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

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.