Sunday, October 5, 2008
Environmental Science Focus
Environmental Science is defined as the study of the ways in which humans interact with their environments. Emphasis is placed on sustaining resources and making informed choices concerning environmental issues. While most children in the 2/3 classroom already know that it is important to recycle paper, for example, I hope to deepen their understanding of why it is important – that everything on earth is interconnected and dependent on each other.
Since this is such a broad subject, there are many different ways of approaching it. The main topic I decided to tackle is water – specifically, the water cycle and the effects of acid rain. We will learn to test for acids and bases using litmus paper. Then we will learn that when chemicals like sulfur and nitrogen get mixed up in the water cycle, the rain becomes more acidic than normal. This acid rain affects the health of lakes and oceans, plants, animals that eat the plants, etc. It has contributed to the destruction of forests in many places of the world. It also has a negative effect on buildings and statues.
We will conduct some experiments in the classroom. First, a brief exploration of what happens to some statues after years of exposure to acid rain: We will take pieces of chalk and soak them in both vinegar (our acid) and distilled water (our control). Then, we will do a full-scale experiment using the scientific method to determine effect of acid rain on plants. Children will make predictions, tests their hypotheses, analyze results and record data.