Friday, July 29, 2011

Where Electricity Comes From

"Energy for society" should be an important part of any introductory Earth Science course. Students should understand what our energy sources are,as well as how they are formed, used, and distributed. They should have a basic knowledge of how society produces the energy used for transportation, heating, and electricity. This week's "resource of the week" will help promote an understanding of electricity. CLICK HERE to see an interactive web page provided by National Public Radio. Select "Sources of Power", "Power Plants", "Solar Energy", or "Wind Energy" to show different aspects of electricity. Move your cursor over the states to bring up interesting details.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ice Wedging Activity

This is a fun activity to do as students are learning about weathering. Students put water in a test tube, freeze it, and then determine how much the water expanded as it froze. To print a student handout and see more detailed instructions, CLICK HERE.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective

Here is an interesting article, written by a Christian who also happens to be a scientist that works with radiometric dating. CLICK HERE to read the article. As you probably know, some students from Christian families are confused when it comes to topics related to geology and astronomy because of the way their church or family interprets the book of Genesis. This article may help some Christians to be more open-minded . . . and help some teachers realize that not all Christians are against radiometric dating.

Also, here are a couple books that address the age of the Earth issue: "A New Look at an Old Earth" by Don Stoner, and "A Matter of Days" by Hugh Ross. Both men are Christians, and both make a strong case for an Earth that is as old as science texts suggest. Stoner's book is a fairly easy read, whereas Ross' book requires that readers have a somewhat stronger background in science. Ross also has a web site called "Reasons to Believe" at CLICK HERE to see the page that I provide for my students and their parents . . . in case they are interested.

To view a convenient list of all the resources that have been posted on this "Earth Science Guy" blog site, CLICK HERE.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Strange (but true) Intro to Jet Streams

Yes . . . Balloon bombs. Earth Science topics are more interesting to students when you show them real-world connections. WWII balloon bombs provide a connection to jet streams that is not only real-world, but also very unusual, which helps to get students' attention. Evidently, Japanese knew more about these high-altitude winds than we did in the 1940's. They released 9,300 balloon bombs, counting on the jet stream to carry them to the USA. Fortunately, less than 400 of the bombs are known to have made the 6,000-mile journey. At least 35 of these bombs are known to have landed in Montana. To learn more CLICK HERE.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Help Students Understand the H-R Diagram

The Hertzprung-Russell diagram, created in the early 1900s by Ejnar Hertzsprung and Henry Norris Russell, was a major step towards understanding "the life cycles of stars". Unfortunately, many students think that the H-R diagram is some sort picture or map that shows the locations of stars. They don't seem to understand that it is a way to CLASSIFY stars based on two criteria; brightness and temperature. To help them understand how it works, try using something that they do understand (food).

Draw a grid on the board like the one shown here, and then explain that they are going to classify various foods, based on two criteria; taste and nutritional value. Call on students to name foods that would (based on their opinion) be placed in various locations within the rectangle. CLICK HERE to see a more detailed description as well as an example that shows how I would classify certain foods.

To view a convenient list of all the resources that have been posted on this "Earth Science Guy" blog site, CLICK HERE.