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:

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:

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