Science Sampler : Capitalizing on student travel in Earth science classrooms
Students who take extended vacations during the school year can present a recurring challenge for educators. However, this article outlines creative strategies that will enrich students as they travel abroad, and engage them in the process of inquiry along the way.
Soil as Living Skin
In this two-minute radio program, a soil scientist introduces listeners to reasons why soil is crucial to the planet. The scientist lists functions of soil that include nutrient cycling and water filtration, and he also uses living skin as an analogy for soil. The program, part of the Pulse of the Planet radio show, is available here in text and audio formats. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
This single-page resource addresses the topic of biodegradation. The word biodegradation is broken down and defined. Composting, wastewater treatment, and bioremediation are discussed as undertakings in which humans capitalize on biodegradation processes. A link is provided to information about Decay and Renewal, a book in the Cornell Environmental Inquiry curriculum series. The resource then ends with two groups of links to information and activities about biodegradation and landfills.
Compare and contrast warm and cold fronts
This pair of Earth science animations show students what happens at cold and warm fronts as clouds are formed by the interaction of warm air and cool air. The cool front animation depicts cumulonimbus clouds forming as a cold front moves into a region of warm air and forces the warm air to rise. In contrast, the warm front animation shows how warm air, moving over cold air, causes a progression of nimbostratus to cirrus clouds to form. Movie controls allow students to repeat, pause, or step thro
Galleries of polyhedra shown using JPEG pictures and 3D objects in VRML2.0 format. Uniform polyhedra; Duals; Compounds; Johnson's solids; 59 stellations of icosahedron; 270 stellations of deformed dodecahedron; symmetric stellations of rhombic triacontahedron: polyhedra and stellation diagrams; Spherical Platonic polyihedra; Infinite regular polyhedra ; Compounds Composer (an interactive building of polyhedra compounds); Polyhedral Kaleidoscope; Symmetrical compounds of uniform polyhedra; Stella
Your sense of smell
This single-page resource about the sense of smell presents a handful of facts about smell together with scientific illustrations. For example, the resource points out how many odors humans can detect and what scientists still do not know about smell. It also compares our sense of smell to that of rodents. The scientific illustrations are a set of connected, labeled diagrams of the key structures and pathways involved in sensing smell, including the olfactory membrane and olfactory receptors. Th
Like any museum, this website called the Mathematics Museum provides some interesting visuals and explanations of various aspects of its subject, in this case mathematics. For example, the Fractal 3D Gallery includes video footage of 3D fractals and an FAQ section that provides some basic information on fractals. The Kodawari house includes some interesting math games and instruction for children as well as more advanced mathematics. Visitors can browse images created using Mathematica software
Observe images of advection fog
This Earth science resource presents six photographs depicting examples of advection fog along various coastal areas in the United States. The introduction explains how advection fogs form and provides a brief explanation of how they differ from radiation fogs. Students are instructed to click on each labeled image to see an enlarged version of it. Each enlarged version includes a caption that describes the location of the fog relative to local landmarks in the picture. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower
Observe auroras as seen from the ground and from space
This Earth science resource presents students with a series of land and satellite views of auroras. The nine images include examples of green auroral arcs, a series of bands, and a colorful corona. Satellite views show the location of the aurora over the Earth's poles. The introductory text explains how auroras are formed. Students are instructed to click on each labeled image to see an enlarged version of it. A link to additional images and information is included. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower Nat
Lotto or Life: What Are the Chances?
Students are naturally inquisitive about space science and the topics surrounding the existence of intelligent life in other parts of our Universe. Tapping into this curiosity, this lesson uniquely combines the concepts of astronomy and probability to have students use inquiry, problem solving, reasoning, and communication skills to compare winning the lottery with the likelihood of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the Universe. The site contains all of the information and materials needed
Observe the formation of loess deposits
This Earth science resource presents six different photographs depicting examples of loess deposition from glacial outwash and desert dust storms. Students are instructed to click on each labeled image to see an enlarged version of it. Each enlarged version includes a caption that explains the location of the loess as well as the mechanism of its deposition. Copyright 2005 Eisenhower National Clearinghouse
This math site contains seven interactive lessons and a solutions page dealing with percents. Included are lessons on the meaning of percent and writing ratios as fractions, decimals, and percents; writing fractions as percents; writing decimals as percents; writing percents as decimals; writing percents as fractions; and the understanding and writing of percents less than one and greater than a hundred. All contain examples and practice exercises. Challenge exercises are included and a percent
Observe changes in Earth's orbit that contribute to climate change
This series of three Earth science animations shows middle and high school students how cyclical changes in the Earth's orbit and the tilt of its axis contribute to climate changes. The animations demonstrate how changes in precession, eccentricity, and obliquity cause differences in the amounts of sunlight received by the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Each animation is accompanied by explanatory text. Movie controls allow students to repeat, pause, or step through the animation, which can
Quick take on the trip of a drip
The concept of evaporation is generally understood by students in grades 5-8, but they may be unsure of the journey that a single drop of water takes from the sky to earth and back again. The National Science Education Standards stress that the process of condensation requires extensive observation and instruction if students are to really understand the water cycle.
Cob web plot (grades 6-8)
With this applet, the learner defines initial conditions for graphing a fractal and observes the results. The screen opens to show a first-quadrant unit square with either triangle or parabolic curve with adjustable height and an initial point on the line y equals x. From the initial point, a cobweb plot, or Verhulst diagram, is traced as the point moves vertically until it hits the curve and then moves horizontally back to the line. This automated graphing process continues until paused by the
Examine video clips of erupted materials
This Earth science resource presents students with four video clips from eruptions of Kilauea, a Hawaiian volcano. Each clip features a different type of lava flow. A sentence is included with each clip to describe the erupted material that is displayed. The clips feature solidified basalt on top of lava, lava flowing down over rocks, a lava fountain, and lava with low viscosity. Students are able to use control buttons to play, pause, and step through all four video clips. Copyright 2005 Eisenh
Manipula math with Java : inner center
This applet shows students that there is only one circle inside a triangle tangent to all three sides. Users can specify any triangle they wish; the triangle starts out with three small circles, one in each corner. Users move the circles' centers until the circles are tangent to all three sides, while the circles' radii expand depending on where they are moved. No matter where the three circles start out, they all end up in the same location, which is shown by letting users superimpose them. The
Water Science for Schools
This U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) water resources site provides comprehensive coverage of water related issues, and includes several interactive quizzes and activities for children. Here you will find information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center. Topics include: Earths water, Water basics, Water use, Water Questions and Answers, Activity center, Picture Gallery, Glossary, and Related Water Links. A special topics section tackles current proble
Teacher's guide to the infrared
This is a page from a larger website, Seeing our World Through a Different Light, sponsored in part by NASA. This page contains side by side standard and IR photos to illustrate how IR photos show heat. It describes and compares visible light and infrared light. An explanation, accompanied by photos, of how infrared cameras work is also provided.
How Space Shuttles Work
This site explains the complexity of the entire mission of a space shuttle launch, orbit, activities, and return to Earth. Students and teachers can learn about the precise nature of space science including extensive preparations and examine the monumental technology behind Americas shuttle program, as well as the extraordinarily difficult mission it was designed to carry out. Information is also provided on the background and history of the space shuttle. Diagrams, full-color photos, highlighte