Buildings that are called “green” or “environmentally sustainable” are designed to use energy as efficiently as possible. In Missouri, Washington University’s Tyson Living Learning Center achieves sustainability by incorporating green technologies in different ways, including the use of solar panels. In this activity, students will explore how solar panels work by building a simple circuit, a series circuit and a parallel circuit, using a solar panel to light a bulb and comparing which method yields the brightest light. Then students will build a solar-powered house using a shoebox, and test some variables to determine the most efficient way to harness solar energy to power a model home.
In this activity, students will use household materials to investigate and explore how the release of carbon dioxide gas from a chemical reaction can cause a small-scale explosion. Students then will experiment with variables to determine which factors launch a film canister the highest.
In this activity, students will perform an experiment that replicates the dilemma that birds face in acquiring food from a confined area. Students will be given a variety of objects to use as “tools,” and will explore various ways of extracting the food item from an enclosed shoebox without directly using their hands. Students will compare and contrast which tools worked best, and use problem-solving skills to design and develop unique methods for extracting the food item from the shoebox.
In this activity, students will use a stream table to investigate river formations in two different landscape scenarios. Students will compare and contrast how the formation of the river differs if the topography of the land is changed from a flat plain to a terrain with hills and valleys.
In this activity, students will familiarize themselves with the distinguishing physical characteristics of an insect. Students will observe and maintain live crickets to learn the function of various body parts of a cricket. Further, students will have the opportunity to change their negative feelings or thoughts about insects by observing cricket behavior, collecting data and taking care of crickets for one week.
In this activity, students will discuss the various methods by which pollination can occur in flowers or plants. Students will dissect and identify the different parts of a flower, hypothesize the function of each part, and discuss the importance or relevance of each part to pollination.
In this activity, students will perform an experiment to find out where flower colors come from. Students will extract petal juice, use acid and base indicators, and observe chemical reactions to investigate how the amount of acid or base influences the color of a petal.
In this activity, students will compare and contrast different forms of luminescence by observing how chemiluminescence, phosphorescence, and fluorescence produce or emit light. Students will also compare these forms of luminescence to bioluminescence.
In this activity, students will review and discuss weathering, erosion and mass wasting, to gain a stronger understanding of how Hickory Run’s Boulder Field was formed after the Laurentide Continental Glacier receded. Using edible materials, students will model and demonstrate the geological processes that formed this unique feature.