April 22, 2020 will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth day, which was founded in 1970 to combat climate dangers and catalyze “a new way forward for our planet.” In honor of this celebration we thought we’d share some earth and environmental sciences resources that may be of interest to ATE PIs and staff seeking to create interactive, environment-centered curriculum and educational activities. Do you have some favorite STEM sites or online resources you’d like to share with the ATE community? We’d love to help – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Calculate and compare carbon intensity with electricityMap.
This open-source, interactive map compiles electricity data to show the carbon intensity of electricity consumption in different regions based on how that electricity was produced. Users can toggle the map to show the real-time wind and solar energy potentials around the world and to account for electricity imports and exports, and they can select individual regions to see more detailed information about each region's electricity sources and carbon emissions. This map provides an excellent visual aid for discussions on energy production and sustainable fuels, and instructors may use the resource to propel student discussions on the differences in energy production and consumption indexes around the world.
Teach students how to effectively analyze and critique data with the Environmental Performance Index.
Produced biennially, the EPI report “scores 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.” The 2020 report is slated for a mid-June release. As anticipation for new data builds, re-visit the latest (2018) report. This report is written in easy to understand language and includes an introduction, a brief explanation of the authors’ methodology, a summary of their results, and sections addressing each of the 10 issue categories (Air Quality, Water and Sanitation, Heavy Metals, Biodiversity & Habitat, Forests, Fisheries, Climate & Energy, Air Pollution, Water Resources, and Agriculture) in greater depth, as well as an executive summary for policymakers. Instructors searching for a topical way to teach data analysis skills may want to divide their classroom into groups and assign each group a chapter to study and share with the class.
Add sustainability and writing skill development to your syllabus with the Environmental Humanities and Environmental Studies Teaching Resources Database.
This database curates lesson plans and syllabi relating to intersections of Environmental Studies with English, Sociology, Ecology, and related fields. The materials range from short in-class activities to “major projects” and are available for free download in PDF form. This resource is perfect for instructors looking to integrate writing skill development into STEM curriculum, featuring resources on a range of topics such as energies and global climate change. In particular, instructors may want to check out the Sustainability Visualization Exercise for a three-day writing lesson plan perfect for the week of Earth Day.
Inspire students to engage in sustainability topics with Earth Science Picture of the Day.
Administered by the Universities Space Research Association, this website features a new image, picture, graphic, or artwork dealing with an aspect of earth science every day. Visitors can find information about the featured phenomenon in the caption and from provided links. Featured topics cover many terrestrial phenomena and scientific approaches, such as volcanic sulfur, wind-sculpted snow ripples called sastrugi, long-term ecological research, and much more. These images lend a visual illustration of the real importance behind climate and earth sciences. Instructors may want to use the visuals and scientific information featured on the site as a launching point for units on related applied STEM topics.