Beyond Benign

Middle School

CUR MS Sustainable STEM

Sustainable STEM

Sustainable STEM: 01 Beginning an Investigation by Gathering Evidence

This lesson introduces the global problem of plastics and sets the stage for designing a biodegradable cell phone case made from renewable materials. Students will consider their own impact on the environment through their personal choices while exploring the scale of effect that one product can have.

Sustainable STEM: 02 Using Engineering Design to Make a Prototype

Students will be introduced to the engineering design process, which they will use to design, construct, and evaluate a prototype for their cell phone case.

Sustainable STEM: 03 Life Cycle

In this lesson, students will take part in a very important task typical of any scientist or engineer: reviewing and revising their experimental procedure. Together, their changes will highlight the three criteria important for green chemistry technology, which allows for discussion of the sustainability of their mycelium cell phone case.

Sustainable STEM: 04 Making Mushroom Materials

In this lesson, the students reflect on where their project is in the engineering design process and build their final product: a mycelium material cell phone case. They then create data tables that they will fill in throughout the growth process to help guide their product evaluation.

Sustainable STEM: 05 Testing the Cell Phone Cases

In this lesson, students will revise those procedures and use them to evaluate their mycelium cell phone cases. They will then use the information from their experiments to draw conclusions about their final product and choose one case to recommend.

Sustainable STEM: 06 Presenting a Sustainable Solution

This lesson challenges students to consider the information they have gathered about the cost, safety and performance of their case and communicate the details of their final product in a presentation.

Sustainable STEM: Fabulous Fabrics

Students will consider the difference between natural and synthetic fibers and investigate the ways that a variety of fabrics will interact with both basic and acidic dyes.

Sustainable STEM: Polymer Properties

In this lesson, students will explore the basics of polymer science, using pipe cleaners and colored penne to create models. Then, students will create two different slimes using chemical reactions and consider the difference between naturally derived and synthetic materials.

Sustainable STEM: Surefire Sharklet Lab

In this lesson, students will be introduced to biomimicry and Sharklet film. They will then investigate how Sharklet works through a hands-on experiment that simulates the accumulation of bacteria on surfaces with and without the pattern.