Air Quality Curriculum Now Available

From Elaine Hampton, via EcoEd

Students with beakers

Photo from BAQed.utep.edu.

A free curriculum about border air quality is available to everyone in Spanish and English at BAQed.utep.edu.

Modules of 3 to 6 lessons, for Grade 3 through High School, take students through inquiry science, social justice, and community engagement.

For example:

  • Fourth graders learn about air pollution caused by burning hydrocarbons from fossil fuels. They explore what it feels like to breathe if you have respiratory problems, and they make plans to have less air pollution around their school.
  • Sixth graders measure temperature changes in ambient air compared to CO2 to understand the greenhouse effect and the foundations of climate change. They create public service announcements about the climate issues for the school news channel and their families.
  • Using the important environmental history of the ASARCO copper smelter located near downtown El Paso, high school students learn how to identify sources of air pollution, the chemical behavior of these polluting compounds, and then explore options to reduce chemical air pollutants.

A project of the El Paso Independent School District and The University of Texas at El Paso, Center for Environmental Resource Management, funded by Environmental Protection Agency, U.S.-Mexico Border Environmental Education, Outreach and Support Program, 66.037. Supported in part by a grant from the USEPA Office of Air and Radiation, Grant #IT-83509301.

 

Climate Change and Water Cycle Activities

(Updated: 2/2/16)

From Stephanie Haan-Amato, Asombro Institute for Science Education

Students participating in curriculum activity

Students conducting an experiment with different insulating materials and their own body heat to model the enhanced greenhouse effect in the Insulating You, Insulating Earth activity. Photo courtesy of Asombro.

Increased temperatures and altered precipitation will make water–a limited resource in the arid southwestern United States–even scarcer in many locations.

With the aim of fostering climate literacy in our future citizens, the USDA Southwest Regional Climate Hub partnered with the Asombro Institute for Science Education to create an engaging, fun, and scientifically rigorous education unit for 6-12th grade students. It is aligned with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. Each activity was reviewed by an educator for educational practices and a scientist for scientific accuracy.

The Climate Change and the Water Cycle unit consists of nine activities, and we designed it to be conducted over 10 days (or 10 hours). Each activity can also stand alone, however, and the unit need not be completed in its entirety.

Materials for the activities can generally be purchased at a household goods store. Many activities use items that educators often have available; very few specialized supplies are needed.

At the conclusion of the unit, a Las Cruces middle school student commented: “I loved all of the activities! They are fun and help us understand about what goes on in the world.”

An educator, who conducted the activities said, “The entire curriculum is great, but I was particularly impressed with the progression of ideas and the variety of lessons.”

Another commented, “Students could see the relevance and importance of these real life issues.”

The curriculum is free to download at http://swclimatehub.info/education/climate-change-and-water-cycle. We simply ask that educators create a quick account by supplying some basic information for internal tracking purposes. We hope that EEANM educators and students will try and enjoy these fun new activities!

Youth Conference on the Environment Returns

Thanks to continued support from Lockheed Martin, we are co-hosting the 17th Annual Youth Conference on the Environment on April 8, 2014.

The free, one-day event offers high school science students opportunities to learn about environmental issues in NM. It is currently booked to capacity, but email Katrina Wagner from Sandia National Labs to join the waiting list or be notified next year.


This article was originally published in EE Connections for Spring 2014 [PDF].