A resource developed by EarthEcho International's Youth Leadership Council for their youth peers to initiate single-use plastic bag reduction strategies in their home communities.
Students will follow the engineering design process to explore solutions to the overwhelming plastic packaging problem. They will develop sustainable designs that will consider alternatives to plastic packaging in items like juice boxes, plastic straws, bin liners, and single-use take-away/take-out containers.
In this investigation, students design and create a Recycling Sorting Machine to eliminate the amount of waste that is incorrectly being sent to landfill. Students use basic resources (recycled and/or reused items in the classroom, home, or their community) to engineer a solution to the growing problem of waste in our schools.
As the name suggests, microbeads are very small (microscopic) beads of plastic. Since they are particles of less than 1mm, they are almost impossible to capture as they enter household drains. This leaves these small, solid balls of plastic to enter our aquatic ecosystems where they are ingested by organisms and accumulated within the food web. In this activity, students are challenged to design and construct their own device to extract microplastics from cosmetic products such as facial cleansers, body wash, and toothpaste.
In this investigation, students describe the life cycle of man-made products that include or originate from plastic to evaluate how they may impact the environment. Students use a basic life cycle assessment – similar to assessments used by process engineers – that allows them to identify and order the different steps in the life cycle of a product. Using their analyses to compare the impacts of different products, students develop ideas to reduce the environmental impact of the production process or lifecycle of the product.
Students examine the nature of the problem and work collaboratively to create solutions to the issue of nurdles becoming evermore present in our oceans. Nurdles are small plastic resin pellets which are used to make many of the plastics we use every day. Unfortunately, they end up where they are not supposed to and cause a wide range of problems. Nurdle Know-How is a series of activities that will ultimately prepare students to design and build a nurdle capture system to clean up their local bay, harbor, or coastal waters.
Jenny Newland, executive director of Canaan Valley Institute, uses science everyday to focus on improving water quality in rural areas of the Central Appalachians. She works with different groups and people from all over her region to find sites and develop plans for stream restoration projects. She also uses math and business skills daily to develop budgets that estimate how much projects will cost to complete so that communities can raise funds to protect their water resources.
A diagram of Canaan Valley Institute's Ecomachine, water recycling system.