Optional Teaching Supplies

Materials for this Unit

Many EiE lessons use materials that are commonly available at grocery, hardware, or craft stores. To obtain kit materials, either visit our EiE store to purchase a kit that includes materials for up to 30 students, or create your own kit based on the materials list printed in the teacher guide or the downloadable list below.

Each unit includes a letter to send home with student for materials donation for the unit.  Click here to download a copy of this letter in Spanish.

Additional Storybooks for Classroom Use

Storybooks introduce each unit with the tale of a child somewhere around the world who solves a problem through engineering. The books integrate literacy and social studies into the unit and illustrate for students the relevance of STEM subjects. 

Explore the Lessons

Students think about what technology is and are introduced to the idea that engineers design technologies.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

What is Technology? / Grade 4 / Worcester, MA

Students think about what technology is and are introduced to the idea that engineers design technologies.

Extension Lessons

What are Extension Lessons?

Extension Lessons use EiE activities as a springboard to more directly reinforce other curricular concepts.

View all Extension Lessons »

Tehya and her friend Sam are members of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. One day, while taking photos along the Elwha River, they make a scary discovery. Oil is coating the surface of the river, harming ducks, muskrats, plants and other organisms. The river is a valuable ecosystem, but also much more--it holds special meaning for Tehya and all of the tribe. Tehya and Sam volunteer to work with local environmental engineers on the oil spill cleanup. Can Tehya’s photos--and her knowledge of the river--help engineers design a process for cleaning the river?

Download a PDF of our storybook illustrations.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Tehya’s Pollution Solution Storybook / Grade 5 / Lauderhill, FL
Click here for a more in-depth look

EiE - A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill Lesson 1

Reflection Questions

How does Christina set the stage for the reading of Tehya’s Pollution Solution?

Christina has students share their prior knowledge about the role of environmental engineers. Christina also has students think about the characters, setting and plot of the story.

  • Before reading, Christina has students write down what they think environmental engineers do. Then she reads some of the responses out loud so students can hear their peers’ ideas. (0:20-1:07)
  • Christina locates Washington State on the U.S. map to help students appreciate the setting of the story. (1:15-158)
  • Christina has students use a tree map to bring attention to the story’s characters, plot, and problem. (2:05-2:20)

How does Christina use the story to reinforce the steps of the Engineering Design Process with her students?

Christina reinforces steps of the EDP by having students review the process that Tehya went through in the book.

  • In small groups, students look to the text for evidence that Tehya used the Engineering Design Process to come up with a solution to the oil spill. (7:30 -7:53)
  • Students share out specific examples of how Tehya used the EDP (7:53-8:30).
  • Finally, Christina goes through each step of the EDP and asks the whole class to reflect on the story. (8:33-8:54)

Students think like environmental engineers as they investigate the source of pollution in a fictional town.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Enviro-Mystery / Grade 5 / Lauderhill, FL
Click here for a more in-depth look

EiE - A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill Lesson 2

Reflection Questions

In what ways does Christina help her students self-identify as engineers?

Christina uses the word “engineer” frequently. She refers to her students as engineers and uses the verb “engineer” to describe what they are doing.

  • When introducing the unit, Christina explains to the class, “Now you guys, as environmental engineers, are here to solve a problem.” (0:20)
  • The Mayor of Greentown addresses the students in his letter as environmental engineers (0:32), and Christina also calls her students environmental engineers. (2:12)
  • Having students wear safely goggles during the lesson reinforces Christina’s message that her students are engineers. (3:58)

How does studying pH levels prepare students to think like engineers?

Studying pH levels helps students think about the overall work of environmental engineers and some of the tests they conduct.

  • Testing and recording the pH levels in environmental samples gives students the opportunity to engage in the practices of engineering. (4:38)
  • Comparing the pH levels from 5 years ago with pH data from today allows students to contemplate the source of pollution and its impact over time. (5:51)

Students perform controlled experiments to identify effective materials and methods for cleaning an oil spill.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
A Slick Idea / Grade 5 / Lauderhill, FL
Click here for a more in-depth look

EiE- A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill Lesson 3

Reflection Questions

How does studying ecosystems prepare students for the Oil Spill challenge?

By understanding how plants and animals are connected through ecosystems, students can start to think like environmental engineers by recognizing the effects of pollution on many different forms of life.

  • Students begin the lesson by studying the food web from the storybook to see how different plants and animals in the Pacific Northwest are connected. (0:40-1:33)
  • Christina has students physically create their own food web in order to understand how all the parts of an ecosystem are connected. (4:50-6:18) 

What evidence do you see that the students are beginning to understand that all materials have different properties that can help or hinder the process of cleaning up an oil spill?

Students test their tools and compare and contrast the effectiveness of each tool in cleaning up the oil. They imagine which tools would work together most effectively when combined.

  • Students in one group are surprised when the spoon they predicted would remove the oil was ineffective. (8:20-8:37)
  • Christina has the class rate the ability of the materials to contain or remove the oil based on their observations. This allows the class to see the calculated data of the materials and show which materials were the most and least effective at cleaning up the oil. (8:55-10:31) 

Students apply their knowledge of ecosystems and environmental engineering as they imagine, plan, create, test, and improve their own process for cleaning an oil spill.

Supporting Materials for this Lesson

Sample Classroom Video
Cleaning an Oil Spill / Grade 5 / Lauderhill, FL
Click here for a more in-depth look

EiE - A Slick Solution: Cleaning an Oil Spill Lesson 4

Reflection Questions

Working with water and other “spillable” materials can quickly become messy. What preparations has Christina made in order to efficiently manage materials?

Christina organizes the model river materials, pre-pours water, and coordinates the testing of oil.

  • Christina covers each table with plastic wrap to contain any messes the water and oil may cause. (2:29)
  • Christina has students come to the front of the room to purchase their materials and tools. This limits confusion and keeps the groups and materials organized. (6:06)
  • Christina uses pre-measured cup samples of water for each group to use in their model. (6:44)
  • Christina hands each table a bowl for waste. This helps keep clean up organized and contained. (6:38)

How does Christina cover each step of the EDP while teaching this lesson?

Christina uses EiE handouts, group discussions, and some of her own activities to help reinforce the EDP.

  • Christina spells out each step of the EDP and asks students how they will use the steps in their lesson. (0:52-1:12)
  • Christina explains to the class how they are applying the EDP as they explore ways to clean up the oil spill. (4:18-4:47)
  • Christina gives students a chance to redesign their cleanup process through the improve step of the EDP. Students fill out a worksheet to reflect on what they have done and how they will improve upon the process. (11:39-14:30)