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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
3-4 students
Active Time
6-8 hours
Total Time
6-8 hours
Area of Science
Environmental Science
Electricity & Electronics
Key Concepts
Human impact on the environment, electrical circuits, engineering
Learning Objectives
  • Design, build, and test an environmental monitoring circuit
  • Understand how human activity impacts the environmental variable that the circuit monitors
  • Explain how information from the monitoring circuit can be acted on to minimize human impact on the environment
environmental monitoring circuit

Overview

Does human activity impact the environment? If so, how can we measure our impact on the environment? How can we use these measurements to change our behavior? In this project, your students will explore these questions by designing and building an electronic circuit that can measure environmental parameters like water quality or light pollution.

NGSS Alignment

This lesson helps students prepare for these Next Generation Science Standards Performance Expectations:
  • MS-ESS3-3. Apply scientific principles to design a method for monitoring and minimizing a human impact on the environment.
This lesson focuses on these aspects of NGSS Three Dimensional Learning:

Science & Engineering Practices Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions. Apply scientific principles to design an object, tool, process, or system.

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information. Communicate scientific and/or technical information (e.g. about a proposed object, tool, process, system) in writing and/or through oral presentations.
ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems. Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth's environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.
Influence of Science, Engineering, and Technology on Society and the Natural World. All human activity draws on natural resources and has both short and long-term consequences, positive as well as negative, for the health of people and the natural environment.

Credits

Ben Finio, PhD, Science Buddies

Materials

Each group of students will need:

  • Electronic Sensors Kit, available from our partner Home Science Tools.
  • Additional materials depending on which project they choose. Please read the Teacher Prep section, which describes the different options in more detail, so you can decide what materials to make available to your students. Examples include (but are not limited to):
    • Tubs of water
    • Popsicle sticks and aluminum foil to make moisture probes
    • Potted plants or dirt
    • Flashlights
    • Aquarium or pond water
    • Small, clear, plastic cups for water samples
    • Cardboard boxes
    • Tape
    • Scissors
    • Bromothymol Blue Indicator solution 0.04% (w/v); available from Amazon.com. Changes color depending on pH of water.

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Grade Range
6th-8th
Group Size
3-4 students
Active Time
6-8 hours
Total Time
6-8 hours
Area of Science
Environmental Science
Electricity & Electronics
Key Concepts
Human impact on the environment, electrical circuits, engineering
Learning Objectives
  • Design, build, and test an environmental monitoring circuit
  • Understand how human activity impacts the environmental variable that the circuit monitors
  • Explain how information from the monitoring circuit can be acted on to minimize human impact on the environment

Class Materials