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Puerto Rico Virtual Field Trip – Sustainable Recovery

Puerto Rico is one of the most beautiful locations in the world. The island nation has a wealth of natural resources that flourish in an amazing region of the world. A few years ago a devastating hurricane, Hurricane Maria, hit the island of Puerto Rico. It is an amazing case study of Climate Change, Human Ingenuity, and the goal to rebuild a community using principles of sustainability. This lesson with teach the ideas of natural disasters, climate change and human response.

Can Redlining Affect Climate Change

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.

A Tornado In a Bottle

Air can be among the most powerful substances in existence. The powerful results of air movements can lead to hurricanes and tornados. The question is how does a hurricane work. The mixture of circular rapid air movements and a voice of space in between allows the air movement to be enhance and powerful by reducing resistance. This lesson plan and laboratory will help provide students a model for how tornados function.

Square Bubbles – Surface Tension

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.

Smoke Rings – Air Vortex Movements

A vortex ring is a circular shaped ring of spinning gasses that move together as a unit. A vortex ring can happen in liquid or gasses, but are rarely seen because they happen inside of liquids or gases. When a vortex ring happens inside of suspended particles—as in the smoke rings which are often produced by smoke they can be seen. Visible vortex rings can also be formed by the firing of certain artillery, in mushroom clouds, and in microbursts.[1][2]

A vortex ring usually tends to move in a direction that is perpendicular to the plane of the ring and such that the inner edge of the ring moves faster forward than the outer edge. Within a stationary body of fluid, a vortex ring can travel for relatively long distance, carrying the spinning fluid with it.

Sling Shot Rockets

Slingshot physics involves the use of stored elastic energy to shoot a something at a high speed. This elastic energy comes from rubber bands which are specially made for slingshots. This energy is provided initially by the muscle energy of the slingshot operator. One of the goals of a slingshot is to fire the projectile at the greatest speed possible. To do this two basic physics conditions must be satisfied.

The Simplest Electric Motor

Flick a switch and get instant power—We loved to use electric motors even when we don’t know we are using them! You can find them in everything from electric lights to to remote-controlled cars—and you might be surprised how common they are. How many electric motors are there in the room with you right now? There are probably two in your computer for starters, one spinning your hard drive around and another one powering the cooling fan.

The Science of Ice Cream

To make ice cream, the ingredients—typically milk (or half and half), sugar and vanilla extract—need to be cooled down. One way to do this is by using salt. If you live in a cold climate, you may have seen trucks spreading salt and sand on the streets in the wintertime to prevent roads from getting slick after snow or ice. Why is this? The salt lowers the temperature at which water freezes, so with salt ice will melt even when the temperature is below the normal freezing point of water. This is an easy way to teach phase change.

Air Powered Hoover Crafts

All of our most widely used modes of transportation rely on Friction to move. Airplanes, Cars, Boats, Bikes, and Skateboards all rely on generating friction against something. In the case of the Airplane, it is the friction between the air and the airplane jets. For the Car, Bike, and Skateboards it is the friction between the tires and the ground. If the tires have a good grip (another word for friction) cars, bikes, and skateboards can travel. So what would happen if a care or skateboard did not have a good grip?

A Cloud In a Bottle

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.

Bernoulli’s Principle

Gases and liquids have similar movement patterns. In chemistry classes students will learn about the Bernoulli’s principle. This concept of fluid movement can be difficult to understand. Years of teaching science taught me to use example like digging up sand and having new sand fill the void. This simple outdoor activity can serve as a simple introduction to understanding this key gas principle.

Air Pressure Rockets

One of the challenges of teaching science involves getting students to see the value of micro level phenomenon. “Air” is among the things that is most challenging to teach. Air pressure impacts us everyday, but can be hard to understand because it is largely invisible. This lesson uses the building and launching of air pressure powered rockets as a means to give students an understanding of how air pressure impacts our world.


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