Friday, May 29, 2009

Big Science Projects on the Edge of Doability

Check out this slide show! Show your students what their future in Science could be!

And while you are watching these slides, have your students sing out with what branch of Earth Science each slide represents! And it's NOT always astronomy! There are underlying fields of science on every slide. See if they can figure them out!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Galaxy Flashcards and Lesson

If your students can figure something out by themselves, let them.

Too often, teachers give a lecture and take all the fun out of the process of discovery.

Teaching about Hubble's classification system for galaxies is a good example.

Instead of giving the Galaxy Lecture or the Worksheet about galaxies, do this activity instead:

1. Give each small group a set of cards with photos of the different types of galaxies. Have them "play" with them, moving them around on the table. After they are somewhat familiar with the cards, you'll notice they naturally start separating the cards into groups. Encourage any group to do this if they don't start on their own. Once they have them separated, ask them to make labels for each group. (Give them blank squares for labels.) Don't offer any suggestions. Many will know some of the names, such as Spiral, etc. Just let them know it's okay to use the correct term if they know one.
2. Have each group share their system. You might have different arrangements and it would be good to discuss the differences. Just make sure they all know they did a good job! No wrong answers!
3. Then show them Hubble's Classification System! Hand them the Hubble Tuning Fork card. Have them rearrange their cards using the Fork card as a guide. Give them the correct terms and have them redo their labels. An extra pat on the back for those who came close!
4. Fun time to show a PowerPoint on Galaxies, or a YouTube clip. For BONUS POINTS, they could number a piece of paper and record the name and type of galaxy for each slide. Or you could make this required.

By the end of this lesson, your students show be able to identify the type of Galaxy when given a picture of a galaxy.

NOTE: Email Marcia for a Dropbox download of my complete Galaxies Lesson!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Hubble Photo Montage from CNN

CNN has put together a beautiful Hubble photo slide show on Galaxies. This can be shown once moving through the slides fast, then go slide by slide using the arrows, viewing the captions (click "View Captions.") Can be projected full screen without ads. Make sure you turn up the sound! Fun music accompanies the photos. REALLY NICE!

Click here to go directly the the CNN Hubble Slide Show.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Star Trek: Real or Not?

Capitalize on the latest Star Trek movie, which many of your students have probably seen. Show this series of slides from MSNBC that cover 10 sci-fi wonders. Are they Fact or Fiction?

Click here for the slide show.

Have your students take out a piece of paper and fold in thirds, hot dog-bun style. List the 10 Innovations down the left column, skipping a line each time. Put Fact and Fiction at the top of the other two columns. Then show the slide show. They can either check the correct column for a basic required 10 points, or add words in the correct column to show why that innovation is a reality or not. Make that worth 15-20 points.

Ten Innovations:

  1. Teleportation
  2. Tricorder
  3. Deflector Shield
  4. PHaSER
  5. Holodeck
  6. Tractor Beam
  7. Communicator
  8. Universal Translator
  9. Cloaking Device
  10. Warp Drive
What fun!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

World Stress Map

Neat world stress map available as a Pdf Poster. Great visual of major earthquake zones, volcanic regions, and best of all, where mountains are forming as well! See the stress in the US in the eastern and western mountain regions.

Click here to download the World Stress Map.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Los Angeles Earthquake

I figure you all know about the 4.7 earthquake that rattled the LA area yesterday.

Do you know about the "Did You Feel It?" page from the USGS Volcano website?

Click here to see how many people went to this page and reported having felt the quake. Apparently several thousand people reported to the USGS “Did you feel it?” page within twenty minutes of the earthquake.

Several maps show the intensity felt and the location of each "reporter." Fun to see if the maps indicate the location of the epicenter!

So, next time you feel a quake, go to this page and report what you felt!

And be sure to visit if you know a quake has occurred. Show your students what's going on in the World of Quakes!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Earth Science Week Contests

Click here for some great ideas for Earth Week Contests!

Or go here for the specific contests:

(1) Photography Contest. The photography theme for this year is: “How Climate Shapes My World.” All submissions must be postmarked or received electronically by 5 p.m. EST, Friday, October 16, 2009.

(2) Visual Arts Contest. A two-dimensional (flat) visual arts project no larger than 24 x 36 inches, dealing with the topic, "The Climate Where I Live." All mailed submissions must be postmarked no later than Friday, October 16, 2009.

(3) Essay Contest. The essays should focus on the topic "Climate Connections." All mailed submissions must be postmarked no later than Friday, October 16, 2009, and all electronic submissions must be received by 5 p.m. EST, Friday, October 16, 2009.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

VORTEX2 Videos!!!

FINALLY! Found a good source of videos on VORTEX2!! I can't embed them, but here's a link. They have several GREAT videos. These are through the Weather Channel over at Truveo. Check it out!

NOTE: Be sure to scroll down the list of videos. There are tons more than you think!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Giant Trilobites Discovered in Portugal

Click here to visit the National Geographic site for details of this amazing discovery. Includes theories for the demise of Trilobites.
35 inches long!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Atlantis Launch Successful

-- The space shuttle Atlantis blasted off successfully Monday afternoon on NASA's fifth and final repair visit to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space shuttle Atlantis launched successfully from Florida Monday on its way to the Hubble telescope.

Space shuttle Atlantis launched successfully from Florida Monday on its way to the Hubble telescope.

The spacecraft rocketed into mostly sunny skies right on schedule at 2:01 p.m. ET.

Atlantis will spend five days upgrading the Hubble, the orbiting observatory that's been scanning the universe for almost two decades.

For the seven members of the shuttle crew, that means added pressure.

"I think [this] is motivating us because we know there's nobody coming after us to do anything we don't get done," said Atlantis Commander Scott Altman. "This is it. We either get it done or it doesn't happen."

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Meteorite Men TV Special Coming Sunday May 10th

Meteorite Men special airs Sunday, May 10 at 9pm et/pt on Discovery's Science Channel. In the Pacific Time Zone, you may be able to view it at 6pm depending on your cable service. Two incredible treasure hunters search the globe for Meteorites.


This is an amazing photo mosaic presentation from National Geographic. Visitors can zoom in on a photo to find that it is comprised of hundreds more photos, which are all mosaics themselves, and so on. Most individual photographs also include camera settings and a brief description.

Click here to visit. And let me know if you come up with a way to use this in your Earth Science classroom! I've also included the YouTube version.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

NASA's Videos for Teachers

I could spend days telling you about all the amazing video clips available on the NASA site. They have several places you can visit for videos. Just about any topic you can imagine.


NASA eClips™: Get it? ;-)
"Short relevant educational video segments. These videos inspire and engage students, helping them see real world connections. New video segments are produced weekly exploring current applications of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, topics. The programs are produced for targeted audiences: K-5, 6-8, 9-12 and the general public."

NASA's Video Gallery:
Lots of videos on Hubble and what Hubble has seen in the Universe. Hover your mouse over the photo introducing a certain video and Add to your Playlist! A feature for the teacher who needs to find what they want to use quickly.

NASA TV: online or at YouTube:
Several channels with a multitude of topics.

NASA Interactive Features:
Then there is the incredible interactive site! Great fun for you and your students! Be sure to check this area out! Topics such as:
  1. Spacewalk Simulations
  2. 10 Things About the Earth
  3. Eyes on the Earth 3D

Believe it or not, I've only scratched the surface! Be sure to visit NASA's website and explore all the wonderful things they have for the educator. Click here!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

VORTEX2 - Tornado Scientists in the Plain States

Very exciting happenings in Meteorology this week. I hope you're all watching VORTEX2.

"This blog will report on the Verification Of Rotation in Tornadoes EXperiment 2, or VORTEX2 project, the most ambitious tornado field project in history. Researchers will be sampling the super-cell thunderstorms that often form over more than 900 miles of the central Great Plains in the United States."

A team out of Boulder, CO is heading out to the plains of the midwest to study tornadoes. They have a collection of some of the best equipment ever assembled for the study of tornadoes.

I'm hoping they post videos of some of their "close encounters" that you can show your students. If they post them, I'll let you know!

What fun! I can't think of a much better way to inspire young people to consider the field of Meteorology than showing a group of scientists at work out in the field.

Now, the only other question I have today is this: Did they all pack their leather belts in case they have to hitch themselves to a water pipe during a tornado? [And what movie is that alluding to?]

Click here for a great Tornado Activity.
This just might be the moment to use this mapping activity!

Migrating Sand Dunes

Listen to a PODCAST from the USGS by clicking the above link.

"Sand Dunes on the Loose Due to Climate Change
Host: Jessica Robertson

Climate change is increasing the mobility of sand dunes in the southwest, posing threats to roadways, infrastructure, human health, cultural practices of the Navajo Nation, and much more. Vegetation on dunes serves as stabilizers, but as the climate warms and precipitation decreases, there is less vegetation growth.

USGS scientist Margaret Hiza and intern Leanna Begay discuss their research to understand the dunes' plant diversity and what changes are occurring."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

South Hit Hard by "Derecho"

Check out this link. One more really amazing weather phenomenon.

Note: Normally I wouldn't do this--ads show up on this ABCNews Site before you can see the video--but this is a KEWL video!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What is a microburst?

CNN meteorologist Bonnie Schneider explains how a microburst collapsed the Dallas Cowboys practice facility.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Kansas Tornado Video