# Size Matters

Understanding the Surface Area-to-Volume Ratio

The surface area-to-volume relationship is important for the function of both living things (ex: lung anatomy, tree roots, cell size, brain vascularization) and many human-made objects (ex: car radiators, air conditioning units). By understanding that surface area increases at a slower rate than volume as objects get larger, students can appreciate: why small cell size is advantageous; why plants benefit from a branched network of stems, leaves and roots; and why a variety of everyday objects are shaped and sized the way they are.

In this module, students learn: 1) About the relationship between surface area and volume, 2) Why this relationship is important for cells in our body.

Docs: fulltext.docx   presentation.pptx   worksheet.docx   worksheetkey.docx
Keywords: HS-ETS1.B, HS-LS1, HS-LS1.B, HS-LS1.F, HS-LS1.G, surface area, volume

# Argument from Evidence

Assessing Argumentation Using the Topic of Fracking

Students living in rural communities impacted by ongoing and proposed extractive mineral development (fossil fuels and mining) will gain a greater appreciation and understanding for how different segments of society (government, corporate, and community) produce information to serve their own interests and how ‘factual’ information is often contested between these groups.

Students learn: 1) How to summarize the key points of an argument, 2) How to question the validity and subjectivity of information, and 3) How to summarize and convey a broad set of information in a succinct fashion.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   worksheet.docx
Keywords: communication, energy, facts, fossil fuels, fracking, governance, HS-LS2, models, patterns, structure, subjective

# Predict This!

Using Models to Observe Correlation and Improve Predictions

In this mini-activity, students measure the masses of specific numbers of beans and graph their data. From their graph they determine a linear model equation. Using their model, they predict the number of beans based on a given mass. The students are asked to create their own model for estimating the number of marbles in a large jar.

Students learn: 1) How to make graphs to depict data and to assess patterns; 2) How correlation can be used to construct a practical model; 3) How to use a model to predict what can not be easily measured; and 4) How to use evidence to support an argument.

Docs: fulltext.pdf
Keywords: argument, evidence, models, patterns, prediction, proportion, scale, systems

# Are You My Sister

## Building Trees to Understand Evolutionary Relationships

How do students begin to make sense of the vast diversity of life?  Even when exposed to just a sliver of such diversity, it is commonplace for students to become disengaged.  This module is a first step in understanding why and how animals are classified and to become excited about the process.

The purpose of this module is to use the traits that each species possess to develop an understanding of species relatedness.  Upon completion of this module, students should have a better understanding of why assemblages of animals are classified together. This module is an opportunity for students to learn: 1) How organisms are grouped together and 2) How to interpret relationships among groups of organisms.

Docs: sequences.docx   cards.pdf
Keywords: argument, cause, data, evolutionary trees, explanations, HS-LS3.B, HS-LS3.A, HS-LS3.B, HS-LS4.A, investigations, models, MS-LS4.A, patterns, phylogenetics, traits

# E-Literacy

Evaluating Online Sources

by Elissa Olimpi, and Chrissy MacLean

Students are faced with an overwhelming amount of information online and need to learn how to sift through available sources to find ones that are credible and appropriate for a specific research task. Many students have a basic understanding of the importance of evaluating sources, but have not practiced source evaluation. This lesson guides students through the process by highlighting questions that the student should ask of the source in order to decide if it is reliable.

Students learn: 1) A systematic approach for evaluating the credibility of internet sources 2) How to determine which sources to use for specific tasks, 3) How to cite textual evidence, and 4) How to corroborate or challenge claims.

Docs: fulltext.docx   intro.pptx   assessment.docx
Keywords: communication, evidence, sources

# Says Who

Deciphering a Scientific Article

The goal of this module is to teach students how to read and understand scientific articles. This skill can be applied to answering a variety of research questions from different disciplines of science and engineering. The context for this inquiry is the impact of climate change on a species. Although climate change is the specific prompt used here, the prompt can be modified for different classroom topics and different courses.

Students learn: 1) How to read a scientific article, 2) How to use scientific articles to answer questions, and 3) How to cite information in APA format.

Docs: fulltext.docx   intro.ppt   handout.docx   pikas.pdf   bears.pdf   turtles.pdf
Keywords: APA citation, cause, climate change, communication, HS-ESS3.C, HS-LS2.A, scientific articles

# Round & Round It Goes

Getting Dizzy in Geosynchronous Orbit

Some satellites “hover” over one place on the earth’s surface – a geosynchronous orbit. This module introduces students to the physics behind geosynchronous orbits. Students work together to find the relationship between the radius and the velocity of an object in circular motion. They graph their data and calculate the gravitational force needed to keep a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.

Students learn: 1) How circular motion is critical for satellites to stay in orbit, 2) How velocity and mass of an object in circular motion are related, and 4) How to use a graphical hypothesis to make predictions, interpret data, and create an argument from evidence.

Docs: fulltext.docx   lecture.pptx   prequiz.pptx   quiz.pptx   quizkey.pptx   vandrlect.pptx
Keywords: argument, cause, data, geosynchronous, investigations, math, models, patterns, HS-PS2.A, HS-PS2.B, radius, systems, velocity

## Toxic Avengers

### Featured

Tools for Uncovering the Human Geography of Pollution

Environmental Justice (EJ) describes the trend of environmental impacts disproportionately affecting minority communities. It is a great subject to get students engaged about their neighborhoods and health. The Toxics Movement is closely related to EJ and shares the common interest of all people having the right to a clean and healthy environment.

Students learn: 1) How to look up public census data, 2) How to find toxic sites in their neighborhood, 3) How to formulate a testable question regarding census data and toxic sites, 4) How to synthesize data and draw conclusions that answer their questions, and 5) The key components of presenting a social science project to an audience.

Docs: fulltext.docx   presentation.pptx   activity.docx   checklist.docx
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eywords: argument, cause, communication, data, environmental justice, mapping, questions, toxic sites

# Go With the Flow

The Impact of Slope and Substrate on Water Flow Speed

Water constantly cycles through the earth and the atmosphere. The study of water flow in streams and rivers and on impervious surfaces involves many variables. These include the slope or gradient of a stream, surface, or pipe and the type of substrate that water is flowing through. In this lab activity, students investigate how the speed of water flow changes with different slopes and different substrates.

Students learn: 1) How slope and substrate affect the speed of water flow, 2) How to ask questions, carry out an experiment and develop graphical hypotheses and 3) How to calculate speed and mathematical averages, and 4) How to plot line and bar graphs, and use data to explain results.

Docs: fulltext.docx   presentation.ppt   worksheet.docx
Keywords: argument, cause, data, erosion, HS-ESS2.C, explanations, graphs, hypothesis, investigations, math, models, questions, systems, water

# Physics of Motion

## How Far Can You Hit the Ball?

Objects are in motion all around us, yet it is often difficult to measure even the basic properties of moving objects such as their velocity, acceleration, or turning angles. Fortunately, a freely available software, called Tracker, lets you measure the underlying mechanics for any object in motion. All you need is a computer and a video of the motion that you’d like to investigate. This module uses a baseball bat swing to show how the Tracker software works.

This module is an opportunity for students to: 1) Learn how to use the Tracker software, 2) Hypothesize what factors are responsible for how far a batter can hit a ball, 3) See how far they can hit the ball, and 4) Test a hypothesis and then interpret and communicat the results.

Docs: fulltext.docx   wrksht.docx
Keywords: acceleration, arguing from evidence, cause, computational thinking, HS-PS2, investigations, mechanics, motion, newtonian physics, projectile, velocity

# Spinning Tops

Experiencing the Scientific Process

Independently planning and conducting investigations can be a daunting process for students. This module prepares students to carry out a study from beginning to end and to experience the feeling of ownership that makse the process more exciting. For students who are considering doing a science fair project, this mini-module will give them a better sense of their responsibilities as a science fair participant.

Students learn: 1) How to carry out an investigative study from start to finish, 2) How to perform skills needed for the scientific process and 3) What skills are needed to perform an independent science project (like a school science fair project).

Docs: fulltext.docx   StudentWorksheet.docx   TeacherTips.docx  Worksheet_Espanol.docx
Keywords: argument, cause, data, explanations, investigations, models, patterns, HS-PS2.A, questions, science fair, scientific process, structure

# What’s that Sound?

Quantifying and Describing Marine Mammal Sounds

Marine mammals use sound for feeding, communication, predator avoidance, and navigation. Students are introduced to the properties of sound by quantifying and describing sounds from several types of marine mammals (toothed whales, baleen whales, sea lions, and true seals). Students examine differences in sounds between marine mammal species and then use that knowledge to predict the source of a mystery sound.

Students learn: 1) Basic properties of sound, 2) How to interpret spectograms and waveforms, 3) Why marine mammals use sound, and 4) How to describe the diversity of sounds made by marine mammals.

Docs: fulltext.docx   labworksheet.docx   labworksheetkey.xls   worksheet.docx   worksheetkey.docx   photocredit.xlsx
Keywords: bioacoustics, communication, HS-LS2, HS-PS4, marine mammals, sound

# A Fact of Matter

Exploring Trends Across the Periodic Table

The periodic table is designed to reflect the key properties of all of the elements. This module gives an overview of the trends we see within each group of the periodic table. This module addresses NGSS Performance Expectation HS-PS1-1 by having students analyze trends in the periodic table in relation to atomic radius and first ionization energy.

Students learn: The relative sizes of elements in the periodic table; The definitions of atomic radius and first ionization energy; and How trends in atomic structure relate to trends in first ionization energy and atomic radius.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   lecture.pdf   handout.pdf
Keywords: atomic radius, atomic stucture, math, models, patterns, periodic table, HS-PS1.A, questions, scale, systems

# Splitting Atoms

Arguments From Evidence to Address Nuclear Energy Policy

In this module students represent the views of an interest group that either supports or opposes the expansion of nuclear-generated energy in the U.S. Students learn about the source of energy within the U.S. with a focus on the potential benefits and risks associated with expansion of nuclear energy.

In this module, students learn: How to formulate arguments from evidence, how to examine different views from a range of interest groups, how to evaluate a U.S. policy statement from an interest group perspective. Students will also learn how to understand the issues surrounding public policy decisions and the potential challenges of finding a political solution in a democratic society.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   intro.pdf   reading.pdf   groupnames.pdf   worksheet.pdf
Keywords: argument, cause, communication, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.C, HS-ESS3.D, evidence, nuclear energy, policy, scale

# Where’s My Phone

Using GPS to Learn About Location on the Earth’s Surface

Students learn how to use latitude and longitude to describe location on the Earth’s surface. Students also learn how Global Positioning Systems (GPS) function and how we can use everyday technology (for example, smart phones) to find latitude and longitude. Two concepts are introduced: 1) Properties of electromagnetic waves (the speed of light and the relationship between distance, velocity and time), and 2) Geometric concept of triangulation. Students map the point locations of an object of interest (for example trees, benches, etc.) and then view the results of their mapping as displayed in a web page and in Google Earth®. They also learn how to place their maps into a word processing (Microsoft Word®) document.

Docs: fulltext.docx   lecture.pdf   activity.docx   notes.docx   help.docx
Keywords: communication, distance, HS-ESS2.B, GPS, investigations, latitude, longitude, mapping, math, HS-PS4.C, scale, time, velocity

# My Digital Watershed

Students perform a computer lab activity to answer basic geographic questions about the watersheds in which they live. This module is an opportunity for students to: 1. Learn how to read topographic maps, 2. Use computers and GIS to visualize topographic information, 3. Learn how to draw using a computer, 4. Learn how to measure area and distance using a computer, and 5. Learn how to interpret satellite imagery to answer basic questions about land-use.

Docs: fulltext.docx   intro.pdf   help.pdf   lecture.pdf   worksheet.docx
Keywords: area, argument, communication, data, distance, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.C, HS-ETS1.A, explanations, GIS, Google Earth, investigations, mapping, scale, systems, watershed

# The California Water Puzzle

Freshwater Distribution Around California

Students research California’s fresh water supply and demand with sets of printed maps. They then solve the “California Freshwater Puzzle” based on their new knowledge of the geographies of freshwater supply (sources) and demand (uses) in California. This module is an opportunity for students to: learn how to read different kinds of maps, combine more than one source of information to make an analysis or an argument, learn about freshwater supply and demand in California, and solve the real-world problem of freshwater supply and demand in California.

Docs: fulltext.doc   prompt.docx   worksheet.docx   maps.pdf
Keywords: argument, HS-ESS3, evidence, mapping, water

# Environmental Science from Space

Remote Sensing and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Students learn what remote sensing is, how it works, and how scientists use it, with a focus on Landsat satellite and imagery. They create, and then interpret, a remote sensing image of a planet and remote sensing imagery available on the Internet. Students review the structure of a wave; solve problems using speed, wavelength, and frequency; and discuss the uses of each type of radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum. Finally, students examine and analyze a remote sensing image of a rain forest.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   presentation.pdf   handout.doc   handoutkey.doc
Keywords: data, electromagnetic spectrum, HS-ESS2.D, HS-ETS1.A, explanations, iimagery, models, HS-PS4.A, HS-PS4.B, HS-PS4.C, rain forest, remote sensing, scale, systems

# A Matter of Human Proportions

Are You Vitruvian?

This module is an opportunity for students to learn: 1) How to use the metric system to measure linear distances; 2) Whether proportions that exist between parts of the human body are consistent across individuals; and 3) How to form a hypothesis, analyze data, and argue whether evidence supports the hypothesis.
Docs: fulltext.docx   metric.pdf   worksheet.docx   instructions.docx   handout.pdf   stats.pdf
Keywords: argument, communication, data, evidence, explanations, human anatomy, hypothesis, investigations, HS-LS1.A, HS-LS1.B, HS-LS3.B, math, models, patterns, proportions, questions, structure, systems, vitruvian man

# Contour What?

This modules is designed as an introduction to understanding topographic maps and GIS using Google Earth. Students perform a computer lab activity to learn how to read topographic maps, measure geographical features, and use geographic information systems (GIS).

Docs: fulltext.docx   lab.pdf   lecture.pdf
Keywords: argument, communication, contour, data, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.C, HS-ETS1.B, HS-ETS1.C, explanations, GIS, Google Earth, investigations, mapping, patterns, scale, systems

# There’s Something in the Water

Investigating Water Quality in Local Watersheds

This module teaches students about why watersheds are important
components of the ecosystem and how their health can be impacted by human activities. The objectives are to get students to learn what man-made pollutants are entering their local watersheds, predict which water bodies are most impacted by these contaminants, and test their ideas by using kits to measure water quality. Students will learn how jeopardizing the integrity of the watershed impacts both human health and that of the ecosystem and consider potential ways to mitigate these effects.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   final.doc   handout.doc   handoutkey.doc
Keywords: data, ecosystem health, HS-ESS2.C, HS-ESS3.A, explanations, investigations, HS-LS2.C, models, pollution, water quality, watersheds

# Rocks Rock!

Rock cycle and igneous rock formation

In this 1-day module, students use Houghton-Mifflin’s interactive online textbook, Exploring Earth, to learn about the rock cycle, the different types of rocks and how rocks are formed. They then look specifically at igneous rocks and learn how crystals develop and vary with temperature of cooling. Based on observations of cooling crystals, students develop a hypothesis, in groups, and carry out experiments to test their hypotheses. Students then compare real samples of different igneous rocks, using their results to interpret how the rock samples were cooled, answering questions about intrusive and extrusive rock formation processes.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf   RockLab.pdf   IgneousLab.pdf   IgneousKey.pdf
Keywords: data, HS-ESS3.A, explanations, geology, igneous, investigations, patterns, HS-PS1.A, questions, rock cycle, rock formation, rocks, structure

# Observing, Recording, and Inquiring

Scientific Drawing

Students learn about the importance of recording scientific information through detailed, realistic illustrations. This 75-minute module offers students experience with several approaches to scientific illustration, including detailed drawings of preserved specimens and quick sketches of moving animals. They also learn about trait variation through drawings that compare different individuals of the same species. The module aims to teach the principles of recording scientific information and to make the practice of creating scientific artwork accessible to everyone, including those without an extensive background in either science or art.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf
Keywords: inquirying, HS-LS3.B, models, observing, recording, scale, scientific illustration

# Energy for Change

Green Energy Audit

Students and teachers can use parts or all of our step-by-step workbook to conduct an energy audit of their school. The whole module is designed to strengthen students’ understanding of concepts in physics such as power and energy by making real-world connections, and by using appropriate technology to inquire into their own environment (particularly the lighting systems of their school). They calculate potential energy savings from both behavioral (e.g., turning lights off) and operational (e.g., retrofits) measures. Finally, students synthesize their data and develop specific recommendations for administrators or the public.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf   Workbook.pdf
Keywords: data, energy, energy savings, explanations, green energy, investigations, math, power, HS-PS3.A, HS-PS4.C, questions

# Filtering out Pollution

Lowering Turbidity to Increase Water Quality

In this lab activity, students learn what turbidity is and how to measure it using a turbidity sensor connected to a data logger. Students then use an array of readily available materials to investigate how to build a water filter that efficiently reduces turbidity.

Docs: fulltext.pdf
Keywords: build, data, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.C, HS-ETS1.C, HS-ETS2.B, explanations, investigations, HS-PS1.A, questions, turbidity, water, water filter, water quality