Student: Why are there even environmental engineers Mrs. Brinza?
Mrs. Brinza: I'm not sure. Why do YOU think there are?
Student: The environment must be pretty important?
Mrs. Brinza: Great question!
Fourth graders are learning about pH as a way to measure a change in an ecosystem's soil or water. In order to do this, they are first testing various substances' pH levels, things like water, window cleaner, and lemon juice. They use pH paper as an indicator and compare it to a chart that identifies the substance as an acid, base, or neutral. They all practiced safe science, too, wearing their goggles to protect their eyes! Great job fourth grade!
Fourth graders started class today with a great discussion about how we can determine if the environment has been polluted. Most students said that they could SEE the pollution--like exhaust coming from a tailpipe, oil floating on a river, or trash scattered across the street.
But not all pollution is obvious. Sometimes, it remains hidden for us to uncover. A simple test scientists use to determine the acidity or alkalinity of a material is a pH test. In fourth grade, we are learning about how pH can show us if a change has occurred. For example, water that used to measure a pH of 7 may change into a pH of 12. This means something must have changed the pH of the water. Over the next couple weeks, we'll be looking at how one particular community must solve a mystery as to who polluted the community! We'll be testing water and soil samples...and that means we will be practicing safe science, too. Get those goggles on!
Now that we're nearly at the end of Tehya's Pollution Solution, we've discovered the problem in our story. Tehya has spotted something very unfamiliar and new glistening in the sun. Whatever it is, it didn't use to be there, and her grandmother's journal reveal that to be true. Tehya asks a slue of questions about this mystery substance. Can she clean it up? How will it affect the ecosystem? How fast does she need to act?
Check out these fourth graders' diagrams of the problem!
Meet Tehya, a young girl living on a Native American reservation in Washington, right here in the United States. Tehya loves to be outside and experience nature. It's part of her blood.
While outside one day, she notices a shiny, black substance floating on top of the water. She knows it doesn't belong and immediately wonders how this can affect the ecosystem where she lives.
Over the next two weeks we will learn how she seeks the help and experience of an environmental engineer to design a solution to this very REAL problem.
Vocabulary: environmental engineer, technology, ecosystem absorb, engineering design process, food web,
Fourth graders have started their first unit of the year on environmental engineering! We spent quite some time generating questions on what environmental engineers must do, especially since this is the first time the branch of engineering they're studying focuses so much on living organisms. Our biggest AHA! moment came when fourth graders realized that the environment is all around us and needs to be taken care of. We've got a lot to learn and I am super excited to see their learning grow!
Our first notebook entry has focused on the importance of diagrams in engineering. Diagrams, which are often seen in non-fiction texts, are an important feature that gives information and tells us something specific. Second graders had to diagram two technologies we focused on last year in 3rd grade: a circuit and a guitar!
We established a set of "rules" to follow when completing a diagram in class.
Rules for Diagrams
1. It must have a title.
2. Label just the "right" amount of parts.
3. Labels must be near the parts they identify.
4. Straight arrows must connect the labels to the parts.
5. It must be neat!