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Friday, December 28, 2012

Lightning Strike Captured in Super-Slow Motion

The video was featured as the July 23, 2012 "Astronomy Picture of the Day". Video Credit and Copyright: Tom A. Warner, ZTResearch, www.weathervideoHD.TV

Tom's camera was able to take 7,207 frames per second (actual time is shown at the bottom of the video). The 33-second video represents about .12 seconds of real time.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Jupiter-Moon Conjunction on Christmas Night

IF the skies are clear at your location, this should be worth a look. Merry Christmas! CLICK HERE to view NASA's ScienceCast video about the event.

Friday, December 21, 2012

USA at Night

If you haven't seen this recent "USA at Night" image, be sure to check it out. You can click on the image to the right to make it bigger, or go to this web site for more information: NASA Earth Observatory

See if students can identify cities in your area. Initially, I was confused by the large area of lights in western North Dakota - until I realized there were due to activity in the Bakken Oil Fields. In most cases more light means more people. Challenge students to identify the Earth Science factors that draw people to specific areas (rivers, lakes and other water resources, harbors, soil, warm sunny climates, transportation/travel routes, mineral resources, etc.).

In the long history of mankind geology, hydrology, and meteorology have played important roles in the development of communities and cultures. An important aspect of every culture is the story of how that group of people adapted to their environment - how they figured out how to feed themselves, build shelters, clothe themselves, make weapons, even how they developed values and beliefs, etc.

To learn more about the lights in the Bakken Oil Fields in North Dakota, CLICK HERE.

EXTRA: ScienceCasts Christmas Sky Show

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

Friday, December 14, 2012

Storm Surges - Animations and Much More!

The National Hurricane Center has a nice web page that explains storm surges. The site includes explanations, diagrams, and an impressive animation. CLICK HERE to go to the site or HERE to go directly to the animation. The site also includes hour-by-hour graphics that illustrate famous storm surges of the past. The link is titled, "Noteable Surge Events". I especially liked Camille (1969 - Category 5) animation. CLICK HERE to view it. Advance it one frame at a time. As you do, notice where the worst surge area is in relationship to the eye of the storm.

Another great source is the animation provided by The New York Times, which explains and shows the sequence of events that caused New Orleans to flood in 2005. It is very impressive! CLICK HERE to see it. The animation created by graphic artist Dan Swenson and researched by Bob Marshall.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Map of Tornado Deaths Through the Years

The graph shown here helps show the deadliest kinds of weather in the USA. Over the past 10 years, "heat" has caused the most deaths, but in 2011 tornadoes caused over 550 deaths. CLICK HERE to see a larger version of the graph shown on the right.

In fact 2011 was the deadliest tornado year in decades. How does it compare to other years in the past several decades? This week's resource is an interactive map that allows you to find out. CLICK HERE to view the interactive, which is provided by The New York Times. You can select any year on the scroll bar above the map (beneath bar graph) to look at a certain year, or you can let run (and pause it).

Also, The NY Times also has a page that features before and after aerial photos of the Joplin, Missouri tornado. CLCICK HERE to see that. Below those photos you will find a link to street-level before and after photos - pretty impressive!

Here is a link to NOAA's 2012 Severe Weather Summaries. Choose "large hail", "wind damage", or "tornadoes" at the top of the map to see where these different types of severe weather happened.

Friday, November 30, 2012

What causes jet streams?

Jet streams are one of the most interesting phenomena that people never see, never experience, and probably don't understand. Yet, seldom does a TV meteorologist make it through a broadcast without mentioning them. So, what's all the fuss about? What causes them? How do we know where they are? I've tried to find answers to these questions AND figure out ways to make jet streams interesting to my students. This week's resource is a PowerPoint presentation that I put together based on what I learned. CLICK HERE to check it out. For best results, download the presentation to view it.

The key that helped me understand why there are jet streams was a "pressure block" activity that I did while taking the DataStreme (online) Course offered by the American Meteorological Society. Although I don't have students do the activity, I use photos of the blocks in my presentation. The topics covered in the PowerPoint are . . .

1. Jet Streams: What and where?

2. How do we know where they are?

3. Why are they important?

4. What causes them?

NOTE: The presentation is posted on www.slideboom.com - a free site that allows you to post up to 100 presentations, which students or colleagues can view or download. To view other presentations that I've posted type "rod benson" into the search box.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Concretions: An Interesting Stop on the Rock Cycle

Three friends and I recently took at kayak trip through the White Cliffs of the Missouri River in north-central Montana. We took time to do some short hikes to explore the fascinating geology of the area. During one excursion we hiked into the Eagle Creek drainage where concretions are especially abundant. Telling students about "concretions" is a great way to make the "compaction and cementation" (lithification) part of the rock cycle more interesting. Before you explain how they are formed, consider showing students photos of concretions* and then ask them to come up with a theory. To learn more about concretions CLICK HERE. Similar processes were also involved in the formation of the strange pedestal rocks, which we saw several miles downriver. To see 45 photos from our trip, CLICK HERE.

NOTE: If students have a good understanding of "plate tectonics" and "the rock cycle", they have a decent foundation in geology. For more about the rock cycle, check out this Rock Cycle PenCast.

*The links embedded in the above text will take you to several photos.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Quality Online Courses for Earth Science Teachers

Some of the best courses that I've taken over the years have been those provided by the American Meteorological Society. The AMS offers online courses related to meteorology, oceans, water systems, and climate. They are free, and you earn 3 graduate level semester credits! More importantly, the courses are top-notch, but not overwhelming. I've taken all of them except for the climate course, and they have all impacted my instruction in a positive way. I highly recommend them. CLICK HERE to learn more about the meteorology course or HERE to learn more about the other courses.

This week on PBS: The Dust Bowl by Ken Burns airs on PBS Sunday and Monday evening, Nov. 18-19 at 8 pm Eastern Time. Also, the topic of this week's NOVA is about superstorm Sandy.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Role of the Moon on D-Day

In honor of Veterans Day (Nov. 11) take a look at how the Moon played a major role in the planning of one of the most important invasions ever; the invasion of the northern coast of France on June 6, 1944. CLICK HERE to find out more.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Image Lets You See Vapor in the Air

One of the best things about the internet is the access that it gives to real-time weather images. This allows me to show students many different aspects of a storm as it moves through. As much as I enjoy geology topics, it seems that students have a hard time getting excited about changes that take place over thousands or millions of years. On the other hand, weather changes from hour to hour, minute to minute. We can compare what we see happening outside to satellite images, weather maps, RADAR images, pressure maps, temperature maps, current wind animations, etc. Its relevant and it makes sense!

One of the fun new images I learned about on Mike Heard's Blog shows "Total Precipitable Water" (vapor in the air over ocean water). Mike is a broadcast meteorologist in Butte, Montana. He explains the images on his blog site. To see the current loop, CLICK HERE. . . Or, CLICK HERE to watch a YouTube video about the images.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Phases of Venus Animation

One of the most difficult things for students to comprehend is why we see what we see in the night sky. Animations such as this one can help by giving students a different perspective. The animation shows what Venus looks like from our point of view as both Earth and Venus orbit the Sun, and it can be paused for discussion. Ask students if they can figure out why Venus is always either a "morning star" or an "evening star", but cannot be seen at mid-night. CLICK HERE to check it out.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

UV Beads Are Great for Experiment Projects!

I tried something different during my unit on ozone depletion. . . . and it worked real well! I ordered a bunch of UV-sensitive beads from a company called Educational Innovations. The beads change from white to colored when exposed to the Sun's ultraviolet rays. They come in packages of 240 for $6.95.

Here's what I did. I gave each student a zip-lock snack bag with 12 beads (4 that turn yellow, 4 that turn red, and 4 that turn blue). Next, I explained that each of them would need to design, and carry out an experiment to find the answer to one of the questions listed HERE (or one of their own questions). The students were given 1 week to complete the project.

Friday, October 5, 2012

The sky is falling!

On a recent hike, I took some time to explore a blow-down near the Continental Divide in western Montana. The reason for the blow-down involves some pretty cool science (related to density and phase changes). CLICK HERE to see lots of photos and read the explanation.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Khan Academy Tutorials

Perhaps you caught the "60 Minutes" segment about the Khan Academy this past spring. Even if you didn't, it's worth your time to a look at this interesting resource. Their strongest area is math, but they also provide tutorials for many subject areas.

According to their site, the academy "is a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere. All of the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge."

CLICK HERE to view the list of Khan Academy tutorials available in the "Cosmology and Astronomy" category. . . Many of the tutorials are related to geology topics. (They really should have a "geology" category!) The tutorials may be helpful for students who want to review a topic. If you have a web site, you might post links to certain Khan videos that you think will be beneficial to your students. CLICK HERE to see how I have done this on my web site for students (scroll down once you get there).

Friday, September 21, 2012

SciShow YouTube Channel

SciShow is a YouTube "channel" that features short explanations of science topics. Hank Green of Missoula, Montana created the channel. CLICK HERE to see the list of videos. Some of them are related to Earth Science topics (Yellowstone Super-Volcano, Alfred Wegener, Mars Mission, etc). Hank is dynamic speaker and he explains concepts in a way that is entertaining to teenagers. According to Hank's web site, "I love science, but I only get so many Vlogbrothers videos per week and I know some people can get science'd out. So in late 2011, I started working on a new channel that would bring the coolest concepts and science news to our viewership nearly every day of the week. It's called SciShow and, of course, it was only possible thanks to a grant from YouTube."

He continues, "In the first month of existence, SciShow pulled in 2 million views and over 100,000 subscribers. The channel continues to grow with a strong demographic interest among high school and college students as well as a much stronger female demographic than science programming usually draws. This is really exciting for me, because it's exactly the sort of people that our world needs taking an interest in science."

To learn more about Hank, CLICK HERE (Wikipedia) or go to www.hankgreen.com.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Relative Humidity Pencast

Relative humidity seems to be a tough concept for my freshman to wrap their brains around, so I produced a "pencast" that they can use to reinforce my classroom explanation. CLICK HERE to watch and listen to the 10-minute presentation titled "Relative Humidity I". Make sure your volume is on, select full screen, and then "Hide Preview" (lower right). When finished, you can print a copy of the notes. Select "Download as PDF". In the sequel, titled Relative Humidity II I explain dry indoor air (winter), psychrometers, and the heat index. I made the pencasts with a Livescribe "Echo" (smart pen). They are great for students who missed class or need a concept explained a second time. Cartoon courtesy of Phillip Martin.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Make an Accurate Scale Model of the Earth-Moon System

Welcome back! This week's resource is instructions for how to make an accurate model of the Earth-Moon system to display in your classroom. Unlike textbook diagrams and images, an accurate model should use the same scale for both size and distance. I tape the model to the wall in front of my room so students can see as I explain Apollo missions, Moon phases, tides, and eclipses. CLICK HERE to access the instructions.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Venus Transit on June 5

I know I said that last week's post would be it for the summer, but I couldn't pass up the chance to share a couple resources related to the upcoming "Venus transit". Above is short Science Cast video and then CLICK HERE to see an animation that shows the timing of both the transit and a partial lunar eclipse that will happen in the early morning hours of June 4.

GONE HIKING FOR THE SUMMER: This will be the last post for the school year. The next resource will be posted on September 7th, however I do not plan to post every week. Go to RODNEY'S HOMEPAGE for Earth Science Teachers to access resources related to Earth Science education. Have a great summer vacation!

Friday, May 25, 2012

NASA ScienceCasts - Good Stuff!

There are so many videos posted on YouTube and other sites that it can become overwhelming trying to sort through the junk and find the good ones. This week's resource is a collection of short, high-quality YouTube videos related to space science and astronomy produced by NASA. Called NASA ScienceCasts, many of them are related to current events - they are great for keeping you and your students up to date with what's going on. CLICK HERE to see what's available. Bookmark the site, and check it often. CLICK HERE to view the ScienceCast of the Venus Transit, which will take place on June 5. This definitely qualifies as "good stuff"!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Scale of the Universe 2

CLICK HERE to access one of the most interesting things that I've seen on the internet EVER. It's an interactive graphic that let's you (or students) compare the sizes of things ranging from sub-atomic particles to the known universe. The graphics are great and it is incredibly interesting . . . and educational!. Use the scroll bar to zoom in or out, or click on the object to learn about it. I guarantee you will want to share it with your students. It was created by ninth-grader, Cary Huang, with technical support his twin brother, Michael(www.htwins.net). CLICK HERE to read a short news story (ABC).

Also (unrelated to the "Scale of the Universe 2") there will be an annular eclipse on Sunday. CLICK HERE to see a good short video produced by NASA. The best viewing will be in the southwest, but much of the west will see a "partial". Spaceweather.com is another good source. Select "animated eclipse map" to find out what the eclipse will look like from your state.

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

Friday, May 4, 2012

World of Change

NASA's Earth Observatory provides a unique way to view changes in Earth systems. CLICK HERE to watch a satellite view of changes in the level of Lake Powell from 1999-2011. Once the page opens, click on the "play arrow" below the image to make the years go by. The menu on the right side of the page lists several other changes that can be viewed, including one that compares El Nino/La Nina to rainfall (1985-2008), another that shows a mountain-top mine in West Virginia from 1984-2010, and several others.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Whipped Topping Ozone Demo

A hole in the ozone layer develops over Antarctica every September-November. But why care - nobody lives there? This week's resource is a demonstration that helps students understand how the hole affects the ozone layer over the rest of the world. All that you need is some whipped topping, a little red food coloring, a couple plastic lids, and some kitchen utensils.CLICK HERE to read the instructions and see the photos.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Snake Butte in North-Central Montana

This week's resource is a landmark in north-central Montana that serves as an example of how to make geology more interesting by providing real-world connections. The geology of Snake Butte is fascinating with its columnar jointing and unique "boulder train". But by showing students that it played a important role in a historical construction project, and explaining why it is important to a culture, Snake Butte becomes even more interesting and relevant to students. CLICK HERE to learn about Snake Butte's interesting connections to people.

This example will be more meaningful to those who have seen the butte and for those who live in Montana. However, this approach is something to think about as you teach students about geology in your area. I've tried to promote this strategy in Montana with a "picture of the week" web site. Teachers in Montana simply decide which picture (from the list) will be the "picture of the week" for their classes, they post the number in their classroom, and then students use the generic worksheet to complete the assignment. A copy of the worksheet can be printed from the web site: www.formontana.net

It would be very beneficial to Earth Science education in your state if your state had a similar resource. The development of such a site would be a great project for a state science teachers, or Earth science teachers, association.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Animations Help Students Understand Tides

CLICK HERE to see a series of tide animations provided by Coastal Carolina University. The first demonstrates that the Earth-Moon system has a center of gravity (called the barycenter), the second shows the inertial tide, and the final shows the gravitational tide.

The second is provided by NOVA (PBS). CLICK HERE and then select "Launch Interactive".

CLICK HERE to read about the day in our nation's history when tides and moon phases were crucial to what happened. Finally, CLICK HERE to see a related problem-solving activity.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mesmerizing Wind Animation

This week's resource is a "real-time wind animation" provided by HINT.FM. The animation uses computer models to compile data on wind speed and direction in the US and then overlays the wind flow on a map. Google recommends using its Chrome web browser to get the best results. CLICK HERE to see the animation. Project it onto a large screen to have students look for patterns and determine the location of highs and lows based on wind direction. Check with a current weather map to find out if they've gotten it right. CLICK HERE to see a good surface map for comparison.

Here's another good current wind map: www.wunderground.com

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

Friday, March 30, 2012

Milankovitch Cycles: An Astronomy - Climate Connection


Graph courtesy of www.globalwarmingart.com

One of the fun things about teaching Earth Science is helping students understand connections between geology, astronomy, meteorology, and oceanography. One such connection is the link between ice ages and changes in the Earth-Sun relationship. This week's resource is a tutorial that will help students explore Milankovitch Cycles. CLICK HERE to go to the tutorial.

According to the Milankovitch Theory, the advance and retreat of "ice ages" (technically "glaciations, or glacial periods") over the past 3 million years have been caused (at least in part) by changes in the relationship between the Earth and Sun. The theory is named for Serbian astronomer Milutin Milankovitch, who painstakingly calculated how changes in Earth's orbit affected the amount of solar radiation that reached different latitudes at different seasons.

Though he did his work in 1920's, Milankovich's results weren't proven until the 1970s. A 1976 study, which examined deep-sea sediment cores, found that Milankovich's findings corresponded to periods of climate change. Although there is a consensus that Milankovitch cycles do influence the waxing and waning of ice ages, there are several problems. One mystery about the ice ages has to do with the change in frequency of glaciations that happened about 1 mya (see graph above). Why did the timing switch from once every 41,000 years to once every 100,000 years? To read more about Milankovitch Cycles and other mysteries related to ice ages, CLICK HERE. To watch, and listen to, an explanation (pencast), CLICK HERE.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Maps of Recent Earthquakes

CLICK HERE to see the location of earthquakes over the past 7 days. The interactive map shows worldwide earthquakes with M4.5+ (earthquakes with M2.5+ within the United States and adjacent areas). Colors of the boxes indicate when recent the quakes occurred and the size of the boxes tells the magnitudes. You can zoom in to look at specific areas, and then click on the boxes to learn details. Students will notice the strong correlation between earthquakes and plate boundaries. The site is provided by the the European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre.

By the way, did you know we haven't been using the Richter Scale since 2002? CLICK HERE to find out more.

Here's another resource, posted by Mark Colberg, Associate Prof. of Geol. at Southern Utah University. Colberg's web page outlines the basic principles of earthquakes and provides links to the best animations of seismic waves that I've seen. CLICK HERE to view the page and then scroll down to access the animations.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Geology Labs On-Line


Geology Labs On-Line was initiated to develop Web-based activities which enhance the learning and teaching of earth science from middle school through college classroom. The site offers on-line exercises called "Virtual Earthquake", "Virtual Dating", and "Virtual Rivers". Students complete a sequence of tasks that require observation, measurement, and data analysis. Upon successful completion, students receive a personalized certificate.

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

Friday, March 9, 2012

Photographs for Earth Science Topics

Marli Bryant Miller has provided a collection of geology images that you can download and use. They will make a great addition to presentations. CLICK HERE to view the collection. If you are looking for a particular image, try the search feature. This photo is of the Purcell Sill in Glacier National Park. The sill, which can be seen throughout the park, stands out in contrast to the sedimentary rock above and below it.

Another great source is The Earth Science World Image Bank, which is a service provided by the American Geological Institute (AGI). This Image Bank is designed to provide quality geoscience images to the public, educators, and the geoscience community.

Another source is the Earth Science Picture of the Day web site, which also provides a "search" feature to help you find what you are looking for. A similar Astronomy Picture of the Day web site is also available.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Amazing Cloud Demonstration


This dramatic demonstration shows students why meteorologists spend so much time talking about areas of high and low pressure. It helps students understand the relationship between rising air, low pressure, expansion, cooling below the dew point, and cloud formation.

BE CAREFUL! If you are not comfortable using rubbing alcohol, fill the jar with hot water and let it set for 10 minutes, then dump almost all of the water out. This will provide air that is humid enough (in the jar) to do the demonstration for several minutes. I like to use rubbing alcohol because I can do the demo all day without messing with filling and emptying the jar with hot water 5 times during the day.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Volcano World Web Site

Volcano World is neat place to find all sorts of information about volcanoes. According to webmaster Stephanie Grocke, "Volcano World was founded by Dr. Chuck Wood in 1995. Since that time over fifty professionals and hundreds of students have contributed content or time to Volcano World". The web site is hosted by the Department of Geosciences at Oregon State University and kept alive by ongoing volunteer efforts. CLICK HERE to go the the homepage or HERE to see the site map, which provides links to all sorts of interesting stuff related to volcanoes, such as "Volcano Factoids" (my personal favorite). Photo courtesy of the USGS.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Convection: The Straw that Stirs the Drink

As you know, convection plays a major role in Earth systems. Here is video that shows a colorful way for students to cause convection . . . and then watch as it happens. The video shows the second part of a two-part activity that helps students understand the role convection plays in causing wind. Both parts, as well as the student handout, are included in a kit available from WARD's. CLICK HERE to see the kit, which also includes an activity related to ocean currents. CLICK HERE to watch a video of that activity. The student handouts (one for the wind lab, and the other for the ocean currents lab) challenge students to apply what they have observed to wind and ocean currents in a way that contributes to a deeper understanding of these Earth systems.

Friday, February 10, 2012

30 Earth Science PowerPoints


The New York Science Teacher is one of the best resources for Earth Science teachers PERIOD! The goal of "New York Science Teacher" is to create a central point where all Science Teachers can come to access the vast resources created by other teachers. Christopher Sheehan is the webmaster for this amazing site. CLICK HERE to access the 30 Earth Science PowerPoint presentations that were created by teachers and posted by Sheehan.

Friday, February 3, 2012

U.S.G.S. Water Science for Schools


Some of the most important issues facing communities throughout the world are problems related to water quality and quantity. Earth Science teachers play an important role in helping future adults understand water systems so that they can make sound decisions about this important resource. The USGS has provided a multitude of resources on their "Water Science for Schools" web site to help us do this. The site is well-organized and very user-friendly. CLICK HERE to see what it has to offer.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Radiometric Dating Resources

Since I teach in Montana, I use "bison kill sites" as a context for introducing students to radiometric dating. I have developed an assignment that has students use certain web sites to figure out answers. CLICK HERE to print a copy. First, I explain some of the background as we work through Part A of the worksheet together. Next, I help them get started on the graph (Part B). CLICK HERE to see what the graph should look like when they are finished. Finally, students finish Parts B and C on their own as homework.

As they are working at home, the worksheet instructs them to go to www.formontana.net/jump.html where they find links to sites such as Virtual Dating and others needed to finish the worksheet. I haven't provided a key because I want you to work through it before having your students do it. Even if it's not something you're interested in, take a look at the "Virtual Dating" site. . . No, it's not that kind of dating!

Photo courtesy of Montana Historical Society: The diorama, which depicts the First Peoples Buffalo Jump west of Great Falls, is on display in the society's museum in Helena, Montana.

Reminder: Watch NOVA on Wednesday, February 1 on PBS. The title this week is Ice Age Death Trap.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Geologic Time Scale Organizes Earth's History

Many students don't understand what the "geologic time scale" is. The time scale is a way to show the various time periods of Earth's history in chronological order. Basically it's an outline that facilitates communications between geologists and paleontologists, etc. by making it easier for them to determine relationships between rock formations and fossils, and describe the timing of past events. CLICK HERE to see an interactive version of the time scale, courtesy of the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Another, printable (pdf) version, is provided by the Geologic Society of America: CLICK HERE to open it.

The time scale was established in the 1800s, using principles of relative dating (fossils, super-position, cross-cutting relationships, etc.). In the 20th century radiometric dating allowed dates to be added. Earth's history was divided into major time periods called "eons", and then sub-divided into even smaller spans of time (eras, periods, epochs).

Students may wonder why one period ended and another began. Each period was different from than those before and after it; different organisms, different climate, etc. . . and one of the challenges of geology is figuring out what caused these changes. In some cases the ends of time periods coincided with mass extinction events. For example, most scientists believe the extinction event that abruptly ended the Mesozoic Era was caused by an asteroid impact. Unfortunately, not all transitions are so well-understood.

And the resource is . . .
To strengthen your understanding of Earth's history, read Why Geology Matters (2011) by Doug Macdougall. Macdougall explains significant events in Earth's history and provides a perspective that brings together oceanography, meteorology, astronomy, and geology. Macdougall also wrote "Frozen Earth: The Story of Once and Future Ice Ages"; another one of my favorites.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Moon Phase Interactive Tutorial


Check out this fun tutorial/review of moon phases provided by the ASPIRE Lab in conjunction with the University of Utah. The moon phase tutorial includes 3 interactive activities for students to check their understanding. CLICK HERE to access the tutorial. The interactive windows will open up when you select the boxes titled "Activity 1", etc. This is a great review tool for those students who are having a hard time understanding moon phases.

The ASPIRE Lab offers several other activities created by teachers for teachers, many of them related to Earth Science.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Hands-On Watershed Activity

In order to understand many important water-related issues, students need to understand the existence and dynamics of watersheds (a.k.a. drainage basins). This "Island Watershed Activity" will help them realize how an abandoned mine can cause the presence of dissolved metals in a stream many miles from the mine site, and how farming practices in the Midwest can contribute to a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico. CLICK HERE to read about the details and print a student handout. The activity takes the better part of three class periods to complete (50-minute periods).