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Wind Energy Lab
Article
EDUCATION

Wind Energy Lab

Students will work through the engineering process while designing and testing wind turbine blades.

  • Best for: Grades 5-8 (ages 10-14)
  • Concepts: blade, energy, lockheed martin, maps, new hampshire, state mapmaker kits, wind, wind turbine
13 Days: President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis
Activity
EDUCATION

13 Days: President Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis

Students investigate outcomes of the Cuban Missile Crisis by using primary documents and role-playing President Kennedy’s national security team.

  • Best for: Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)
  • Concepts: american history, cold war, cons, cuban missile crisis, decision-making, diplomacy, evaluation, fidel castro, government, john f. kennedy, killing kennedy, nikita khrushchev, nuclear weapons, outcomes, policy strategy, politics, pros, soviet union
The Power of Images in Storytelling
Activity
EDUCATION

The Power of Images in Storytelling

Students will explore the integral role of images in storytelling. They do a gallery walk of Photo Ark images and reflect on the emotions they experience. Students write personal essays in response to photographs of animals.

  • Best for: Grades 6-8 (ages 11-14)
  • Concepts: conservation, endangered species, extinct, photography, species, storytelling, writing
Threatened Animals and Their Habitats
Activity
EDUCATION

Threatened Animals and Their Habitats

Students use Photo Ark images of threatened or extinct animals to research the dangers affecting the animals’ existence. They use the information to draw the habitats of these animals and investigate links between habitat, ecosystem, and animal livelihood or extinction.

  • Best for: Grades 3-5 (ages 8-11)
  • Concepts: animals, ecosystems, extinction, habitats, photo ark, photography, predators, prey
Looking for Signs of Life
Activity
EDUCATION

Looking for Signs of Life

Students explore how scientists determine the atmospheric composition of distant planets. They use a model to explore how elements in a gaseous mixture can be identified through absorption spectroscopy. Finally, students explore what compounds are most likely to reflect the presence of, or favorabil...

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: altitude-1, carbon dioxide, electromagnetic spectrum, emission, greenhouse gases, life in space, light-matter interactions, methane, nitrogen, oxygen, photosynthesis, planetary atmospheres, propellant, respiration, spectroscopy
Habitable Conditions
Activity
EDUCATION

Habitable Conditions

Students use an interactive model to explore the zone of liquid water possibility around different star types and determine the characteristics of stars and planets that are most favorable for habitability.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: atmosphere, gaseous planet, goldilocks zone, habitability, habitable zone, hertzsprung-russel diagram, life in space, planetary orbit, rocky planet, star class, tidal lock, zone of liquid water
Hunting for Planets
Activity
EDUCATION

Hunting for Planets

Students discover how scientists use the transit method to detect planets. Using interactive models, they investigate how a star’s light intensity changes based on the effects of planet size and angle of orbit. Next, they explore the effect of data noise on detection. Finally, students challen...

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: angle of orbit, eclipse, planetary size, planet hunting, telescope precision, transit method
Moving Stars and Their Planets
Activity
EDUCATION

Moving Stars and Their Planets

Students investigate how scientists use Newton's Third Law of Motion to infer the presence of a planet orbiting a star. They explore the Doppler effect, the influence various factors have on the ability to detect an orbiting planet, and the effect of telescope noise and data imprecision on scien...

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: angle of orbit, doppler effect, newton's third law of motion, planetary mass, planet hunting, radial velocity, telescope precision, wobble
The Vastness of Space
Activity
EDUCATION

The Vastness of Space

Students are introduced to the unanswered question of whether there is life in space. They learn how scientists are looking for planets outside of our solar system and are evaluating the possibility of finding a habitable planet within their lifetimes.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: exoplanets, galaxy, habitability, kepler, life, space, telescopes, transit method, universe, wobble
Climate Change and Rising Seas
Activity
EDUCATION

Climate Change and Rising Seas

Students identify the difference between global warming and climate change. They learn what causes global rise in sea level, and they test predictions about sea level rise through a hands-on experiment.

  • Best for: Grades 5-9 (ages 10-15)
  • Concepts: climate change, environment, glaciers, global warming, melting, oceans, sea level rise
Analyzing the Distribution of Vegetation Zones and Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park
Activity
EDUCATION

Analyzing the Distribution of Vegetation Zones and Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park

Students use a map to analyze and contrast variations in abiotic factors at three locations within Virunga National Park and explain how these factors influence the distribution of vegetation zones. Then students deduce the location that provides habitat for critically endangered mountain gorillas a...

  • Best for: Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)
  • Concepts: abiotic factors, alpine, ecosystems, elevation, habitat loss, montane forest, mountain gorilla, precipitation, savanna, temperature, vegetation regions, virunga national park
Conduct a Micro-Expedition
Activity
EDUCATION

Conduct a Micro-Expedition

Students conduct their micro-expedition based on planning from previous activities. They then create a presentation, blog post, or other display of their expedition and findings.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: blue holes , communication, curiosity, discovery, expeditions, exploration, fieldwork, micro-expedition, observation
Multidisciplinary Exploration
Activity
EDUCATION

Multidisciplinary Exploration

Students analyze the multidisciplinary nature of the Blue Holes Expedition by determining the questions the scientists and researchers involved in the expedition were attempting to answer. They then construct a multidisciplinary approach for their own micro-expedition.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: blue holes , cave diving, curiosity, expeditions, exploration, oceans, research
Expedition Ethics
Activity
EDUCATION

Expedition Ethics

Students discuss the meaning of ethics and evaluate the ethical considerations with the Blue Holes Expedition. They apply their learning to planning for the micro-expedition.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: blue holes , cave diving, caver’s motto, curiosity, ethics, expeditions, exploration, hiram bingham, leave no trace, micro-expedition, oceans
Plan and Prepare for an Expedition
Activity
EDUCATION

Plan and Prepare for an Expedition

Students envision the planning and preparation needed for an expedition to a remote and dangerous site. Then they determine the actual preparation from a video about an expedition to the site. They plan their own “micro-expedition,” including a research question they want to answer, and ...

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: blue holes , cave diving, curiosity, expeditions, exploration, micro-expedition, oceans, paleontology, planning
Why We Explore
Activity
EDUCATION

Why We Explore

Students discuss the meaning of exploration and places they would like to explore. They compare past and present-day explorers’ reasons for exploration to their own.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: blue holes divers, cave diving, curiosity, expeditions, exploration, places, scientific research
Designing a BioBlitz Learning Experience
Activity
EDUCATION

Designing a BioBlitz Learning Experience

Recruit and support scientists, naturalists, and other expert volunteers to lead BioBlitz inventories that engage both students and community members in a fun, dynamic, participatory science learning and stewardship event.

  • Best for: Grades 4-12 (ages 9-18)
  • Concepts: bioblitz, citizen science, discoveries, identifying species, inventory, invertebrates, observation, plants
Introducing Biodiversity and BioBlitz
Activity
EDUCATION

Introducing Biodiversity and BioBlitz

​Students prepare for BioBlitz by defining biodiversity and examining the characteristics of various plants and animals as examples of taxonomic groupings. Students learn about the number of species identified globally in key taxa and use this information to make predictions about the biodiversity t...

  • Best for: Grades 4-8 (ages 9-14)
  • Concepts: bioblitz, biodiversity, biological classification, classifying information, estimated, observation, recording, scientific investigation, taxonomy
Analyzing BioBlitz Data
Activity
EDUCATION

Analyzing BioBlitz Data

Students investigate and analyze local biodiversity using iNaturalist observations. They collaborate in small groups to explore observations and identification of various taxon groups. Then students create a class graph of data and draw inferences about biodiversity, invasive species, and endangered...

  • Best for: Grades 4-8 (ages 9-14)
  • Concepts: bioblitz, biodiversity, data analysis, endangered species, introduced species, invasive species, patterns, synthesis, taxonomy, threatened species
Tracing Democratic Ideas
Activity
EDUCATION

Tracing Democratic Ideas

Students analyze excerpts from historical documents, including the Mayflower Compact, The General Fundamentals, The Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution, to identify evidence of democratic ideas.

  • Best for: Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)
  • Concepts: declaration of independence, democracy, mayflower compact, pilgrims, plymouth colony, social contract, the general fundamentals , united states constitution
Saints and Strangers: Push and Pull on the Way to Plymouth Colony
Activity
EDUCATION

Saints and Strangers: Push and Pull on the Way to Plymouth Colony

Students analyze the motivations for the Saints and Strangers to immigrate to North America by reading secondary sources and working in teams to determine the push and pull factors.

  • Best for: Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)
  • Concepts: immigration, mayflower, merchant, migration, plymouth, plymouth colony, puritans, separatists
Recognizing Native American Perspectives: Thanksgiving and the National Day of Mourning
Activity
EDUCATION

Recognizing Native American Perspectives: Thanksgiving and the National Day of Mourning

Students analyze a primary source to learn about a Native American’s perspective on the arrival of the Pilgrims and discuss differing viewpoints about the significance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Best for: Grades 9-12 (ages 14-18)
  • Concepts: native americans, pilgrims, thanksgiving
Preserving Soils
Activity
EDUCATION

Preserving Soils

Students explore a map showing cropland density around the world. They discover how soil is formed and explore how plants get nutrients from topsoil. Finally, they use computational models to explore how wind, water, and plants affect soil quality.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: erosion, plants, roots, slope, soil, topsoil
Using the Land
Activity
EDUCATION

Using the Land

Students explore data showing how humans have changed Earth's land. They examine maps showing the distribution of suitable agricultural land and investigate the effect of human development on agricultural lands.

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: agriculture, development, food, forests, housing, land use
Climate and Crop Growth
Activity
EDUCATION

Climate and Crop Growth

Students explore climate graphs and an interactive computational model to discover the role of temperature and precipitation on the growth of crops. They examine how the extremes of precipitation (drought and flood) affect plant growth and they use maps of average precipitation and temperature to pr...

  • Best for: Grades 7+ (ages 12+)
  • Concepts: agriculture, climate, drought, flood, plant growth, precipitation, production, temperature