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In this activity, you will investigate and measure how sunlight is distributed on the earth’s surface in different seasons, illustrating that the seasonal temperature variation has nothing to do with the distance from the earth to the sun, and everything to do with how much direct sunlight a region gets. You will be able to observe how direct sun rays deliver considerably more energy to the earth’s surface than indirect rays.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Author: Rylan Cheney

Unit 5: Evolution

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For this unit plan, see the old unit calendar (link on left sidebar, click ALT5 tab at the bottom).  Once we update this unit to the new Doc template, we will post it here. This is now unit 5, but it used to be unit 6 (we will update file and folder numbering as we continue to revise the units). Thanks for your patience as we work hard this year to update all of the materials to the new unit template and unit/standards arrangements.

Material Type: Unit of Study