Problems with Standards-based Mathematics Tests
Alan Tucker, an Applied Math professor at Stony Brook University took it upon himself to analyze the reliability of the scoring of the Math A test, New York's standards-based exam. Tucker was part of the New York Board of Regents special panel which investigated the high failure rates on the June 2003 exam. He reports here on his findings regarding "flaws in annual math tests mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act." In particular, he is concerned about the likelihood that students scores on st
MIT Space Systems Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created the Space Systems Laboratory (SSL) in 1995 to engage in "cutting edge research projects with the goal of directly contributing to the present and future exploration and development of space." Users can find materials on current and past flight projects such as the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) and the Interferometry Program Experiment (IPEX). The website also features SSL's ground programs and re
Conservation International: Biodiversity Hotspots
The nonprofit organization Conservation International (CI) aims to "conserve Earth's living natural heritage, our global diversity, and to demonstrate that human societies are able to live harmoniously with nature." This Web site from CI's Center for Applied Biodiversity Science explains how biodiversity hotspots are designated and offers visitors a look at efforts to protect "these biologically rich areas around the world under significant threat of destruction." The highlight of this site is t
Energy and Recycling
Energy and Garbage is one section of a US Department of Energy's educational Web site for kids. Features of this Web site include a section detailing the connection between energy and garbage, a thorough introduction to the history of garbage that includes facts and figures on how much waste we produce, information on recycling and reducing garbage at the source, and much more. The information in this Web site is presented in a friendly, narrative style. A short downloadable activity titled Ener
The Thylacine Museum: A Natural History of the Thylacinidae
This Web site is offered through C. Campbell's Natural Worlds, a "completely nonprofit, education online series which exists as a means of providing detailed information on a variety of topics within the natural history field." The Thylacine Museum, not surprisingly, is devoted to the now extinct thylacine (also known as the Tasmanian tiger). The site includes "information covering virtually all aspects of this very unique Australian marsupial." Users can browse dozens of pages of detailed artic
Statistical Education Through Problem Solving
Statistical Education Through Problem Solving (STEPS) was a collaborative project between seven universities throughout the United Kingdom "to develop problem-based teaching and learning materials for statistics." The materials draw on specific problems arising in Biology, Business, Geography and Psychology to help students learn that statistical issues are "important natural parts of the process of reaching conclusions." The software developed as a result of this project, which utilizes the com
Insecta Inspecta World
Insecta Inspecta is the result of an interdisciplinary program at Thornton Jr. High School under the review of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. This Web site offers a fun way to learn about insects and other arthropods, and does a great job of placing these bugs in a larger cultural and historical context. In addition to providing a solid introduction to insects and arthropods, this site includes quirky trivia and entertaining audio and movie clips. For instance, visitors ca
Three Clouds Activity
The University of Michigan's educational site called Windows to the Universe (last mentioned in the January 6, 1999 Scout Report for Science and Engineering) has added many new lessons to their content. Highlights of these include two activities centered around cloud formation. The Three Clouds uses items such as a jugs and jars, a plastic bag, an aquarium thermometer, and an overhead projector to explore how clouds form and the relationship between the hydrosphere and human activity.
Georgian Bay Association
Established in 1916, the not-for-profit umbrella group Georgian Bay Association (GBA) works with "water-based communities and other stakeholders to ensure the careful stewardship of the greater Georgian Bay environment and ... promote(s) the quiet enjoyment of its diverse and finite spaces." Visitors can obtain the latest press releases dealing with the bay and the Great Lakes. The website presents the Association's current projects on water quality, air quality, and other environmental issues.
The Microbial Ecology Group of Munich's University of Technology has recently launched probeBase, "a comprehensive database containing published rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probe sequences, DNA microarray layouts and associated information." Users may search for sequences by target organism, which "can assist in the development of new rRNA-targeted oligonucleotide probes for fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)," or by probe name for rapidly retrieving published probes targeting desired s
Microsystems Technology Laboratories' Annual Report 2002
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Microsystems Technology Laboratories (last reviewed in the March 15, 2000 Scout Report for Science and Engineering) has its annual report for 2002 available online. The report is actually a very large collection of research abstracts, giving a thorough overview of the lab's latest work. Documents are divided into eleven general topics, including Microelectromechanical Devices, Quantum-Effect Devices, Submicron and Nanometer Structures, and Optoelectron
Flesh and Bone: A New Generation of Scientists Bring Dinosaurs Back to Life
The online version of the March 2003 issue of National Geographic Magazine (NGM) includes this interesting multimedia feature about "a new generation of scientists [that] is using computer modeling and a better understanding of living animals to bring dinosaurs back to life -- virtually." In addition to the feature article, the Web site includes an online-exclusive image gallery, "On Assignment" notes from National Geographic writers and photographers, related Web links and other resources, and
Missouri Botanical Garden Research: Ethnobiology Discussion Forum
As part of a process funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Missouri Botanical Garden's online ethnobiology discussion forum invites ethnobiologists to "intellectually define [the] field, its intellectual content, methods, and applicable analyses and to review the present state of and need for education, funding and international collaboration in ethnobiology." This ongoing discussion will result in a white paper addressing how ethnobiologists can meet NSF's call for rigorous scien
Study Points to Acid Rain in Decline of Songbirds
New research from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology points to acid rain as a major cause of songbird decline, where previous research focused on forest fragmentation. This Web site is a brief article highlighting the research findings from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, published on the Natural Resources Defense Council's Web page.
Brainpop describes itself as the leading producer of educational animated movies. Their Web site has a science page that currently contains sixty-five animated movies, with a large portion of them being physical science related. Each subject contains a 3-4 minute Movie, an Interactive Quiz, an Experiment, a Comic Strip, a How-to hands-on application, a Timeline, and a printable Activity Page. Visitors can play three movies per day for free (all of which begin by a somewhat annoying ad for subscr
Developed jointly by the Pacific Science Center and the Washington State Dairy Council, Nutrition Cafe offers students three interactive games to explore the world of nutrition. The first game, Nutrient Sleuth, is an entertaining hangman-style game where students try to discover what nutrients different characters are missing based on clues and letter guesses. Another enjoyable offering is Grab A Grape, a Jeopardy-style game where site visitors try to match nutrition-related questions with answe
Science Sampler : Six rules for integrating the arts
How can teachers help their students to imagine and construct knowledge in the way that science sees it and simultaneously weave the arts into science lessons? By using the following six simple rules for integrating the arts into science learning, students' imagined worlds come closer to the way science sees them using an inquiry-based format.
Learning math : Measurement
This college level course, developed for elementary and middle school teachers, begins with the fundamentals of measurement, then examines standard units in the metric and customary systems. Online workshop sessions cover measurement of a circle, area and volume formulas, angle measurement, and indirect measurement encountered in trigonometry. The final session explores ways to apply these concepts to K-8 classroom teaching. Each of its ten sessions contains video programming, problem-solving ac
Science Sampler: Multiple Intelligences and Lab Groups
Science teachers who are committed to excellence in the classroom continually seek ways to improve teaching and learning, and the concept of multiple intelligences holds promise as a method for accomplishing this. Acknowledging these intelligences offers teachers an interesting opportunity to appeal to the different personalities and learning styles that are present in the classroom. In this research project, the theory of multiple intelligences was integrated into a seventh grade science curric
1900 Air Pollution
Examine this graph from FRONTLINE/NOVA: Whats Up with the Weather? Web site to see dramatic increases in three greenhouse gases over the last two hundred years.