Go Green

Environmental Engineering

Program ● Interactive ● Grades 3-8

During the Environmental Engineering classes, students use the Engineering Design Process to design, create, test, and refine basic solutions related to alternative energy and environmental issues. They learn principles behind crafting efficient wind-powered machines and discover how those machines can be used to help reduce the use of fossil fuels. During the culminating project, students test different materials to discover which ones most effectively clean up after an oil spill.

Environmental engineering is one of the newest and fastest-growing fields in today’s marketplace. Now more than ever, humans are looking for smarter and more eco-friendly methods for extracting and using Earth’s limited supply of raw materials. The primary goal of the modern environmental engineer is to minimize the impact of man-made processes on the natural environment while producing quality products effectively and in the most efficient manner possible. They utilize aspects of chemistry, biology, ecology, and engineering to design

systems and solutions that help to keep our environment intact.

Examples of an environmental engineer’s responsibilities:

  • Oversee various types of pollution control, such as soil erosion, water remediation, and smokestack air quality.
  • Design a system to safely dispose of radioactive waste from a nuclear power plant.
  • Develop natural and man-made disaster relief plans in the event of hurricanes, tornadoes, oil spills, or other catastrophic events.
  • Analyze data provided by developers and construction managers to calculate rates for water drainage, soil runoff, and vegetation loss.
  • Minimize the effects of climate change, acid rain, and greenhouse gases on our larger global environment by inventing new ways to produce and use materials.

Environmental Pre-Lesson

This pre-lesson is designed to provide students with a brief overview of technology, environmental engineering, and the Engineering Design Process.

Breathe Easy

In today’s briefing, we’ve jumped ahead another 100 years. With sea levels continuing to rise, humanity has looked top the stars and ventured into the solar system to live. Mars is our closest neighbor, and has the most possibilities for long term human habitation. The major obstacle to overcome on Mars is the lack of breathable air for our colonists. In today’s lesson, our engineers will design and build a greenhouse for plants to generate oxygen for colonization on Mars.

This lesson has only been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Design the Future (link)  
      Lesson Name: Breathe Easy

Green Boating

In the Green Boating lesson students will learn the importance of reusing materials. Through a fun, hands-on activity, they will design their own eco-friendly toy…a sailboat! Through this activity, students will learn about the importance of harnessing power through wind energy.

This lesson includes Master Level Scaling.
This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Momentum Madness (link)  
      Lesson Name: Zip Sails
Camp: Sail the Seas: Engineering of Pirates (link)  
      Lesson Name: Follow the Horizon
Camp: Engineering Olympiad (link)  
      Lesson Name: Zip Sails

Innovative Insulation

You have been recruited by the US government to help with a top secret mission. Scientists in an undisclosed location have developed a time machine. With their time machine, they have traveled from 50 to 500 years into the future. When they returned to the present, they immediately set out to recruit the smartest and brightest young engineers. Get ready for a week of working fast and forward to save the future!

This lesson has only been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Design the Future (link)  
      Lesson Name: Innovative Insulation

Insulation Panic

In this lesson students will learn how to conserve energy by reducing the amount of heat lost in their water bottles. Every day, people waste energy by using it unwisely. One example of this is in office buildings. Some buildings do not have proper insulation, which prevents them from conserving energy to heat and cool the building. Without insulation all the energy used to heat the building is lost when the heat escapes. Insulation is any material used to prevent the transfer of heat. The quality of insulation is measured by how well it keeps heat out. Typically, heat transfers from hot areas to cold area. When you touch something cold, heat energy from your body is transferred to the other object. Insulation prevents this from happening. In this lesson, students will experiment with different materials and decide which one is the best insulator.

This lesson has only been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Survivor Week: Engineer's Cove (link)  
      Lesson Name: Insulation Panic

Mining Mountains

In this lesson, students explore the harmful effects of mining and its impact on local communities. Students work to devise their own efficient ways of mining materials and design their own containment system to protect the local community from dangerous debris.

This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Building Cities: The Engineering of Cities (link)    
      Lesson Name: Mining Mountains

Natural Filtration

Students will engineer their own design for a water filtration system while learning about the water cycle. This lesson will explore how the earth filters water and the importance of fresh, clean water.

This lesson has also been used as a camp lesson
Camp: Building Cities: The Engineering of Cities (link)    
      Lesson Name: Natural Filtration
Camp: Sail the Seas: Engineering of Pirates (link)    
      Lesson Name: Not a Drop to Drink

Purify It

Students will explore how hot air balloons ascend and descend using gases and air pressure, how aerodynamics plays a part in the design of a hot air balloon envelope and why air is a fluid mass and is composed of matter.

This lesson requires two days to complete 

Slick Solutions

Students in this lesson will be faced with one of the worst types of man-made disasters - an oil spill! They will explore the challenges associated with cleaning up an oil spill on budget and time schedule constraints. Using minimal resources, students will be challenged to design effective solutions that address both the containment and recovery stages of the cleanup process.

This lesson includes Master Level Scaling.
This lesson has also been used as camp lessons
Camp: Heroes Week (link)  
      Lesson Name: Slick Solutions

Soda Ring Challenge

Though the plastic, six-ring soda holders are a convenient way to contain and transport beverages, they are dangerous to the environment and animals. Students will assume the role of environmental engineers during the Soda Net Challenge activity to develop a new design for a soda ring that will be less harmful to animals.

This lesson includes Master Level Scaling.
This lesson has also been used as camp lessons
Camp: Heroes Week (link)  
      Lesson Name: Soda Ring Challenge

Solar Sailing

Welcome to the fifth and final day of Design the Future. Today, we’re traveling hundreds of years into the future where 98% of the earth is covered by water with no oil and depleted batteries. We need to design a fast solar boat to transport supplies from one settlement to another.

This lesson can also be used as a Marine Engineering lesson, and the lessons are exactly the same
This lesson has also been used as camp lessons
Camp: Design the Future (link) 
      Lesson Name: Solar Sailing

Wind Power Challenge

In this lesson students will explore one of the cleanest energy forms available - wind energy. Students will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy, and how to properly capture and use the energy for a useful purpose.

This lesson has also been used as camp lessons
Camp: Agent of Change (link)  
      Lesson Name: Wind Power Challenge