Episode 303: Green Science
>> RICK CROSSLIN: On this episode of Indiana Expeditions we investigate Green Science. It’s a term that’s becoming more and more popular these days. Green Science is
all about being efficient with our resources. We’ll take a look at the many ways people can go green.
>> GIRL: This is green science!
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Follow me. It’s time for another Expedition!
>> ANNOUNCER: Indiana Expeditions with Rick Crosslin is made possible through the generous support of the Eli Lilly and Company Foundation; dedicated to improving the lives of patients and the communities we serve.
The Dr. Laura Hare Charitable Trust, enhancing Indiana’s natural environment through
preservation and protection of ecologically significant natural areas and promoting environmental education, stewardship, and awareness; and
The Indiana Academy of Science.
Serving Indiana Science since 1885.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: So what is Green Science? You hear the term all the time. Green Science is the science that allows us to do things with less impact on the environment around us.
>> CAROLINE: Did you know…
Green science integrates earth, life, and physical science in an effort to study ways to solve environmental problems.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: There are lots of ways to go green and some of them are pretty simple.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Here’s one way that you can make a difference, one light bulb at a time to save energy. I have two light bulbs that give out the same amount of light energy. One is a compact fluorescent and one is your typical incandescent light. This is a meter that measures how much electricity flows into your house - the more things you turn on, the faster this goes and every time it spins, you’re charged a little bit of money for that energy. So let me show you what happens when we turn on a compact fluorescent which is an energy-saver bulb and let’s see how that wheel spins.
It’s spinning kind of slow and that’s a good thing because the slower it spins the less energy it uses. Now when I switch over to one of the traditional light bulbs, an incandescent, we’re going to get the same amount of light, however that wheel might do something that will surprise you.
What it is doing is spinning a lot faster because that type of light draws more current; gives you the same amount of light; and there is another advantage to having the compact fluorescent. This bulb gives off heat energy that is wasted up in your house, while this
one is a much cooler and most of the energy goes into light not heat. One way that you can make a difference one light bulb at a time.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Now the only way we can make a difference is if we all make some changes. Making changes can be fun too. Students all over Indiana are finding better ways to be efficient with classroom supplies. One class is even making its own paper.
>> MRS. LOSER: Today we decided to make recycled paper in are going green lesson.
>> STUDENTS: We are going green!
>>MRS.LOSER: We are talking about different ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and show them that science is for everyone and that’s fun and we can help the planet while we do it.
Okay boys and girls who can remind me what are some of the things we’ve been talking
about lately about going green and doing less harm to the earth what are some of those things we’ve been talking about - just a quick review.
>> STUDENT READING: Where on earth does all of this garbage go?
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Where does it go when you throw it away?
>>STUDENT: Somewhere far.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Maybe even in your own backyard.
>> MRS. LOSER: In order to do this lesson we started off cutting paper that we already use for something else. We cut into little squares and then we soaked in warm water for
about an hour. The students were mixing it with a whisk while it was soaking. Then we put it in a blender and we added food coloring for fun.
>>MRS. LOSER: Green, you guys like green?
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Green that’s a good color for green science.
>> KID: This is green science.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: It doesn’t get much greener than this.
>>MRS. LOSER: We’re pretty green!
>>MRS. LOSER: Okay the next step is we’re going to add some cornstarch that’s going to help our mixture get really gooey. Then we poured it onto the screen and tried to moosh out the excess water little bit and then flip the screen over onto a towel and we can blow dry it or iron it or you could just let it sit and dry on it’s own, but it would take
much longer, and it should be ready to go tomorrow for the kids to bring home or work on projects here.
>> ANGELA LEWIS: It’s very important for students to not only be able to write about science but to be able to do science. I mean you can read about it in a text book, but that’s
not real, kids need to experience it. Once they experience it - it makes writing so much easier.
>> MRS. LOSER: The kids really like this lesson because, well first of all they really love to get messy in school and mess up the classroom and not have to worry about things like that, but also we’ve really been studying about going green in helping the earth so they really love doing things where we can help the earth, so using the recycle paper was a way to get them started with that.
When you hands-on science there are so many rewards to see the children get so excited and for them to smile and just be excited to learn and excited to come to school it’s very much worth of prep time for it.
I made these last night with Mr. Loser.
What I love the most is just the joy of teaching and coming into the classroom every day and seeing their smiles each day getting the hugs as they leave and knowing that really just making sure that school is fun. I had some grades where I didn’t have very much fun
in school and I don’t want my students to ever feel like that.
Well Mr. Crosslin this piece of paper, since you were nice enough to come and have us on your show, were going to give you our first piece of recycled paper for you to do what you want with it.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: I know I know exactly what I’m going to do with this paper.
>> KIDS YELLING: Science is for everyone!
>> RICK CROSSLIN: These third-graders can look forward to more of the same as they get older. They will be the next environmental engineers or even green racecar drivers?
This is the super mileage challenge held every year at the O’Riley Raceway Park. Today student teams from high schools all over Indiana have converged here at this world-famous racetrack.
>> STUDENT: It’s 100% student made
>> STUDENT: It will just take off.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: The goal? To have the most inefficient race card are out there.
I’m here at O’Reilly Raceway Park where the super mileage challenge is underway. It’s a beautiful blend of green science, green technology, and green engineering. What kind of breaks do you have on these breaks, just regular hand breaks?
>> STUDENT: They are kind of like bike breaks.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: It looks like a lot of troubleshooting. What are these guys working on back here?
>> STUDENT: Trying to get the gas tank back on.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Seems like it’s all guys here, are only guys allowed here?
>> MALE STUDENTS: No, there’s three girls.
>> STUDENT: I put the entire body on the car.
>> MIKE FITZGERALD: What kids do is they go to entire design process in the fall to make a proposal to design a vehicle that will go well over 1000 miles per gallon.
What they’re using, they’re using a traditional 3 ? horse Brinks and Stratton engine.
And they are maximizing what they can do with that and also using advanced materials such as carbon fibers and airspace materials.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: These vehicles were designed from the ground up by students.
>> MIKE FITZGERALD: A lot of it is basically taking ideas from the student’s heads and putting it into a form of application to maximize what they can do.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Each school has a team with members focusing on a certain aspect of the car. There are team mechanics, engineers, and drivers all working together to win the race. Just like the pros.
>> STUDENT: Personally I like it being hands-on and stuff I always have to start little learning about it and then you can come out here. Keep improving it year by year and building off of ideas with everyone new kids in the class coming up with new ideas.
>> MIKE FITZGERALD: It provides them with experience applying what they know with what they could do so it provides them with the experience of being on a real racetrack and it gives them also some experience in the motorsports industry which you know with Indianapolis being one of the capitals of the world for motorsports why not do it here?
The resourcefulness of the kids also comes up with why some of these teams look like super high dollar might not be as much as you may think.
>> PAUL MODLIN: The students really make me look good because I know nothing about the math or the physics behind it and we’re set up where were a fully student led class and my job is to guide them and be there for safety.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: You can tell they have a lot of ownership of this and they seem like they gave you a hard time especially these guys back here are their grades still safe?
>> PAUL MODLIN: After today I’m unsure about their grades to be quite honest.
Seniors pass on their ideas to the juniors and when the juniors or seniors they pass it down and they take one idea and they improve on it and expand. You can come thinking you are 100% prepared and the next thing you know something happens and you’re
starting all over again on the drawing board.
>> STUDENT: One of our screws came out of the filter so it was all sucking air so it wouldn’t work. Got that fixed and then it wasn’t idling so we got that fixed, so hopefully
we’ll be a good run.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Some teams even years GPS for testing and headsets for communication. Many of these kids will go on to pursue a career in this field and by getting an early start like this the possibilities are endless.
>> CAROLINE: Did you know …
the world record for miles per gallon driving a car is over 3,000 miles?
>> RICK CROSSLIN: One popular green tech solution is using solar power to do things. Solar power is energy from the sun if you add up all the energy that’s ever been produced
that still doesn’t amount to the energy that comes in one single day from the sun. Right now the best way we can use this energy is through the use of solar panels. A solar panel converts the sun’s energy into electricity. To learn more we caught up with E. C. I. wind
>> ERIC COTTON: We design and install renewable energy systems. With the sun I have two choices really though: the sun is warm and I can collect the heat from the sun or I can use a chemical process that takes the energy from sunlight and turns it directly into electricity.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: This chemical process is done using something called a photo votaic cell, or PV cell. The sun’s energy gets the cell. These PV cells are made of a semi-
conductive material like silicone. When sunlight hits a semi conductor, electrons inside the material are disturbed, this disturbance pushes an electron along a conductor so if a PV cell is tied to an electric circuit the sun’s energy becomes electricity. The system here
at the Cool Creek Nature Center generates electricity for the park.
>> PARK WORKER: One of the great things out of this is that it’s our first solar project for Hamilton County Parks and Rec.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: This solar system is enough to power the Visitors Center and more.
>> CRAIG: If the PV Array produces more electricity than building is using, it will take the extra electricity and send it back to the grid.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: People are even starting to explore using advanced green technology at home and with the right set up electric companies might wind up paying you for the electricity you generate.
>>ERIC COTTON: You can have a house that can completely sustain itself using solar energy.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: When it comes to going green this family is above and beyond. They have a wind turbine and a massive solar array for the house. I’m green with envy. When the sun strikes this, that radiation is converted through these silicon cells into electricity that is sent to the house.
>> This farm gives new meaning to the name Green Acres.
You know, we’re used to seeing windmills on a farm, but Llamas?
>> Here at the Children’s Museum we’re doing our part to go green. One of the changes is we have created a rain garden that collects the water off the building into this area to soak down into the aquifer - not the city’s sewers, but that is just one change of many.
>> JILL GORDON: Today is kicked off to the Earth week celebration.
>> STUDENT: Its name is “Compac-asours-digitus”
>>JILL GORDON: Here at the museum we are trying to be more green but also I think a lot of people don’t realize how many organizations can provide assistance, educational material about being more green and being environmentally friendly.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: I’m here at one of the Children’s museums family programs where they’re making rain barrels
>> RICK CROSSLIN: You’re making a rain barrel? Where did you hear about this idea?
>> KID: Her.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Who’s her?
>> KID: My mom.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: Your mom, okay so what are you going to do with this at home? >> KID: We’re going to get water to water are plants
>> RICK CROSSLIN: So you can water your plants okay
>> YOUNGER BROTHER: And fill up our water guns
>> RICK CROSSLIN: And your water guns too okay that’s kind of a cool way to do it.
>> JILL GORDON: Families take home what they’ve done here and they continue the discussion at home.
>> DAD: Okay
So when it rains - rain will come down through the gutter and we have holes drilled into the top of the rain barrel so that rain can get through; and there’s a screen underneath the lid so it can keep bugs and seeds and all that kind of stuff out. And it eventually this will fill up with water and then all will be to do down here is hook a hose to it, open it up, and let gravity do the rest.
>> TARYN: You can just use rainwater for your garden and I’ve heard that rainwater is better for your garden than any other kind of water.
>> RICK CROSSLIN: That’s pretty cool; not only does not save the water bill but it also
makes better use of the rain water I think.