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Virtual Field Trip Lesson on The Carbon Cycle

Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘It’s organic’? It’s a peculiar term in our world. For scientists, it means that the substance is composed of carbon. There’s something remarkable about carbon—it’s neither created nor destroyed. Instead, it’s recycled through our environment as we breathe, as plants conduct photosynthesis, and as bacteria decompose things. This lesson takes us to a local grocery store to teach us how carbon is cycled through the environment. The students will visit the grocery store and explore each stage of the carbon cycle through a 3D virtual world.

Tanzania – Fighting Climate Change With Safari’s & Reforestation (VR)

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.

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.

COVID 19 – Viruses, Antigens, & Antibodies

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.

Grey Water Lesson – Water Recycling

Water: it’s constantly in use all around us, but did you know that you can recycle water just like paper or plastic? Every year, Americans throw 11 trillion gallons of reusable water, grey water, down the drain. Learn about the human water cycle, the three types
of water, key water conservation methods and how this can lead to a more sustainable future and decrease the impact of climate change.

Making My Own Medicine (Protein Synthesis)

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.

Redlining & Urban Heat: A Lesson in Climate Change

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.

Building Your Own Virtual Field Trip

Students and teachers can also be creators or virtual reality learning resources. This tutorial will help teachers and students learn to create their own virtual scientific tours of interesting phenomena. To do this, you will use two or three different types of software together. The videos below offer a basic introduction to using VR 360 video and using ThingLink. We invite you to give it a try and reach out to our team if you would like additional assistance.

Genetics Through Reebops

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.

Virtual Reality Training Lesson

Emerging from pandemic instruction, teachers learned to leverage some important tools to keep students thinking and engaged. One of the biggest challenge of that time was offering NGSS based laboratory experiences. One useful tool for that challenge is virtual reality. In this case, students can take virtual field trips to visit locations, collect data, and make claims based on what they learned. To prepare students for the lessons use this short training activity to help students grown comfortable using the interface and the goggles.

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.

Digital Diversity in Virtual Education: Making Sure Culturally Relevant Practices Make Their Way Home

Teaching from home has emerged as one of the biggest and more difficult challenges teachers have ever faced. In attempting to make instruction as equitable as possible, many questions have emerged around the possibilities of culturally relevant pedagogy in a distance learning format. Although technology issues have emerged, there are numerous ways to ensure the best practices in CRP teaching can thrive in a digital environment.

Teaching Science To Community College Students

Have you ever wondered why modern science teachers teach in the exact same fashion as teachers from 100 years ago? Do we know more today about science teaching? If so, our modern approach to science teaching should reflect what we know about learning and how our modern technology enables us to engage in world class teaching. This session will provide use with a foundational training on modern science teaching. Feel free to download the handout to work on the planning using the digital resources.

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.

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.

The Science of Making Slime

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.

Engineering Basics with Tiny Bits

There is a lot of excitement about engineering. This can be something that is difficult to teach as teachers must learn how to give students access to circuit and programming activities. This lesson allows teachers to provide students with pre-made circuits, switches, and transformers. This is a fun activity that will lead to a lot of fun results. Try this easy to do science lesson.

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.

Magical Milk Spectroscopy

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.

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.

Virtual Reality Science Lessons

There are a number of ways teachers can consider using virtual reality to teach science concepts. Teachers can use VR 360 videos or VR Worlds. In VR 360 videos students use VR goggles to view actual video recorded at 360 degrees. People have taken footage from space and remote locations around the globe. We have a sequence of science lessons that are available for you to use now. The lessons teach students about the science happening in their neighbor hoods. To use these lessons, simply click the links below and keep your students talking about the exciting world of science happening right outside their door. This project was funded by the Technology for Equity in Learning Opportunities program at Stanford University TELOS

Make Makey – Introducing Engineering Through Circuts

Circuits are central to how we interact with the world You need a closed path, or closed circuit, to get electric current to flow. If there’s a break anywhere in the path where electricity travels, you have an open circuit, and the current stops flowing — and the metal atoms in the wire quickly settle down to a peaceful, electrically neutral existence. This lesson teaches this concept in a simple and engaging way.

A closed circuit allows current to flow, but an open circuit leaves electrons stranded.
Picture a gallon of water flowing through an open pipe. The water will flow for a short time but then stop when all the water exits the pipe. If you pump water through a closed pipe system, the water will continue to flow as long as you keep forcing it to move.

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 Hover 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.

Fractions – Working with Equivalent Fractions

Teaching fractions can be tough. As students are thinking about new ways to represent fractions they can struggle with making sense of numerical relationships. This lesson provides students a chance to explain, manipulate, and alter fractions by using online software. This lesson is based on PHET software that will allow the students to use and manipulate fractions.

Sports Science – The Physics of Landing (Newton’s 2nd Law)

Sports and dance provide a wealth of opportunities to learn science. This introductory physics  lesson explores the physics of landing. Many young people experience traumatic injuries that are the result of landing from a jump. The impact of their bodies hitting the ground after accelerating from a height magnifies the weight of their body onto…

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.

The Flint Water Crisis – The Water Cycle

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.

Culturally Relevant Computer Science & Engineering Curriculum

A Culturally Relevant CS/ Engineering Curriculum   Welcome to the CS/Engineering curriculum page. You may ask what is a hybrid CS/Engineering curriculum. This curriculum is a part of an ongoing project to build a free online resource for teachers to teach Computer Science and Engineering. Many of our current products, including phones, cars, drones, and…


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