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.