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“Adopt” a Piece of the Planet

NASA Adopt a PlanetIt’s hard to top NASA for an out-of-this-world way to celebrate Earth Day 2017. The space agency is inviting people from around the globe to virtually “adopt” one of 64,000 individual pieces of Earth as seen from space by one of its 18 Earth science instruments.

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Measuring Light Pollution

Measuring light intensity at Ft. Meade Earth DayStudents in grades 6-7 build light meters and investigate the nature, sources, and levels of light in their classroom. learning about the adverse effects of artificial light on humans, animals, and plants as well as the engineering concepts of sensors and lumen and lux (lx) illuminance units. They also learn how to better use light and save energy as well as some of the technologies designed by engineers to reduce light pollution and energy waste.

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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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Flipside Science: Environmental Literacy

Flipside ScienceFlipside Science is a youth-produced educational video series developed by teachers and the California Academy of Science that tackles complex environmental engineering topics and empowers middle school students to make a difference.

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Snowflake Chronicler

William Bentley snowflake imageNo two snowflakes are alike, right? We know this thanks to a Jericho, Vermont, farm boy and citizen engineer named Wilson A. Bentley, who adapted a microscope to a camera and spent 40 years capturing thousands of unique images.

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Lesson: Map the Green Space

A City Garden in ChicagoStudents in grades 5-9 learn about urban planning as they assess the environmental health of their community, taking a walk around their neighborhood. They construct a map that identifies both positive and negative features and then recommend improvements.

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Soil Whisperer

Amy Kaleita in fieldFrom the air or highway, America’s fruited plains present a uniform vista of vast abundance. Not to Amy Kaleita. The associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering at Iowa State University sees a “somewhat chaotic” array of micro-plots, each with unique hydrology, root depths, soil characteristics – all of them ripe opportunities for smart technology to enhance both sustainability and food production using “precision conservation.”

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Engineer Girl Essay Contest

endangered black footed ferret“Engineering and Animals” is the theme for the National Academy of Engineering’s 2017 EngineerGirl! Essay Contest. Students in grades 3 to 12 are asked to choose an endangered animal – like this black-footed ferret – and consider how engineering might improve life for that species. Submissions are due Feb. 1, 2017.

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Every Kid in a Park

Every Kid in a Park New Melones LakeTo celebrate its 100th birthday and engage the next century’s environmentalists, the National Park Service is opening parks to 4th graders and their teachers and parents for free. Every Kid in a Park includes trip planning tools and teacher activity guides. No time or funds for field trips? Take a virtual tour of the Grand Canyon or explore resources for teaching history to citizen science.

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