ALCOSAN offers STEAM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) activities tailored for grades Pre-K through 12th grade. All of our hands-on activities are aligned with the Pennsylvania State Academic Standards. Search by grade level, or category to find the right activity for your school or youth group.

Academic Activities

If you are interested in scheduling an activity, please complete the Outreach Request Form by using the "Request this Activity" button and allow us 10 business days to process your request. 

A Cargo Contest

Students will design and construct boats for maximum weight capacity.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.4.3.C.1, 3.4.3.C.3
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Amazing Aqueducts

Students will work in a group to design a pipeline that conveys water around obstacles without leaking.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School

Access to Water

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Archimedes’ Bathtub

Students will experiment the proof of Archimedes’ Principle utilizing a Force Sensor.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.2.7.B1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Baffled by Buoyancy

Students will achieve and discuss neutral buoyancy based on factors that relate to the wastewater treatment process.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s): 3.2.7.B1, 3.2.10.B1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Big Fish, Small Pond

Students will observe the evidence of pollution in various bodies of water around the world.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Bubble Blowers

Students will investigate the properties of bubbles and design and test various bubble wands.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    After School

Access to water

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Bubbles and Buoyancy

Students will compare the buoyancy of an object submerged in water to its buoyancy in bubbly water.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.1.A1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Bubbles and Density

Students will determine whether a liquid will sink or float in water by comparing its density to the density of water.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.2.6.A2, 3.2.6.A6
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Build it like an Engineer

Given a set of criteria and time constraints, students will build the tallest, freestanding structure out of simple materials using the efforts of all team members.

Grade Level: K - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.C2, 3.4.3.C2, 3.4.5.C1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Caddisfly Activity

Students will complete a craft activity to demonstrate protective casings on caddisfly larvae.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1.PK.A3, 3.1.PK.C3
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Changing Caterpillar

Students will explore the lifecycle of a caterpillar/butterfly.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1.PK.A3, 3.1.PK.C3
Category: Biological Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Cleaning Water

Students will explore water filtration and its relation to wastewater treatment.

Grade Level: Pre K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.PK.A6 , 3.3.PK.A4
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Construction Conundrum

Students acting as contractors will use information provided by the foreman to build a replica of a model observed only by the foreman.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Cookie Mining

Students will model the effects of mining in the environment using a chocolate chip cookie.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.1.5.A
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Crazy Cup Challenge

Students will participate in a series of challenges from different STEM areas, all of which utilize cups.

Grade Level: K - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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CSO Flag

Using a nylon flag, students will create a public service message to inform the public about the dangers of sewer overflows occurring along local waterways.

Grade Level: K - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.5.1.C, 4.5.7.C
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom and Afterschool
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Does it Dissolve?

Students will be able to investigate and identify solids that dissolve in water.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1PK.A6, 3.2 PK.A.1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Don’t Spill the Beans

Students will construct a device to safely drop an egg without breaking it.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Drains, Pipes, & Interceptors… Oh My!

Students will be introduced to the process of moving wastewater to the treatment center (ALCOSAN). Students will also understand that when wastewater is not treated, it can be harmful to humans and aquatic life.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School

Access to Water

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Drip, Drip, Drop!

Students will test a variety of materials to explore absorption of fabric.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.2.PK.A6
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Fish Love ALCOSAN

Students will make a connection between clean water and increasing fish populations.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1.PK.A2, 4.1.PK.D
Category: Ecology
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Flying Fish

Students will use the engineering design process to create a device that will launch a rubber fish the farthest distance.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Frankie to the Rescue

Students will identify pollutants in the water that adversely affect the aquatic life.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Frankie’s 3R’s Relay

Students will rethink their current methods of trash removal by identifying the benefits of reducing, reusing, and recycling used items (trash).

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.5.K.D, 4.5.2.D
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Large open space

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Frankie’s Green Technology

Students will build an urban stormwater model and a green technology stormwater model to demonstrate how green technology reduces stormwater runoff.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.4.3.E2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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From Roots to Leaves

Students will observe water climbing up a paper towel and compare it to water traveling through the root systems of plants.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Biological Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    After School

Access to Water

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Go Away Germs

Students will learn how easily germs can spread and the importance of hand-washing with soap by participating in a hands-on science demonstration.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 10.2 PK.A, 10.5 PK.C
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Go With the Flow

Students will explore how water travels from their homes to ALCOSAN through pipes.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.2.PK.A6, 3.3.PK.A4
Category: Earth and Space Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Helping Frankie Put Garbage in Its Place

Students will identify litter and recyclables through interactive play.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 4.5.PK.C, 4.5.PK.D
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Home Sweet Home

Students will observe the evidence of pollution in various bodies of water around the world.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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If I Were a Seed, What Would I Need?

Students will identify the needs of a seed and model the seed germinating life cycle.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1.PK.A3, 3.1.PK.A5
Category: Biological Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Weather Permitting: Activity can be conducted outside.

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Jobs at ALCOSAN

Students will identify tools used by different jobs at ALCOSAN

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1PK.A2, 3.2 PK.A.1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Keep our H2O Good to Go

Students will observe the evidence of pollution in various bodies of water around the world.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s): 4.5.10.C
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Left at the Landfill

Students will design a landfill while exploring its purpose and how is it hazardous to the environment.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 34.1.6.D
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Litter Critters

Students will identify and sort animals that live in leaf litter.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 4.1.PK.A, 4.1.PK.D
Category: Ecology
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Little Bits of Fun

Students will create circuits and invent a self-driving car.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.7.A1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

*this activity takes longer than 45 minutes

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Living Downstream

Students will be able to identify how water affects another person’s access to safe, clean drinking water.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.2.7.A
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Low Impact Design

Students will investigate low impact development options and calculate the difference in stormwater runoff in given areas with and without low impact development.

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 4.5.12.A
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Luck of the Draw: Engineering

Using the materials given, students will complete a series of engineering challenges.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.C2, 3.4.12.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Magnet Mania

Students will coinvestigate properties of magnetic force.

Grade Level: K - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Making Bubbles

Students will investigate properties of water as it relates to wastewater treatment and the formation of bubbles.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    After School

Access to Water

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Marble Run Challenge

Students will construct a marble run by using the engineering design process and a set of materials to allow a single marble to run through.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Molecular H2O Tag

Students will investigate molecules through interactive play.

Grade Level: K - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Biological Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Munchin’ Micros

Students will recognize the importance of microorganisms and practice graphing and literacy skills.

Grade Level: Pre K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.1.PK.A9, 3.2.PK.A1
Category: Biological Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Paper Plate Weaving

Students will identify polymers, fibers and textiles by weaving fabrics together to create an art project.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Permeable Sidewalk

Students will experiment and evaluate the different ratios of materials to predict how infiltration rates change with different material combinations, while creating pervious pavement.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.7.B2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Teacher will need to test the activity with students following the visit.

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Pipeline Power

Students will construct a pipe structure given a set of criteria and constraints.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Polymers: the Science of Slime

Students will investigate the unique properties of polymers, and compare a polymer that has been cross-linked to the original form.

Grade Level: K - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Putrid Rain

Students will use acidic, basic, and neutral solutions to simulate ocean acidification.

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.2.12.A4
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Racing Liquids

Students will compare the thickness of water to the thickness of a liquid similar in appearance.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.K.A1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Radical Reactions

Students will experiment with different solutions to create a chemical reaction.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.3.A4
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Rainbow Connections

Students will explain how light refracts when it passes through water droplets and demonstrate a rainbow through capillary action.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.4.B5, 3.2.2.A4
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    After School

Access to water

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Rainbow Magic

Students will explore ways to create a rainbow with chemical reactions.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1PK.A6, 3.2 PK.A.1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Reaching Your Limits

Students will perform a series of dilutions to visualize parts per million and learn about the evolution of wastewater treatment and its effects on water quality.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s): 4.5.7.C, 4.5.7.D, 4.5.10.D
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Ready to Launch

Students will investigate the uses of simple machines to design a lever that will launch a ping pong ball the farthest distance.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School

Open Space

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Robot Rumble

Students will design and build armor for their Sphero-powered bot to battle other bots.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.7.C
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

*this is a two part activity

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Rock Science

Students will determine if rocks are composed of limestone by the use of chemicals.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.3.5.A1
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Salamander Activity

Students will test water samples to see which are safe for salamanders.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.2.K.C, 4.2.3.C
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Scenes of ALCOSAN

Students will construct different parts of the plant using knowledge of the treatment process at ALCOSAN.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Sculpt & Map a Watershed

Students will construct a model of a watershed and create a contour map that represents the boundaries and flow of drainage to a wastewater treatment plant.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.2.7.A
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Seasons

Students will explore the 4 seasons.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.3.PK.A5, 4.1.PK.E
Category: Earth and Space Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Self-Watering Planter

Students will construct a self-watering planter using pop bottles.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Biological Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Sharpie Science

Students will Experiment with solubility, color mixing, and the movement of molecules by using hydrophobic markers and rubbing alcohol.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Sink or Float*

Students will make predictions about the behavior of objects in water.

Grade Level: Pre K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.3.A1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water, Not recommended for grades 3-5

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Sludge Eating Bugs

Using a microscope and a sample of water from ALCOSAN’s secondary treatment process, students will view and identify microorganisms found in wastewater treatment.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s): 3.1.10.A1, 3.1.12.A2
Category: Biological Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Solid, Liquid, and Gas

Students will explore and identify the 3 types of matter.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.2.PK.A3, 3.2.PK.A5
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water and Electricity

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Stains, Stains, Go Away

Students will identify variables as they carry out a controlled test to compare the ability to remove a stain.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.2.7.A6
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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STEM Runoff Challenge

Given a set of criteria, students will develop a blue print of green areas to reduce stormwater runoff.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.B2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Stream Channel Morphology

Students will compare how channel morphology affects the flow of water and transportation of sediment.

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.3.10.A2
Category: Earth and Space Sciences
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Sustainable City

Students will identify the importance of being able to meet basic needs in a modern world

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1PK.A2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Take Flight with Frankie

Students will create a kite using different materials and test ways to make it fly.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Target Twist

Students will write or draw a code to move the sphero

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.6.B4, 15.4.8.A
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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The City of Bridges

Students will identify the bridge types that can be seen in Pittsburgh, and design their own bridge using a MakerBot and a 3D CAD Design Tool.

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.10.E7, 3.4.12.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Computer-based activity that requires 60-90 minutes

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The Speedy Architect

Students will use the engineering design process to plan and build a structure that satisfies a set of requirements using limited materials.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.7.C2, 3.4.12.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Tower Power

Given a set of limitations, students will construct a tower out of newspaper and calculate quantities and costs of materials.

Grade Level: 6 -12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.C2, 3.4.10.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Traffic Light Circuit

Students will create a closed circuit to make a working traffic light out of bulbs and copper tape.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Tunnel Through

Students will create model tunnels through the Earth’s surface while working with constraints.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.3.K.A1 and 3.3.4.A1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Tunneling Through

Students will create model tunnels through the Earth’s surface, working with constraints and creating 3D printed tools for testing.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.3.7.A1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

*This is a two part lesson

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Urban Watershed

Students will test urban watershed models for stormwater runoff absorbency before and after applying green technology.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.2.1.A, 4.2.3.A
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Volcano Shelter

Students will create a shelter that provides protection for inside an active volcano.

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s):
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    After School
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Water Drops

Students will explore the concept of surface tension and analyze data by averaging and comparing figures.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.3.A6
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Water Ways

Students will identify how water is used in a variety of ways and how it is treated by ALCOSAN.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.3.PK.A4, 4.5.PK.D
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water

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Watershed Water Quality

Students will use M & M’s to graph different pollutants in a watershed.

Grade Level: K - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.5.7.D, 4.5.7.D
Category: Humans and the Environment
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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Weather Survival Challenge*

Students will create structures impervious to flooding and create a shelter in Tinkercad using 3D design

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.3.4.A5, 3.4.3.C1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

*Not recommended for grades k-2 *this is a 2 part lesson

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What’s for Lunch?

Students will explore how energy moves through a food chain in an interactive game.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.1.5.A
Category: Ecology
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Tables, Open Space

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What’s in That Cloud?

Students will identify the steps of a water cycle.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.2.PK.A3, 4.3.PK.A
Category: Hydrology
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom

Access to Water and Electricity

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When It Rains, It Drains!

Students will be able to build a watershed model that illustrates the flow of pollutants through a watershed.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.2.4.A
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands
Classroom Setting:
    Classroom
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