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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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