U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Ecosystems Research Division
Research at the Environmental Protection Agency's Ecosystems Research Division (ERD) "includes studies of the behavior of contaminants, nutrients, and biota in environmental systems, and the development of mathematical models to assess the response of aquatic systems, watersheds and landscapes to stresses from natural and anthropogenic sources." The ERD website contains information about a wide variety of research foci including: Nitrogen and Redox Speciation in Environmental Systems; Lock Lake
InterActive Education at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom aims to address the challenges related to "teaching and learning in the information age." Its research has focused on ways to enhance teaching and learning across the curriculum from primary to post-16 levels of schooling. The project is currently drafting the final report of findings, but provides periodic updates on this website. The website also describes the project and its five research themes: educational policy and m
Tutorial on Optimization Theory and Difference and Differential Equations
This online tutorial is intended for college students taking an early course in mathematical optimization or linear differential equations. Although it is written by a professor of economics, little economic theory is presented. This keeps the material centered on the mathematical aspects of optimization and differential equations, which have a wide range of scientific applications. The text is very well organized and is accompanied by illustrative figures. No prerequisites to the tutorial are l
A Citizen's Guide to Understanding and Monitoring Lakes and Streams
The Washington State Department of Ecology?s Water Quality Program offers the Web site A Citizen's Guide to Understanding and Monitoring Lakes and Streams. The five chapters include the basic scientific knowledge needed to partake in water quality monitoring. For example, visitors can learn about parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, and pH, as well as how to report and analyze the collected data.
Life at Hydrothermal Vents
The first Web site is a NOVA Online Adventure from PBS (1). Into the Abyss decribes the "pitch darkness, poison gas, heavy metals, extreme acidity, and enormous pressure" found at hydrothermal vents, and offers a look at bizarre and fascinating creatures found in this environment. The next Web site from Exploring Earth, an online earth sciences text book, contains video clips taken during research expeditions along the Juan de Fuca Ridge (2). Ocean AdVENTure, a ThinkQuest Web site, offers a comp
NOAA Coastwatch Great Lakes Node
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) CoastWatch program provides near real-time satellite observations and in-situ Great Lakes data. Visitors can view AVHRR imagery, contour maps, GOES imagery, and other Great Lakes data imagery. The website offers data on the physical characteristics of the Great Lakes as well as data on the average surface water temperature and current and historic water levels. QuickTime movies illustrate changes in water temperature throughout a given
This is the first in a series of articles that considers the ongoing struggle between humans and computers for chess dominance. The author is a statistician who has been analyzing this relationship for several years, and he argues that computers may never surpass humans. In addition to supporting his argument with empirical evidence, he provides a link to his Web site that includes much more data and historical trends. Another article on the Chessbase Web site describes the November 2003 champio
Rocket Me into Space
One of the exciting challenges for engineers is the idea of exploration. This lesson looks more closely at Spaceman Rohan, Spacewoman Tess, their daughter Maya, and their challenges with getting to space, setting up satellites, and exploring uncharted waters via a canoe. This lesson reinforces rockets as a vehicle that helps us explore outside the Earth’s atmosphere (that is, to move without air) by using the principles of Newton’s third law of motion. Also, the ideas of thrust, control and
What Floats Your Boat?
Students use modeling clay, a material that is denser than water and thus ordinarily sinks in water, to discover the principle of buoyancy. They begin by designing and building boats out of clay that will float in water, and then refine their designs so that their boats will carry as great a load (metal washers) as possible. Building a clay boat to hold as much weight as possible is an engineering design problem. Next, they compare amount of water displaced by a lump of clay that sinks to the am
The Earth is a Changin’
This lesson introduces and describes the main types of erosion (i.e., chemical, water, wind, glacier and temperature). Students learn examples of each type of erosion and discuss how erosion changes the surface of the Earth. Students also learn why engineers need to be aware of the different types of erosion in order to protect structures and landmarks from the damaging effects erosion can cause. Figure 1 is an excellent illustration of water erosion.
Yeast Cells Respire, Too (But Not Like Me and You)
Students set up a simple way to indirectly observe and quantify the amount of respiration occurring in yeast-molasses cultures. Each student adds a small amount of baking yeast to a test tube filled with diluted molasses. A second, smaller test tube is then placed upside-down inside the solution. As the yeast cells respire, the carbon dioxide they produce is trapped inside the inverted test tube, producing a growing bubble of gas that is easily observed and measured. Students are presented with
Heat It Up!
Through a teacher demonstration using water, heat and food coloring, students see how convection moves the energy of the Sun from its core outwards. Students learn about the three different modes of heat transfer (convection, conduction, radiation) and how they are related to the Sun and life on our planet.
The purpose of this activity is to recreate the classic egg-drop experiment with an analogy to the Mars rover landing. The concept of terminal velocity will be introduced, and students will perform several velocity calculations. Also, students will have to design and build their lander within a pre-determined budget to help reinforce a real-world design scenario.
Students are challenged to design and build wind chimes using their knowledge of physics and sound waves, and under given constraints such as weight, cost and number of musical notes it must generate. They make mathematical computations to determine the pipe lengths.
Convertible Shoes: Function, Fashion and Design
Students teams design and build shoe prototypes that convert between high heels and athletic shoes. They apply their knowledge about the mechanics of walking and running as well as shoe design (as learned in the associated lesson) to design a multifunctional shoe that is both fashionable and functional.
Pointing at Maximum Power for PV
Student teams measure voltage and current in order to determine the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) panel. They vary the resistance in a simple circuit connected to the panel to demonstrate the effects on voltage, current, and power output. After collecting data, they calculate power for each resistance setting, creating a graph of current vs. voltage, and indentifying the maximum power point.
Two Sides of One Force
Students learn more about magnetism, and how magnetism and electricity are related in electromagnets. They learn the fundamentals about how simple electric motors and electromagnets work. Students also learn about hybrid gasoline-electric cars and their advantages over conventional gasoline-only-powered cars.
The Rise and Fall of the Sacred Rulers of the Maya World
Justin Jennings is Associate Curator of New World Archaeology at the ROM and lead curator of the exhibition Maya: Secrets of their Ancient World.
What Not to Believe About the Ancient Maya
Elizabeth Graham is a Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London, and an Adjunct Research Professor in Anthology at the University of Western Ontario.
History Wars: Tommy Douglas Put Canada's Healthcare on the Wrong Path
Did Tommy Douglas put Canada's Healthcare on the wrong path? Canadian historian and award-winning author Michael Bliss and Greg Marchildon, CEO of the Romanow Royal Commission on Health Care, take the gloves off.