Meet the Microbes
This article from our family magazine series introduces kids to bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. The article begins with an engaging introduction to microbes that explains the abundance of this oldest form of life on Earth. Kids can click to see colorful photographs of bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, as well as details about these major types of microbes. The Microbe Size-O-Meter puts microbes into perspective, using a scale in which a kid's body is the size of California. A humorous sidebar ex
Tips for Identifying Poison Ivy
This online article, from Biodiversity Counts, is a tip sheet to help students learn how to spot and avoid poison ivy. Specifically, it covers: an overview of the different varieties of the plant that grow in the Americas and Asia; an illustration of the compound leaf with three leaflets (trifoliate); details about poison ivy's leaf type, leaf arrangement, growth form, flowers, fruits, and relatives; how contact with the plant causes a hypersensitivity reaction in most people; a trick you can tr
The design of the Biodiversity Counts resource collection allows you to tailor a curriculum by choosing the combination of resources that meet your requirements, needs, and time constraints. Mix and match to form your own curriculum or try one of the suggested combinations below-they offer a choice between investigating plants, arthropods, or both, in full or abridged versions.
This tutorial on crystallography is broken down into equipment set-up, x-ray diffraction basics, symmetry and space groups, structure factors and phase problems, phasing techniques, model building, and real space correlation plots. Diagrams and interactive topics accompany the text, along with an interactive applet on Bragg's Law.
Minerals Under the Microscope
This website provides an easy-to-understand introduction to the basics of optical mineralogy. Topics include the polarized light microscope, mineral shape and cleavage, relief, color and pleochroism, interference colors, extinction angles, twinning, opacity, vibration directions and mineral identification. The site features short, clear descriptions accompanied by photographs and drawings. This website would be useful as a concise introduction to the use of a petrographic microscope in identifyi
Sticks and Stones Game
Students will play Sticks and Stones, a game based on the Apache game "Throw Sticks," which was played at multi-nation celebrations. Students will collect data, investigate the likelihood of various moves, and use basic ideas of expected value to determine the average number of turns needed to win a game.
Visualizations Useful for Teaching Tides
This site houses a collection of web-based visual resources suitable for teaching about tides. Visualizations include photos, simple animations, animated maps and field videos. Resources can be integrated into lectures, labs, classes, or other activities about tides, their distribution in space and time, their role in sedimentary processes, and their use as an energy source.
X-Ray Vision, Crystallography
This site features a tutorial designed to allow students to gain an appreciation of how X-ray crystallography works. Using X-ray diffraction patterns to determine the arrangement of atoms in a molecule requires sophisticated mathematics. This activity depends only on light from an overhead projector passing through a ball-and-stick molecular model placed on the stage of the projector, making it an ideal introduction to x-ray diffraction.
Crystal Morphology, Crystal Symmetry, Crystallographic Axes
This site is a lecture from Tulane University that explores the symmetry observed in crystals. Topics covered include crystallographic axes, the crystal lattice, and unit cells. Tables and illustrations accompany the text.
Twinning, Polymorphism, Polytypism, Pseudomorphism
This site is a lecture by Dr. Stephen Nelson from Tulane University that discusses the various nonstandard forms of crystal growth that are characteristic to some minerals. Topics include twinning (contact and penetration, polysynthetic and cyclical), the origins of twinning, and twin laws in the triclinic, monoclinic, orthorhombic, tetragonal, hexagonal, and isometric systems. Various types of polymorphism in many minerals are discussed as well as polytypism, metamict minerals, mineraloids, and
Stereographic Projection of Crystal Faces
This site features a lecture by Dr. Stephen Nelson from Tulane University that explores a systematic way to define crystallographic angles. The lecture discusses crystallographic angles and gives an introduction to the use of stereographic projections for depicting the angular relationships between crystal faces. Scientific illustrations clarify the text.
This site provides animations, images, interactive maps and videos that can be used to teach about the concept of geologic time. Visual resources cover some specific topics of earth history including plate tectonics, continental drift, relative age dating and paleontology. These resources are appropriate for an introductory level geology course.
This site features a collection of visual resources that can be used to help illustrate the process of physical weathering. Visualizations demonstrate different styles of mechanical weathering and the resulting impact on the landscape. Resources include animations, interactive graphics and photographs showing the effects of physical weathering. These visualizations are suitable for use in an introductory level geology lecture, lab, or other activity.
The Petrology of Sedimentary Rocks
This online version of a classic out-of-print sedimentary petrology textbook by Robert L. Folk is hosted by the Walter Geology Library at the University of Texas at Austin. The user can choose between high (PDF) and low resolution downloads of the textbook.
CLT: Exploring Climate Events and Human Development
This animation on the Climate TimeLine (CTL) site depicts changes in land cover due to land use over the past 100 years. Data is based on census data, tax records, land surveys, and historical geography estimates. This visualization is the work of the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM, Netherlands) and the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE, USA).
Postglacial Flooding of the Bering Land Bridge
This geospatial animation shows sea level rising across the land bridge between Siberia and Alaska. During the last Glacial Maximum (~21,000 years ago), the Bering Land Bridge was a vast tundra plain connecting Asia and North America. At that time, the global sea level was 120 meters lower than it is today. Melting ice sheets and glaciers caused the sea level to rise and flood the land bridge. A QuickTime file of this animation can be viewed or downloaded for analysis, education and outreach. Th
Rock Cycle Animations
This site features Flash animations that illustrate various facets of the rock cycle. The visualizations depict rock-forming processes, such as erosion, transportation, deposition, cementation, crystallization, subduction, and eruption, that create sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks. They also show cooling environments that result in varied crystal sizes and demonstrate igneous rock classification. The animations can be paused and rewound to stress important points. These resources are
Atmospheric Pressure and Wind Animations
This site features Flash and QuickTime animations that illustrate diurnal changes in wind patterns along coasts due to unequal heating of the land and water, the Coriolis Effect on the Earth's surface and in the context of everyday weather patterns, and global circulation, temperature, and wind patterns. The animations can be paused and rewound to stress important points. These resources are suitable for use in lectures, labs, or other teaching activities.
Types of Maps
This site features Flash animations that illustrate temporal changes from remotely sensed images, and compare and contrast the benefits of using aerial photographs, topographic maps, and overlays of the two to identify spatial patterns. A third animation depicts the total sediment thickness of the world's ocean basins. These interactive resources are suitable for use in lectures, labs, or other teaching activities.
Using the Internet to Promote Inquiry-Based Learning
This site is an e-paper that describes a structured approach to inquiry-based learning using the World Wide Web as a primary information resource. Specifically, the paper addresses an 8-step process that begins with an essential question and ends with a product produced by students, typically completed in a cooperative setting. The paper also discusses the skills required by both student and teacher to make inquiry-based learning with the internet a successful endeavor. Finally, the paper discus