May 31, 2013, by KG
Photo Credit: KG
The purpose of this action project was to test 5 different water samples and determine their pH level. The pH level is what defines whether a solution is acidic or basic. This is determined on a scale of 1-14, 7 being neutral. The purpose of doing this was to see which water sample was safest to drink. Another aspect of this project was noticing that certain types of water that you think were neutral were actually more acidic than you would have expected. I am proud of the fact that I did this experiment, and am proud of everything I learned about water and its pH levels. I learned that bottled water is not the best drinking water, as it is actually more acidic than tap water. Bottled water had a pH level of 5, whereas tap water had a pH level of 6. The best drinking water has a pH level of 7. I was surprised that bottled water had the same pH level as the Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico, since the Bio Bay is filled with microorganisms and has not been through the cleansing process that bottled water has. This was finding was quite unexpected!
Click below to read my lab report:
May 15, 2013, by KG
This project was about understanding the water cycle, and seeing it in action. I wrote a lab report explaining my experiment and everything I did in order to make it work. This whole process was important because when performing an experiment, you need to be able to take it apart piece by piece and explain why you did what you did. The experiment itself was important because it can help people better understand weather patterns the relationship between those weather patterns and water. I am proud of everything I did this unit. I performed an experiment in my own home and then was able to explain why I did each thing that I did. I am also proud of my understanding of the material in this unit. I learned that water can change from gas to solid without going through the liquid phase. I still do not understand how this is possible, but I learned that it happens through deposition.
This unit inspired me to learn more about water. I find it interesting how water gets to us, and then circulates throughout the world. Water is something I am definitely interested in learning more about in the future.
Click here to read my lab report:
April 19, 2013, by GM
In Distribution, the last unit of the Fuel course, the assignment was to create a presentation that illustrated our assessment of an environmental disaster and recommendations as a design engineer. I chose to investigate the Exxon Valdez oil spill. There is a huge demand for oil around the world. It is transported thousands of miles to get to our gas stations. If there was not such a huge demand for oil, Exxon Valdez wouldn’t have spilled as much oil as it did. Thus, it would not have caused as much damage. The environmental disaster could have easily been avoided if certain safety measures had been taken. Before sending the ship out to see, it is important to check to see that the ship’s radar is in working condition. A thorough inspection of the ship must be done to see that everything is working properly. In the case of an emergency, it is important for all of the crew members to be alert in order to act quickly in such a circumstance.
You can click below to watch view my presentation.
April 16, 2013, by RS
S, R. (2013)
In this Action Project we had to make a video to show what we have learned by being an energy consultant. I chose Bob as my client, who lives in Chicago and needs to know the variables to consider and how much it will cost him to heat his home to his ideal temperature. I learned a whole lot from this Unit and thought it was very interesting. We also had to chose an E-producing resource (I chose natural gas) which is what Bob uses to heat his home.
April 16, 2013, by GM
M, G. (2013)
In pollution, the third unit of the Fuel course, the assignment was to write a research paper on the benefits and drawbacks of a pollutant. In the process of writing my paper, I learned several components that constitute a good scientific paper. It is organized by various subheadings such as the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion, which help the reader to follow the content better. It is very helpful for the reader to have a visual representation of a concept. One must adhere to the guidelines that the teacher has provided for the research paper. It is crucial that they fulfill every guideline so points are not deducted from their work.
I found it quite helpful to write out the pros and cons of carbon dioxide on a concept map. I made logical connections between the information that I gathered. I then categorized this information into how it impacts humans and the environment negatively and positively. This map helped me to narrow down the focus of my research paper to the effects that carbon dioxide has on the environment.
The unit has inspired me to take steps toward reducing my carbon footprint. The biggest step that I can take toward being eco-friendly is by conserving the amount of energy that I use. I need to take fewer plane flights, because they emit a lot of CO2 directly into the atmosphere. I should avoid planes and vehicles as much as I can. Instead, I should walk or bike to my destinations whenever it is possible. I need to turn off my air conditioning and/or heater when I am not in the house. Human activities have greatly contributed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We need to learn to be better stewards of this earth if we want it to sustain human life for many years to come.
You can click below to view my research paper.
April 8, 2013, by GM
In Energy, the second unit of the Fuel course, the assignment was to make a tutorial video for a client about the resource that we chose to investigate. The purpose of the action project was to show my understanding of variables that need to be taken into account when heating or cooling an environment. It was also designed to show my ability to perform calculations on energy usage and the cost of an energy source.
The energy source that I chose to investigate was coal. There are several ways that one can decrease energy usage and its cost. It is very important to have a home that is well insulated so one does not lose heat. By having a smaller house, less heat is required to heat one’s home. If the home receives sunlight, less heat is needed. This is because the sun’s rays penetrate through the home through windows, generating warmth.
Since I did not have access to my electricity bills, I chose to analyze a bill from the Internet. I was surprised by how expensive electricity costs. By saving on the amount of electricity that one uses, one is killing two birds with one stone. One is saving money on their bill. Furthermore, one is making a step towards being more eco-friendly.
You can click below to view my tutorial video.
March 25, 2013, by KG
The purpose of this action project was to understand the distribution process of an energy source, in my case, oil. It was also about explaining flaws and mistakes in the distribution process, and how they could have been prevented. The biggest takeaway from the Exxon Valdez oil spill is gaining an understanding of the complexity of oil distribution. So much oil is used to transport oil elsewhere. This seems pointless, as you use the same amount of oil that you transport, so is anything gained? I know, however, that oil needs to be transported to gas stations and across the globe. Three safety measures I learned were to always have the ship’s radar on in open water, always have some type of communication system between all the ship’s crew members, and make the crew is sober so they can perform their important jobs to the best of their ability.
March 19, 2013, by KG
I found the concept map very helpful. It was a great way to organize my thoughts for my paper. I found something that is related between my pros and cons, and divided all 16 pros and cons into four sections. These sections were great guidelines for my paragraphs, and they helped me find common ground between similar pros and cons.
This unit has inspired me to try to lower my carbon footprint. I will work on lowering the miles that I drive every week, will try to carpool when I can, and will possibly get a car that gets more miles per gallon than my current car. I can also consider using more efficient energy source in order to heat and cool my house, and will continue a home’s energy source when looking at houses in the future . I also can recycle more, and use a water bottle rather than bottled water. Finally, I will unplug appliances when I am not using them, and turn off the lights when I am not in a room.
Click below to read my paper on carbon dioxide.
March 13, 2013, by GM
In Resource, the first unit of the Fuel course, the assignment was to make a presentation about the resource that we chose to investigate for the unit. The purpose of the project was to show what we learned from the unit. I gained a lot of insight about water over the course of the unit. The molecule that I chose to investigate was water. Its molecular formula is H20, which is composed of two hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom. Water is found all around us. It is found in river, lakes, glaciers, icecaps, ice, and snow.
I am proud of the interview that I conducted with a civil engineer who works for the water department of Chicago. He turned out to be very knowledgeable about water. He said that in the future, there are probably going to be more wars in the future over water than oil. Water is such an important resource, because we all need water and we can’t survive without it. He emphasized the importance of conserving water. One of the ways that Chicago can conserve water is by installing water meters in people’s homes. Furthermore, we need to raise awareness about the importance of not letting the water run when it is not being used.
At all costs, we need to conserve water. If water is not used sustainably, it has the potential to be exhausted. It must be conserved, because once it is depleted, it cannot be replenished. As mankind, we need to learn to be better stewards of this precious resource. You can click below to view my presentation.
March 8, 2013, by zp
For our Fuel course, I wrote a research paper talking about the pros and cons of coal. We did this to learn about how pollutants effect the environment. I am very proud of my paper because I worked very hard on it.
My chosen energy is coal and my pollutant is carbon dioxide also known as CO2, and this is directly connected to the carbon footprint. Carbon dioxides forms changes depending on the temperature and pressure of the space it is in. CO2 is most commonly known as a non-flammable gas that can be found in the air or in surface soils. CO2 can also take the form of a solid as dry ice. Coal is made out of carbon, water, hydrogen and oxygen. It also contains many minerals as well. Coal is a great source of energy, but burning fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide into the air which is harmful to humans. Here are two balanced equations that help explain this:
#1. C + O2 CO2 This equation is showing carbon plus two oxygens combining to make carbon dioxide.
#2. CH4 + 2O2 CO2 + 2H2O. The second equation on the left side is showing the methane combustion process; methane combines with four oxygens. On the right side you see the coal combustion process; carbon dioxide combines with four hydrogens and two oxygens.
The carbon footprint is the CO2 emissions from your home and your transportation. This is directly connected to my pollutant because my pollutant is CO2. My carbon footprint is 19,660 lbs per year and my household carbon footprint is 62,250 lbs per year. To calculate this, you enter information about your household vehicles, home energy, waste production, and recycling. To find the carbon footprint calculator, you can go to EPA Website (EPA, 2013) A tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year according to AmTo make up for my carbon footprint of 19,660 lbs per year, I would need to plant about 409 trees a year.
Burning fossil fuels is a good way to insure that we will always have an abundance of energy. As a country 60% of our electricity comes from coal ( FF, 2013). One of the main reasons we burn coal is because it is one of the most inexpensive fuel sources. Also we have practiced and improved the ways to most effectively for years, so the transition to another primary energy source would be difficult.
Just by existing as humans we create CO2, when we burn fossil fuels we are forcing our CO2 levels up. High CO2 can cause health problems: dizziness, elevated blood pressure and headaches. Levels of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) are considered cause for alarm. As this number increases the amount of side effects and severity increases ( WDH, 2012) . I agree that we need to decrease the amount of coal and fossil fuels we burn because it is necessary that we keep our CO2 levels down, to insure that we have healthier air and a healthier population.
In conclusion, I think that even though burning coal is an efficient inexpensive way to create energy, I do not condone high CO2 levels. I think that we should cut down on how much fossil fuels we are burning and find a different primary resource. There are other environmentally friendly ways that we can use to effectively draw energy, without the help of fossil fuels. If we do that then we can reduce our carbon footprint and maintain a healthier population and environment.
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