Caleb’s Page

IMG_2781My name is Caleb Harris, and I am a junior at Colby College.  I am an Environmental Science major, with a concentration in Ecology.  This course was fantastic for allowing me to develop creative experiments that engaged students and taught them about various environmental issues.  I learned a lot about my topics, as well as how to most effectively present the lessons in a variety of settings for different ages and group sizes at local schools.

My first experiment, Power Outage at the Grocery Store (Fruit Battery Teacher Kit), teaches kids about what batteries are IMG_2921made of and how they work, varying different components to see how the electrical power is affected.  Learners will try different set ups, measuring voltage and current from the modified circuits.  They will then try and power various simple electronic devices from the batteries.

The second experiment, De-Icing the Town (De-Icer (Salt) Teacher Kit), is geared to show students about the effects of common de-icingIMG_2947 and traction materials used during the winter on soil, water, roads, structures, and even humans.  Through understanding the concepts of ions and ionic solutes, they will see how these charged particles affect many natural processes.  Students will hopefully understand the impacts of the large amount of salt laid down each year and become more aware and informed citizens who can contribute to the implementation of sound environmental practices.

My final experiment, Porosity and Permeability of Soil (Soil Teacher Kit), teaches students about soil particle size’s ability to contribute to water and nutrient retention in soil profiles. IMG_2951 This messy, hands-on experiment will allow students to test different soils for their ability to allow water to pass through them, seeing the strengths and weaknesses of different soil materials in this regard.  Finally, they will try and design an ideal soil from materials at hand that will have optimal drainage, neither too little nor too much.  From this experiment, students should learn about different  soil components and how to improve soil, an important bit of knowledge for a number of careers.


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