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 one of our staff members will be in contact with you to make arrangements.

A Cargo Contest - K-5

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

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

Access to Water

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Amazing Aqueducts - 6-8

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

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.D1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

Access to Water

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Archimedes’ Principle - 6-8

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Baffled by Buoyancy - 6-8

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

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

Available for After School programming only.

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Baffled by Buoyancy - 9-12

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

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.2.10.B1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for Classroom only.

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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): 3.4.5.C1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for After School programming only.

Access to water

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Bubbles and Buoyancy - K-5

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

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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Bubbles and Density - 6-8

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Build it like an Engineer - 6-8

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

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom only.

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Build it like an Engineer - K-5

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 - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.4.3.C2, 3.4.5.C1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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Caddisfly Activity - K-5

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

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.2.2.C, 4.2.4.C
Category: Watersheds and Wetlands

Available for Classroom only.

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Changing Caterpillar - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Cleaning Water - K-5

Students will discuss some of the principles involved in filtering water. They will construct their own water filter to clean muddy water.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.5.1.A, 4.5.1.C
Category: Humans and the Environment

Available for Classroom only.

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Cleaning Water - Pre-K

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

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

Available for Classroom only.

Access to Water

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Construction Conundrum - 6-8

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 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.7.A1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for After School programming only.

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Construction Conundrum - 9-12

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: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.10.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom only.

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Crazy Cup Challenge - 6-8

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

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

Available for After School programming only.

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Crazy Cup Challenge - K-5

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

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.4.5.C1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for After School programming only.

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CSO Flag - 6-8

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: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.5.7.C
Category: Humans and the Environment

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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CSO Flag - K-5

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 - 5
PA Standard(s): 4.5.1.C
Category: Humans and the Environment

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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Drains, Pipes, & Interceptors… Oh My! - K-5

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): 3.4.5.B2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

Access to Water

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Fish Love ALCOSAN - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Flying Fish - K-5

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): 3.4.5.C1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for After School programming only.

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Forced to Sink - 9-12

Using Archimedes’ Principle, students will investigate how buoyant forces push against gravity to reduce the force of objects in water.

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.2.10.B1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for Classroom only.

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Frankie’s 3R’s Relay - K-5

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Frankie’s Green Technology - K-5

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

Available for Classroom only.

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From Roots to Leaves - K-5

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): 3.1.1.A2
Category: Biological Sciences

Available for After School programming only.

Access to Water

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From Start to Finish - Pre-K

Students will identify the steps of the wastewater treatment process while demonstrating order by using pictures and numbers.

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Go With the Flow - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

Access to Water

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Helping Frankie Put Garbage in Its Place - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

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If I Were a Seed, What Would I Need? - K-5

Students will identify things a plant needs to grow as well as model the seed germinating life cycle.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.1.3.A2
Category: Biological Sciences

Available for After School programming only.

Large Open Space

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If I Were a Seed, What Would I Need? - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

Weather Permitting: Activity can be conducted outside.

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Litter Critters - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Living and Nonliving - Pre-K

Students will identify the difference between living and nonliving things.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1.PK.A1, 3.1.PK.A2
Category: Biological Sciences

Available for Classroom only.

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Living Downstream - 6-8

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Low Impact Design - 9-12

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Luck of the Draw: Engineering 6-8

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

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom only.

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Luck of the Draw: Engineering 9-12

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

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.12.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom only.

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Making a Rainbow - K-5

Students will identify conditions required for observing a rainbow.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.2.A4
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for After School programming only.

Access to Water

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Making Bubbles - K-5

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

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

Available for After School programming only.

Access to Water

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Munchin’ Micros - K-5

Students will identify microorganisms found in wastewater treatment.

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.1.3.A1
Category: Biological Sciences

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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Munchin’ Micros - Pre-K

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

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.1.PK.A9, 3.2.PK.A1
Category: Biological Sciences

Available for Classroom only.

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Peak Flow Analysis - 9-12

Students will examine peak flows of a river over a period of time to predict the recurrence intervals and percent change of various flows for that river. *Must have access to Microsoft Excel and Internet

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.3.10.A6, 3.3.12.A7
Category: Earth and Space Sciences

Available for Classroom only.

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Permeable Sidewalk - 6-8

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

Available for Classroom only.

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

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Pipeline Power - 6-8

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Polymers: the Science of Slime - 6-8

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

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.2.7.A1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for After School programming only.

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Polymers: the Science of Slime - K-5

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

Grade Level: K - 5
PA Standard(s): 3.2.4.A4
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for After School programming only.

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Putrid Rain - 9-12

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Racing Liquids - K-5

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

Available for Classroom only.

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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
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for After School programming only.

Access to water

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Reaching Your Limits - 6-8

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 - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.5.7.C, 4.5.7.D
Category: Humans and the Environment

Available for Classroom only.

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Reaching Your Limits - 9-12

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: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 4.5.10.D
Category: Humans and the Environment

Available for Classroom only.

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Ready to Launch - 6-8

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): 3.4.8.C1
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for After School programming only.

Open Space

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Salamander Activity - K-5

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Sculpt & Map a Watershed - 6-8

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Seasons - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Sink or Float - K-5

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

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

Available for Classroom only.

Access to Water

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Sink or Float - Pre-K

Students will observe how various objects behave in water and then predict whether other objects will sink or float.

Grade Level: Pre K
PA Standard(s): 3.2.PK.A6, 3.2.PK.A1
Category: Physical Sciences: Chemistry and Physics

Available for Classroom only.

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Sludge Eating Bugs - 6-8

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 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.1.6.A1
Category: Biological Sciences

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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Sludge Eating Bugs - 9-12

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: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.1.10.A1, 3.1.12.A2
Category: Biological Sciences

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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Solid, Liquid, and Gas - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

Access to Water and Electricity

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STEM Runoff Challenge - 6-8

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Stream Channel Morphology 9-12

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

Available for Classroom only.

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The City of Bridges - 9-12

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

Available for Classroom only.

Computer-based activity that requires 60-90 minutes

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The Speedy Architect - 9-12

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

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.12.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom only.

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The Speedy Architect - 6-8

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 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.7.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom only.

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Tower Power - 6-8

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

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 3.4.8.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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Tower Power - 9-12

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

Grade Level: 9 - 12
PA Standard(s): 3.4.10.C2
Category: Technology and Engineering Education

Available for Classroom only.

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Urban Watershed - K-5

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

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

Access to Water

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Water Drops - K-5

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

Available for Classroom only.

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Water Ways - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

Access to Water

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Watershed Water Quality - 6-8

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

Grade Level: 6 - 8
PA Standard(s): 4.5.7.D
Category: Humans and the Environment

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

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What’s for Lunch? - K-5

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

Available for Classroom and After School programming.

Tables, Open Space

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What’s in That Cloud? - Pre-K

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

Available for Classroom only.

Access to Water and Electricity

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When It Rains, It Drains! - K-5

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

Available for Classroom only.

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