Every Thursday on the EiE blog, we share tips and resources for K–8 engineering educators.
This week is Environmental Education Week (EE Week), an event created by the National Environmental Education Foundation to promote environmental learning for kids in grades K–12. How will YOU celebrate? We’re pleased to share seven curriculum units from the EiE afterschool programs Engineering Adventures and Engineering Everywhere that fit perfectly with the themes and goals of EE Week, call for inexpensive materials you probably have on hand already, and are super fun! Lesson plans are FREE to download—just click the links below.
Control an Invasive Species
Cane toads are native to Central and South America. Farmers brought them to Australia to control pesky beetles—but instead they’re harming rare and vulnerable wildlife. The Engineering Adventures unit Hop to It: Safe Removal of Invasive Species calls on your powers of creativity as you design a humane trap for toads.
Explore Earth Systems with High-Flying Technologies
Did you know America’s space agency has an environmental mission? Yup, NASA researchers study planet Earth along with the other planets, building and deploying airborne and space-based observatories and sensors to learn about Earth systems like oceans, ice sheets, and forests. Do your own aeronautical engineering with the Engineering Adventures unit The Sky’s the Limit: Engineering Flying Technologies.
Turn Cast-Offs into Cars
Recycling is big in Senegal! Kids often make their own toys by repurposing items that would ordinarily be discarded. The Engineering Adventures unit Go Green: Engineering Recycled Racers draws inspiration from this national engagement in recycling. Try your hand at engineering toy cars from recyclables, then compete in a Recycled Racer Rally!
Take Farming to New Heights
The world’s population keeps growing. How can we make sure that people in cities have easy access to fresh, nutritious food? One solution is growing food right in the city, in high-tech “vertical farms.” Check out the Engineering Everywhere unit Growing Up: Engineering Vertical Farms and explore this new and growing approach to farming.
Reduce Trash with Bioplastics
Plastic bags, plastic spoons, plastic containers . . . we’re used to throwing away “disposables.” But plastics pile up in landfills, taking up space and making a mess. The Engineering Everywhere unit Plants to Plastics: Engineering Bioplastics lets you try chemical engineering as you design and test new forms of plastic made from plant-based materials.
Fight Flooding—Control Stormwater Runoff
You don’t notice unless it’s raining, but stormwater runoff is a huge environmental problem. Cities are paved with hard surfaces that keep water from soaking in; it runs off, causing flooding and washing pollution into rivers, lakes, and oceans. With the Engineering Everywhere unit Don’t Runoff: Engineering an Urban Landscape, you redesign a cityscape to reduce runoff.
Conserve Energy—Engineer an EcoHouse
Keeping your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer takes a lot of energy—and that energy usually comes from fossil fuels. The simplest way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use less energy, but can you do it and still stay comfortable? You’ll design and test an energy-efficient model home with the Engineering Everywhere unit Here Comes the Sun: Engineering Insulated Homes.
Have fun engineering—and please share pictures of what you create on the EiE Facebook page.
For pre-printed Educator Guides and pre-assembled Materials Kits, visit the EiE Store.Engineering is Elementary is a project of the National Center for Technological Literacy® at the Museum of Science, Boston.