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Sustainability in Math Activities


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Population Growth, Ecological Footprints, and Overshoot part of Activities
Rikki Wagstrom
In this activity, students develop and apply linear, exponential, and rational functions to explore past and projected U.S. population growth, carbon footprint trend, ecological overshoot, and effectiveness of hypothetical carbon dioxide reduction initiatives.

How Big is Your Breakfast Footprint? part of Activities
Ben Galluzzo, Shippensburg University
Calculation of a carbon footprint resulting from common breakfast choices illustrates the importance of contextualization.

Plastic Waste Production part of Activities
Karen Bliss
In this exercise, students will use data to predict the amount of plastic waste in the next ten years.

How much energy do you save by doubling insulation? part of Activities
Joseph Skufca
Students will be provided the governing equation for steady state heat transfer across a surface. They will use that equation to explore the effect of changing the insulation value on the amount of energy used.

Arctic Sea Ice Extent part of Activities
Bill Bauldry
Student teams investigate Arctic Sea Ice by analyzing actual data and making predictions. A worthwhile extension is to predict the first year that the Arctic Ocean will be ice free.

Should I Unplug? part of Activities
Lori Carmack
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The Costs of Your Commute: Your Money, Your Time, and the Earth part of Activities
Charlie Buehrle
This activity has students investigate their own cost, CO2 output, and time for commuting. They then compare their commute to an environmentally conscious alternative by using comparable metrics.

Who Goes There? Estimating Ocean Populations in Chincoteague Bay part of Activities
Maria Hernandez; Itnuit Janovitz-Freireich
In this activity students use data to: rank species on the food chain, compute energy flow ratios and estimate fish populations in the Chincoteague Bay. Students also discuss the impact of the ecosystem and humans on this population, with an extension activity calculating the biodiversity of the system.

One day it is too hot and other days it is too cold. Do we need to replace the HVAC system? part of Activities
Monika Kiss
This project will allow students to create a mathematical model to help in making decision about replacing HVAC units on a large scale.

A Monarchy Deposed: The Demise of the Monarch Butterfly part of Activities
Daniel Abel
Monarch butterflies (scientific name: Danaus plexippus) migrate annually to forests in central Mexico from Canada and California. Those surviving the 1200 - 2800 mile migration overwinter in Mexico. In this activity, students will learn about the conservation biology of monarch butterflies, threats to their survival, the implications of their potential extinction, and ways to protect the species.


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