Environmental Technology & Natural Science Engineering - CTE Online Model

by CTE Online Admin

Environmental Technology is an emerging field that is science-based but also requires understandings of environmental policy, law regulations, hazardous materials management, and environmental management systems.

In part of this course, students will investigate topics such as ecological concepts, environmental quality, natural resources, waste and hazardous materials, environmental laws and regulations, and environmental careers. Students will develop sampling, mapping, and data analysis techniques through hands-on laboratory activities and on-the-job training with local water, waste, air quality, and environmental agencies.

In addition, this course is designed to look at the role that energy plays in our modern world. Based on physics students will design, build, test and rebuild alternative energy systems such as: windmills, solar panels, solar cars, solar hotwater systems, and hydro-electric systems. Students will explore the Physics of energy, learning to calculate the energy content and efficiency of a wide variety of structures and systems, such as buildings and alternative energy products, making them more efficient along the way.

These units are hands-on; project based learning class with strong support coming from community resources, construction, laboratory experimentation and technology integration. Lessons will explore today's dominant energy sources, supply lifetimes, alternative energy sources, environmental impacts, and the future of energy in our world. This course emphasizes historical and conceptual aspects in physics through the use of energy, and then reinforces these concepts with practical applications using basic high school mathematics.

From CALPADS: Introduction to Energy, Environment, and Utilities

This course provides students with an overview of the energy, environment and utilities sector, focuses on the principles of power and energy, and emphasizes sustainability practices and processes. It provides students with insight into the different pathways available within the sector and the different career opportunities associated with each pathway.

Program Information
CTE Certification Elements
California English Common Core Standards (26)
California Math Common Core Standards (13)
Next Generation Science Standards (60)
California's 2013 CTE Standards (69)
Math Common Core Standards (2)
California's 2008 CTE Standards (56)
California Academic Content Standards (27)
Competencies / Outcomes

The student will:

  • Define and describe various ecological systems.
  • Develop and interpret environmental model systems.
  • Describe various hydrological cycles.
  • Identify geological terms.
  • Describe factors of population growth.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of population dynamics.
  • Identify freshwater distribution and use.
  • Describe types of water pollution.
  • Describe major pollutants of saltwater.
  • Identify soil types.
  • Describe types of soil pollution.
  • Identify major components of air.
  • Describe major pollutants of the air.
  • Identify recycling principles and practice.
  • Describe the interrelationships of environment, economies, and politics in humankind's impact of the biosphere.
  • Demonstrate SOP (Standard Operating Procedures).
  • Perform experiments using the scientific method.
  • Demonstrate use of microchemistry.
  • Understand serial dilutions and titration.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in using certain instrumentation, such as, spectrophotometry and microscopy.
  • Use CBL (calculator and computer based laboratory).
  • Demonstrate proper procedures for soil, air, water, and organism sampling.
  • Use a transit/level, rod and chain in preparing a relief map and doing topography contouring.
  • Demonstrate understanding of radiometry and GPS (global positioning system).
  • Demonstrate the ability to record, graph, and interpret experimental data.
  • Understand the Electromagnetic Scale.
  • Explore harnessing the thermal energy from the sun with different colors, materials and external weather conditions.
  • Learn how pressures, temperatures, and flow rate affect a solar-heated circulating hot water heating systems while it is in operation.
  • Build "real world" solar-heated circulating hot water heating systems using copper piping, soldering and general construction techniques.
  • Analyze different solar hot water systems under different conditions.
  • Measure DC electricity under various series and parallel wiring configurations, loads and light sources for Solar Energy.
  • Measure certain electrical aspects of solar panels; namely what their voltage, current and power outputs look like in both sun and incandescent light and the concept of the Maximum Power Point or MPP.
  • Explain and demonstrate how the three primary conditions (heat, shading and tilt angle) affect solar panel operation in the real world.
  • Build a solar powered battery charger.
  • Build and Use a Sun Tracker to Achieve Maximum Performance for Solar Energy.
  • Build a Solar Farm (examine and compare the behavior of two or more solar panels in series and parallel wiring arrangements).
  • Build a "real world" Solar Photovoltaic Panel.
  • Explore the Basics of Energy, Electricity and Water and use this information to analyze current and future uses of hydropower.
  • Measure Wind Speed, direction, RPM and Power Output.
  • Build a small-scale lab wind turbine.
  • Explain and demonstrate Wind Turbine Efficiencies.
  • Build a Wind Farm (examines the behavior of two wind turbines in series and parallel wiring arrangements).
  • Explore traditional and alternative building materials and resources which have benefits and negative consequences on the environment.
  • Explore the technologies that harness energy to power hydrogen (fuel cells) cars, solar-hydrogen cars, and Mag-Lev vehilces.
  • Identify hazardous material in the lab, field and industrial setting, and will be able to describe and demonstrate the appropriate storage and handling of hazardous materials.
  • Describe the following environmental regulations as they relate to hazardous materials: OSHA, DOT, Solid and Hazardous Waste Disposal, RCRA, and CERCLA.
  • Complete Hazwhopper Certification.
  • Organize and process symbols, pictures, graphs, objects, and other information.
  • Use efficient learning techniques to acquire and apply knowledge
  • Discover a rule or principle underlying the relationship between two or more objects and apply it when solving a problem.
  • Showsability to take leadership in projects or work assignments in the community classroom.
  • Prepare posters demonstrating data results or report.
  • Make an effective oral presentation.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in technical writing.
  • Make a computer presentation using MS Power Point or Hyperstudio.
  • Explain the purpose of the Engineering Design Process and its various forms.
  • Identify where the Engineering Design Process was ignored in analyzing an engineering failure
  • Use the Engineering Design Process and a Decision Matrix to walk through the introductory stages of identifying the needs of a large scale CTE project
  • Build a "miniature pencil wind turbine" by following a set of instructions that are scalable to the full sized wind turbine built in a later activity
  • Explain the factors that affect the placement of wind farms, and defend why they chose the location that they did in placing their mini wind turbines on a map of the United States or a given set of states
  • Explain how different blade designs capture energy in the wind
  • Build a large scale rotor (turbine blades affixed to a hub with a shaft) that adjusts for one parameter that will be tested for efficiency against a given standard
  • Determine the power losses and ultimate efficiency of their particular rotor
  • Explore the basics of Current Electricity: Voltage, Current, Resistance, Ohm's Law, Potential Energy, Kinetic Energy, and Work
  • Explore heat engines
  • Describe the basics of electrical circuits
  • Build and connect a wind turbine blade to a rotor and generator
  • Understand and use first response toxicity observation spill checklist.
  • Understand freshwater sampling techniques, parameters, clean hands-dirty hands techniques.
  • Understand the importance of Chain of Custody paperwork and the proper way to fill out forms including the legal aspects of COC's.
  • Understand Ceriodaphnia ordering, handling, culturing and use in an acute bioassay for toxicity testing.
  • Use water quality meters and understanding the parameters for dissolved oxygen, pH, and conductivity.
  • Understand toxicity testing using selenastrum.
  • Use micro pipettes and graduated cylinders.
  • Count single cell organisms under a compound microscope on a hemocytometer.
  • Use a spectrophomoter.
  • Report and track data analysis using excel spreadsheets and graphs.
  • Present data analysis in oral and written form.
  • Write a summary of data, including the description outliers and trends.
  • Collaborate as a team to come up with three blade designs.
  • Use prior knowledge, pictures, and creativity to produce three sketches that include a scale in centimeters.
  • Describe why they have picked their specific blade designs in written and oral form.
  • Become familiar with the history of wind turbines and the historical transformation.
  • Become familiar with the different styles of wind turbines.
  • Review proper referencing within the body of their report.
  • Examine the effects of wind turbine(s) and energy on the environment.
  • Explore and develop a time line to be added to their report outlining the transofmration of wind mills and wind turbines using dates and specific advances.
  • Build wind turbines and explore wind turbine processes with blade designs and wind speed.
  • Build different blades and have to consider different strategies for wind blade design and angle of attachment.
  • Examine which blade design will produce more energy and make notes in their lab notebook.
  • Become familiar with using a multimeter.
  • Become familiar with Volts and Amps and how much energy that means.
  • Become familiar with water displacement and the amount of Volts required to displace a specific amount of water.
  • Identify some new and emerging energy resources.
  • Compare the advantages and disadvantages of energy resources in terms of their effects on the environment
  • Create posters on the new and emerging energy resources and their advantages and disadvantages.
  • Investigate the Right Size for a "Universal Dwelling"
  • Investigate Solar Heat Flow in Buildings
  • Investigate the Role of Insulators in Buildings
  • Design and present an energy efficient classroom of the future
  • Cite sources
  • Use Google Scholar to effectively execute an advanced search
  • Determine the meanings of words and phrases in the Green Ribbon Schools Application
  • Write a well organized proposal for a green school
  • Identify LEED construction and the future job opportunities in this field.
  • Identify sustainable building practices.
  • create an early prototype of a craft that uses hot air as a means of lift. relate the evolution of products to the design process and changes in their project. apply the design process to evaluate and modify their projects for greater performance.
  • calculate the volume of any size object.

Safety and Orientation

Students will follow class rules and policies and the safety guidelines of equipment use. They will practice professional responsibilitiy in working at a local fieldsite. All students will sign a behavioral contract and meet a score of 100% in the assessment of this unit to continue on with the course.

Environmental Concepts

This unit will cover basic, introductory issues in biology and chemistry as they relate to biodiversity, sustainability, the "Tragedy of the Commons", and environmental resources.

Geology and Soil Science

This unit will explore the practical application of the principles of geology in the solving of environmental problems.

In the project "Designing Urban Spaces with the Soil in Mind," students will learn about the different types of urban soil and examine its composition, variability, and compaction; this will help students better understand how important it is to protect urban soil from the pollution caused by water and wind erosion. 

After learning about the nature of water and wind erosion and the consequences of urban soil pollution, students will examine different options available in order to create spaces using low impact development features; and after analyzing the functionality of the different LID features, students will create an original design of an urban space which showcase Low Impact Development principles and present their final project. Students will use Google SketchUp in order to create their final project and will compile a student portfolio using the different assessments used in each lesson. 

Mapping, Remote Sensing and GIS

In this unit, students will explore the measuring and mapping Earth's surface. Students will collect, analyze, interpret, and map geographic information from surveys and from data and photographs collected using airplanes and satellites.

Geographic information systems (GIS) is a way for students to look at data. This allows students gather data and draw conclusions about their region. In the integrated project "How Deep is your Carbon Footprint," students will analyze data gathered by scientists around the world to make conclusions about their personal impact on the environment. GIS will be the driving force of this project as students will create a map of their carbon footprint at the personal and community level. Students will take this information and create a GO GREEN poster that will promote applicable conservation to their regional population based on data that was collected.

Weather, Climate & Air Pollution

Students will explore the science of weather, climate, and geography as they relate to air polution, ozone depletion, and climate change.

Water Quality

In this unit, students will explore and analyze water quality as it refers to the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of water. In particular, students will assess water quality to study the health of ecosystems, the safety of human contact and its use as drinking water.

Hazardous Materials

Students will become familiar with hazardous material in the lab, field and industrial setting, and will be able to describe and demonstrate the appropriate storage and handling of hazardous materials.

Introduction to the Science of Energy

Through demonstration, direct observation, and lecture, students will begin to explore the basic concepts, formulas and units of energy.

2 weeks

Solar & Thermal Energy Systems

Students will explore, design, and build solar and thermal energy systems.

In the "Now We're Cooking with Solar" project, students will learn about solar energy, energy transfer processes, the history of using solar in the US, and how to research and evaluate recipes as informational texts. This will culminate with students building and using solar ovens to bake an item from a recipe that they choose based on their research.

In the "Solar Sizing" project-based learning unit, students explore the basics of electricity and the different types of currents, then moves into looking at work sites and what is required to add solar to a residential home. In the third lesson, students use their electric bill to calculate how much electricity is used in their household and how this translates into solar panels for their home. The unit culminates by students creating a blueprint on SketchUp using the information collected and then students will present their photovoltaic system to their classmates.

In "Solar Water Heater Design," students will work on developing a solar water heater which they will design and build and test. Their goal is to reach the highest possible temperature of the water within the bottle contained within the solar water heater. They will then make changes to their solar water heater and record the changes each modification had, either it raised the temperature of reduced it. 

Let's Design a Solar Boat

Shiver me timbers fellow teachers! This project wraps math, history, environmental studies, English, and science into a perfect brainstorming solar boat making experience. 

The culminating project results in students optimally identifying recyclable materials that will make a floating object and simultaneously harnessing the sun's energy as a means to launch their boat forward. 

By the end of this project, students will be able to:
1) Calculate the surface area and volume of an object.
2) Describe Archimedes principle and the concepts of buoyancy and apply them to designing an object that floats.
3) Compare and contrast the evolution of boat designs and evaluate the ability of different materials in enhancing the capacity of an object to float.

Mathematical application is used in determining surface and volume characteristics.
History examines the evolution of boats and compares designs with the ability to float objects.
Scientific principles are applied to recycling materials and employing principles in boat designs. 
Emphasis is placed on the end results of how landfills function and the importance of reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Solar Duino House STEM

In this unit, students will design and build a simple model home that uses solar-generated and stored power to run an arduino-controlled fan cooling and lighting system. They learn how to capture, store, and control solar energy, as well as how to program arduino units to use temperature sensors to accomplish their project.

In addition to the CTE/STEM focus of the unit/project lessons, educators will find academic lessons in Math and English Language Arts (ELA) that supplement the primary core area of study.

Hydro-Electric / Tidal Systems

Students will explore the Basics of Energy, Electricity and Water and use this information to analyze current and future uses of hydropower.

1 weeks

Energy Auditing & Efficiency in Buildings

Students will learn about traditional and alternative building materials and resources which have benefits and negative consequences on the environment. Because buildings are the largest consumers of energy in the United States, they will learn about the various systems, both passive and active, which allow a building to operate and function.

Green is the New Black - Green Building Design

Students will learn the importance of green buildings in relation to individuals and our environment in this CTE/STEM Integrated Project.

The guiding essential question is, "What are the benefits and challenges of green construction?" Students will be introduced to the project through videos, quizzes, Powerpoint, and a field trip. At the end of this project, students will be skilled informants of sustainable living and construct their own small-scale model of a green building. 

The CTE teacher will focus on Urban Design and Construction including a lesson on teaching blueprints and calculating scales, exposure to green technologies and reviewing MC3, lead and asbestos removal, building a scale model of a green building, and wrapping up the project with a presentation of their model. 

U.S. History will provide background information on immigration and tenement housing, changes that have occurred in building techniques since the 1920's, and learning construction techniques. 

The English portion of our project will teach the benefits of incorporating sustainable features by incorporating a field trip to a Green McDonalds and a journal about their experience and findings. They will review the art of rhetoric and dive into informational texts about retro and green buildings. Students will finish the English Language Arts portion of the project by producing a persuasive paper arguing for or against going green. 

The Physiology teacher will focus on the functioning of the skeletal and muscular systems, physical safety in construction, physical problems from lead paint and asbestos, and cancer causing materials found in older homes.

Employment Portfolio

The lessons in this unit will consist of activities that teach the student how to write a portfolio for a student organization or for a future job.

10 Hours