Monthly Archives: October 2012

Sort of Like Earth

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A different approach to teaching the water cycle and the carbon cycle might be to compare them to how the Environmental Control and Life Support System, or ECLSS, works on the International Space Station. You can use the DIY Podcast module: Recycling to make the comparison. Recycling on the space station takes its cues from Mother Nature herself.

Like Earth, the space station has a series of systems that come together to make life possible. Even though two-thirds of Earth is covered in water, that amount would have been depleted long ago if it weren’t for nature’s water cycle. The station began with a clean supply of water on board for its crew. Then, like on Earth, the water is recycled to use again. Trees, plants and phytoplankton on Earth recycle carbon dioxide and oxygen through the carbon cycle. The station’s ECLSS has a Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly and an Oxygen Generation System to supply its inhabitants with air to breathe.

Illustration of Earth's water cycle

Students can build podcast episodes or other multimedia projects about Earth’s cycles using the resources in the Recycling module. The resources include a water cycle video, a video of the ECLSS water cycle and a carbon cycle illustration.

Here are a few more resources that you can use for teaching Earth’s cycles:

DIY Podcast: Recycling
DIY Podcast Home

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Failure Prevention and National Education Standards

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You know how your students ask, “When am I ever goingto use this?” It’s a legitimate question. When they don’t see a use for aconcept, they won’t believe it’s worth learning. You may ask yourself the samequestion when you look at the DIY Podcast: Failure Prevention module. If youdon’t think the module has a practical application, you won’t use it.

The Failure Prevention module can be used to support severalstandards and benchmarks of the InternationalTechnology and Engineering Educators Association’s Standards for TechnologicalLiteracy:

Standard 2,Benchmark Q: Malfunctions of any part of a systemmay affect the function and quality of the system.

Standard 2,Benchmark DD: Quality control is a planned processto ensure that a product, service, or system meets established criteria.NASA technicians prepare to test a MD-500 helicopter with four crash test dummies inside

Standard 7,Benchmark C: Many inventions and innovations haveevolved using slow and methodical processes of tests and refinements.

Standard 7,Benchmark G: Most technological development hasbeen evolutionary, the result of a series of refinements to a basic invention.

Standard 9,Benchmark E: Models are used to communicate andtest design ideas and processes.

Standard 9, Benchmark H: Modeling,testing, evaluating, and modifying are used to transform ideas into practical solutions.

Standard 9,Benchmark K: A prototype is a working model used totest a design concept by making actual observations and necessary adjustments.

Standard 10: Students willdevelop an understanding of the role of

Alt tag: NASA technicians prepare to test a MD-500 helicopter with four crash test dummies inside

 

troubleshooting,research and development, invention and innovation, and experimentation inproblem solving.

Standard 11Benchmark K: Test and evaluate the design inrelation to pre-established requirements, such as criteria and constraints, andrefine as needed.

Standard 11Benchmark O: Refine a design by using prototypesand modeling to ensure quality, efficiency, and productivity of the finalproduct.

Standard 11Benchmark P: Evaluate the design solution usingconceptual, physical, and mathematical models at various intervals of thedesign process in order to check for proper design and to note areas whereimprovements are needed.

Standard 12Benchmark M: Diagnose a system that ismalfunctioning and use tools, materials, machines, and knowledge to repair it.

Standard 12Benchmark N: Troubleshoot, analyze, and maintainsystems to ensure safe and proper function and precision.


Your students can become more technologically literate asthey create a project using the Failure Prevention module.

DIY Podcast: Failure Prevention

DIY Podcast Home

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