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.
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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.
Have you ever thought about those bare, exterior walls of your home or school? If so, you would be current with one of the hottest trends in civil and environmental engineering: Redesigning buildings to take full advantage of solar energy, like this “edible green screen” created by students at the University of Washington’s College of Built Environments.
The idea behind green walls, or vertical gardens, can be traced back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. In Babylon, plants were said to have been cultivated at a height above ground level. In modern times, the idea of similar gardens has become a way to bring more greenery to cityscapes while also making urban areas more environmentally friendly.
Upload inspiring photos that show how you and your school are engaging students in environmental education by May 31 and maybe win a prize in the 2013 National Environmental Education Week Photo Contest.
Shell Eco-marathon is a global challenge that motivates students to drive farther than their peers on one gallon of fuel. Student teams participate in one or both of the Prototype and UrbanConcept classes. The Prototype class invites student teams to enter futuristic streamlined vehicles focused on maximizing fuel efficiency through innovative design elements, such as drag reduction.
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The environment, with its range of engaging, real-world challenges, gives teachers a chance to provide students with meaningful, hands-on experiences that reinforce STEM concepts across multiple subject areas. This year’s National Environmental Education Week, which falls on April 16 -21, 2012, reflects that concept in its theme–Greening STEM: The Environment as Inspiration for 21st Century Learning.
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.