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 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
In 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.
In this activity, students in grades 4 – 12 will do math like a computer. They will learn the basics of binary number systems by writing and then counting on their hands, and use their knowledge to decode numbers and letters.
Civil, chemical, and environmental engineers work together to develop new water treatment systems or to improve existing ones. In this activity, teams of students in grades 3-5 investigate different methods for removing pollutants from water, then design and build their own water filters from plastic bottles.
In this activity, teams of students in grades 3-12 explore the engineering design process by building model canoes from everyday materials and testing their design in a basin. The canoes must be able to float for three minutes and, for older students, support a load. Students then evaluate the effectiveness of their canoes and those of other teams, and present their findings to the class.
Safer highways. Cool phone apps. Green buildings. Thrilling roller coasters. What do all these things have in common? All bear the stamp of engineering design – a process of brainstorming, building, testing, and refining to create a product, service, or system within time or resource limits.
In this hands-on activity designed to teach chemical-engineering principles to freshman engineering students at Rowan University, teams of high school students will melt chocolate and coat commercially available cookies, then perform several measurements and calculations. They then will write a lab report that includes nutritional labeling and recommendations for improving the chocolate-coating process.
In this lesson, K-12 student teams have a limited period of time (18 minutes) to build the tallest free-standing spaghetti structure that can support a marshmallow. They learn how engineers collaborate to design, test, and improve on their ideas, as well as examine hidden assumptions that can derail the creative process and final product.