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Earth Day Resources

Earth in Our HandsKids 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.

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Activity: Robot Basketball

basketball robotIn 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.

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Lesson: No Valve in Vain

heart beatIn 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.

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Lesson: Target Practice – Pumpkin Launcher

target practiceStudents 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.

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Lesson: Shake It Up with Seismographs

seismographStudents 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.

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Lesson: Working Together to Live Together

living togetherIn 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.

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Lesson: Snack Attack – Food Packaging

cookies in boxIn 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.

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Lesson: Dance Pad Mania

dance pad revolutionIn this lesson, pairs of students in grades 4 to 7 will learn about the engineering design process and electrical circuits by building a dance pad that sounds a buzzer or flashes a light when stepped on.

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Lesson: Sound Booth Construction

sound booth1In this activity, students in grades 7-9 explore the sound-dampening capability of materials by designing and prototyping model sound booths. They learn about how sound is reflected and absorbed, and how it travels through various materials, providing an overview of sound dampening propagation in the context of engineering.

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