Environmental Science

Lesson plans are subdivided according to Georgia Performance Standards.
(All files are in PDF format unless otherwise noted.)

 

Atmosphere and Climate

  • Heating and Cooling of Land Forms
    The purpose of this lab is to observe heating and cooling rates of samples of soil, grass, saltwater, fresh water, and sand. The sun's energy warms different types of materials at different rates. This activity will demonstrate the different rates at which common substances seen in nature are heated by the sun's energy.
  • Staying Warm in the Cold
    Animals in the Arctic and Antarctic regions are subjected to violently cold temperatures. Still, amidst these treacherous conditions, these animals have adapted to be able not only to survive but also to thrive in the harsh cold. This laboratory activity will demonstrate one of the mechanisms used by these animals to survive.
  • Terrarium Making and the Water Cycle
    The purpose of this lesson plan is to demonstrate the water cycle through the use of terrariums made in class by the students. The students will better understand the processes through their understanding of how a terrarium works.

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Biodiversity

  • Classification of Plants in the Schoolyard; Creation of a Herbarium (zip)
    This lesson plan is designed to aide in the classification of plants in your schoolyard. Students will use their knowledge of plant structure and observation skills to determine the defining characteristics of the plants. Then, if desired, students can classify plants using plant reference material or the matrix based key on www.discoverlife.org.
  • Density and Texture of Soil
    With this lesson, students will understand soil texture and bulk density as well as the importance of these characteristics to both scientific and agricultural applications.
  • Understanding the Nature of Diversity and Speciation
    Students will have a chance to try to determine plant species through a series of experiments. Using common vegetables, students will cross various plants to determine whether or not they are the same species.
  • Life in the Trenches: Biodiversity Present in Leaf Litter
    This lesson will allow students to view the components of an ecosystem found near the school and will help them to develop an understanding of the interdependence of all life forms on earth.
  • From the "Eyes" of an Infectious Pathogenic Agent: The Road to Infection
    This lesson will provide students with knowledge on the various types of pathogens that may invade a human or animal's body and the route that such pathogens taken in order to cause an infection. Students will create a narrative written in first person where they will act as if they are a pathogen (bacterial, viral etc.) and explain how they enter the body, what organ systems they affect, and how they ultimately cause infection in the body.
  • Variation in Families/Populations of Plants
    Using Wisconsin Fast-Plants, we will explore how members of plant families and populations vary, and what significance this has for the population.

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Ecosystems

  • Biomes and Ecosystems: A World Wide Web Approach
    Students will utilize the World Wide Web to learn the characteristics of different biomes as well as the defining characteristics of each.
  • Bottled Ecosystem
    Students investigate the interactions that take place among several variables of a closed ecosystem simulation.
  • Density and Texture of Soil
    With this lesson, students will understand soil texture and bulk density as well as the importance of these characteristics to both scientific and agricultural applications.
  • Understanding the Functions of a Food Web (zip)
    This is a hands on activity that is used to help students understand the ecosystem by highlighting the tropic levels, producers and consumers in a particular food web. The students will construct a food web, fill out an accumulated energy chart, and prepare a poem about the ecosystem.
  • Heating and Cooling of Land Forms
    The purpose of this lab is to observe heating and cooling rates of samples of soil, grass, saltwater, fresh water, and sand. The sun's energy warms different types of materials at different rates. This activity will demonstrate the different rates at which common substances seen in nature are heated by the sun's energy.
  • Introduction to Toxicology
    This lesson plan serves as an introduction to toxicology for the high school classroom. This lesson plan is useful in chemistry, physical sciences, and biology as you begin to talk about all things chemical and the importance of chemical reactions in our everyday lives, as well as the effects of chemicals on all living organisms.
  • Land Biomes Project
    Students will work together in committees to discover one Earth's biomes. As a committee, the students will focus their research on the climate, typical flora and fauna, as well as the world distribution of their biome. The committee will present work to the class in a creative manner as if they are trying to persuade the producers of the hit television show "Survivor" to hold the next season in their biome.
  • Life in the Trenches: Biodiversity Present in Leaf Litter
    This lesson will allow students to view the components of an ecosystem found near the school and will help them to develop an understanding of the interdependence of all life forms on earth.
  • Pond Life
    This is a single-subject lecture/hands on demonstration. Its objective is to give the students experience in visual observation of single and multi-cellular organisms which are present in a pond.
  • Terrarium Making and the Water Cycle
    The purpose of this lesson plan is to demonstrate the water cycle through the use of terrariums made in class by the students. The students will better understand the processes through their understanding of how a terrarium works.
  • Soil and Water Relationships
    From this lesson, students will gain an understanding of soil and water relationships. Students will investigate water holding capacity and porosity of soil and how soils of different textures differ in these areas.

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Human Considerations

  • Density and Texture of Soil
    With this lesson, students will understand soil texture and bulk density as well as the importance of these characteristics to both scientific and agricultural applications.
  • Great Diaper Dilemma
    The environmental impact of disposable diapers is often hotly debated. Students will conduct research via the World Wide Web as well as an experiment to reach their own conclusions regarding diapers and the environment. This lesson should lead to more environmental awareness and discussion.
  • Population Growth Debate (zip)
    Current projections suggest that the human population may reach more than 10 billion people sometime in the next century before finally leveling off. This debate will familiarize students with the major arguments concerning population growth and its relationship to economic development, resource use, and environmental degradation. Background information articles provided.
  • Power of Persuasion
    The purpose of this lesson is to enhance students' research and writing skills, as well as to encourage independent thought.
  • Water, Water, Everywhere
    We often take for granted that our water will be clean. In this lesson, students will gain an appreciation for the methods used to keep water sources clean. *Note: This lesson is modified from a lesson posted on www.ScienceHouse.com

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Land

  • Biomes and Ecosystems: A World Wide Web Approach
    Students will utilize the World Wide Web to learn the characteristics of different biomes as well as the defining characteristics of each.
  • Comparing Heat Absorption in Different Soil Types
    Students will explore the following hypotheses: 1) Sand will absorb heat at a different rate than potting soil, and 2) A dark surface will absorb heat at a different rate than a light surface.
  • Determining the Effects of Substances on Plants
    What materials in the environment have an effect on seed germination in plants? In this lab, students will discuss/research the pollutants that may be present in their area and choose one to bioassay on seed germination. After choosing a pollutant and having the instructor approve it, they will design an experiment to test its effects on your seeds.
  • Great Diaper Dilemma
    The environmental impact of disposable diapers is often hotly debated. Students will conduct research via the World Wide Web as well as an experiment to reach their own conclusions regarding diapers and the environment. This lesson should lead to more environmental awareness and discussion.
  • Playing in the Dirt
    This lesson introduces students to different types of soils and helps the student to characterize the soil in terms of texture. Students learn that different soils support different life.
  • Effects of Salt on Plant Growth
    How does salt in the environment affect plant growth? Students will build a model for studying the effects of contaminants on plant growth, identify two ways pollutants can enter the ecosystem, and identify the effects of pollutants on terrestrial and aquatic plants.
  • Soil and Water Relationships
    From this lesson, students will gain an understanding of soil and water relationships. Students will investigate water holding capacity and porosity of soil and how soils of different textures differ in these areas.

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Water and Air

  • Introduction to Toxicology
    This lesson plan serves as an introduction to toxicology for the high school classroom. This lesson plan is useful in chemistry, physical sciences, and biology as you begin to talk about all things chemical and the importance of chemical reactions in our everyday lives, as well as the effects of chemicals on all living organisms.
  • Pond Life
    This is a single-subject lecture/hands on demonstration. Its objective is to give the students experience in visual observation of single and multi-cellular organisms which are present in a pond.
  • Tap Water Testing (zip)
    Students will test their own tap water and determine how much chlorine is present, the pH of the water, and the hardness of the water. If desired, tests for iron and copper could be included. The students will learn why chlorine is an important component of tap water, and the effects of pH and hardness.
  • Terrarium Making and the Water Cycle
    The purpose of this lesson plan is to demonstrate the water cycle through the use of terrariums made in class by the students. The students will better understand the processes through their understanding of how a terrarium works.
  • Water, Water, Everywhere
    We often take for granted that our water will be clean. In this lesson, students will gain an appreciation for the methods used to keep water sources clean. *Note: This lesson is modified from a lesson posted on www.ScienceHouse.com
  • Soil and Water Relationships
    From this lesson, students will gain an understanding of soil and water relationships. Students will investigate water holding capacity and porosity of soil and how soils of different textures differ in these areas.

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