Kids love exploring the world around them, and Earth Day offers a great way to introduce them to environmental science and engineering. The following sampler includes activities, lessons, and resources that promote green engineering and science learning.
In this activity, teams of students in grades 5 to 7 learn about environmental, civil, and sanitation engineering by designing and building model landfills that hold the most garbage, minimize costs, and prevent trash and contaminated “rainwater” from polluting the nearby “city.” Teams test their landfills, and graph and compare designs for capacity, cost, and performance.
In this activity, students in grades 5 to 12 learn about accuracy, precision, and simple machines by working in teams to design and build a robotic basketball “player” that can nail a free-throw shot three times in a row.
Tags: accuracy, basketball, biomechanical engineering, biomechanics, catapult, Class Activities, Engineering, lever, Mathematics, percentages, Physics, precision, projectile, Robotics, simple machines, Sports Engineering, statistics
In this activity, teams of students in grades 6 to 8 will learn about the engineering design process and how a one-way valve works by creating heart valves from tape, plastic tubing, and other materials.
Students in grades 1 to 6 follow the engineering design process to build and test a catapult that launches projectiles, such as marshmallow “pumpkins.” They then make changes to improve their launcher’s aim and distance it can hurl the projectile.
Students in grades 3 – 12 explore how the development of seismographs has helped save lives worldwide by working in teams to design their own seismograph from everyday items, test its ability to record a simulated classroom earthquake, evaluate their results, and report to the class.
In this lesson, students in grades 8 to 10 experience civil and environmental engineering by planning a housing development while also protecting the native species that live there. They conduct research, draw plans, make brochures, and give presentations, with each four-member team having a project manager, civil engineer, environmental engineer, and graphic designer.
In this activity, teams of middle school students explore the engineering design process and materials used to package food by designing and testing a package for a snack. The goal is for students to understand the basic engineering involved in designing food packaging.
In this service-learning activity, teams of students in grades 10-12 learn the basic principles of fluid dynamics by designing and testing a prototype system to pipe water from a storage tank to a Tippy Tap hand-washing station similar to inexpensive homemade devices used extensively in the developing world.
Tags: Agricultural Engineering, Bernoulli, Class Activities, developing nation, energy conservation, Environmental Engineering, fluid dynamics, Grades 9-12, Lesson Plan, pipe systems, pipes, pressure, sanitation, service learning, velocity, Water