All Activities

Ugly Produce

Grocery stores don’t think the ugly produce sells, so they don’t buy it, meaning farmers have to get rid of it. Approximately 20% of all U.S. produce never enters the market but ends up left in the field or transported to landfills.

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Food Container Waste

Some of the containers for pre-packaged food are made of plastic that cannot be recycled and only end up in a landfill. So what can you do to reduce your plastic waste?

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Illustrating Wind Energy

Wind is a renewable resource, which means that the resource replenishes itself faster than humans can use it. As long as the sun is still shining, wind will always be blowing somewhere on Earth.

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Searching for the Sun

The Sun is the ultimate source of energy for almost all processes on Earth, from weather and climate to fossil fuels to the energy students need to get out of bed or run around the track. This activity relies on deep questions and critical thought to trace the ultimate source of energy on Earth to the sun.

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Dams

Students can work individually or in groups to research one of the many dams in Texas. Students should use a variety of relevant print and digital resources to investigate their assigned dam. The investigation should include a brief history, including reason for construction, current status of the structure, and how the dam changed the surface water in the region.

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Energy Technologies: Change Over Time

Despite advances, today the global economy consumes most of its energy through only four technologies: the steam turbine, gas turbine, gasoline engine and diesel engine. The most popular conversion device is the steam turbine.

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Energy Resources: Primary vs. Secondary

Primary energy sources include petroleum, natural gas, coal, biomass, flowing water, wind, and solar radiation. Those are the fuels that can be mined, reaped, extracted, harvested, or harnessed directly. Secondary energy cannot be harnessed directly from nature; rather, secondary energy is energy that has already been converted.

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Energy Resources: Solar

Solar energy represents a very small fraction of today’s energy mix, but also holds the greatest potential as an energy supply for the future. Used to generate heat and electricity, solar power is inexhaustible, clean, and free.

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Energy Resources: Geothermal Energy

The word “geothermal” means “heat within the earth” or “the earth’s heat”. Vents of steam exist naturally around the world, where steam seeps or shoots out of the ground. Creative individuals have been harvesting these steam vents for years.

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Energy Resources: Hydropower

Hydroelectric power generation is the most prominent form of renewable energy. As water flows downhill, its potential energy becomes kinetic energy, which turbines can convert into electricity.

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Energy Resources: Wind

Modern uses of wind are almost exclusively for generating electrical power, though some iconic windmills exist to this day, pumping water on ranches for livestock.

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Energy Resources: Biomass

The market adoption of modern forms of bioenergy, including liquid biofuels such as ethanol from energy crops, municipal solid waste, and biogas from decomposing organic matter, are all on the rise. And, just like the other fuels, bioenergy has its own set of advantages and drawbacks.

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Energy Resources: Nuclear

While nuclear materials have been part of the earth’s crust for millions of years, the modern history of harnessing nuclear energy for power generation is relatively short. Nuclear fission was first discovered in 1939, and the first controlled nuclear chain reaction took place in Chicago in 1942.

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Energy Resources: Natural Gas

Natural gas takes several retail forms, has several end uses, and is the cleanest of the fossil fuels. Natural gas is used for cooking, heating, electricity production, and as a feedstock for different materials such as plastics, fertilizer, and other chemicals.

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Energy Resources: Oil

Starting in the twentieth century, petroleum has been the most important of the three fossil fuels and remains the most popular fuel worldwide. Since the popularization of the internal combustion engine in the early 1900s, petroleum consumption has grown primarily for use in the transportation sector, as consumers worldwide have acquired cars and driven trillions of miles.

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Energy Resources: Coal

Coal has historically been one of the most important fossil fuels. Because of its abundance, ease of use, and energy density, it kick-started the Second Industrial Revolution.

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Keeping the School Cool

How we design, operate, and place our buildings has a bigger impact on our energy profile than any other aspect of modern society. That means the built environment is a good place to start for implementing efficiency programs.

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Grand Challenges

Richard Smalley presented a list of problems in order of importance to society, beginning with energy and moving through water, food, environment, poverty, terrorism and war, disease, education, democracy, and finally population.

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Energy Engineering Design

The engineering design process is an iterative series of steps to ideate, implement, test, and improve ideas and their physical manifestations. Professional engineers follow this process developing projects and products, but the steps are simple enough to be applied across a wide range of concepts and industries, even in high school.

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Bottled Water Cycle

The water cycle is a global, natural example of the energy-water nexus, the integral relationship between the two resources. But you don’t need the whole world to see an example of this continually moving cycle.

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Investigating the Water Cycle

The Sun drives one of the most important global processes: the water cycle. In this activity, students will work together to investigate different forms of water, how it moves through the cycle, and the ultimate source of energy for all of the different phases.

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Controlling Water with Building Blocks

Humans have used dams since ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations restricted the flow of rivers and the extent of floods with earth and mason structures. Either simple or complex, the purpose of the dam is to control the flow of water.

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Recycle Signage

Even in places where it is easy to recycle because of school-wide or community-wide initiatives, many people are confused about what and where to recycle. Students can help other students by creating instructive visual signage for waste collection areas.

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What’s in My Lunch?

Students bring their lunch to school for lots of reasons, dislike of school food, special diet, to fit in with other kids, etc. Many times at home, parents have the greatest of intentions when making or purchasing the food that goes into those lunches.

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Garbage, Waste, and Trash

Students will discuss the meaning of garbage, waste and trash. They will then investigate their classroom trash to learn about the variety and amount of trash they produce.

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Paper Capers

This activity focuses on the concept of a source reduction. Also known as waste prevention, source reduction decreases the amount of material entering the waste stream.

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Junk Art

This activity focuses on the “reuse” theme of reduce-reuse-recycle. Students collect waste materials (paper, bottles, cans, cardboard tubes, fabric, etc) and find other uses for them either practically, for a school project, or as art objects.

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Making Recycled Paper

Students have the opportunity to become part of the “recycle” process by breaking down used paper and recreating a new, usable product from the waste. This activity can be messy, as students produce paper pulp and then dry it to new sheets of paper.

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How Many Years to Disappear?

Students may watch the garbage people come by and think that their waste magically disappears. Some may have been to the dump with a parent and some may have a compost pile or “dump” of their own on their land.

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Where’s My Water?

For most people, water is all around us. Open the faucet and water flows into the sink immediately.

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Cost-Effective Buying

In this activity, students will explore how to evaluate energy related purchases in terms of cost effectiveness.

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How Much Water Do You Use?

In this activity, students will learn how much water modern homes use by learning how to read a home meter and ways to conserve water usage.

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Who’s Who in Electricity?

The student will connect the contributions of scientists in the field of electricity to the concepts learned in class.

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How Much Food Do You Waste?

Students will track and measure their food consumption over two weeks to learn more about waste and strategies to reduce food waste.

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Gardening with Students

Make planters using recycled cans and grow an herb garden.

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Water Conservation at Home

Reducing water waste saves water, energy, and money. Did you know, heating water alone counts for an average of 15% of total household energy use?

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Learn What’s Recyclable

Reusing materials can reduce your cost for new materials, reduce the amount of waste you produce and reduce the energy needed to produce new materials.

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About Recycling

Recycling is when you convert waste into a reusable material. The recycled material is processed and transformed into material that can be reused. It’s old material, but good as new!

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Recycling and Reusing Plastic

Many types of plastic are recyclable, while other soft forms of plastic are not.

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How Much Waste Do You Make at Home?

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of waste daily, including recyclable and compostable material.

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Auto Tire Pressure

Under-inflated tires lower gas mileage, wasting millions of dollars each year. Under-inflated tires are also a major safety hazard.

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What’s Your Mode?

By calculating exactly what it costs for each child to get to school, better decisions can be made.

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Utility Bill Organizer

We use energy for everything and could not make it through a single day without it. But we rarely even think about how much we use, what kinds of energy there are, the cost, or the pollution consequences.

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The Pay Me Game

Students have a hard time understanding how much energy they are using if it is not tied to dollar amounts.

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Texas Public Transit and You

Ridership is defined as the number of people that ride public transit in a day. Large cities spend lots of dollars and hours to determine ways to increase ridership.

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Meter Reading

Regardless of the type of meter you have, meter reading can be kind of tricky.

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How Much Energy Do You Use?

U.S. residents use more energy now than we ever have in the past. There are many reasons for this.

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Home Energy Survey

The Home Energy Survey and Energy Checklist are ways to make the students aware of how much energy they are using throughout the day.

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Energy Trip Ticket

This activity will help to make students aware of their energy usage by making them “pay” for each energy trip they make throughout the day.

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Energy Conservation vs. Energy Efficiency: What’s the Difference?

Some people think of energy conservation as having to be uncomfortable or suffer to save energy. The truth is: comfort and conservation are completely compatible!

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Cost-Effective Buying

Consider the motivational factors for purchasing an “energy-saving” heating or cooling system.

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Keep Your Cool Naturally

Staying cool takes energy. There is energy in creating cool air, through electricity. Being unintentional about your energy use is a waste of energy.

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Solar Oven S’mores Project

Make delicious s’mores while learning about solar energy!

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