9

Know Your Energy Costs

Fossil fuels play an important role in allowing us to have lifestyles we’re accustomed to, but they do emit carbon dioxide, and we all want to be good stewards of our resources. The goal of this activity is to become aware of how much energy you use at school — and the financial and environmental costs.

Land and People: Finding a Balance

This environmental study project allows a group of students to consider real environmental dilemmas concerning water use and provide solutions to these dilemmas.

Leaf It to Me

In the water cycle, there are two ways water moves from the ground to the atmosphere: evaporation and transpiration. During evaporation, water changes from a liquid to a gas state. Transpiration is basically evaporation of water from plant leaves. Transpiration accounts for about 10 percent of the moisture in the atmosphere — with oceans, seas, and other bodies of water providing nearly all the rest.

Liquefaction

When it comes to slipping, sliding, and stability in soils, the key word is “liquefaction.”

During an event like an earthquake, liquefaction is the process by which saturated soil behaves like a liquid. This can be problematic, as a liquid soil loses structure and can cause buildings to sink, foundations to crack, and soil to slide down slopes all at once.

How does the type of soil affect how much a house will sink or shift during an earthquake? Conduct an experiment to test your ideas!

Logs of Straw - Dendrocronology

Dendrochronologists use tree rings to go back in time to learn more about past climate. Using straws to recreate tree rings, you can learn how dendrochronologists work.

Magnets at the Core

Learn about the Earth's magnetic poles and paleomagnetism in this activity from Consortium for Ocean Leadership.

Make a Watershed Model

After rain falls on relatively high land, it moves downwards into drainage areas called watersheds. You will create a model of a watershed by spraying rain on a plastic cover representing Earth’s surface. By watching how it flows, you can identify drainage divides and learn about the movement of water.

Make Your Own Powers of Ten

Make your own Powers of Ten film like the classic science education movie by Charles and Ray Eames!

Making a Cave

We usually think of caves forming as rocks are dissolved and the particles are washed away, leaving hollow spaces behind. This activity simulates the way that dissolution, a chemical weathering process, leads to the formation of caves.

Making Caves: How Solution Caves Form

Caves form through a variety of natural processes depending on their local geology and climate. Flowing lava, melting ice, dissolving rock, and crashing waves are the major processes that form these wondrous environments. In this activity, students will observe a model of how the most common type of cave — solution caves — form.

Materials

Per student or small group:
• 4 ounces of modeling clay
• Sugar cubes (3-6 per cave)
• See-through bowl (cutting the top off a 2-liter bottle works well)
• Toothpick

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