Physical Science Lessons
The Southeastern Michigan Math-Science Learning Coalition offers a number of lesson plans in physical science for levels from early elementary through high school.
Popcorn : if you like popcorn, which one would you buy?
This third challenge in the Figure This! list of 80 math challenges directs the student to use popcorn to compare the volumes of tall and short cylinders formed with 8- by 11-inch sheets of paper. The challenge points out that it is important to be able to make visual estimates and find volumes. The web page includes links to a solution hint, the solution, other related math questions, and print resources that contain mathematics activities about packaging and wrapping shapes. The Did You Know a
Observe images of different climate zones
This Earth science resource shows students the location of 10 different climate zones on a world map. Red dots mark the location of deserts, highlands, and ice caps, as well as tundra, tropical wet and dry zones, and subtropical areas. Students are instructed to click on each red dot to see a photograph from that region. Each photograph includes a caption that describes its location. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
Mineralogy 4 Kids Rockin Internet Site
The Mineralogical Society of America's Mineralogy 4 Kids Rockin Internet Site is described as "The BEST Place to Learn about Rocks and Minerals." Subjects include Minerals in Your House, Mineral Groups and Properties, Mineral Games, and All About Crystals. Another activity is entitled Rock Cycle, which offers a well done graphic and description of how rocks are transformed into the three major families: igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic. The additional links that are provided throughout the
The Factor Game
Students will use a game setting to identify the properties of prime, composite, abundant, deficient, and perfect numbers. This lesson plan includes the objective, overview of the lesson, needed materials including transparency and worksheets, procedures and rules of the game, extensions and connections, resources, and ideas for discussion.
Observe the change in a star's spectrum as its motion changes
This simulation shows high school students how scientists detect the movement of a star by examining its spectral adsorption lines. The introduction explains the positive relationship between wavelength and the distance light travels. It also provides tips for interpreting the position of the adsorption lines on the spectrum. Students are instructed to click either the Away or Toward button. After they have used the speedometer to set the star's speed relative to the Earth, they can observe the
Seed Dispersal: Animals
The guest scientist in this two-minute radio program discusses seed dispersal in plants. He first explains why it is important for seeds to be distributed away from the mother plant. Then he contrasts wind-dispersed seeds with animal-dispersed seeds, pointing out that animals can disperse larger seeds that contain more nutrients for an emerging seedling. The program, which is available here in audio and text, is part of a Pulse of the Planet series on seed dispersal. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower Na
Comparing and Ordering Rational Numbers
Compare and order a rational number using an area model.
Student production assessment framework
This resource informational piece, part of a series about the future of energy, presents an assessment framework for use with student productions or presentations. The framework is split into three columns. The first column covers what is expected during the presentation and lists rubrics for effective delivery, effective presentation aids, content focus and support, and appropriate use and quality of sources. The second column provides a checklist for positive presentation methods the student e
Urban Tree Planting: Soil 101
Ever wondered how trees live amidst city sidewalks? This two-minute radio program from the show Pulse of the Planet focuses on the below-ground challenge that urban trees face--city soil. In the program, which is provided here in audio and text formats, a horticulturalist describes the importance of soil and the soil quality and quantity problems often found in cities. She then talks about a mixture that she and fellow researchers at Cornell University have developed called structural soil, whic
Geological Time Scale
This information about geologic time and the geologic time scale defines the terms relative time (chronostratic) and absolute time (chronometric). Relative time can be thought of as the physical subdivisions of rock found in the Earths stratigraphy and absolute as the measurements taken upon those to determine the actual time that has expired. Absolute time measurements can be used to calibrate the relative time scale, producing an integrated geologic or geochronologic time scale. A feature of t
This article, part of a site about the future of energy, introduces students to the use of biomass as an energy source. Biomass is defined, and students are presented with examples of biomass sources that can supply energy. Information is also provided about the benefits, limitations, and geographical considerations of using biomass. A sidebar offers links to other articles and information on the site that relate to biomass as an energy source. Three of these articles discuss the use of oak hull
Compound Independent Events
Compare the theoretical and experimental probabilities of compound independent events by drawing colored marbles from a bag. Record the results of successive draws with or without replacement of marbles to calculate the experimental probability.
Science Sampler : Correcting student misconceptions
Before learning any formal science, children try to make sense of natural phenomena on their own. However, several studies have shown that it can be difficult to convince a student to give up a long-held misconception in favor of an accurate scientific explanation. Misconceptions can be confronted through hands-on and minds-on activities. The strategies outlined in this article will foster a climate of inquiry within the classroom.
Know the difference
This short video clip clarifies the different meanings in science of theory and hypothesis.
Geoboard : coordinate (grades 6-8)
This virtual manipulative features an interactive grid where the student can mouse over points on the grid to display their coordinates and form shapes using virtual rubber bands. The online geoboard has a measure function that displays area and perimeter for shapes and, for single bands connected to two virtual pegs, distance and slope. Shapes may be colored as a way to sort or enhance them. The site features activities to explore slopes, construct reflections, and find an inscribed parallelogr
Polyominoes (grades 6-8)
This virtual manipulative offers an interactive environment in which the learner can make patterns with squares and investigate symmetry, area, and perimeter. The square tiles may be attached, grouped, rotated, assigned different colors, and enlarged. At the earliest level, children can just enjoy making patterns, dragging squares into the workspace, grouping and rotating them, changing colors, and changing the appearance with the zoom slider. Instructions for using the manipulative, teaching su
Career of the Month : Scientific Illustrator
If your students' have an eye for nature's details--such as the way some petals of a flower catch sunlight or how its stem is covered in tiny hairs--then they may be a good candidate for a career in Scientific Illustration. Introduce your high school students to the marvels of this fascinating career and to Lynette R. Cook, a Scientific Illustrator. She shares her experiences and background information with students to help them explore the realm of possibilites within this exciting field.
CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) scans
This web page about CAT (computerized axial tomography) scans gives a brief overview of this imaging technique. CAT (or CT) scanning captures a lot of 2-dimensional X-rays that a computer then joins together to generate 3-dimensional images of internal structures. As part of a set of materials about brain scanning technologies, this page mentions what researchers can learn about the brain from CAT scans. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
Build-a-Brain Project : Students Design and Model the Brain of an Imaginary Animal
The brain is a truly fascinating structure! Although the brain is a single organ, it is very complex and has several regions, each having a specific function. In this fun-filled, "minds-on" lesson, students learn about the various regions of the brain and then build brains of imaginary animals using modeling dough and other art supplies in an inquiry based format. (See sidebar onpage 30, and Resources for a downloadable student handout on this topic as well as for other sites containing addition