Charleston High School
Grade Levels: 10-12
Teacher: Jan Easter, Ron Easter, Linda Kirby
A. Primary Learning Objectives
- Biology I: study of photosynthesis and cellular respiration
- Environment I: study of soil formation, impact on erosion, advantages and disadvantages of growing this plant as a monoculture.
- Enviroment II: study switchgrass as an alternate energy
- Physical Science: study of acid rain
- Students will have first-hand experience researching the effects of burning biofuel
- Students will gather data to support views on environmental impact of growing and burning biofuel (CO2, acid rain)
- Collaborative effort between 4 different science classes
B. Summary of Activities and Timeline
- Research switchgrass
- grow Panicum virgatum (switchgrass) using grow station
- plant switchgrass in 2 ft2 of courtyard (Students will see how the grass grows in an uncontrolled environment. They will also see how densely it grows.)
- Place switchgrass in an airtight area
- Shine light on plants and using CO2 and O2 probes note level changes over time for the two gasses. Turn off light and cover container to eliminate any light and continue to record changes in CO2 and O2 over time.
- Cut switchgrass and find mass. Burn switchgrass in an enclosed container and using probes determine the level changes of CO2 and O2.
- Also have a container of water with the pH probe in the enclosed container and note any pH change in water over time.
- Also use temperature probe to measure heat produced and time it takes for the switchgrass to burn.
- Use same lab set up to compare burning the same mass of coal and determining the temperature, pH, CO2 and O2 changes
(The LABPRO will attach to a computer. With the aid of Logger Pro 3 software and the attached probes, it will display the collected data in both table and graph form. If you would like more information about this technology go to the Vernier website at: www.vernier.com
C. How these activities will accomplish the objectives
Each of the above activities is tied to the curriculum for each of the four science classes. Each course will explore a different aspect of switchgrass as outlined above. The information that the students gather will be displayed in the media center so that all students will be able to view what was learned from the four different courses. In the spring open house, all classes are open to the parents. Students will be asked to volunteer to be on hand to talk about their results and to have those results displayed in one of the classrooms.
D. Number of students and others who will learn from this effort
7 Biology I classes with approximately 25 students each
3 Physical Science classes with approximately 25 students each
1 Environment I class with approximately 23 students
1 Environment II class with approximately 22 students
Approximately 245 students will be involved with this cross-science study.