Our capacity to build proteins in our body is an important component of our health. We make protein to serve important purposes in our lives. This lesson examines two very important protein synthesis processes. First, our bodies make Enzymes to help the chemical activities in our bodies. Enzymes speed up chemical reactions and lower the activation energy on chemical processes. Lactase in the enzyme we produce that allows us to process Lactose sugar in milk. This is an important enzyme, but many people have DNA allele patterns that do not allow them to make this protein. Second, antibodies are proteins that fight disease. Both vaccines and our natural response to being exposed to the virus rely on our bodies making proteins to make our own medicine.
The 2020 school year was dramatically cut short due to the global virus pandemic. Viruses have always existed in a number of contexts, but few truly understand how viruses impact our lives. More importantly, our bodies have an embedded system for fighting viruses. This lesson, designed for middle school students, provides students an overview of the basics of viruses and explains how they impact the human body.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about the fight against climate change? Does your mind immediately think about the environmental efforts of African nations? In this lesson, students will learn about the powerful impact of humans on the environment. In Tanzania, scientists have worked on building a better and more sustainable culture. The reason why animals thrive in African safaris is because of the careful work to keep the (abiotic) non-living factors healthy enough to allow the animals to thrive. Additionally, using scientific knowledge to plant trees produces a healthier environment. The basic concepts are Ecosystem, Abiotic vs Biotic factors, Biodiversity, and Reforestation. The lesson includes virtual visits to Safari sites and a Reforestation project.
A recent study from Yale University found that there is a link between redlining and climate change. How could this be? As city planners make decisions about how to organize their cities, the height and density of the buildings, and the color of the rooftops all impact the temperature in the cities. When we combine the fact that urban centers are often places with few trees and thus lower oxygen production, the combination of air quality and heat can cause problems for urban schools.
Many people know about how redlining, inequitable home buying policies, and its effects on the wealth of people of color. However, few have discussed how redlining has impacted the cities and communities where it historically occurred. A recent study from Yale university documented how poor city planning and redlining policies can be linked. The results are urban heat islands where communities are negative impacted in a number of ways. This lesson teaches the fundamentals of climate change, while allowing students to explore the how public policy also plays a role in climate change.
Teaching science can be a difficult task. It requires a unique understanding of science content, student culture, and language.
Who doesn’t love bubbles! The things with bubbles is that they offer a quick and easy way to view how electrostatic forces impact small interactions. In the bubbles we see, there is an interesting effect, where the maximum distance of the surface tension is a globe. However, have you ever seen bubbles in different shapes. This lesson explores how making square bubbles might be an option.
Admit it, slime is simply awesome! Kids will make slime at home in their spare time, but what it the science of this uber relaxing materials. This lesson prepares your students to understand how substances engage in the formation of Polymers. The discussions of polymers can start at slime and explore environmental justice. Enjoy this engaging interpretation of slime.
Genetics plays an important role in our life. How often have you wondered why someone’s brother or sister looks dramatically different from them? Our genes operate by a set of rules that we should talk about more often. Each parent has genes that split in half, scramble and then replicate. Even after that there are environmental factors that cause the genes to work. This lab uses simply marshmallows to teach this idea.
Milk is mostly water, but it also contains vitamins, minerals, proteins, and tiny droplets of fat suspended in solution. Fats and proteins are sensitive to changes in the surrounding solution (the milk).
The secret of the bursting colors is the chemistry of that tiny drop of soap. Dish soap, because of its bipolar characteristics (nonpolar on one end and polar on the other), weakens the chemical bonds that hold the proteins and fats in solution. The soap’s polar, or hydrophilic (water-loving), end dissolves in water, and its hydrophobic (water-fearing) end attaches to a fat globule in the milk. This is when the fun begins.
This lesson is a great way to teach young people about gas laws and the water cycle. Using a small bottle and an air pump you can create the air pressure differential that you need to cause water droplets to move from their gas form to the liquid form of a cloud. This simple lab will teach your students to understand the states of water during the water cycle and how air pressure influence that change.
The basic concept of the water cycle can be one that is hard for students to connect to larger sociocultural issues. In helping students set a sense of how the water cycle matters to their lives, this lesson uses the issues of The Flint Water Cycle to help students understand how the water cycle is a vital component in providing clean water for everyone. This lesson includes slides, lesson plans, and handouts to be used for instruction. All of the lessons are available in downloadable and accessible in MS Word and Powerpoint formats that you can adjust.