Toxic Avengers


toxic avengersTools for Uncovering the Human Geography of Pollution

by Jenny Lovell and Dawn Krenz

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
eywords: argument, cause, communication, data, environmental justice, mapping, questions, toxic sites


Go Fish

Go_FishExploring Fisheries Management

by Rachel Zuercher, Ben Higgins, and Satina Ciandro

More than 1/3 of people in the world rely on fish as their major source of protein, however, global fisheries today face enormous challenges such as; overfishing, habitat loss, marine pollution and climate change. Fortunately, well-designed fisheries regulations can help mitigate these problems and ensure sustainability of fisheries into the future. Teaching students about fisheries can lead to a public that is informed regarding fisheries management, and a generation of conscious seafood consumers.

This module is an opportunity for students to learn: 1) The “tragedy of the commons” in the context of fisheries, 2) The components that make up a fishery, 3) Some of the causes of overfishing, 4) How fisheries regulations work, and 5) The benefits and costs of fisheries regulations.

Docs: GoFish_module_text.docx  West_coast_groundfish_template.pdf  intro.pdf   wrksht.docx   labwrksht.docx
Standards: HS-ESS3, Models, Cause and Effects, Systems
Keywords: cause communication economics fisheries HS-ESS3 math models natural resources systems tragedy of the commons

Exit Poll DemoGRAPHics

Exit_poll_demoGRAPHicsCollecting, Graphing, and Interpreting Exit Poll Data

by Elissa Olimpi, Jenny Lovell and Chrissy MacLean

Exit polls are used to determine or predict what people believe, how they feel about something, or in what way they will act. This module is designed to lead students through the process of designing an exit poll to answer a hypothesis about a local, state, or national election. The data they collect can be compiled and analyzed as if the poll were being presented on the news. In this way, students can gain a deeper understanding of one part of the legislative process.

Students learn: 1) What ballot measures are important to members of their community 2) How to poll the public, 3) How to generate graphical hypotheses and 4) How to create graphs in Google Sheets and interpret them.

Docs: fulltext.docx   form.docx   organizer.docx
Keywords: community, data, explanations, graphs, hypothesis, polling, questions

Gender Bender

Gender_BenderHow the Media Influences Our Gender Perceptions

By Jenny Lovell

Gender is a relevant and contentious topic that is constantly reinforced through non-verbal queues in the media. LGBTQA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) issues are hotly debated in schools, courts, and public media venues. While most people think of gender as a simple binary (i.e. man or woman), gender is a complex and delicate continuum that includes many aspects that are not often discussed.

In this module, students will gain a better understanding of the complexity of gender and how stereotypes are perpetuated through popular media. By the end of the lesson students will learn: 1) The definitions and nuances of gender, 2) Strategies for analyzing images to uncover stereotypes and 3) How to verbally describe non-verbal queues contained in an image.

Docs: fulltext.docx   intro.pdf   activity.docx
eywords: argument, communication, gender, image analysis, LGBTQA, media, patterns, stereotypes

Break a Sweat

break_a_sweatMeasuring Your Response to Exercise 

by Ben Higgins, Caleb Bryce and Sarah Baumgart

Will walking create the same cardiac response as running? Physical activity is associated with numerous health benefits, even modest levels of physical activity (Janssen & Leblanc, 2010; Strong et al., 2005). However, many students remain largely inactive. This module is designed to promote student-specific physical activity as a health promotion strategy by introducing the concepts of vital signs and target heart rate training. Ideally, students will discover an enjoyable type of exercise and/or learn how to self-assess their cardiovascular responses (i.e. vital signs) to exercise to most effectively train.

Students learn: 1) How to measure basic vital signs, 2) How to calculate their own target heart rate, 3) To design their own workout plans, and 3) How exercise duration and intesnsity affect performance.

Docs: fulltext.docx   intro.pptx   wksht.docx
eywords: exercise physiology, heart rate, HS-LS1, human health, investigations, stability, structure, vital signs


Size Matters

size mattersUnderstanding the Surface Area-to-Volume Ratio

by Caleb Bryce, Kimberly Goetz, Pablo Barrick and Sarah Baumgart

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.

Fellows Kim Goetz and Caleb Bryce produced this video explaining the concept of surface area to volume. A diffusion experiment using colored agar cubes, and various real life examples are used to help students understand this concept.

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

argument from evidenceAssessing Argumentation Using the Topic of Fracking

by Jeff Jenkins, Chrissy MacLean and Dawn Krenz

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

Tragedy of the Goldfish

tragedy of the goldfishSustainably Managing a Common Pool Resource

by Duran Fiack and Dan Johnston

The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma when multiple individuals, acting independently, deplete a shared, limited resource. Articulating solutions to the tragedy of the commons is one of the main problems of environmental policy and natural resource managers. In the absence of enlightened self-interest, altruistic or cooperative behavior, some form of authority is needed to solve the collective action problem.

In this module, students represent independent actors seeking to catch fish to support their livelihood. Students learn: 1) How human activities can cause resource depletion, 2) How interactions between individual actors are important in natural resource management, and 3) How to use data to make graphs and to discover trends over time.

Docs: fullltext.docx   lecture.pptx   info.docx   handout1.docx
Keywords: cause, common pool resource, environmental policy, graphs, HS-LS3.A, HS-LS3.B, HS-LS4.A, natural resource, patterns

Native Plant Labels

native plant labelsMaking Labels for Native Plants

by Jenn Yost and Bill Callahan

As described below in tne native plant garden module, one way to protect biodiversity is by restoring degraded habitats to more natural conditions. This process can be simulated at a school by creating a native plant garden. Native plant communities may also be studied in nearby protected areas. One way to expose students to local biodiversity and teach them the importance of biodiversity, is to learn about native plants and create native plant labels.

In this module, students research a native plant in their area and create their own native plant labels. These labels can be laminated and then attached to a stake that can be placed alongside the plant allowing others to identify and learn about local native plants.

Docs: fulltext.docx   intro.pptx   worksheet.docx   labels.doc
Keywords: communication, native plants, plant identification, restoration, school garden

Predict This!

predict this!

Using Models to Observe Correlation and Improve Predictions

by Caleb Bryce, Kim Goetz and Pablo Barrick

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

Sister moduleBuilding Trees to Understand Evolutionary Relationships

by Ben Higgins and Satina Ciandro

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-LiteracyEvaluating 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

says who.Deciphering a Scientific Article

by Hamutahl Cohen and Dan Johnston

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


Solving Crimes with Chemistry

Solving Crimes with ChemistryThe Case of the Missing Balance

by Chandra Goetsch, Rachel Zuercher, Ruth Herradora, and Burnne Yew

Many specialty fields use a variety of scientific techniques to answer questions and/or solve problems. For example, forensic scientists collect different pieces of evidence from a crime scene. This module encourages students to choose which methods are appropriate to test the evidence. After conducting the appropriate chemical tests, the students conclude which suspect committed the crime.

Students learn: 1) How chemical testing is used to identify unknown substances, 2) How to collect data from a series of experiments, and 3) How to record and interpret data and make conclusions based on gathered evidence.

Docs: fulltext.docx   presentation.pptx   teacherguide.docx   studentguide.docx   worksheet.docx   chemref.docx   bios.docx   report.docx
Keywords: argument, cause, chemical tests, communication, crime, data, evidence, explanations, forensic science, investigations, patterns, HS-PS1.A

Colors in Chemistry

colors in chemistryUsing Paper Chromatography to Understand Polarity

by Chandra Goetsch, Rachel Zuercher, Ruth Herradora, and Burnne Yew

It’s difficult for students to understand some chemistry concepts, such as polarity, without being able to see a molecule. This module visually shows students the difference between polar and nonpolar substances. It helps students understand separation chemistry and gives them a background to understanding other chromatography techniques.

Students learn: 1) How chromatography helps scientists test the components of different mixtures, 2) How solubility of polar and nonpolar substances differ depending on the solvent, and 3) How to collect data during an experiment.

A SCWIBLES video to accompany our hands-on inquiry-based module on paper chromatography developed by Fellows Rachel Zuercher and Chandra Goetsch.


Docs: fulltext.docx   presentation.pptx   worksheet.docx
Keywords: chromatography, data, explanations, investigations, patterns, polarity, HS-PS1.A


Round & Round It Goes

round and round it goesGetting Dizzy in Geosynchronous Orbit

by Caleb Bryce and Stephen Buchter

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.

A SCWIBLES video used as an intro to the Geosynchronous Orbit module created by Caleb Bryce and Stephen Buchter.

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


Go With the Flow

go with the flowThe Impact of Slope and Substrate on Water Flow Speed

by Catherine Wade and Will Federman

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

Motion ModuleHow Far Can You Hit the Ball?

by Ben Higgins, Caleb Bryce and Stephen Buchter

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.

A SCWIBLES video that explains the use of "Tracker", a free software app. Tracker allows you to gather physics data on the motion of any moving object seen in a video.

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

Spinning Tops

spinning tops

Experiencing the Scientific Process

by Kristin deNesnera and Max Tarjan

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?

what's that soundQuantifying and Describing Marine Mammal Sounds

by Caleb Bryce, Kimberly Goetz and Burnee Yew

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

Native Plant Garden

native plant gardenAssessing Biodiversity Using a School Garden

by Jenn Yost, Carla Fresquez and Bill Callahan

One way that we can protect biodiversity is by restoring degraded habitats to more natural conditions. This process can be simulated at a school through the restoration of a degraded plot of land into local native plant communities. Planting a native garden is a way to expose students to local biodiversity, teach them the importance of biodiversity, and mimic what can be done on a large scale to restore ecosystems once they are degraded.

Students 1) develop their own methods to quantify biodiversity, 2) measure biodiversity in a native garden, and 3) gain first hand experience in native plant gardens, restoration, and human impacts on environments.

Docs: fulltext.docx   lecture1.pdf   lecture2.pptx   handout.docx   datasetExs.xlsx   graphs.docx
Keywords: argument, biodiversity, cause, data, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.C, explanations, garden, investigations, HS-LS1.A, HS-LS2.A, HS-LS2.C, HS-LS4.A, HS-LS4.D, models, native plants, patterns, questions, restoration, systems

A Fact of Matter

a fact of matterExploring Trends Across the Periodic Table

by Vikram Baliga, Burnne Yew, Ruth Herradora and Bill Callahan

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

splitting atomsArguments From Evidence to Address Nuclear Energy Policy

by Duran Fiack and Chrissy MacLean

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

Land to Sea

land to seaSearching for the Source of Pollutants

by Max Tarjan and Will Federman

In this module students work in small groups with map-based data to learn about watersheds and to find a likely source of pollutants. After a short introduction, students work together to intrepret ther maps provided and to support an argument, stating where the pollutant is coming from, using the map data as evidence. The module provides all the supporting materials needed to run a 90 minute activity.

In this module, students learn: 1) How substances and organisms on land can affect ocean life, 2) How human activities may disrupt ecosystem integrity, to identify the watershed that supplies a river, 3) How to interpret maps of watersheds and land use, and 4) How to combine information from different maps using map scales, and 5) How to make estimates based on map data, and engage in argument from evidence.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   introlect.pdf   summarylect.pdf   handout.pdf   watersheds.pdf   landuse.pdf   seaotters.pdf   sealions.pdf
Keywords: argument, cause, communication, data, HS-ESS2.C, evidence, explanations, HS-LS2.A, HS-LS2.C, mapping, marine mammals, models, patterns, pollution, scale, systems, watersheds

Top Carnivore

top carnivoreTrophic Cascades and Predator-Prey Dynamics

by Veronica Yovovich and Dan Johnston

This module presents a “game” activity in which students learn about trophic cascades and how the different elements of a food chain interact. The module explores the importance of top-down regulation and how predators may regulate the habitats in which they live.

In this module, students learn: 1) How predators and prey interact, 2) How human activities may disrupt ecosystem integrity, 3) How to formulate predictions and hypotheses, 4) How to engage in argument from evidence, make and interpret simple graphs, and make estimates based on data they collect.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   handout.pdf   homework.pdf   cards.pdf
Keywords: argument, cause, data, evidence, food web, graphs, HS-LS2.A, HS-LS2.C, math, models, predators, prey, stability, systems, trophic cascades

Oil Pollution Solutions

oil pollution sollution

Oil Pollution in the Marine Environment

by Kristin deNesnera and Satina Ciandro

In this “hands-on” module, students learn about: sources of oil pollution in the marine environment; the effects of oil pollution on marine life, human health, and economies; examples of major oil spills; and the challenges involved in responding to and cleaning up an oil spill.

Students learn: 1) How human activities cause oil pollution, 2) How oil pollution affects marine resources, the environment, 3) About various oil spill clean-up technologies and sorbent materials absorptivity, and 4) About the challenges related to oil spill clean-up.

A video to accompany an inquiry based educational activity (module) used in the SCWIBLES program. Created by Kristin de Nesnera.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   lecture.pdf   activity.docx   costchart.docx
Keywords: clean up, data, engineering, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.C, HS-ETS1.C, HS-ETS2.B, explanations, investigations, marine, math, models, oil pollution, HS-PS1.A, questions, scale, stability, structure, systems

What’s Stomata With You?

what's stomata with youUsing Leaf Epidermal Peels to Determine Stomatal Density

by Catherine Wade and William Callahan

This module provides an opportunity for students to observe leaf stomata and make predictions about interactions between plants and environmental conditions. After introducing students to the basic form and function of stomata and discussing photosynthesis and transpiration, students will hypothesize about the distribution of stomata on the upper and lower leaf surfaces. Then, they make wet mount slides of leaf epidermal peels to view stomata under a microscope and calculate average stomatal densities for the top and bottom of the leaf.

Fellow Catherine Wade produced this video to explain the concepts behind leaf stomata and their importance in regulating water loss in plants.

Docs: fulltext.docx   worksheet.docx
Keywords: argument, communication, data, explanations, investigations, HS-LS1.A, HS-LS1.C, math, plants, prediction, questions, stability, stomata, structure, transpiration

Where’s My Phone

Where's my phone

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

by Tim Norris and Will Federman

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

my digital watershedAnalyzing Watersheds in Google Earth

by Tim Norris and Will Federman

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

the california water puzzleFreshwater Distribution Around California

by Tim Norris and Will Federman

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

environmental science from space

Remote Sensing and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

by Kristin McCully and Jack Horner

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

a matter of human proportionsAre You Vitruvian?

by Vikram Baliga and Sarah Baumgart

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?

contour whatby Timothy Norris and Will Federman

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

Otters and Urchins

otters and urchinsEcology of The Kelp Forest

by Kristin McCully and Jack Horner

This multi-week modules is designed as a general introduction to ecology as a science, while exploring the excitement of the charismatic kelp forest ecosystem. It introduces the fields of population, community, ecosystem, and conservation ecology, and helps build skills in using equations, creating graphs, interpreting maps, and modeling ecological systems.

Docs: poplecture.pdf   ecolecture.pdf   commlecture.pdf   introlecture.pdf   conslecture.pdf   worksheets.doc   worksheetskey.pdf   studyguide.pdf   studyguidekey.pdf
Keywords: communication, data, ecosystem, explanations, graphs, kelp forest, HS-LS1.C, HS-LS2.A, HS-LS2.B, HS-LS2.C, marine food web, marine science, math, otters, patterns, scale, stability, systems, urchins

What’s Your Walk Score

what's your walk scoreWalkable Neighborhoods as Healthy, Social and Safe Communities

by Jeff Jenkins and Sarah Baumgart

Students in low income communities are increasingly faced with poor nutrition and limited exercise options. One way to combat this is to teach about walkable communities. Teaching about walkable communities will also get students to think about land use in their own neighborhood, will make them more aware of their surroundings, and will provide direction for improving their communities.

Students learn: 1) Why safe and healthy communities are related to walkability, 2) How walkability of neighborhoods/schools can be assessed through a walk score, 3) How to think about, interpret, and communicate spatial information, and 4) What factors in their community can be improved to increase walkability.

Students, particular those in low income communities, are increasingly faced with poor nutrition and exercise options. One way to combat this while also building community is to teach about walkable communities.

Docs: fulltext.docx   worksheet.docx
Keywords: communication, community, health, HS-LS2.A, HS-LS2.D, models, patterns, structure, sustainability, urban design, walk score, walkability

Hold Your Breath!

hold your breathby Vikram Baliga and Sarah Baumgart

This module helps students learn about the mammalian dive response. Students simulate a dive by submerging their faces in cold water for 30 seconds. They measure heart rate and body temperature before and after the “dive”. Students learn how the human body responds to stress (cold water) and they convey their findings using bar graphs and a final lab report.




Fellow Vikram Baliga produced this video to accompany his Dive Response module for inquiry-based education in high school science lab.

Docs: fulltext.docx   worksheet.docx
Keywords: body temperature, cause, data, dive response, graphs, heart rate, investigations, HS-LS1.A, math, questions, stability, systems

Ecosystem in a Jar

ecosystem in a jarExperimenting With Plant Growth

by Kristin McCully and Jack Horner

Students, as a class, develop, conduct, and analyze an experiment to determine what affects the growth of an “ecosystem in a jar.” “Ecosystems” include soil, water, plant seeds, and other items decided by the class in glass jars. Discussion should focus on experimental design and analysis, but instructor can incorporate ecosystem ecology, biodiversity, food chains and webs, photosynthesis and respiration, and other concepts of ecology and biology.

Docs: fulltext.pdf
Keywords: cause, communication, data, ecosystem, experimental design, investigations, jar, HS-LS2.A, HS-LS2.D, math, models, patterns, photosynthesis, plants, questions, respiration, stability, structure, systems

Spit Lab

spit labMacromolecules and Environmental Effects on Enzymes

by Jenn Yost and Erin Mejía

In this module students will do an activity and a lab. A cut-out activity illustrates the anabolic and catabolic functions of enzymes, enzyme specificity, and the individual components of macromolecules. Students then test the effects of temperature on enzymatic activity in spit.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   module.doc   worksheet.doc   enzymes.pdf   lab.doc   lablecture.pdf   enzymelecture.pdf
Keywords: cause, enzymes, investigations, HS-LS1.A, macromolecules, math, models, HS-PS1.B, spit, structure, systems

There’s Something in the Water

there's something in the waterInvestigating Water Quality in Local Watersheds

by Yiwei Wang and Dan Johnston

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

Observing Animals

observing animalsOrganizing and Recording Observations on the Animals All Around Us

by Joe Sapp and Don Brown

This project encourages students to think about how they recognize and classify things they observe in nature, using local insects as a model. Students are asked to identify insects from their area and to think about how exactly they are able to tell them apart. They draw the insects, list any names they might know for them, and learn what defines them as insects. In the process, they learn the basics of insect biology and how to make meaningful scientific observations about the natural world.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   insect.pdf   glossary.pdf   labels.pdf   worksheet.pdf
Keywords: animals, classification, communication, eta, explanations, insects, HS-LS1.B, HS-LS4.A, observation, patterns

Vanishing Shells

vanishing shellsEffects of Ocean Acidification on Marine Life

by Tara Cornelisse and Bill Callahan

This project is an opportunity for students to learn how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere decreases the ocean’s pH and negatively affects shelled marine organisms. Students start with short informational videos and news readings, and then a real-life problem (an oyster business) as the context for designing questions, hypotheses, and investigating this phenomenon through hands-on experiments.

Docs: fulltext.pdf   labworksheet.pdf   labkey.pdf
Keywords: atmosphere, carbon dioxide, cause, data, HS-ESS3.C, HS-ESS3.D, explanations, investigations, marine, ocean acidification, oysters, pH, HS-PS1.B, questions, shells, stability, structure

Learn From Seabird Barf

what can seabird barf tell us

Seabirds and Marine Debris

by Kristin McCully and Jack Horner

Albatross boluses provide a record of what the seabirds fed on, which often includes plastic marine debris. In this project, each class builds a research question, hypothesis, procedures, and datasheet before dissecting albatross boluses from the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and analyzing their results statistically and graphically. This project is framed by discussion of how marine debris impacts marine organisms and how humans can reduce their use and waste of plastics.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf   Worksheet.pdf   Presentation.pdf
Keywords: albatross, data, HS-ESS3.C, explanations, investigations, HS-LS1.B, marine, marine debris, math, models, patterns, plastic, pollution, questions, seabirds, systems

Rocks Rock!

Rocks rockRock cycle and igneous rock formation

by Tara Cornelisse

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

Controlling DNA

controlling DNA

Ethical Guidelines for the Use of DNA Technology

by Tara Cornelisse

In four 2-hour class sessions, AP Biology students receive enriched, in-depth Power Point lectures that accompany their study of Campbell’s AP Biology textbook to explain the mechanics of DNA modification, and engage in two different group activities to apply their understandings of both science and social issues through engaged ethical reasoning, debate, and presentations.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf   Worksheet.pdf   Lecture 1.pdf   Lecture 2.pdf
Keywords: bioethics, communication, debate, DNA, HS-ETS2.A, HS-ETS2.B, HS-LS3.A

Why Do Organisms Vary?

why do organisms varyGenetic and Environmental Contributions to Trait Variation

by Beth Bastiaans and Ryan Kuntz

In this 2-month project, students design an experiment to assess phenotypic variation in one or more traits. Students use Wisconsin Fast PlantsTM (Brassica rapa). In a breeding experiment, they select a trait and analyze it during two generations of plants. Students create a pedigree by cross-pollinating the first generation with those of other students to generate a second generation of seeds with known parentage. They use linear regression to measure similarity of the selected trait in both generations. The second experiment begins with the offspring generation: students select an environmental variable, and plant enough of those offspring seeds to control that variable, again measuring the selected trait, and using linear regression to analyze effectiveness of that environmental factor.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf
Keywords: argument, data, HS-ETS2.B, explanations, genetic traits, investigations, HS-LS1.B, HS-LS3.A, HS-LS3.B, HS-LS4.B, math, organisms, phenotype, questions, variation

Roadkill Reduction with GIS

road-kill reduction with GIS

Learning to Use Layers

by Beth Bastiaans and Dan Johnston

What factors influence roadkill densities on our streets and highways? What steps can we take to protect wildlife? In this 2-hour module, students use Google Earth to learn how Geographical Information Systems (GIS) technology can help solve environmental problems. They also develop and test their own original hypotheses about roadkill, a familiar, local environmental issue. By combining multiple GIS layers in Google Earth, students develop and test hypotheses about which other landscape features may be correlated with roadkill frequency. Finally, the students discuss the difference between correlation and causation and what factors might bias their analyses.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf
Keywords: argument, causation, cause, communication, correlation, data, HS-ESS3.C, HS-ETS2.A, HS-ETS2.B, explanations, GIS, investigations, layers, math, patterns, questions, roadkill, systems

The Highest Tide

the highest tideScientific, Comic, and Poetic Species Descriptions

by Tara Cornelisse

Using passages from The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch, students learn that there are different ways to describe an object or an organism, and that these may have different effects on readers, but all of them can include plenty of detailed information. Students first listen to several of Lynch’s most vivid and creative descriptions of marine organisms, and take turns in teams drawing those organisms as they visualize them, and attempting to categorize the descriptions as scientific, comic, or poetic–or as combinations–locating key words or phrases that convey humor, feeling, and extensive, factual information. Then they research and describe a marine specimen organism in detail three times, in response to three short prompts, which emphasize the three respective purposes: scientific, poetic, and comic.

Docs: Fulltext.pdf
Keywords: communication, description, ecology, highest tide, investigation, marine, models, structure

Observing, Recording, and Inquiring

observing recording and inquiryingScientific Drawing

by Jennie Liss Ohayon and Satina Ciandro

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

energy for changeGreen Energy Audit

by Jennie Liss Ohayon and Dan Johnston

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

The Road to Sustainability

the road to sustainability

Closing the Loop by Achieving Zero Waste

by Tara Cornelisse

Students learn that the products they own go through a materials economy that includes natural resource extraction, production, distribution and themselves as consumers and disposers. Learning that this is unsustainable, students do a waste characterization of school trash and calculate the percent of trash that can be diverted from landfills with the goal of zero waste.

Docs: Full text.pdf
Keywords: data, HS-ESS3.A, HS-ESS3.C, explanations, investigations, life cycle analysis, math, patterns, questions, sustainability, systems, zero waste

Vehicles Powered on Waste

vehicles powered on waste

Producing Biodiesel from Used Vegetable Oil

by Jennie Liss Ohayon, Mark Sterrett and Ryan Kuntz

In this lab, students learn how to think about what makes the energy in vegetable oil available to use for vehicle engines. They learn about the chemical reactions that produce biodiesel, and why these chemical reactions are needed to produce vehicle-ready fuel. They practice making biodiesel, and compare the results when they use different amounts of catalyst, and when they use either new or used vegetable oil.

Docs: fulltext.pdf
Keywords: biodiesel, catalyst, chemical reactions, data, energy, HS-ESS3.B, HS-ETS1.B, explanations, investigations, HS-PS3.A, HS-PS3.D, questions, structure, vegetable oil

Filtering out Pollution

filtering out pollutionLowering Turbidity to Increase Water Quality

by Tara Cornelisse and Ruben Mejia

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

It Runs in the Family

Runs in the FamilyBuilding Trees to Understand Evolutionary Relationships

by Ben Higgins and Satina Ciandro

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: fulltext.docx   handout.docx   handoutkey.docx
Keywords: cause, evolution, Inheritance, HS-LS3.A, HS-LS3.B, HS-LS4.A, morphology, MS-LS4.A, patterns, traits