Network Nuggets: Science
This page contains information on Science resources located on the Internet. Our purpose in providing you with information on these resources is simply to draw them to your attention. We are NOT guaranteeing that these particular resources will be valuable and without frustrations.
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The seven Nuggets in this series, following our usual profile of Network Nuggets, have featured isolated Web resources for teaching specific lessons with weather facts. For a wider selection of the same kinds of sites (weather-related lesson plans and classroom resources), please consult: /subjects/weather_inst.html
This is CLN's Instructional Materials Page on Weather and Climate. Consider it a collection of all the other Weather Nuggets we could have sent you!
To end this series of weather website nuggets, we mention some comprehensive sites which integrate many weather strands. Not mere links pages, these are large, content-rich sites that will be a feast for the eyes of the budding meteorologists in your class.
The University of Illinois has developed "a WWW framework for integrating current and archived weather data with multimedia instructional resources using new and innovative technologies." Some pages need a fast Internet connection, and they still cling to Fahrenheit temperatures, but the content is rich and well formed.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration must have the world's biggest weather-related Web site. Fortunately, much of it is written at a level that is suited to inquiring youth.
The Meteorological Service of Canada maintains a smaller website with a friendly approach. A parallel organization, the Canadian Meteorological Center at http://www.cmc.ec.gc.ca/, has the heavy stuff (scientific tables, satellite data, etc.)
For the ultimate in local forecasts, invest in a classroom "Weatheradio"
that picks up the continuously-broadcast local weather, in both Canada and
the U.S., on the 162 MHz VHF-FM band. This is a wise investment for school
emergency preparedness as well. Weatheradio service is described at http://www1.tor.ec.gc.ca/awps/wxrdocan.htm;
Radio Shack is one of several commercial suppliers for the special receivers;
your local Weatheradio FM frequency is listed at http://www.tor.ec.gc.ca/awps/wxrdolst.htm
(for Canada) and at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr/nwrbro.htm#nwrstations
(for the US).
A trained ear gleans more from a weather forecast than other ears do. This is because all the adjectives and nouns in the forecast have precise definitions. They constitute a true jargon. "Drifting snow" differs from "blowing snow", and "rain showers" are not the same as "intermittent rain."
You can train the ears of your older elementary and middle grade students to the jargon by pointing them to http://www.msc-smc.ec.gc.ca/cd/forecast_e.cfm. This is Canadian Meteorological Center's user-friendly page of definitions of terms used in Canadian weather forecasts.
You might prepare a worksheet with questions in the format "What
is the difference between ______ and ______?" to guide your students
to definitions that often describe the weather in your area. Then check
reports of the local weather, in newspapers or on the radio or the Internet,
for use of these terms. Taking it further, your students can take today's
weather report from www.weatheroffice.com, and "translate" or
expand it by writing the full definitions in place of the short technical
terms. In so doing, they should discover that weather reports which avoid
jargon become rather long and wordy!
How wet or dry has your area been in the last few months?
Sites with the current weather abound, as this series of Nuggets has shown you. One gets blasé! But this next one, buried deep in the Website at NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the parent organization to the U.S. National Weather Service), surprised me. For your city or area, in much of the world it seems, it will tell you how your recent rainfall compares to the typical amount for your region.
Two graphical displays tell you how much rain you have had lately: day by day actuals, and cumulative actual-versus-normal for the last few months or the last year. The graphs clearly illustrate the "cumulative" concept in the visual display of quantitative information. They also sport dual vertical axes. Thus they have wide applicability in upper elementary and middle grade Math, and in upper year Applied Math, as well as in science courses that teach about weather and climate.
Compare your town's rainfall with, say, somewhere in South India at monsoon season! Drive the point home by having your students plot both cumulative actuals on one graph. Or have them demonstrate the "rain shadow" effect with plots for two towns on opposite sides of a mountain range. Contrast the average cumulative curve (climate) with the current cumulative (weather).
Now back to the news item... you could ask your students to write a local follow-on news story, based on their Web findings in yesterday's Nugget and this one, that predicts the impact of that drought in your area. (Hints: food prices; what to plant in gardens; water rationing.)
The website for local rainfall has a long address: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/current_impacts/global_precip_accum.html
Predicting the weather six months ahead... that's the kind of prediction that a lot of us would like! Fortunately, meterologists want to do that also, and they are getting pretty good at it -- sometimes. For example, the Canadian Meteorological Centre in Ottawa publishes forecasts up to twelve months into the future(!) at http://www.cmc.ec.gc.ca/~cmcdev/saisons/seasons.html. (Similar forecasts for the U.S. are at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/index_frame.html .)
As far as B.C. weather in 2000 is concerned, CMC predicts a cool summer on the coast and a warm summer in the Peace River region in the northeast.
The story does not end there; a second "forecast skill" map indicates how accurate those summer predictions have been over the years. It seems that CMC's prediction accuracy for summer temperatures has been rather good on the coast, pretty iffy in the northeast corner.
Now: how warm a summer? And how iffy a forecast? Well, I won't attempt to put that in the Nugget, but the web site has explanations for how all this is done.
And rainfall? It'll be a wet B.C. summer, says CMC. But their success with summer rainfall predictions has been pretty abysmal on the coast...
This Web site could be a resource for Grade 11-12 Earth Science or Geography
students. It suggests a project for Applications of Mathematics students
in the area of statistics and graphical representation of data, since one
has to interpret graphs and use probability concepts to explain "how
iffy" these predictions are.
As teachers gradually gain fast Internet access into their classrooms, Web sites that teach via graphics files become more of an option. For example, students can study satellite and radar weather images, and make their own local weather forecasts.
Canada's "headquarters" for such images is the Canadian Meterological Center at http://www.cmc.ec.gc.ca/. This site is designed for weather reporters and meterologists, so there is not much explanation about the images; for that, send your older students to Environment Canada's helpful FAQ at http://weather.ec.gc.ca/faq_e.shtml.
My preferred weather maps for North America, however, come from the University of Hawaii. These have weather symbols overlaid on the satellite image and provide more information. For example, students can judge the severity of approaching storms by eyeballing the wind speeds and barometric pressure gradients.
U of Hawaii's weather maps are at http://lumahai.soest.hawaii.edu. The map symbols are explained on one page at http://lumahai.soest.hawaii.edu/wxp_legend.gif. My favourite map for western North America is http://lumahai.soest.hawaii.edu/gifs/epac_AVNmer.gif since it is a smaller file for download than the others, and uses an easy-to-read Mercator projection.
The Hawaii weather maps are suitable for whenever you teach about the
weather. Or about maps -- with symbols overlaid on an actual photo, is it
or is it not a map?
The current series of weather Nuggets is mostly for the older elementary and the secondary grades. This is inevitable, since "web weather" tends to present immense amounts of data over vast regions. That kind of abstracted information is beneficial for learning if the students have an innate sense of the size of the planet. But then the first few grades are out of luck.
For your younger students, try the British site "Weather Station" at http://www.sutton.lincs.sch.uk/weather/index.htm. This site engages students about the weather they see out their window at this moment, inviting them to record it in a database so it is listed alongside weather reported by other young students from their schools in several English-speaking countries. Schools from the UK, USA, and Australia report in from time to time.
The "reports" page describes to teachers how to make a lesson or two out of this, and there is a ready-made quiz page.
"Weather Station" is hosted by the Sutton-on-Sea CP School
in Lincolnshire, UK, and has activities for all the elementary grades. http://www.sutton.lincs.sch.uk/weather/index.htm
For local weather in Canada and abroad, the CLN Page "Curricular Resources on Weather and Climate" (/subjects/weather_cur.html) has for years pointed teachers and students to http://www.weatheroffice.com , "THE SOURCE for Weather in Canada". This is Environment Canada's attractive and informative start page for weather facts, bulletins, history, and local and worldwide forecasts. It is graphics-rich and lively.
More recently, Environment Canada dusted off an older text- based web-weather service and made it part of its Green Lane. http://weather.ec.gc.ca, "Providing the latest weather information for Canadians", is more sedate: no bright borders, more plain white backgrounds (like CLN!), and as aresult, faster downloading with more detailed local forecasts on a larger active screen area. For the past year I have used its daily forecast for this city as my browser's start page.
Either site is a good starting point for your middle and senior students to use for weather-related learning. Students will probably prefer Weatheroffice.com because of its graphics.
Another use of both sites is in Grade 11-12 Information Technology or Multimedia courses. Since they present information from the same database and are produced by the same organization, students can *compare and contrast the styles* of the two sites to arrive at what audience needs each tries to address.
Demonstration ideas are organized into headings of: Density, ForceMmotion, Waves and Such, Electricity & Magnetism, Optics, and Miscellaneous. Not only are the demos cheap, but they can also be striking! (See the section on Force/Motion for the demo in which a student breaks a meter stick over an arm.) If you don't want to duplicate the author's willingness to lie on a bed of nails to make an impression, this site is for you.
The Physics Demo Page is part of a much wider site that is full of useful resources for the science teacher. There's too much for me to feature in a single Nugget, so I'll just advise you that there are navigation buttons to pages on Hollywood BADScience, Science Misconceptions, Science Mistakes, Chemistry Demos, and General Science Demos. Find an hour sometime and take a long look.
Fizzit Demo Page is hosted by Daryl Taylor and is suitable for high school physics students. It is located at
Here's an interesting little lesson plan that would be good for primary students. I'm probably too early on sending this out to you - it would be more appropriate around Easter time, but I got too eggsited about it and the site behind this lesson plan to wait.
Egg Fun is a lesson plan in which primary students will learn more about the properties of eggs. These include their size, how they move, their porous nature, and the presence of air inside the egg. Yes, students will end up cracking open an egg and examining it - some sooner than you want them to I expect.
Egg Fun is one of over 300 K-12 science lesson plans hosted by Southeastern Michigan Math Science Learning Coalition. These plans are organized by alphabet, subject area (Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, Physical Science, and Technology), or age level. Plans have been developed by different consortium partners so their style and quality will vary, but the sheer size of the collection should overcome any potential problems. Just be prepared to spend a lot of time browsing.
Here's one entry point into their lesson plan collection. It's not the most elegant starting point but I wanted to give you a page that had a manageable URL
Last week I completed a Magnetism Theme Page for CLN. It has links to resources where students can learn more about the concept as well as instructional resources for teachers. I'll highlight three of those teacher resources in this Nugget.
SNACKS ABOUT MAGNETISM (http://www.exploratorium.edu/snacks/iconmagnetism.html) is presented by the Exploratorium - one of the best virtual science museums on the web. Their 'snacks' are miniature science exhibits that teachers can make using common, inexpensive, easily available materials. This page leads to about a dozen activities/experiments to demonstrate magnetism concepts.
SMILE PROGRAM PHYSICS INDEX (http://www.iit.edu/~smile/physinde.html) is a collection of lesson plans created by teachers enrolled in a summer school program at the Illinois Institute of Technology. If you scroll down the page, you'll come to about 30 lesson plans on electricity and magnetism. Their usefulness will really depend on what you're looking for. Some of these cover more advanced concepts than others, some are quite good while others, frankly, are not. If nothing else, this collection will offer you a wide range of ideas that could stimulate your own creative talents.
MAGNET MAN (http://www.execpc.com/~rhoadley/magindex.htm ) has all sorts of experiments with magnets from the very basic to magnets interacting with other magnets, magnets and conductors, and magnetic levitation. It also has general information about magnetism and links to suppliers and other resources. I found the quality of the site somewhat uneven - some experiments are more easily implemented and/or better described than others. Still, it would be a useful site to browse, particularly if you're interested in the advanced concepts.
For the full collection of teacher as well as student resources on magnetism, see the CLN Theme Page. We also have an Electricity Theme Page at (/themes/electricity.html) for teachers interested in continuing the study.
Here's a collection of links to sites on the web that have computerized simulations of physics principles. These might be in the form of a Java Applet, a Shockwave demonstration or an Activity Workshop, but the basic purpose is the same in all cases: to allow students to see a visual demonstration of a scientific concept, often in animated form. In addition, the student may be given the opportunity to manipulate one or more variables underlying the concept and then witness the changes.
There are close to 300 labs/simulations in senior high physics. Category headings include: Mechanics, Momentum, Rotational Mechanics, Machines, Measurement Tools, Fluid Physics, Electricity, Thermodynamics, Simple Harmonic Motion, Wave Phenomena, Light, Color, Geometric Optics, Astrophysics, and Nuclear. Since the collection links to different sites on the web, you'll find that the quality and usefulness of the resources will vary. Some are very basic - showing just an animated rendering of the concept. Others are full simulations offering students the opportunity to manipulate the variables to discover and understand the concepts on their own. You may have to do a little exploring to find what you want, but the long list is broken down into manageable subheadings and your chances of finding something that you can use in class either as a demonstration or for student labs is quite high.
The Virtual Labs and Simulations site is hosted by Gary Richert and is suitable for high school physics students.
If your kids are like mine, they've enjoyed the rides at amusement parks long after parental interest (and patience) has worn out. This site enables teachers to use that enjoyment to introduce some physics concepts into their studies. Tell your students that they're going to be learning about conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy, the balance of motion and force, Newton's Third Law of Motion, Galileo's study of falling objects, and the interaction of gravity and weightlessness and you'll receive blank stares (if you're lucky). But, you'll get a different reaction if you announce that in their next unit they'll be learning about Amusement Park roller coasters, carousels, bumper cars, free fall and the pendulum rides.
Each ride at the site has a brief description of the physics underlying it, an activity or extension (e.g., students design their own rollercoaster), and related links where students can learn more. For example, I got to learn more about motion sickness in the section on the pendulum.... not that this information is going to change my mind about my pledge to never again get onto a ride where being upside down for lengthy periods of time is considered the tame part of the 'fun'.
Amusement Park Physics is hosted by Annenberg//CPB Project and is suitable for science students in grades 4-12 .
Life and physical science teachers rejoice! Today's Nugget has a little bit of everything for you. As the page title suggests, you'll find lesson plans but I believe that's really just a catch-all term for 'teacher resources.' Resources that you can use with your students include lesson plans, experiments, labs, student inquiries, activities, brain teasers, and background information in such topics as density, dry ice, ice cream, entomology, and parasites.
There's a lot here just for the teacher as well. You'll find ideas, resources, advice (e.g., on field trips, science fairs), links, probing questions to promote inquiry, stimulating science quotes, and more. Be sure to see the 'Humorous lessons" section.
Cody's Science Education Zone is hosted by Anthony Cody of the Oakland Unified School District and is suitable for science teachers in grades 4-12.
This interdisciplinary unit will engage middle/junior high school students in participatory science, examination of multi-causal reasons for particular situations, data collection, data organization and data analysis as they conduct field research into the quality of their school environment. The teaching unit is fully developed with lesson plans, assessment guidelines, samples of student work, resource materials, and Internet links.
During the project, students will investigate a wide range of school environment issues, including air quality, drinking water quality, temperature, radon levels, carbon dioxide levels, carbon monoxide levels, oxygen levels, formaldehyde content, air flow, illumination, and relative humidity. This is more than a science unit. The teacher developers have integrated the activities to be part of the Social Studies, English, Science, and Math classes in an eight week study.
Here's a virtual science museum that explores mysteries that still puzzle mankind. Here, students can learn more about what science says about: UFOs - - for example, are there really flying saucers? Unknown and hidden animals - - for example, is there something ancient and alive in Loch Ness? Dinosaurs - - for example, what killed the dinosaurs? Archeological discoveries that have led to unsolved mysteries - - for example lines on the land, strange structures, collections of standing stones. And more....
Teaching units built around these topics could be very motivational for students - these puzzles are very intriguing and can generate a lot of discussion and interest. This site could serve as a starting point for research projects in that unit. Each "hall" in the museum provides a summary of the scientific findings on the topic and has numerous links to web sites that provide further information.
By working with parents or teachers through the explanations and the online and off line activities at this site, students will learn more about plant parts, the contents of the air we breathe, classifying animals, where butterflies come from, and how to observe science. The goal of the site is to help young children to appreciate science by making it fun, practical, and realistic.
Cool Science for Curious Kids could be employed as a starting point for a unit on basic biology, or the activities could be used to engage the students after an introduction to the concepts. Some will require completion on the computer but others can be treated as traditional classroom-based activities. The on-screen explanations are probably beyond the reading and conceptual levels of the students so some caution should be exercised in letting the students explore without suitable preparation.
Here's a great site that combines 'book l'arning' with 'hands -on' activities to help students learn more about the concepts underlying blimps, insects, windmills, compasses, greenhouses or sailboats. Students start by reading one of six online books that features the item and then read about its history in another illustrated online article. They can then use one of three project plans to build the item (a greenhouse, for example) from easily acquired items (e.g., a shoe box, plastic wrap and a coat hanger). Additional attractions at the site include related sections on fun facts, games, puzzles, and crafts.
The site could be used as a starting point for an integrated unit, for example on wind. The web site could be used to spark the students' interest (windmills, sailing boats) and this could then lead to additional study of the history of sailing boats, exploration, and navigation - all supported of course through related work in other subjects such as language arts, socials, and fine arts classes. Students could be challenged to create their own unique sailboat designs with the culminating activity being a class sailboat race or armada. Lots of room for creativity here.....
Do you have students that just love getting "grossed out" by science trivia? This site, recommended by S. Harper from Port Alberni has all the Yucky Science information you or your students will ever want to know. Some of the various secitons include: Club Yucky, Gross and Cool Body, Worm World, Yucky Games, Web Surfers, and Bug World. It also has a Parents Guide, and Teacher Center, and a "Question of the Day" section. Your students will just love the things that are in here. Some banner advertising makes the top of each screen rather annoying but the content is definitely worthwhile.
This site contains everything you would want to know about frogs. Various topics include: Weird Frog Facts, Save Our Frogs, FAQ About Pet Frogs, Froggy Colouring Book, Art Gallery, and Froggy Happenings. The Teachers Corner contains many ideas for lesson plans as well as links to other Frogs Resources.
With the warmer weather your students will be spending more time outside and the bugs have started coming out as well. This site has wonderful graphics and information on nonharmful and dangerous and poisonous bugs. One site on Ticks contains a FAQ section which has many tips on dealing with this bug. The one unpleasant thing about this site is the advertisements.
Get this Bug Off Me is hosted by The University of Kentucky and is suitable for students in grades K-12.
After watching the Imax movie "Everest" this site looks just as exicting. It contains actual cybercasts from the expeditions that are currently underway on Everest. One expedition is to try and solve the Mallory and Irvine mystery. The site also has a Virtual Everest Fly-By which gives you a definite feel for the grandeur of the mountain. This is technology at a new level for many students and teachers. Unfortunately, because of needed funding, advertising goes along with the site.
The Everest 1999 site is hosted by Mountain Zone and is suitable for students in grades 4-12.
Are your primary students studying animals, birds, insects, arachnids, reptiles, amphibians or fish? This site gives a brief description of each of these topics, and then has various guessing games that allow the student to select the correct responses to the clues. The vocabulary is appropriate for the age group, and the graphics are colourful and accurate.
The Animals of the World is hosted by Kids Com and is suitable for science students in grades K-3.
Have you ever wanted information on owls for your students? Well this is the place to be! This site contains the following: information about owls from all over the world, physiology, reproduction, art, mythology, and links to other sites. In the Roman Mythology of Owls it was interesting learn what dreaming of an owl meant.
The Owl Pages is suitable for students in grades 4-10.
With the latest news item about ballooning around the world, your students may find this site very informative. It contains the following sections: Density, Up,Up and How Far Away, The History of Ballooning, The Atmosphere and The Jet Stream. Each of the links contains interactive quizzes for your students to test their understanding of the the concepts. Graphs, diagrams, and photographs all help to make this site appealing to students.
This site provides a good overview of the causes of both earthquakes and volcanoes. It contains the following topics: Historical Perspective, Undeerstanding Plate Motions, Some Unanswered Questions, Developing the Theory, Hotspots: Mantle Thermal Plumes, Plate Tectonics and People, and Endnotes. Each page has a lot of written information but also contains interesting diagrams and graphics to facilitate your students understandings of both earthquakes and volcanoes. The site is based on a book by W. Jacquelyn Kious and Robert Tilling.
This Dynamic Earth is hosted by the USGS and is suitable for Science students in grades 8-12.
This site is one of many that deals with the very real danger of avalanches. During the past few months many accidents have occured because of these . this site contains information about the danger scale, links to the American and Canadian Avalanche Associations, Cyberspace Snow and Avalanche Center, and the US Forest Service National Avalanche Center. Each of the links contain their own libraries and statistics on this weather phenomenon.
The Avalanche Centers site is hosted by The American Association of Avalanche Professionals and is suitable for students in grades 4-12.
Do you need an interesting way for your students to learn all about Environmental concerns. Topics such as Conservation, Ecosystems, Human Health, Waste & Recycling, Air and Water are all included in this site. The recycling link I went into included a tour of a town and you can find out how recycling should be handled in towns!! These fun and intersting activities will have your students learning about the care of the environment. Now that my husband has mastered composting I will suggest he check into this site for even more ways to recyle!!
The Environmental Education Center is hosted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is suitable for Science students in grades 3-9
Feb. 22-27 marks National Engineers Week, and this site is full of ideas for your students to: find out all about the "Slinky" toy, find out what engineers do, meet some engineers, check out the reading list, enter the design challenge, learn about earthquake and construction problems, and much more.
The National Engineers Week site is suitable for Science students in grades 4-9 .
This site was designed by a teacher in the Saanich district. It contains teacher lessons on Fingerprinting, DNA Fingerprinting, Chromatography, Physical Evidence, Chemical Analysis, Blood Analysis, Urine Analysis, Soil Analysis, and Radiation and Half Life. It also has student worksheets that go along with the teachers lessons, a research component allowing your students to work with researchers at Simon Fraser University, background for teachers, and access to assement information (you will need to obtain a password for this).
The Forensic Science Project is hosted by Lionel Sandner and is suitable for all students in grades 4 to 10.
"Here is more information about the Ozone Hole. This site contains a glossary of terms, and four main links. These links are: the Discovery of the Ozone Hole, Recent Ozone Loss over Antarctica, the Science of the Ozone Hole, and the Latest Ozone Hole Research at Cambridge. There is also an area for feedback and "Ask a Scientist" which would be great for students wanting more information.
The Ozone Hole tour is hosted by the University of Cambridge and is suitable for Science students in grades 4-12.
"This the "inquiring mind's" place to be. Topics such as engines and motors, electronics, around the house, things you see in public,the human body, computers, and in the news are explored with links that provide more in-depth information and clearly understood graphics. The "Question of the Day" is important for those students who are constantly wanting to know why!! They can submit their own questions as well as hunt through the archives to find out other answers.
How Stuff Works is hosted by Marshall Brain of BYG Publishing and is suitable for Science students in grades 3-12.
"This is from the our very own "Vancouver Island Marmot Information" site. It contains background information on what has been happening in the past 2 years in regards to the plight of this very rare animal. It also has a map showing the location, as well as a section explaining why they are endangered and what is being done to save them. Of course there are pictures staring the "Marmota vancouverensis".
"Are you tired of teaching and/or hearing about whales? Here are some different ocean animals for your primary students to discover. These pages contain an excellent TeacherÕs Guide which includes a comprehensive list of goals and objectives that are covered within this theme unit. All About Seals, Seaa Lions, and Walruses is hosted by Seaworld and is suitable for Science students in grades K-3.
"Acid rain, air pollution, air quality, environmental priority, global climate change -- it is all here. This new theme page has all you ever wanted to know about the air we breathe. Various sites are listed on this page, including lots of hands on acitivities to learn about acid rain (a favorite of my students was the copper penny experiment). Air quality in schools is another site that will be of interest to all those of you who teach in portables!!
The Air Quality Theme Page is hosted by CLN and is suitable for Science students in grades 2-12.
"This site helps the students find out what a watershed is, how things that happen in the watershed affect water quality, make decisions on managing their own watershed, and the best part of all- see the consequences of their decisions.
THE WATERSHED GAME is hosted by Bell Live (Bell Museum of Natural History) and suitable for Science students in Grades 4-12.
"This site offers ideas and materials which will allow you and your students to enjoy and participate in a science fair. They have articles such as "How to do a science fair project", actual samples of science fair projects at different age levels, an ideas area that gives some suggestions on the kind of science fair project you might have your students try, and also resources for help with completing the project.
A SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT RESOURCE GUIDE is hosted by the Internet Public Library and is suitable for Science students in Grades K-12.
Most children love animals, and many kids have dreams of one day becoming a vet. Veterinary career resources webpages, from Canada and the U.S., (above) allow students to explore the reality behind this dream, with links that describe what veterinary science is all about, where to learn it and what the applied and research aspects of the job (and related employment opportunities) actually involve.
"Air Travelers" is an introduction to the basic principles of buoyancy, properties of gases, temperature, and the technology involved in hot air ballooning. It's a resource that has been designed for upper elementary, with ideas that could be modified to work above and below this level. These 'airy' activities, video clips (and more) demonstrate scientific concepts in a way that is very engaging.
Created by the Science Learning Network, the gallery of images (videos), historical and scientific background links make this a very comprehensive site.
Encyclopedia Britannica has an online dinosaur resource that shows how our knowledge of and ideas about these extinct creatures have changed over the relatively brief time period since we first learned of their existance. Dinosaur information is grouped into four main categories:
which are also sorted along a timeline grid. In this way, it's possible to view the progression of 'accepted' theories about different aspects of dinosaurs from 1820 to the current day.
It's a fascinating way to learn about dinosaurs and it also helps learners to consider how scientific thought can change as new data are introduced.
Inspiring learners to be motivated about a subject is part of the challenge of teaching. This can be especially difficult in the domain of Science, where many students and teachers find thenselves overwhelmed by the vast amount of factual information and the rate at which that body of information is growing.
The "American Association for the Advancement of Science" website (above), is an excellent resource with many links related to new science education programs, careers in science, community-oriented science and much more. I found it while reading a news item posted on The Environmental News Network which addressed this problem and considered ways in which teaching methods can make science more accessible.
Scientists stress new teaching styles:
Finally, here's a reminder about two Canadian-based sites for Science educators (both have been featured in Nuggets over the past months and both are designed to give learners an appreciation of many areas of scientific endeavour.)
The Great Canadian Scientists Home Page:
http://www.robocup.org/ - The Robot World Cup Initiative
The Robot World Cup Soccer Games and Conferences are part of an initiative to foster AI and intelligent robotics research. "RoboCup is a task for a team of multiple fast-moving robots under a dynamic environment."
The web page describes the rules and research related to the project. As well, the objectives and rationale are explained. A careful review of these could lead to interesting class discussions on the topic of technological progress.
From the site:
"We propose that the ultimate goal of the RoboCup Initiative will be stated as follows:
By mid-21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win the soccer game, comply with the official rule of the FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup."
http://sln.fi.edu/franklin/scientst/electric.html Electrified Ben
The above site is from the Franklin Institute Science Museum (a great general science site) and has an online lightening demo as well as projects and activities related to electricity.
Here's a handful of other websites for students who are learning the basics of energy and electricty. Each has information and activities appropriate to the elementary or middle school level.
Electricity and Magnetism Unit for Grade 5:
Beakman's electric motor:
The Energy Index of downloadable text files:
Space Day is approaching (in 1998 it's on May 21!) so you may want to make a visit to the official Space Day website to "embrace space." This site has links for students and teachers.
Here are two of the lessons you can download from the above site.
- Build and explore a 1:10 billion scale model of our solar system.
- Create a space exploration timeline in your classroom. Then have students visit the live Web timeline to share ideas about the future.
You'll also find information about how to participate in the live event that will take place online, on Space Day.
Dr. Jill Tartar of SETI is scheduled to be one of the many guests at the SpaceDay live event.
'Stephen Hawking's Universe' is a website for students and teachers who are interested in the physics of the universe. Was there a big bang? Is there missing matter? What is antimatter? singularity? imaginary time? Is the universe inhabited?
The site also includes a teachers' guide and a section, called "Cosmological Stars" which is devoted to the history of cosmology and the key discoveries that have helped shape the way we understand our universe. As part of the PBS Online series, where informative websites serve to enhance excellent television programs, this site can stand on its own as a useful resource for secondary level science.
"The British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (1942- ) has devoted much of his life to probing the space-time described by general relativity and the singularities where it breaks down. And he's done most of this work while confined to a wheelchair, brought on by the progressive neurological disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's Disease."
The above sites offer photos and descriptions of school-based Nature Trails for kids that include gardens, picnic tables, bird study areas, fitness stations, ponds, bridges and more -- a wonderful way to learn while enjoying the outdoors.
One of the most interesting aspects of this collection is that in most cases, students, teachers, parents and other members of the community all became involved. Designing and building a nature trail is a project that seems to really get people working together. It's also the type of project is never fully completed, and the groups continue working together to maintain and improve their trails, along with keeping ongoing records (sometimes online) of the plants, birds and animals that are discovered on the trails.
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is the focus of Carl Sagan's book, "Contact," which was recently made into a popular movie. The purpose of SETI is to discover if we are alone in the universe. SETI looks at the heart of some of our deepest questions about life.
There are links from the above pages that might stretch your imagination or reinforce your skepticism. Find out about a variety of opinions on the origins of life, learn about Project Pheonix, the targeted search, and read about the ways in which the movie "Contact" was accurate and, in some places, not quite so accurate. The site also includes sample lesson plans (aimed from Grade 3 to Grade 9) to teach basic science concepts in the context of questions about the nature of life, including how and why we are curious about the possibility of life elsewhere.
Don't forget that the Community Learning Network (CLN) has links to an
excellent set of more conventional astronomy resources online:
Younger kids might enjoy the sky maps and planetary info in a format
geared for elementary level at the "Astronomy for Kids" site:
And elementary kids who dream about adventures as space explorers might
enjoy NASA's "Starchild". This site includes cartoons, games and
puzzles incorporating basic information about space and astronauts. Many
of the activities can be printed out and used in paper form.:
Canada's "ScienceWeb goes to the Movies" is available via fax or the internet to provide answers to questions about scientific concepts featured in movies. The web page has scientific facts that relate to movies including "The Abyss", "Stargate", "Speed", and others. The best part is that you are invited to submit your own science questions from any movie.
The "Bad Science" website was created by Alistair B. Fraser who is a former Vancouver resident and now a Professor of Meteorology at the Pennsylvania State University. The purpose of his web page is to address "well understood phenomena which are persistently presented incorrectly by teachers and writers."
You'll find out why the theory of ice skating is all wet and how the media confuses the greenhouse effect with global warming. These are just two of the many recurring science misconceptions that are dealt with at this site; there's even information about errors that are commonly found in science textbooks!
Why do clouds really form? If you're thinking about the "air as a sponge" analogy, you'd better make a trip to the Bad Science site.
If you've been following the controvery surrounding the launch of the Cassini probe to Saturn, you might want to consider the above websites as a set of sources for updates.
For all the reasons that you might want to know what the weather is going to be, you can depend on on-line sources. Perhaps you just want to prepare for tomorrow's field trip. A very simple text-based (Lynx-friendly) Canadian forecast site is at the above "Weather Office".
Or, for a whole range of international and in-depth climate and weather information, you might want to explore the many links on CLN's weather page: /subjects/weather_cur.html
From here you might decide to use graphs and charts (I visualize elementary classrooms with sunshine and cloud stickers) to track the long term weather patterns of a "sister" city as compared to your own hometown. Older students will find links to satellite images and detailed meteorological data to help them understand weather patterns.
And finally, El Nino seems to be upon us. With impact on many regions
of Canada (including the prairies and Ontario), the U.S., Indonesia, South
Africa, Japan and more, we might all want to learn more about this warm
water phenomenom. "All indications are that El Nino will persist until
early 1998. Therefore, the winter of 97/98 in British Columbia and Yukon
will probably be milder than normal, with less snow in many areas and in
some areas less total precipitation." Web sites to visit include:
http://www.ios.bc.ca/ios/osap/projects/elnino/ (text based)
The Galileo Project is a source of information on the life and work of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and the science of his time. It's a resource for information in science (including astronomy, optics, mechanics, and even the science of music), history, religion and more.
There are glossaries, maps, timelines, searchable databases, student experiments (based, of course, on Galileo's work) and lots of text-based information. The folks are Rice University have designed an effective homepage as your starting point.
In the "Instrument Closet" you'll find out about the telescope, the pump, the pendulum (and pendulum clocks), the thermometer and others. In and around the site there's information about "things" including tides, sunspots, the Gregorian calendar, comets, motion, and many others as well as details about the people and places that were part of Galileo's life.
S. Morgan Friedman has created the above 'meta-Einstein website'. You'll find links to dozens of places on the internet with varying perspectives about the great scientist. Read Einstein's own words or find out what others have written about him.
"The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to
me not the political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality;
it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains
dull in thought and dull in feeling."
Albert Einstein, The World as I See It (1934)
How much choice should we have regarding the genetic make-up of our offspring? Should there be boundaries to experiments such as cloning? What is life? What is individuality?
If "Dolly" (the cloned sheep) has you asking some of these tough questions, perhaps you should visit the "Bioethics for Beginners" web site. With an excellent overview of the key issues and dozens of links to related sites, this resource (hosted by the University of Pennsylvania) can provide the background for ongoing discussion.
You may also want to look at the "Proposed Canadian Human Reproductive and Genetic Technologies Act" at: http://www.geneletter.org/0197/canadian.htm
"Expanding Universe" is a large collection of astronomy links, arranged according to a modified form of the Dewey Decimal Classification. This means that you can browse through a huge assortment of astronomy-related web sites much a you would browse through stacks of books in the astronomy section of a very well-stocked library.
There are links to all kinds of information at all levels of astronomical
sophistication. In my explorations of the site, I discovered a useful "constellation
pronunciation guide" which took me on to other astronomical pronunciation
sites. Now I never again need to mispronounce anything from "Andromeda"
For the past two years, the Science Learning Network, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Unisys Corporation, has been investigating how the resources, communication capabilities, and collaboration opportunities provided by networked technologies can support and encourage K-8 teachers as they strive to strengthen the way they teach science and math. Case studies from the project are now available online.
The goal of the project, which has included six museum partners and six schools, is to enhance inquiry science by linking the power of telecomputing to the resources of science museums. The evaluation report and case studies describe how telecomputing (especially e-mail) has been used as a channel of communication, as a forum for producing, documenting and publishing student work, and as a research tool. Topics within the project have ranged from the study of worms, the design of aesthetically pleasing fountains (that work), and the experience of living with rationed light bulbs, as a simulation of one aspect of daily life in war-torn Sarajevo. A teacher testimonial includes the comment that "I was able to subscribe to BosNews and we could get updated information everyday. Here, they only have a paragraph in the paper."
If you want to read questions submitted by real students and the answers provided by real scientists, the 'Mad Scientist' site is for you. Then, if you have some new questions, you can submit them yourself and they will be answered.
The MAD Scientist Network is staffed and maintained by a group of graduate and medical students at Washington University in St. Louis (Missouri, USA). More than 300 scientists at institutions around the world have joined the efforts to provide answers to science questions. Since questions and answers are categorized at the site, it's easy to browse and find out what's being said in your topic of interest. This helps to avoid a duplication of questions (after all, these scientists might be mad, but they're not crazy enough to enjoy answering the same question over and over again) and, by reading the questions that other people are asking, you might start to think of questions that wouldn't have occurred to you otherwise.
Eric Chudler, from the University of Washington, as part of his massive Neuroscience home page, has created a corner for k-12 with neuroscience facts, activities and resources.
At the above sites I learned that the average human brain is a mere 2% of the average human body weight. It contains 100 billion neurons and is very active, even when asleep. Neuro-toxins, including the cayenne pepper (Capsaicin) found in the kitchen, can disrupt neural functioning in various ways.
For a slightly different approach to the human brain, the "Mind and Machine" module, from Syracuse University includes a Brain Tour and glossary of brain terminology to supplement a fascinating study of artificial intelligence. If you've ever wondered whether computers can think, these are pages worth visiting:
The red planet has been a tantalizing target in our search for evidence that we are not alone in the universe and the Nov. 17 failure of the Mars 96 probe is a profound setback. For ongoing information, the "Whole Mars Catalog" website is an excellent source with updates about the mission from a variety of news sources as well as background material tapping into a wealth of Mars-related topics.
Along with 'Basic Planetary Facts' and the 'NASA Mars Press kit' you'll also be able to link to resources on 'The Politics of Martian Exploration', 'Mars in Fiction', 'Terraforming' and more.