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Science of Everyday Life - Discovery Education

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K to 12
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Explore science in everyday life to understand the impact of science and technology. Find information for students, educators, and families as well as lesson plans and activities. Lesson...more
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Explore science in everyday life to understand the impact of science and technology. Find information for students, educators, and families as well as lesson plans and activities. Lesson plans are standards based and divided into age groupings. (Note: at the time of this review, the lesson plans for grades 9-12 were still unavailable). View lessons and interactives to make science come alive. The videos even include the grade range! View the family section for great online labs and family activities. This site can make science accessible and interesting even to middle school girls who may begin to shy away from anything scientific.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (95)

In the Classroom

Use the many great activities to bring home basic science concepts such as collisions and motion in the activity "Cushion It!" Help students make real world connections that may interest them in a science career. Use the innovation activities as part of a unit in inventors and inventions. This site has something for every age level. This is a fabulous site to save in your class favorites for students to explore on their own. Challenge cooperative learning groups to research a specific science topic and create a multimedia presentation to share with the class about their topic. Have students create a simple online posters using PicLits (reviewed here). This is also a fabulous link to share on your class website for students to access both in and out of the classroom.
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Scientific American: Slide Shows - Scientific American, A division of Nature America, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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The slide show portion of the Scientific American website is a great visual resource for science teachers. The shows are organized in reverse chronological order from most recent to...more
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The slide show portion of the Scientific American website is a great visual resource for science teachers. The shows are organized in reverse chronological order from most recent to the oldest. The page is not searchable, but the site is. This would be great for science current events to tie into class. Some slide shows are graphic (a removed human brain!) and may need disclaimers when being shared with students.

tag(s): human body (125), microorganisms (15), oil (45), oil spill (21), organisms (21), slides (65), space (214)

In the Classroom

Try using this site when discussing how science relates to our current world. For instance, show the ten most dangerous moments for the space shuttle and the station history when studying astronomy. Incorporate the slide show about the Gulf oil spill and reading into a class blog for a biology unit on bacteria. This slide show demonstrates how microbes are used to clean up the oil. The pictures of the organisms are wonderful! Or, incorporate it into an environmental science class dealing with the impact of human behavior on the environment. Have students read and view the slide show as homework, and then discuss what they have learned via your class wiki or in class. Challenge students to create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students further discuss the potential problems with associated new microbes into the oil spill area.
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Tropical Oceans - MBGnet

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4 to 10
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This site highlights the beautiful tropical oceans in the world. The focus is on coral reefs, ocean animals, and additional ocean links. Learn about the location of coral reefs, threats...more
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This site highlights the beautiful tropical oceans in the world. The focus is on coral reefs, ocean animals, and additional ocean links. Learn about the location of coral reefs, threats to coral reefs, and more. Take your students on an underwater adventure with this simple, yet informative website.

tag(s): coral (11), oceans (152)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Have cooperative learning groups create multimedia projects about the coral reefs, animals, or tropical oceans in general. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Challenge groups to create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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WWF Footprint Calculator - World Wildlife Federation

Grades
3 to 12
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Determine ecological footprints with this site. Click start and answer questions about food, travel, home, and stuff. Amounts and questions use British units so students may need help...more
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Determine ecological footprints with this site. Click start and answer questions about food, travel, home, and stuff. Amounts and questions use British units so students may need help in understanding them. At the end, the ecological footprint is displayed as well as strategies for reducing footprints.

tag(s): ecology (135)

In the Classroom

Use this site to determine how each of us affects the environment. Bring math into the classroom by converting British units to American units. Students can research how each of these categories affects the environment and create action plans for reducing their footprint. Follow the action plans and retake the quiz after to see the change in footprint. Create Public Service Announcements in the form of posters or videos to share information. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).
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The National Parks: America's Best Idea - PBS

Grades
4 to 12
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Ken Burns has been busy again, this time creating a film about the US National Parks. This site carries many clips and even the full length film. There are many ...more
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Ken Burns has been busy again, this time creating a film about the US National Parks. This site carries many clips and even the full length film. There are many resources here about the US National Parks. To make the site more collaborative, you can submit a story and pictures about a visit to a national park. There is an extensive bank of other web resources as well. There are also lesson plans available at the "Educators Link."

tag(s): national parks (18)

In the Classroom

Share the film (or clips) on your interactive whiteboard or projector. One section of the site enables you to design a national park postcard to email to a friend. Groups of students might research individual national parks (links to the NPS site appear on this site) and circulate their own postcards to other groups. Students can also "collect" national park badges that can be cut and pasted into personal or class websites. You could also have cooperative learning groups create multimedia projects about various National Parks. Have students create online posters or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). If you are near a park, your students could create an online park tour to share with others far away! Try a tool such as Tabblo (reviewed here)to create it!
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Beyond the barrel - Arizona Star

Grades
2 to 12
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This intriguing site allows you to follow either garbage or recyclables after they leave your garbage can. View videos and narratives of each step of the process. Learn about landfills,...more
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This intriguing site allows you to follow either garbage or recyclables after they leave your garbage can. View videos and narratives of each step of the process. Learn about landfills, recycling and much more.

tag(s): environment (318)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to document the type of garbage at home or school and where local garbage and recyclables go. Create a trash audit and make recommendations for local and school authorities to implement programs. Create environmental posters to create awareness. Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here.)

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Think Green - Waste Management

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K to 12
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Looking for great information on living green and saving the environment? Find great resources here on "Transforming Waste" and "Case Studies." Read posts from professionals in "Points...more
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Looking for great information on living green and saving the environment? Find great resources here on "Transforming Waste" and "Case Studies." Read posts from professionals in "Points of View." View videos in the "Resources" section. Look under "Classroom Tools" to view student resources by grade and teacher resources by grade, topic, and resources. Caution: the beginning of the site sometimes asks you to participate in a survey. You can hit the "no thanks" button to pass this section.

tag(s): earth (231), earth day (111), environment (318)

In the Classroom

Use this site for lesson plans, videos, and other resources for teaching environmental issues to students of all ages. Share videos with younger students on a projector or as a center. Stay up to date with points of views from professionals. Have students review resources and determine points of views of other articles and resources on the web. Students can create individual, group, or class projects to increase awareness of environmental issues. Why not have students create age-appropriate multi-media presentations demonstrating what they learned? Have students create posters on paper or do it together as a class using an online tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Have students create commercials and share them using a tool such as SchoolTube
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Global Warming - Chris Clementi

Grades
5 to 8
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This information-rich website offers a WebQuest (which could almost be an entire unit) devoted to Global Warming. It provides an eclectic look at this "hot topic." The teacher-creator...more
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This information-rich website offers a WebQuest (which could almost be an entire unit) devoted to Global Warming. It provides an eclectic look at this "hot topic." The teacher-creator also provides excellent video clips and learning activities. The culminating activity challenges students to create a short movie (using Windows Movie Maker) and to write a one-page newsletter about the specific topic they have researched. A short assessment tool is available at the "evaluation" link. For younger students, please view the videos before sharing them with your class. Some are rather graphic for elementary students. This website requires Flash and Adobe, get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (231), earth day (111), environment (318)

In the Classroom

Use this "hot topic" website to spark your students' interest in the environment. Even if you don't have time to complete the entire WebQuest, using the short videos and other information would be beneficial to any class studying the effects of global warming or even the environment in general.

Make it more interesting for students, and have them create an online poster for the final product instead of a typical paper poster. Use a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here) to spice the project up and make it more interesting for students.
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Fascinating Fish - Florida Museum of Natural History

Grades
6 to 12
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This site from the department of ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History offers a wealth of information on all manner of fishes, sharks, and other sea life. ...more
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This site from the department of ichthyology at the Florida Museum of Natural History offers a wealth of information on all manner of fishes, sharks, and other sea life. In addition to the site's text, there is a large, searchable photo database that will return images of many species. The education section includes information on how fish live and swim, identification keys, and commonly asked "fishy questions." Earth science teachers will definitely want to bookmark this one.

tag(s): fish (26), marine biology (33), oceans (152)

In the Classroom

Within the education section of this site is a host of lesson plans and classroom activities that are offered for free! In addition to those, there are also small we explorations about classifying fish, fish families, and anatomy to name a few. Select the appropriate exploration for a particular unit and use that portion of the site as a learning center or station. Have students explore the desired section in cooperative learning groups or pairs. To assess what they have learned, have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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Americans and the Environment - National Humanities Center

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4 to 12
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Created by the National Humanities Center, this collection of scholarly essays on Americans' relationship with the environment may be over the heads of most students. BUT teachers and...more
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Created by the National Humanities Center, this collection of scholarly essays on Americans' relationship with the environment may be over the heads of most students. BUT teachers and parents will find the subject matter fits nicely with most American History curricula, and the "guiding discussion" sections provide some new strategies and insights for teaching material that may have become too routine for students. If history (at any level) is your field, this one is worth a visit.

tag(s): conservation (125), ecology (135), environment (318)

In the Classroom

While this site is a little text-heavy, it is truly an excellent site for exploring the way the North American environment has been impacted by recent history. Select the time period that is appropriate to your unit, and introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students explore the rest of the site on classroom computers. To ensure that they're doing more than skimming the text, Have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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Threatened Species - World Wildlife Fund

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6 to 12
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The World Wildlife Fund's pages on endangered species provide both a web-based synopsis and more extensive printed materials dealing with each of the species listed. The content may...more
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The World Wildlife Fund's pages on endangered species provide both a web-based synopsis and more extensive printed materials dealing with each of the species listed. The content may be challenging for some students, but there's plenty of detail in these descriptions.

tag(s): endangered species (38)

In the Classroom

Share this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector, and open a class discussion about ways that students can help endangered species in their local area. Have students explore the site individually or in cooperative learning groups, and make a poster on ways that the class could get involved to help a specific species. We recommend using a digital poster site such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here).

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World without Oil - Ken Eklund

Grades
4 to 10
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What would happen of the world ran out of oil? Players simulated that reality through this innovative game. Though the activity is officially over, for the thirty-two days of play,...more
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What would happen of the world ran out of oil? Players simulated that reality through this innovative game. Though the activity is officially over, for the thirty-two days of play, over fifteen hundred stories of reaction to a massive decline in available oil and their reactions were recorded. Each story has been archived. Use the Time Machine to go to any of these weeks. Official stories for that week are the headline. Read stories by players in the blocks to the left. Click on a story block to go to the story. Take Gretchen's Quick Tour and experience the activity as one of the participant's did. Be sure to check out the Lesson Plans for Teachers.

tag(s): climate change (66), critical thinking (110), environment (318), oil (45)

In the Classroom

This is a massively collaborative imagining of the first thirty-two weeks of a global oil crisis. Though a game, the research shows that most of the players have continued the habits they developed in this game into their real life. Follow the Quick Tour to identify the parts of the game and have students peruse and report on player stories. Share with the class and brainstorm which stories are apt to occur in their household or community. Research ways to decrease our personal use of oil and other environmental or personal reasons to do so. Create conventional or blog writing about their personal opinions to the possibility of a world without oil and what students can personally change. Be sure to identify the many things that petroleum makes that is used in our lives.

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Tectonic Settings of Volcanic Activity - Prentice Hall, Pearson Education

Grades
6 to 10
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This tectonic plate simulation, create by Prentice Hall, shows continental rift volcanism, continental volcanic arc, hot spot volcanoes, and volcanic island arcs. Great for middle level...more
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This tectonic plate simulation, create by Prentice Hall, shows continental rift volcanism, continental volcanic arc, hot spot volcanoes, and volcanic island arcs. Great for middle level and early high school earth science courses. Onscreen navigation is easy to follow as buttons are labeled.

tag(s): geology (83), plate tectonics (25), volcanoes (65)

In the Classroom

Try having your students explore this simulation as part of a unit on volcanoes. Have the students work with a partner to practice or play with the simulation. Assign different groups different simulations. Then, have students take turns using your interactive whiteboard or projector to explain to the rest of the class how the different occurrences take place.
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For Kids Only - Earth Science - NASA Science

Grades
2 to 12
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This site offers several activities for students to learn about earth science. When the page first loads there is an interesting science fact offered, reload the page to see another...more
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This site offers several activities for students to learn about earth science. When the page first loads there is an interesting science fact offered, reload the page to see another new fact. Links on the main page take you to different sections of the site such as people, land, water, air, and natural hazards. Within each section is information about NASA and their current activities related to the topic, these sections are fairly short and geared toward providing information at the elementary age level. This is also where activities will be found, for example, in the land portion there is an interactive coloring book to learn about data collected from the earth, a multimedia presentation with Amanda the Pigeon teaching about flight, and Echo the Bat teaches about how satellites are used. Within some sections of the site are links for teachers containing lesson plans including printable worksheets. Secondary level teachers may find the teacher's guides useful to download and use, they contain in-depth information and activities about planet earth and space.

tag(s): air (163), data (148), earth (231), flight (36), water (130)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Display activities on the board as you explore different earth science concepts. Create a link on classroom computers for older students to explore the site on their own. Use the lesson plans on the site to complement your existing lessons on earth science.
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Rainbow Lab - Steven Janke

Grades
7 to 12
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How are rainbows formed? Why do they only occur when the sun is behind the observer? If the sun is low on the horizon, at what angle in the sky ...more
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How are rainbows formed? Why do they only occur when the sun is behind the observer? If the sun is low on the horizon, at what angle in the sky should we expect to see a rainbow? This lab helps to answer these and other questions by examining a mathematical model of light passing through a water droplet. Follow each step of the lab - how light travels, reflection, refraction, exploration, and analysis - to solve the questions. Each segment offers some information about the topic and questions to explore or experiments. The focus of each of the activities is the Mathematical equations and principals involved in creating rainbows.

tag(s): angles (86), colors (80), light (49), problem solving (271)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when introducing this topic. Then assign different sections to students to explore then present to the rest of the class. Have students create multimedia presentations based on information learned through explorations in the site. Have students use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Just for Kids - State of California - State of California

Grades
3 to 8
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Explore this site to learn about the many different offerings provided by the state of California. Although there are many portions of the site with valuable information, the portion...more
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Explore this site to learn about the many different offerings provided by the state of California. Although there are many portions of the site with valuable information, the portion that directly gives specific information about the state is located under the link entitled History & Government. Here you can learn about state symbols such as the state bird, state dance, and even the state color! Follow the link to the Caltrans page to find kids activities books, a build a bridge game, and a trivia quiz.

tag(s): california (27), earth day (111), symbols (19)

In the Classroom

Share portions of the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when researching state information or share with students for state research projects. Rather than traditional research project options, challenge students to create multimedia presentations using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use information under the Geography section to help students learn about earthquakes.

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Arizona Kid's Page - State of Arizona

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3 to 8
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Learn more about the state of Arizona with this site offering facts and information just for kids. Choose the Natural Wonders link to learn about the many natural wonders and ...more
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Learn more about the state of Arizona with this site offering facts and information just for kids. Choose the Natural Wonders link to learn about the many natural wonders and national parks within the state such as the Grand Canyon, the town of Tombstone, and the Apache Trail. Get a brief geographical background on the formation of the state by choosing the Arizona History link tracing the known time range of man living in the state back 20,000 years. Learn about state facts, emblems, motto, and much more in the facts section (did you know Arizona has official state neckwear?). Be sure to check out the state photos section for realistic images of many portions of the state and of it's natural wonders.

tag(s): national parks (18), native americans (78), natural resources (60), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students when working on state research projects. Display photos included on the site with students on your interactive whiteboard or projector when discussing Arizona, the Grand Canyon, or other areas of the state. Copy and use the coloring pages with the state seal, flag, and other images when learning about the state of Arizona. Rather than having students create a traditional research project, have students create a multimedia presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture.

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Climate Wisconsin - Educational Communications Board

Grades
6 to 12
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Listen to stories of impacts of climate change occurring in a northern state. Choose videos based upon popular activities such as fly fishing as well as issues of climate change ...more
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Listen to stories of impacts of climate change occurring in a northern state. Choose videos based upon popular activities such as fly fishing as well as issues of climate change that include extreme heat and ice cover. View resources that are stories as well as interactives using the menu at the bottom of the page.

tag(s): adaptations (18), climate (93), climate change (66), water cycle (34)

In the Classroom

Use these resources as a pre-unit activity to ecology or climate change. Brainstorm the issues presented as a class. Ask students what they already know about these problems. This is a great opportunity to provide time for student writing either in a conventional journal or on a blog. Allow time for students to generate questions about what they do not understand and plan the unit based upon these questions. Consider telling your own stories from your own area which can easily be published on a wiki, blog, or site. Use older relatives and community members that can discuss changes in weather, hunting, etc. in your area. Find records from past newspapers that help paint a picture of how our seasons and activities have changed over the year. Use many of the ideas from this site to brainstorm potential videos of change in your area.
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Weather Maker Interactive - Scholastic Kids

Grades
4 to 10
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Thinking it would be nice to control the weather, especially if you have to teach about it? Well, this site will not change your outdoor situation, but it does allow ...more
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Thinking it would be nice to control the weather, especially if you have to teach about it? Well, this site will not change your outdoor situation, but it does allow you to simulate weather that you can control. There are only two simple rules to follow: keep the poles cooler than the equator and do not allow for more than seventy degrees difference between two temperatures. Easy as can be! Click through the screens, make your choices and see what unfolds.

tag(s): animation (65), weather (193)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. When you are teaching about weather, have students adjust the settings of the program to create a desired weather outcome. Create a learning center using this site and your interactive whiteboard. See what happens! Discuss what could have been done and what factors contributed to overall change.
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Digital Universe Atlas - Hayden Planterarium

Grades
6 to 12
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The Hayden Planetarium has created a free download of their atlas of the universe. The video, which does a great job of showing the scale of what we as humans ...more
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The Hayden Planetarium has created a free download of their atlas of the universe. The video, which does a great job of showing the scale of what we as humans can see in the universe, can be viewed directly from the website. There are three different versions of the download. All are free. Be patient with the download, it takes a little while, however the atlas, educator activities, and simulations are well worth the time it takes. One of the hardest concepts for middle to high school level earth and space science learners to understand is size and scale of the universe. Their misconceptions of color and size stem from both brain development and images that they are exposed to of the solar system from young school ages on to middle school. This video and activity set help to clarify this misconception, and provide your learners with a better understanding of their size within the universe.

tag(s): earth (231), light (49), solar system (123), stars (66), sun (73)

In the Classroom

Try showing the video (on your interactive whiteboard or projector) at the beginning of a chapter or unit on universes and galaxies. Have students discuss what they think is correct or even incorrect about the video. As you work through your unit, use the teacher activities in addition to your traditional curriculum materials. Revisit the video at least twice throughout the unit to "check-in" on your student's understanding and to assess whether their misconceptions are being cleared. Another idea, is to show the video as a writing prompt for science. Pose a question such as, "How big are you? Explain in terms of the universe." Then, have students view the video and write about their ideas generated by the video.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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