Space Transportation: Marshall Space Flight Center
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center is the location of an ongoing initiative to make access to space easier and more affordable. The center conducts extensive space propulsion research; four focus areas include advanced chemical propulsion, plasma propulsion, high-powered electrical propulsion, and propellantless propulsion. There is also a lot of information about the Integrated Space Transportation System and the Space Launch Initiative, which mainly deal with reusable launch vehicles (RLV). T
Ocean Explorer: 2002 Explorations
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Ocean Explorer Web site (last mentioned in the March 8, 2002 -NSDL Scout Report for the Life Sciences_ ) has begun several of this seasons explorations. Six new voyages have been, or soon will be undertaken and the Web pages include daily updates, photos, and videos of the research efforts. Studies include biological monitoring of marine sanctuaries, hydrothermal vents, geological studies, and recovery of a sunken Civil War ship. An in
The first Web site related to lubrication is presented by SynLube.com and its relevant page is entitled Basics: What You Need to Know About Lubrication (1). Visitors can learn why lubrication is so important to mechanical devices, why oil needs to be changed in your car, what synthetic oils can do, and more. Although the site is for a manufacturer of synthetic oil, there is a good amount of interesting physical science information. The second site provides an educational resource activity by The
Lectures on Numerical Analysis
Although it is presented as a collection of lecture notes on numerical analysis, this is essentially a full-fledged online book on the topic. Written by a professor of mathematics at Pennsylvania State University, the 125-page document spans three chapters and covers various forms of differential and difference equations, methods for solving them, and linear algebra. Scattered throughout the text are example problems that illustrate important concepts. Each section is concluded with a set of exe
IOL: InterOperability Lab
The University of New Hampshire has compiled this excellent collection of resources on networking and computer technology. Over twenty categories are represented, including emerging technologies such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet, Very high rate Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL), and wireless standards. Many of the resources are papers or tutorials written by researchers at the UNH InterOperability Lab, while others are links to various academic and industry efforts. The site is suitable for a broad audie
Educause: Educating the Net Generation
Educause, a nonprofit organization "whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology," has made available this video file of a talk by their Vice President entitled "Educating the Net Generation" The online abstract describes the presentation as an exploration of "the implications of the Net Generation for colleges and universities as well as how to address the generation gap between faculty or administrators and the Net Gen." The presentati
The US Department of Interior Web site offers a hot topics section that currently includes information about coalbed methane. The links include a fact sheet entitled "Coalbed Methane--An Untapped Energy Resource and an Environmental Concern." A documents link takes visitors to a page maintained by Wyoming's Bureau of Land Management that contains several reports related to the topic, including information about Atlantic Rim Coalbed Methane Projects and Coalbed Methane and Water Monitor Well Data
GOBASE: The Organelle Genome Database
GOBASE is "a taxonomically broad organelle genome database that organizes and integrates diverse data related to organelles." Provided by the University of Montreal, GOBASE focuses on mitochondria and chloroplasts, although future versions will cover the bacterial ancestors of these organelles as well. The GOBASE Web site contains separate easy-to-use search engines for mitochondrial and chloroplast data, as well as a helpful user's guide.
Digging into Minnesota Minerals
The Digging into Minnesota Minerals Web site is part of the larger Minnesota State Department of Natural Resources site. These fun and interesting pages explain how Minnesota came to acquire its most common minerals over geologic time, what the basic types of rocks are, mining history of the state, the geology found in state parks, and much more. Included are basic descriptions, photographs, illustrations, and even educational activities for teachers related to the minerals. This well-designed s
FCC History Project
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has initiated this history project in an effort to raise public awareness of "the extent to which every area of their life is intertwined with the communications technologies the FCC has responsibility to regulate." Aside from the commonly known FCC regulations regarding television and regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable, the FCC authorization rules also protect individuals when we use
The spring season marks the long-awaited arrival of the Magicicada Brood X periodical cicadas. The Magicicada cicadas are emerging in great numbers after spending 17 years underground. The following websites offer information about the periodical cicadas, and other cicadas as well. The first (1) site, from the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology, provides a variety of short information entries about periodical cicadas including photos, and song clips. Hosted by the College of Mount St. Jo
The International Research Institute for Climate Prediction 2002 Annual Report
The International Research Institute for Climate Prediction of Columbia University has a mission to enhance society's capability to understand, anticipate, and manage the impacts of seasonal climate fluctuations in order to improve human welfare and the environment, especially in developing countries. The 2001 to 2002 accomplishments of the organization are highlighted in this "glossy" 80 page report. Readers will find information on specific programs underway in various parts of the world, curr
This hands-on activity explores the concept of static electricity. Students attract an O-shaped piece of cereal to a charged comb and watch the cereal jump away when it touches the comb. Students also observe Styrofoam pellets pulling towards a charged comb, then leaping back to the table.
Ice, Ice, PV!
Students examine how the power output of a photovoltaic (PV) solar panel is affected by temperature changes. Using a 100-watt lamp and a small PV panel connected to a digital multimeter, teams vary the temperature of the panel and record the resulting voltage output. They plot the panel’s power output and calculate the panel’s temperature coefficient.
Working as engineering teams, students design and create model beam bridges using plastic drinking straws and tape as their construction materials. Their goal is to build the strongest bridge with a truss pattern of their own design, while meeting the design criteria and constraints. They experiment with different geometric shapes and determine how shapes affect the strength of materials.
The Mummified Troll: Devising a Protection Plan
Students are introduced to the parameters of an engineering challenge in which their principal has asked them to devise an invisible security system to cost-effectively protect a treasured mummified troll, while still allowing for visitor viewing during the day. Students generate ideas for solving the grand challenge, first independently, then in small groups, and finally, compiled as a class.
Engineers Love Pizza, Too!
In this service-learning engineering project, students follow the steps of the engineering design process to design an assistive eating device for a client. More specifically, they design a prototype device to help a young girl who has a medical condition that restricts the motion of her joints. Her wish is to eat her favorite food, pizza, without getting her nose wet. Students learn about arthrogryposis and how it affects the human body as they act as engineers to find a solution to this open-e
Students will learn about tornadoes, the damage they cause, and how to rate tornadoes. Specifically, students will investigate the Fujita Damage Scale of tornado intensity, and use it to complete a mock engineering analysis of damage caused by a tornado. Lastly, students will learn some basic tornado safety procedures.
The lesson begins with a demonstration introducing students to the force between two current carrying loops, comparing the attraction and repulsion between the loops to that between two magnets. After formal lecture on Ampere’s law, students begin to use the concepts to calculate the magnetic field around a loop. This is applied to determine the magnetic field of a toroid, imagining a toroid as a looped solenoid.
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