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IMGALTTAG Volume II: Energy and Environmental Issues


Energy Revved Up
Verna Arnold

Energy Revved Up is a two-part environmental education unit designed to provide content rich and enjoyable learning experiences that are authentic, literature-based and inquiry based. Primary grade students will value the lessons and remember the facts and ideas that are presented in them. As a result they will acquire knowledge that will whet their imagination unleashing infinite possibilities for fulfilling their responsibilities as Caretakers of our Earth’s environment today and in the future.

In Part one of the unit students are engaged in discussions and activities that leads them to acquiring basic knowledge about: What Is Energy? While part two of the unit challenges the student to use the activities to answer the question: The Environment: Who’s Responsibility Is It? Users will find that the content and ideas presented in the activities of both parts complimentary. However, each part can be utilized independently of each other.


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Taking a Closer Look at the Effects of Energy and Deciding What Today’s Youngsters Can Do About the Environment
Sandra Baumgartner

I have developed a teachable, professional kindergarten unit, which addresses what exactly energy is and how my students can start making their own choices concerning energy conservation. My unit includes fifteen hands-on activities that will touch upon several subject areas such as science, mathematics, reading, art, social studies, and music. Although the unit is divided into sessions, these lessons can be stretched out over a length of time. Both teachers and students will be encouraged to investigate energy sources and issues as well as the physics of energy. I have used the knowledge offered from Dr. Holman, who is a professor of physics at Carnegie Mellon University, and my independent study to adapt it to a primary level of thinking. This unit meets many of the Pittsburgh Public Schools Standards and appeals to all learning styles, which is essential when teaching youngsters of this particular age group.


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Energy and the Environment
Trudi Busha-Smith

This unit is written for the seventh grade students at Arsenal Middle School. Arsenal is an urban school in Pittsburgh, PA. We currently are a pilot school for the High Performance Schools. It is the goal of this program to teach children that decisions they make affect the Earth. Currently the program focuses on chemicals used in the building, this unit will focus on choices made in energy consumption affecting the planet. Now that Pennsylvanians can choose their energy supplier this will empower students to make knowledgeable choices when the time comes. Seventh grade students will explore the transportation crisis, how do we travel in a vehicle in an economic and friendly manner.


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Helping Our Planet’s Environment: Investigating Energy An Interdisciplinary Unit
Linnell Simmons

The purpose of this unit to develop an understanding of how consumption of energy will affect the school, the community, the environment, as well as to develop an understanding of the importance and value of energy so that our children can also “Help Our Planet’s Environment”.

This unit is designed to fit the needs of all elementary children. Many times when one thinks of science they have a vision of vigorous high level activities. This unit will not only challenge the highest level student but also bring success to the lowest level student. Integrated in this unit are all the disciplines of education. It especially focuses on Language Arts and Technology, therefore, this unit will incorporate standards in science, communications and mathematics.


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All About Heat Energy
John Snodgrass

There is an old saying that all roads lead to Rome. To paraphrase; with energy all roads lead to heat. An examination of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the Carnot cycle shows that every energy event or exchange results in waste heat. One implication is the impossibility of constructing a perpetual motion machine. In other words any useful results of the expenditure of energy requires a constant input of new energy. At the same time energy is the magic genie by which people improve their lives and material well-being.

Within the seeming limitless universe the exhaustion of every energy resource on this planet would not raise its total temperature significantly. For our planet, however, global warming and energy-cause pollution has consequences for all life. Since heat is an all pervasive energy outcome, I intend to explore some of its characteristics, suggest demonstrations and lab activities, and touch upon environmental consequences and effects of heat energy. The level of discussion and activities will be aimed at middle school students and easily available materials will be used whenever possible. Much of the discussion will also involve heat’s effect on water since water’s interaction with heat and its part in the environment and life is so crucial.


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Nuclear Energy: Friend or Foe?
Vincent Vernacchio

The goal of this unit is to show teachers a way to incorporate nuclear physics into their existing curriculum. Although the unit design is intended for secondary Physics, it can be readily adapted for an Environmental Science, Chemistry, or General Science course. This unit can be taught independently or with the concepts of work and energy. In any case, the unit must be brought from the back of our textbooks and put to our students as a topic that deals with real- life science issues.

The overall objective for students is to develop and defend their point of view concerning the controversy surrounding nuclear energy and how to best manage it’s waste. Students will be given a history of atomic physics, key vocabulary, and information about nuclear processes. Nuclear energy will be a focal point of the unit about which all other content revolves. Research on the role of nuclear energy will conclude the unit. Students will conduct a classroom discussion in hopes of finding solutions to problems that arose from their research.


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Chatham University
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IMGALTTAG Pittsburgh Teachers Institute
Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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