Ecological Footprint: Overshoot
In this two-minute sound segment, the director of the Sustainability Program for the public policy group Redefining Progress discusses the concept of your ecological footprint. This is the amount of nature it takes to support your lifestyle. He says that if we use more than can be replaced by nature we are in a condition called overshoot. He suggests that this can continue for a while but eventually someone will have to pay with a lower standard of living. This site is from an archive of a daily
What is a method of active solar energy production? This article, part of a series about the future of energy, describes the use of large reflector power plants in the Mohave Desert. Students are introduced to the use of large solar reflectors to heat molten salt and produce energy for homes. Students view four photographs of different aspects of the solar complex. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
Teacher's Domain: Seasons on Earth
This lesson will reinforce the concept that Earth's seasons result from a combination of its orbit around the Sun and the tilt of its axis, and help to dispel two popular misconceptions of what causes the seasons. Students will use class discussion, activities, multimedia interactives, and videos to understand that the Northern and Southern Hemispheres experience opposite seasons and that the Earth's tilted axis of rotation affects the angle at which the Sun's rays strike its surface. They will
Talking Trash about the Oceans : Creating a Community Service Campaign to Stop Offshore Dumping
In this lesson, students create a community service advertising campaign that raises awareness about the importance of keeping trash out of the marine ecosystem. Students work in teams to create different ad campaigns geared toward particular target audiences and produce posters promoting their messages. Links to additional information and resources are also provided.
Cups and Volume
How can I calculate the volume of a box, if I know how many cups of rice fill it? And how can 2 cups be a volume measure?
This web page focuses on watersheds, the topic of one of the books in the curriculum series that the larger web site accompanies. The page mentions why it can be beneficial for students to investigate local watersheds. The term watershed is defined, and examples of different sizes of watersheds are given. In addition, the page explains why local governments often manage watersheds. Links are provided to water quality experiments, to related online materials on other sites, and to information abo
The future of energy, efficiency
Energy-efficient appliances and vehicles can greatly reduce the amount of energy Americans use. This informational piece, part of a series about the future of energy, introduces students to the consequences of using energy more efficiently. An example about baking a pie provides students with a practical definition of efficiency. A discussion of energy-efficient appliances and processes follows as students read about the Energy Star label. The overall efficiency of a power plant is described, sh
Examine the graph of two points in the plane. Find the slope of the line that passes through the two points. Drag the points and investigate the changes to the slope and to the coordinates of the points.
Maximize Student Time On Task
Student time on task is the most influential factor in student achievement. To maximize time on task, teachers need to make decisions about the systems they install in their classroom well before any students enter the room. Beginning the school year by explicitly teaching process skills and having classroom operating systems that reinforce process skills are two strategies that lay the foundation for logical thinking throughout the year, which are discussed in this article.
Stats for Schools
Stats4schools, developed by the United Kingdom's Office of National Statistics, is about helping teachers and pupils to get more from statistics. The project has posted here datasets collected by the Office for National Statistics as part of the Omnibus survey and made them available for students to download free of charge. Teachers will also find lesson plans, worksheets and datasets that can be used in their classrooms. The lesson ideas are organized by topics and involve using statistics to a
Observe some products of a Geographic Information System (GIS)
By combining a short paragraph and six enlargeable maps, this resource explains to students what a Geographic Information System (GIS) is. Introductory text explains that GIS technology enables users to plot multiple data sets onto maps of varying scales. Then six sample maps produced through GIS are provided. Among these maps is one that identifies where energy and mineral resources are located globally and another that highlights and labels the rivers that drain into the Mississippi River. Cop
Earth and Space
In earth and space science, students study the origin, structure, and physical phenomena of the earth and the universe. Earth and space science studies include concepts in geology, meteorology, oceanography, and astronomy.
Plot Your Course - Navigation
In this unit, students learn the very basics of navigation, including the different kinds of navigation and their purpose. The concepts of relative and absolute location, latitude, longitude and cardinal directions are discussed, as well as the use and principles of a map and compass. Students discover the history of navigation and learn the importance of math and how it ties into navigational techniques. Understanding how trilateration can determine one's location leads to a lesson on the globa
In this activity, students will use bearing measurements to triangulate and determine objects’ locations. Working in teams of two or three, students must put on their investigative hats as they take bearing measurements to specified landmarks in their classroom (or other rooms in the school) from a “mystery location.” With the extension activity, students are challenged with creating their own map of the classroom or other school location and comparing it with their classmates’ efforts.
In this activity, students will use vector analysis to understand the concept of dead reckoning. Students will use vectors to plot their course based on a time and speed. They will then correct the positions with vectors representing winds and currents.
Evolutionary Engineering: Simple Machines from Pyramids to Skyscrapers
Simple machines are devices with few or no moving parts that make work easier, and which people have used to provide mechanical advantage for thousands of years. Students learn about the wedge, wheel and axle, lever, inclined plane, screw and pulley in the context of the construction of a pyramid, gaining insights into tools that have been used since ancient times and are still important today. Through numerous hands-on activities, students imagine themselves as ancient engineers building a pyra
In this unit, students explore the various roles of environmental engineers, including: environmental cleanup, water quality, groundwater resources, surface water and groundwater flow, water contamination, waste disposal and air pollution. Specifically, students learn about the factors that affect water quality and the conditions that allow for different animals and plants to survive in their environment. Next, students learn about groundwater and how environmental engineers study groundwater to
The Trouble with Topos
Students learn how to identify the major features in a topographical map. They learn that maps come in a variety of forms: city maps, road maps, nautical maps, topographical maps, and many others. Map features reflect the intended use. For example, a state map shows cities, major roads, national parks, county lines, etc. A city map shows streets and major landmarks for that city, such as hospitals and parks. Topographical maps help navigate the wilderness by showing the elevation, mountains, pea
Through 10 lessons and more than 20 hands-on activities, students are introduced to the concept of an environment and the many interactions within it. As they learn about natural and human-made environments, as well as renewable and non-renewable natural resources, they see how people use our planet’s natural resources and the many resulting environmental issues that exist in our world today. Topics include: solid waste disposal; the concepts of reduce, reuse, recycle and compost; the causes a
Students learn about and use a right triangle to determine the width of a "pretend" river. Working in teams, they estimate of the width of the river, measure it and compare their results with classmates.