Get These Inspiring Environmental Science Activities
Teaching Topics: Environmental Science, Air Testing & Sample, Water Testing & Sample, Soil Testing & Sample, Weather Stations, Field Equipment
Students benefit from your lesson plans that help them understand the essential facts and events that shape our natural world. Environmental science coursework helps students uncover the fascinating details behind Earth’s cycles, the use of land, water and energy resources, and how human actions affect the balance within ecosystems. Students may be surprised to learn the connection between these concepts and the environmental challenges they hear about, like deforestation, climate change, water pollution, toxic waste disposal, endangered species, and more.
Getting started means students must understand the importance of data collection in environmental science. Recorded information that helps track the state of our environment includes anything from weather forecasts, alerts, and warnings to climate monitoring, to estimates of arable land (suitable for agriculture) or rainforest, to the analysis of water samples taken along river systems. By monitoring environmental data regularly, we create snapshots that help identify important environmental changes.
Environmental scientists have been collecting data about water, soils, and air for centuries as a crucial way to study the world around us. However, that doesn’t mean the data collection technology should be as old as the science itself!
Data loggers, like the HOBO Environmental Science Data Loggers bring research-level data to the classroom. With these devices, students will learn the tools real-world environmental scientists use today. As a result, students can develop a scientific mindset with interests in sustainability and practical skills that solve real-world environmental problems.
The data loggers are simple to use. Simply place the relevant logger wherever the data should be collected, sign up for the HOBO app, and watch the digital data collection in real time. Teachers can walk students through the automatically generated maps and graphs, make group observations, and begin formulating theories.
Whenever scientists collect data, the next step is – what is the story behind this? These modern-day tools provide students the skills to collect their own data, interact with the environment, and learn what it really means to be an Environmental Scientist both in the field and behind the data.
Here are three classroom examples to inspire young climate scientists:
- Place several temperature and light data loggers around your school in different environments – for example, a blacktop parking lot and a wide-open field. Install the devices to collect data every 5 minutes and then spend the first few minutes of class each day reviewing the data. What differences or similarities do we observe from location to location? Is there a relationship between light and temperature? How do human-made structures affect the temperature of an area? Do we notice a more dramatic difference between day and night?
- Place a water temperature data logger in a nearby body of water. Does water temperature change from day to night? How does rainfall (i.e. sediment turbidity) affect the water’s temperature? If we were to bury a temperature and light data logger in the sand of a nearby shore to the lake, do we notice different or similar changes?
- Use the HOBO® Bluetooth Low Energy Temperature/Relative Humidity Data Logger (470323-466) to understand how water moves from oceans and lakes into our atmosphere. Students take a 2-liter soda bottle, cut the bottom off, and tightly place it over a shallow container of earth materials (such as wet sand or plant soil). Shine a lightbulb directly at the bottle and tape the logger to the inside of the bottle. The logger will demonstrate how humidity increases over time when water transpires from the plants and soil to the air. In this demo, the earth material represents an environment like a desert or a field, the air in the bottle represents the earth’s atmosphere, and the light represents solar energy from the sun. To take this experiment to the next level, ask how does the rate of humidity growth change if we have the exact same set up but move the light bulb three inches further away?
Whether it’s one teacher for multiple classrooms, or multiple teachers within a district, the collaboration opportunities are infinite, and the loggers will last year after year. These tools redefine the possibilities of Environmental Science education.
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