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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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Citizen Science

Alaska Chena Salmon citizen science projectMiddle school students learn that ordinary people like themselves can make meaningful contributions to science by reviewing examples of citizen science projects on Zooniverse, an interactive website. They then form “engineering teams” to brainstorm projects for their own community and design conceptual interactive websites that could organize and support them.

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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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All About Code

Navajo Code TalkerstStudents in grades 3 – 5 learn how alphanumeric symbols can be encoded for many fun purposes. In the first of two sessions, they learn about codes by making their own with a limited number of symbols. They then attempt to break each other’s codes and discover the relationship among encryption, decryption, and shared keys.

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Fancy Feet

high heel shoe designTeams of middle school students use the engineering design process to design, build, and test a pair of wearable platform or high-heeled shoes, taking into consideration the stress and strain on the wearer’s foot. They activity concludes with a “walk-off” to test the shoe designs and discuss the design process.

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Trash Sliders

Trash sliders at 2015 ASEE K12 workshopIn this activity, teams of middle school students express their creativity while learning the fundamentals of engineering design, sustainability, and the basic physics of forces and motion by building a vehicle out of recycled trash that is capable of transporting liquid over rough terrain with as little spillage as possible.

Note: This activity can be scaled for high school or upper elementary students.

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Online Safety Education Initiative

cybersecurity padlock on digital imagesThe CyberPatriot Elementary School Cyber Education Initiative (ESCEI) is a set of three fun, interactive learning modules aimed at increasing K-6 students’ awareness of online safety and cybersecurity principles. The free program kit comes with curriculum on these topics to supplement material presented in the interactive learning modules.

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Build a Pop-Up Card or Book

pop-up book of snowmenIn this activity, students in grades 2 to 8 learn about applied forces and elements of the engineering design process by creating a pop-up card or book.

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Are We Alone?

young astronaut looking for life on mars The year is 2032 and your middle-school explorers have successfully achieved a manned mission to Mars! After establishing criteria to help look for signs of life, they conduct a scientific experiment in which they evaluate three “Martian” soil samples and determine if any contains life.

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