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.
As mobile devices become increasingly embedded in daily life, they can enhance children’s experience of nature. This year’s National Environmental Education Week, which falls on April 14-20, 2013, reflects that idea in its theme – Greening STEM: Taking Technology Outdoors.
Sustainability is the theme of this year’s Mathematics Awareness Month. Teachers will find plenty of activities, contests, and other free educational resources that link math with environmental applications, including the Energy Challenge, which teaches students the mathematics of their school’s energy use and then has them develop and implement an action plan to reduce energy consumption.
Tags: applications, Class Activities, Energy, Energy and Environmental Technology, Environmental Engineering, Internet Resources, Math, Mathematics, Mathematics Awareness Month, Sustainability Counts, Teacher Resources, Web Resources
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, student teams learn about construction and engineering design by building a domed structure with an internal frame that is strong enough to support 120 grams of coins or candy on top. They present their domes to the class and complete reflections on the lessons learned.
Refrigeration is considered one of engineering’s greatest 20th-century achievements. In this activity, student teams in grades K – 6 explore the design process by engineering a way to keep an ice cube from melting for 30 minutes.
In this lesson, students in grades 3 to 12 explore how engineers incorporate the latest materials and manufacturing techniques to improve the performance of sports equipment by constructing a functional racquet out of everyday materials that can volley against another team’s racquet at least six times.
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.