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.
Ainissa Ramirez, associate professor of Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science at Yale, explains the wonders of her ever-expanding field in a series of YouTube videos. In the latest, she describes how a layer of carbon that is one atom thick, called graphene, will revolutionize our lives.
Why do airplanes fly? What is genetic engineering? To help K-12 students and teachers understand such topics, MIT has tapped its 10,000 brilliant young scholars to create engaging, short videos to supplement classroom instruction.
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If safe, clean drinking water flows from your tap, thank the teams of engineers who design, maintain, and upgrade the complex systems that deliver life’s most vital fluid. Indeed, engineering is all about identifying and solving society’s urgent problems–as your students will see in “Engineering a Difference,” an award-winning video series sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
Here’s a quick, fun video guide to environmental engineering produced by Channel One News. It explores the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and the museum’s signature fully planted roof. It also explains the engineering behind the temperature control system in the four-story interior rain forest and includes an interview with an environmental engineer and advice on how to prepare for a career like his.
The Blended Learning Open Source Science or Math Studies (BLOSSOMS) initiative, a new project from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, creates videos with a STEM focus for use in high school classrooms. The program features a library with around 50 math and science lessons, available free for download or as streaming video, and also by request as DVDs and videotapes.
In this lesson, students in grades 4-7 explore the engineering design process by building a table out of tubes of newspaper that is strong enough to hold a heavy book. They learn to brainstorm, test, evaluate, and redesign their tables to support more weight and figure out how to keep the table legs from buckling.
Twelve students have won the National STEM Video Game Challenge, according to Education Week. They include a team of students who developed a game called, “You Make Me Sick!” to teach about bacteria and viruses. Inspired by the Educate to Innovate Campaign, President Obama’s initiative to promote a renewed focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) education, the contest aims to motivate interest in STEM learning among America’s youth by tapping into students’ natural passions for playing and making video games.