All investigatory projects have a duty to try to be as eco-friendly as possible. Science does not belong in a special category of human activity that gives it permission to recklessly damage the environment. Scientists and science teachers would have a hard time convincing people that harming the planet is essential for their work. The pursuit of scientific knowledge should be environmentally sustainable, according to Tom Børsen Hansen at Denmark’s Center for the Philosophy of Nature and Science Studies, University of Copenhagen.
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What are the challenges of glacial melting?
This experiment needs ice, so in advance, place a container of water in the freezer. Get the children to make a small model town from inter-connectable plastic building blocks, or similar construction toy, on a large plastic tray. Place the ice on the tray next to the town. Explain this represents a glacier. Observe what happens. As the ice melts, allow the children to rebuild their town as necessary to cope with the rising water level.
How long does it take for things to rot?
Place leaves in a glass jar, cardboard in another, potato peelings in a third and a plastic bag in a fourth. Cover them with the same amount of slightly damp soil. Observe them regularly over the course of a school term to see if any rotting has taken place. Tip them out occasionally to record rotting progress by taking photographs. Compare photographs taken on previous occasions to see what kind of rotting, if any, has occurred.
Can energy be obtained from potatoes?
Give the children potatoes, wires, copper electrodes, zinc electrodes, crocodile clips and LED lights. Set them the challenge of lighting up an LED light using the parts provided. Hopefully, working together, they will figure out a way. If they can’t, the method is to insert one of each electrode into each potato, attach crocodile clips to the electrodes, attach wires to the crocodile clips and attach the wires to the legs of the LED.
How clean is the air?
Explain to the children at the beginning of the school week that you are going to do an investigation into air quality. Have the children cut strips of card, punch a hole in each and tie a loop of string through each hole. Instruct them to smear the cards with a little petroleum jelly, to catch airborne particles, and hang them up in various places in and around school. Check the cards at the end of the week to find out the quantity and type of particles in the air.
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