Make your own free website on

Gary Railcats Fan

Home | 2005 All*Star Game | 2005 Season | First Season at US Steel Yard | Student Field Trip

Student Field Trip

Language Arts 6, Science 6, Science 7, Science 8, and Earth Science

Two lesson plans: Humans affect atmosphere lab and Weather patterns lab

Look beyond the scoreboard. The sky appears clear
Enjoy a ball game while performing this lab
One of the largest steel mills in the world is located just beyond this ball park.

Now, look beyond the scoreboard
Discharge from the steel mill
The discharge from the steel mill appears to be white. Is the mill venting steam?


Date:                                                   Sometime during baseball season

Subject Matter:                                 Humans affect atmosphere lab

Course/Grade Level:                      Science 6, 7, 8, Earth Science, & Lang. Arts 6

Lesson Title:                                    The atmosphere at (and above) US Steel Yard

Time Period:                                     5 Days (much longer for science fair projects)


Objectives:  The students will be able to (SWBAT):

Indiana LA Standard 6.2.4   Clarify an understanding of texts by creating outlines, notes, diagrams, summaries, or reports.
Example: Take notes while reading to create an outline or graphic organizer, such as a concept map, flow chart, or diagram, of the main ideas and supporting details from what is read. Read an informational book and summarize the main ideas.

Indiana LA Standard 6.4.3   Write informational pieces of several paragraphs that:

        engage the interest of the reader.

        state a clear purpose.

        develop the topic with supporting details and precise language.

        conclude with a detailed summary linked to the purpose of the composition.

Indiana LA Standard 6.4.5     Use note-taking skills.

Indiana LA Standard 6.4.6   Use organizational features of electronic text (on computers), such as bulletin boards, databases, keyword searches, and e-mail addresses, to locate information.

Indiana LA Standard 6.4.7   Use a computer to compose documents with appropriate formatting by using word-processing skills and principles of design, including margins, tabs, spacing, columns, and page orientation.


Indiana Science Standard 6.2.3      Select tools, such as cameras and tape recorders, for capturing information.


Indiana Science Standard 6.2.5   Organize information in simple tables and graphs and identify relationships they reveal.  Use tables and graphs as examples of evidence for explanations when writing essays or writing about lab work, fieldwork, etc. 

Indiana Science Standard 6.3.13   Identify, explain, and discuss some effects human activities, such as the creation of pollution, have on weather and the atmosphere.

Indiana Science Standard  7.1.2     Explain that what people expect to observe often affects what they actually do observe and provide an example of a solution to this problem.

Indiana Science Standard 7.2.7   Incorporate circle charts, bar and line graphs, diagrams, scatter plots, and symbols into writing, such as lab or research reports, to serve as evidence for claims and/or conclusions.

Indiana Science Standard 7.4.14   Explain that the environment may contain dangerous levels of substances that are harmful to human beings. Understand, therefore, that the good health of individuals requires monitoring the soil, air, and water as well as taking steps to keep them safe.

Indiana Science Standard 8.2.8   Use tables, charts, and graphs in making arguments and claims in, for example, oral and written presentations about lab or fieldwork.

Indiana Science Standard 8.2.9      Explain why arguments are invalid if based on very small samples of data, biased samples, or samples for which there was no control sample.

Indiana Science Standard 8.3.7      Explain that the atmosphere and the oceans have a limited capacity to absorb wastes and recycle materials naturally.

Indiana Science Standard 8.5.6      Explain that a single example can never prove that something is always true, but it could prove that something is not always true.

Indiana Science Standard ES.1.18   Demonstrate the possible effects of atmospheric changes brought on by things such as acid rain, smoke, volcanic dust, greenhouse gases, and ozone depletion.


Materials/Equipment/Technology/Resources Needed:


At the game:

Writing utensil, notepad, and digital camera.  Transportation and tickets to Gary Southshore Railcats baseball game.


In the classroom:

Computer access for each student, Microsoft Word software, Britannica Ready Reference software, Science Content Review software, LCD projector (optional) for teacher's computer.  Display boards for science fair projects.


Procedures for meeting objectives:


The intention of this field lab is to observe and record the atmospheric discharge from US Steel, Gary Works.  The purpose is NOT to single-out US Steel, although air pollution is often associated with steel production.  The purpose is to observe and record atmospheric pollution in general.  What better place to do this from if not from a great ballpark located blocks from a huge steel mill?


(Science 6.3.13, 7.4.14, 8.3.7) The atmosphere makes life on Earth possible. Gases keep Earth warm, transport energy from place to place, and provide materials necessary for living things.  The environment may contain dangerous levels of substances that are harmful to human beings. Therefore, the good health of individuals requires monitoring the soil, air, and water as well as taking steps to keep them safe.


Human activity can cause air pollution, which consists of harmful materials that are added to the air. Pollutants can be gases or particles. Air pollution can cause health problems and other damage. In the United States, the burning of fossil fuels in power plants, cars, factories, and homes is a major source of both pollutants and greenhouse gases.  Human activities are increasing the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Some greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide. Temperatures on Earth have been rising because an increase of greenhouse gases causes a decrease in the natural ability to move materials into and out of the atmosphere in cycles: the water cycle, carbon cycle, and nitrogen cycle.  This recycling process becomes overwhelmed as a result.


(Science 6.2.3, 6.2.5, 7.2.7, 8.2.8)  (LA 6.2.4, 6.4.5, 6.4.6, 6.4.7) The steel mill is to the north of the US Steel Yard ball park.  North is toward left and left-center field, therefore the students should look in that direction when making their observations.   Suggestion: Use a digital camera to photograph the sky in the direction of the steel mill each inning to assist note taking.  Back in the classroom, make a table and insert the photos in corresponding rows of the table and describe the atmosphere during each inning.  Students can search the databases of Science Content Review or Britannica Ready Reference for additional info.  Enhance lab reports by using the appropriate graph types to display comparisons.  All lab reports should be first outlined using the four-square method.


(Science 7.1.2, 8.2.9, 8.5.6, ES 1.18)  (LA 6.4.3)  Possible science fair project: Information will be arranged using the scientific method.  If the student observer already knows what to look for, then the observer may only record observations when air pollution is visible.  A solution to this problem is to have the student record observations without knowing why the student is making observations.  Several trips to the ballpark will have to be made to gather enough data for a science fair project.  A single trip to the ballpark can never prove that US Steel discharges pollutants into the air.  There may be no discharges that day for example.  However, a single trip CAN prove US Steel doesn’t always discharge pollutants into the air during baseball games if no such discharges are observed. 


Student Assessment Procedures:


Students will be assessed using a five-point rubric on how well the objections were met in their lab observations.  Student understanding will also be assessed through a possible science fair project based on variations of this lab.

go back to home

Unofficial fan site, established 2005