Educators from kindergarten through college understand the importance of environmental and STEM education. At Temple, the University offers numerous programs that directly address environmental concerns while Temple faculty are engaged in research all over the world designed to expand our knowledge of sustainability, conservation, climate change, ecological restoration and a general knowledge of the world around us and our place in it. At schools throughout the region the environment is at the forefront of the conversation as students and teachers conduct their own research in to ways to protect the planet.
Students Have Always Been Teachers at Temple Ambler EarthFest
A dedicated group of scientists is hard at work seeking viable solutions to water contamination removal and oil spill containment and remediation — vital environmental issues that impact everything from potable drinking water to animal habitats to the fishing industry. What makes this particular group of scientists stand out is that they were 10th and 11th grade chemistry students at Central High School in Philadelphia.
Students’ research efforts have been a part of the educational opportunities available to EarthFest visitors since its inception.
“There are so many students doing incredible things at a grassroots level that, each year, we want to take the opportunity to recognize their achievements,” said EarthFest Co-Coordinator Susan Spinella Sacks. “Our primary goal with EarthFest is education. While we have been able to bring a diverse group of students, educators and exhibitors together to celebrate a common cause, students at schools throughout the region teach their peers — and in many cases their parents — how they can ensure sustainable communities for today and tomorrow.” Read the fully story.
Teaching STEM Education – A Hands-On Approach
For Steve Savitz, Science Coordinator and AP Environmental Science teacher, Methacton High School, the hands-on, learning by doing approach that supports STEM education is what drew him to the field to begin with. STEM, according to Savitz is about exploration and challenging yourself to get out of your comfort zone a taken a deep dive into science, technology, engineering and math.
At Methacton High School, the Methacton Electric Car Club was created to foster technological understanding. The program has expanded substantially over the years fostering coordination, teamwork and brainstorming among students. Savitz is also expanding environmental education opportunities for all students at Methacton, offering a new course in hydroponic farming in 2022.
Methacton Electric Car Club — Different Lorax, Same Mission
The Methacton Electric Car Club takes its environmental mission seriously. Methacton is the only public high school in Pennsylvania to operate three electric (or partially electric) vehicles, one fully electric bike, and one vegetable oil boxtruck that has been converted into a renewable energy classroom! The Car Club’s projects include the Lorax, a fully-electric and solar-powered kit car, the box truck (an old snack truck they converted to run on biodiesel or vegetable oil), a 1994 Ford Ranger, an electric bike, and a Triumph Spitfire.
The students who are part of the club have become educators themselves at a variety of schools and programs, including Temple Ambler EarthFest. Through the Electric Car Club, students are able to actively engage in the community to help preserve the environment. By working hard to convert and maintain a fleet of electric vehicles, along with a portable environmental classroom, the club is impactful in its goal to spread environmental awareness and activism to both students and the community at large.
Growing Seeds Without Soil
Germantown Academy Lower School science teacher Lisa Martin shows how to germinate seeds and grow plants without any soil at all! All you need is a plastic cup or jar, sharpie markers or any items for decorating, cotton balls, seeds, and some water. A first-grade class demonstrates how easy and fun it is to do the experiment in a classroom or at home. Have fun growing!
Fairwold Interact Club: How We Built This
Fairwold Academy is a K-12 school in Fort Washington PA. Formerly Wordsworth Academy, the academy serves students from throughout the Philadelphia region who need emotional support. In this video, the Fairwold Interact Club presents “How We Built This: 20+ Years, 2,000+ Trees Planted,” a step-by-step breakdown on how they have conducted their Tree Planting Project every year since 2000.
First the students brainstorm three certificate theme ideas. Then, they select their theme for the year. Next come promoting their certificates to raise funds to purchase the trees followed by coordinating with their local nature conservancy, Wissahickon Trails to undertake tree planting events in the fall and spring. The Interact Club then delivers tree certificates to happy customers! You may learn more about Fairwold’s tree planting project in videos here and here.
Fairwold Interact Club: Reflections on Tree Planting
In this video Interactors from the Fairwold Interact Club at Fairwold Academy reflect on their experiences planting trees! Fairwold Interact Club was chartered in 2000 by Rotary International. The Interact Club partners with the Ambler Rotary Club to undertake service projects at school, in our community, and in the world!
Fairwold Interact Club has received the Presidential Citation from Rotary International for the past five years, and will receive their sixth citation this year virtually! Tree planting is the organization’s most popular, and longest standing, project. The Fairwold Interact Club would like to give special thanks to Wissahickon Trails for hosting and supporting this project.
A Crossroads of STEM Education
Lisa Fantini's professional experience falls uniquely at a crossroads in her opportunities to provide STEM educational experiences to students. She is both the Director of Robbins Park Environmental Education Center and an environmental science teacher at Upper Dublin High School. In this video, Fantini talks about what drew her to environmental science, the importance of STEM education and opportunities for students to engage in citizen science wherever they may be.
What Is Citizen Science?
In citizen science, the public participates voluntarily in the scientific process, addressing real-world problems in ways that may include formulating research questions, conducting scientific experiments, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, making new discoveries, developing technologies and applications, and solving complex problems. In crowdsourcing, organizations submit an open call for voluntary assistance from a large group of individuals for online, distributed problem solving. Join Upper Dublin High School environmental science teacher Lisa Fantini, who is also Director of Robbins Park Environmental Education Center, as she talks about citzen science inside and outside the classroom.
Temple College of Science and Technology Makes Science Fun and Hands-on
Temple University's College of Science and Technology offers a wonderful series of FunScienceDemos in cooperation with TuTeach. With new videos all the time, FunScienceDemos brings engaging demonstrations in a broad range of Earth/Space Science, Physical Science, Life Science, Science Practices and Engineering topics right into your classroom or home. FunScienceDemos is just one part of the FunScienceNetwork, of Temple University's College of Science & Technology, a collection of Next Generation Science Standards supported free and original content for K-12 teachers & students & parents.
Teachers! Integrate science topics into reading, writing, and math! Principals! Here is a complete, free, quality science curriculum for your school - readings, writing prompts, poems, math activities, assessments, textbooks, videos and simulations! FunScienceSupport, in partnership with FunScienceDemos in Temple University's College of Science and Technology, is aligned to the NGSS science standards and is an open resource for you and your students.
Be a scientist...Be a teacher...Change the world! Whether teaching is your ultimate career goal or not, the TUteach program offers its graduates many career options. The “teaching” majors in Temple's College of Science and Technology have flexible entry points and allow for internship, research and study abroad experiences. The pedagogy courses not only provide teaching skills and classroom experiences, but increase communication skills and confidence in dealing with challenging situations, important skills regardless of career choice.
TUteach graduates have gone on to graduate school in STEM disciplines, medical school, dental school, pharmacy school and more. Many are teaching in public and private schools in the Greater Philadelphia area. Some are working in curriculum development and research, some in international education. Learn more.
Temple University Ambler Officially Designated a Field Station
Temple University Ambler has more than a century of teaching and researching sustainable practices and building important connections to the natural world as both a campus of Temple and as its forerunner, the historically significant Pennsylvania School of Horticulture for Women. Today researchers from a variety of disciplines conduct research at the Ambler Campus on everything from urban hydrology and stormwater management to ecology and seismology. Now researchers from Temple and well beyond have a new home and access to a broad range of natural resources and technology.
The Temple Ambler Field Station, under the direction of Dr. Amy Freestone, is a focal point for cross-disciplinary, cutting-edge scientific research; hands-on teaching and learning; and important outreach programs. The Field Station distinguishes Temple University from other institutions by offering a rich and diverse University resource to our faculty and their collaborators. It will greatly enhance the educational experience of our students by preparing graduates for further study, for scientific careers, and to be informed citizens. Read the full story.
Tyler School of Art and Architecture’s Community Arts Practices Addresses Inequities Created by Climate Change
The Tyler School of Art and Architecture’s Certificate in Community Arts Practices (CAP) has been hosting a workshop series called “HEAT Response” that illuminates an arts and civic engagement project addressing climate change and environmental racism in three Philadelphia neighborhoods hit hardest by excessive heat: Fairhill, Southeast Philadelphia and Gray’s Ferry.
“It’s been exciting and transformative for our students to find their creative voices in neighborhood mapping and visual production, facilitating climate justice arts workshops for youth, creative research and documentation,” said Billy Yalowitz, associate professor of Community Arts Practices. “Students are using their arts disciplines to help to tell crucial stories.” Read the full story.
Temple Engineering Students Take Flight
The Temple University College of Engineering Senior Design capstone has seen student teams help to create solutions across disciplines, from improving healthcare outcomes to restoring suburban wetlands.
The Light Aircraft Dynamic Flight Control Simulator (LA-DFCS) team, working primarily out of Temple University’s Ambler Campus, is hoping to eventually see evidence of their work by looking up toward the sky. Read the full story.
Temple's Tiny House Case Study
The Temple Tiny House project is a student-designed and student-constructed sustainable building located at the university’s urban garden site on main campus. The 175 square foot net-zero structure serves as a food access programming and demonstration space for the student-run Temple Community Garden. References, news articles, case studies and brouchures can be found on the Temple University Office of Sustainability's "Plans, Reports, and Resources" webpage (scroll down under Case Studies). You can also find more narrative about the project on the Office of Sustainability's Blog here and here.
Temple Tiny House proved to be one of the most collaborative projects on campus, and involved the participation of a diverse group of faculty members, students and administrative staff from around the university. The project is Petal Certified under the the Living Building Challenge making it the first certified project in the city of Philadelphia. Since its completion in spring 2017, the Temple Tiny House continues to offer educational opportunities to students and the larger Philadelphia community and serves as a food access programming and demonstration space for the student-run Temple Community Garden.
CSI Plant Science
At Temple University Ambler, there sits a somewhat unassuming device that could be mistaken for a large printer for those not in the know. For others, however, it changes the face of horticulture research at Temple Ambler.
“The Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS) is a device that greatly increases experiential learning and improves the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) experience for our students in addition to significantly expanding the plant science research capabilities of our faculty,” said Dr. Sasha Eisenman, Associate Professor and Program Head of Landscape Architecture and Horticulture in the Tyler School of Art and Architecture. “Our horticulture program has a strong foundation in science with a core curriculum that includes science-based courses such as Botany, Chemistry, Entomology, Plant Ecology and Physiology and Pathology and Soil Science. With this technology, we are much better equipped to prepare a future generation of horticultural, agricultural and environmental scientists.”
Air Quality Partnership Tools for Schools
The Air Quality Partnership (AQP) a public/private coalition dedicated to improving air quality and administered by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, provides numerous tools for teachers and students to learn about air quality!
The AQP is proud to provide the "Where's Mike?" air quality activity workbook for kids. The workbook was designed with the input of educators, school district curriculum committee members, and health and planning professionals to introduce students to the concepts of air pollution, and how it may impact children's health. It also offers suggestions about how students and their families can prevent air pollution and protect their health using air quality forecasts provided by federal, state, and local government resources. The AQP also provides a companion teacher’s guide. Find more air quality and outdoor guidance for schools here.
The Globe Program
Since its founding on Earth Day 1994, the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) Program, sponsored by NASA, has been providing students and the public worldwide with the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of the Earth system and global environment. As an international science and education program, GLOBE is dedicated to supplying the STEM professionals of tomorrow with the scientific knowledge necessary to tackle Earth's biggest mysteries.
Through interdisciplinary activities and inquiries into the various Earth spheres, GLOBE gives students a hands-on approach to the scientific method. GLOBE's protocols are developed by the scientific community and validated by teachers, so you can be sure our lesson objectives are scientifically verified.
NASA Earth Science
NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) missions help us to understand our planet’s interconnected systems, from a global scale down to minute processes. Working in concert with a satellite network of international partners, ESD can measure precipitation around the world, and it can employ its own constellation of small satellites to look into the eye of a hurricane. ESD technology can track dust storms across continents and mosquito habitats across cities. ESD delivers the technology, expertise and global observations that help us to map the myriad connections between our planet’s vital processes and the effects of ongoing natural and human-caused changes.
Using observations from satellites, instruments on the International Space Station, airplanes, balloons, ships and on land, ESD researchers collect data about the science of our planet’s atmospheric motion and composition; land cover, land use and vegetation; ocean currents, temperatures and upper-ocean life; and ice on land and sea. These data sets, which cover even the most remote areas of Earth, are freely and openly available to anyone.