Investigating Heat and Light: The Greenhouse Effect
Most garden coverups operate on the same basic principle. Radiant (light) energy from the sun can pass through transparent and semi-transparent materials. When the light arrives inside a closed space, it is absorbed by the surfaces within, then radiated again as thermal (heat) energy. The heat energy is less able to pass through the materials, so heat is trapped inside.
If birds grace your schoolyard or neighborhood, invite students to spend some time each day or week observing them. If you don't yet have bird feeders set up, consider enticing feathered friends to visit by spreading seeds on the ground or in a shallow pan. What do students notice and talk about?
Weather: sometimes we don't like it, but we certainly can't live without it. The general climate and more immediate weather affect how we live and what we eat. But that's not the half of it. These factors also influence the livelihoods of all the players, plant and animal, in the web of life.
Butterflies exploring a natural environmentAfter you've had some time to make and record observations in your schoolyard garden, wander to a wilder place to see how butterflies behave in a more natural environment, where "weeds" and other plants grow freely. Ask your students to share anything the trip helped clarify for them, or new questions it created, such as, What kinds of plants grow here?
This quick quiz highlights some little-known facts and dispels some misconceptions about hummingbirds. Use the quiz as a pre- and post-assessment. As your class learns more about hummingbirds, let them add their own items to the quiz or create a whole new quiz for another class to take. Click here.
Widespread concern for the environment began to grow in the late 1960’s and is a constant topic in media and policy discussions today. Students need to learn how to research and interpret current events and gain an appreciation for the importance of keeping abreast of new developments.
Students will each find and evaluate an article concerned with wetland habitat destruction or endangered carnivorous plant species and develop a reaction paper that demonstrates their critical reading skills.