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Friday, November 25, 2011

Amazing BBC Video Segment Shows Formation of Brinicles (brine icicles)

BBC cameramen captured the formation of a "brinicle" (brine icicle) for the first time ever. Brinciles are columns of ice that form under very calm ocean conditions, when there's a big difference between the water temperature (-1.9C) and the air temperature (-20C). CLICK HERE to watch a video of this amazing process. This phenomenon is related to several concepts, including salinity, density, freezing points, etc. To learn more CLICK HERE to go to "Nature News".

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rock Cycle Pencast and Student Handout

Rock Cycle
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When it comes to teaching geology, I think that the two most important concepts are plate tectonics and the rock cycle. If students understand those two concepts AND develop an interest in geology, they are ready for a lifetime of learning more. This week's resource is a Pencast that demonstrates how I explain the rock cycle to my freshmen Earth Science students at Helena High. Here's how to view the Pencast:

1. Make sure your volume is on so you can listen.
2. Select the Full Screen option to see a larger view of the page.
3. In the lower right, select Hide Preview and then the play arrow. Pause the Pencast at any time.
4. To Print a copy of the Pencast (pdf file), go back to reduced screen and select Download as PDF from menu to left.

The Pencast is great for students who missed class, or simply want a review. Students fill in the handout as I explain the rock cycle, and then do the rest on their own. CLICK HERE to print a copy. The handout is designed for Montana students, but you can easily write a set of statements that features specific rocks in your state or region. CLICK HERE to view the Pencast on the actual Pencast site.

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

Friday, November 11, 2011

Let students crush some cans!

Meteorologists make a really big deal out of pressure . . . and rightfully so. But atmospheric pressure is a tough concept for students wrap their minds around. I like to use a couple really fun demonstrations/activities to introduce the topic. Near the end of a class period, I show them the can-crush as a demonstration, and then the next day I let each student crush 2 cans. Also on that second day (our classes are 50 minutes), after they are finished crushing cans (15 minutes), I set them down and show them the spoutin' fountain demonstration . . . and then we discuss the science behind both activities. CLICK HERE to print out a copy of the teacher guide, which includes suggestions as well as questions to guide your discussion. CLICK HERE to watch the YouTube video of the spoutin' fountain demonstration. NOTE: As I do the "Spoutin' Fountain Demo", instead of using a clamp to hold the flask, I recommend handling it with heat-resistant gloves.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Science Daily for the Latest Science News

ScienceDaily.com ScienceDaily is one of the Internet’s most popular science news web sites. Since starting in 1995, the award-winning site has earned the loyalty of students, researchers, healthcare professionals, government agencies, educators and the general public around the world. Now with more than 3 million monthly visitors, ScienceDaily generates nearly 15 million page views a month and is steadily growing in its global audience. Check the "Earth and Climate" option and be sure to try the "search" feature.