From the effects of global warming to energy conservation, environmental science is crucial to protecting and prolonging human, animal and plant life. Whether your teen is learning about environmental science in high school or you just want him to be more aware, you can get him involved at home. Plan activities and projects related to environmental science that just might spark his interest and concern in preserving planet Earth.
Soil and Sand Activities
Your teen can observe the effects of coastal sand erosion by creating a model beach, using a paint roller pan, sand and water. You can help your teen build up a beach, pouring most of the sand in the shallow end of the pan and adding water to the deep end. He can use an empty water bottle to make waves, observing how it erodes the beach. Adding gravel can be an example of how sand erosion is slowed down. Another idea is have your teen investigate organic alternatives to pesticides used on soil. He could study popular alternatives such as apple, lemon and tomato juice, testing them on small potted plants to see which one works the best.
Your teen can use real examples to study the effects of oil spills on aquatic life. Have him read about oils spills that made national headlines and any short and long-term effects of the spills. He can test oil spill effects at home by placing an aquatic plant in a beaker with water, then adding motor oil and observing for a few days. For another activity, your teen could determine how much water your household is using and wasting by observing how long the sink is running when someone is washing dishes and asking family members to record how long they take a shower. He can then research solutions to help reduce the amount of water your family uses, which can save you money on your water bill.
Air Pollution Activities
For teens that live in or near a big city, smog is often a major issue. Have your teen track of the amount of smog days your city has in a year, using past weather reports. Take your teen to scenic spots overlooking the city on high smog days and low smog days to take pictures for comparison. Have your teen study the ozone layer and its ability to keep the suns most harmful rays away, and its effect on plant growth. Have him create a map highlighting the problem areas where the ozone layer is thinning. He can also investigate the cleaning chemicals in your house to determine whether any of those chemicals contribute to ozone layer depletion.
Recycling is an important part of protecting and preserving the environment. Your teen can do a survey of the neighborhood to determine the percentage of families that recycle regularly and figure out ways to make it easier for more people to do so. If your local government doesn't offer recycling bins, your teen can start a letter-writing campaign with other kids in the area to push for them. Another idea is to put together a pamphlet listing easy ways to reuse items such as plastic and paper bags, glass bottles and newspaper, and hand it out to families in the neighborhood.
- Scientific American: Shoreline Science: Exploring the Erosive Energy of Waves
- All Science Fair Projects: Natural Pesticides and Ants
- All Science Fair Projects: Effects of Oil Spills on Aquatic Plants
- Science Buddies: Household Water Usage
- Science Buddies: Air Pollution
- Science Buddies: Ozone Depletion
- Cal Recycle: Creating a Paper Reduction Campaign
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