Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spring. Show all posts

Monday, March 15, 2021

Four Short Lessons About the Arrival of Spring

The snow is melting, the sun is shining a bit longer, and we're starting to see and hear more birds around our house. Those are all sure signs that spring is on the horizon here in Maine. On that note, here are some short lessons about the arrival of spring. 

Why do birds sing? And how do they learn the songs that they sing? The answers to those questions and more are revealed in a TED-Ed Lesson titled How Do Birds Learn to Sing?



After learning how birds learn to sing, have your students explore The Wall of Birds interactive mural produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The mural features a variety of birds that when clicked on reveal information about that bird, audio of that bird's call, and a map of that bird's natural range.



Why do we have seasons? What causes the changes in weather patterns throughout the seasons? The answers to those questions and more are found in the following SciShow Kids video and Crash Course Kids video.




All of these videos are great candidates for use in an EDPuzzle lesson. Here's an overview of how to use EDpuzzle to turn existing videos into lessons of your own. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Sweet Lessons on the Making of Maple Syrup

This week we had a couple of relatively warm days here in Maine. In fact it was so warm (40F) that I rode my bike outside on Thursday. It was on that ride that I noticed sap buckets and hoses on some maple trees. That reminded me of some videos about making maple syrup that I shared last year and prompted me to look for some new ones too.

Ever Wonder How Maple Syrup is Made? is a new video from Highlights. The succinct video shows a mix of the old way of using buckets to collect sap and the modern method of using hoses.



My friend Gardner Waldeier AKA Bus Huxley on YouTube collects maple sap to make maple syrup. He does it the old fashioned way and he made a video about the process. Gardner's video shows viewers how he collects maple sap and turns it into maple syrup. In the video he explains why maple sap is collected at this time of year, how much sap he'll collect from a large tree, and just how much sap it takes to make a gallon of maple syrup. You also get a nice tour of Gardner's woodlot.



Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Lessons About the Making of Maple Syrup

Today is Maple Syrup Sunday here in Maine. This is always a welcome sign of spring.

The method of collecting sap from maple trees has changed a bit over the years, but the concept of boiling sap to make syrup remains unchanged. In the following videos you'll see the traditional collection method and the modern collection method.

My friend Gardner Waldeier AKA Bus Huxley on YouTube collects maple sap to make maple syrup. He does it the old fashioned way and he made a video about the process. Gardner's video shows viewers how he collects maple sap and turns it into maple syrup. In the video explains why maple sap is collected at this time of year, how much sap he'll collect from a large tree, and just how much sap it takes to make a gallon of maple syrup. You also get a nice tour of Gardner's woodlot and plenty of images of his helpful dog.



Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Short Lessons for the Arrival of Spring

The first chickadees and ducks of the spring have started to arrive in my neighborhood. Aside from the calendar, hearing the birds reminds us all that spring is almost here. If you're tired of winter and looking for some spring-themed lesson ideas, take a look at the following resources.

Last year The New York Times published an animated map of spring foliage. The map, put together by Henry Fountain and Jeremy White, is a time-lapse map that shows when the "first leaf" of spring typically appears in each state. The data represented in the map comes from the USA National Phenology Network. The animation moves quickly, but you can pause it by clicking on it.

Why do birds sing? And how do they learn the songs that they sing? The answers to those questions and more are revealed in a new TED-Ed Lesson titled How Do Birds Learn to Sing?


After learning how birds learn to sing, have your students explore The Wall of Birds interactive mural produced by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The mural features a variety of birds that when clicked on reveal information about that bird, audio of that bird's call, and a map of that bird's natural range.



Why do we have seasons? What causes the changes in weather patterns throughout the seasons? The answers to those questions and more are found in the following SciShow Kids video and Crash Course Kids video.




Try one of these tools for creating flipped lessons out of these videos. 

Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Science of Spring!

Here in Maine it finally has felt like spring for the entire week. We've had hot and sunny days as well as warm and rainy days. In other words, lawns are starting to look green. This is a great time to share a new SciShow Kids video that covers a handful of topics related to the science of spring.

The Science of Spring explains to students why birds sing more in the spring, why it rains a lot in the spring, what makes plants grow, and why bugs begin to hatch in the spring.


The video is a bit too long for my liking, but it is broken up into four clear sections so you could use just a section of the fifteen minute video in your classroom.

On a related note, I recently held a webinar all about blending technology into outdoor lessons. If you missed it, you can get the recording right here

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Animated Map of First Foliage Appearances

Last Friday I was in Greenwich, Connecticut to give a presentation. Greenwich is roughly 300 miles south of my home in Maine. Greenwich was in full spring bloom with green grass and foliage starting to bud on the trees. Meanwhile back home in Maine my yard was covered in snow. In making that drive I saw what The New York Times has illustrated in a new animated map of spring foliage. The map, put together by Henry Fountain and Jeremy White, is a time-lapse map that shows when, on average, the "first leaf" appears in each state. The data represented in the map comes from the USA National Phenology Network. The animation moves quickly, but you can pause it by clicking on it.

Applications for Education
Autumn is when most of us in New England think of and take notice of the changes in foliage. But the spring has just as many changes in foliage even if those changes are quite as colorful. None-the-less, the changes throughout the season are the perfect subject for a timelapse video project. You could have students take one picture per day of their backyards or your school yard for a month. Then at the end of the month stitch those pictures together to create a timelapse video by using a tool like Jellycam or Stop Motion Animator.

H/T to Cool Infographics for the map. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Spring?! - Three Short Lessons About Seasons

It might not feel like it to many of us, but tomorrow is the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. If you're looking for some quick video lessons about the seasons, take a look at the following three options.

Time has just released a new video that features images and text about the spring equinox.


Why do we have seasons? What causes the changes in weather patterns throughout the seasons? The answers to those questions and more are found in the following SciShow Kids video and Crash Course Kids video.





Try one of these seven tools for creating flipped lessons out of these videos. 

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Role of Bird Migration in the Ecosystem

When I let my dogs out this morning I heard some birds chirping that I hadn't heard in a few months. That's a sure sign that spring can't be too far away. The sounds of the birds this morning reminded me of a TED-Ed lesson that was published a few years ago. Bird Migration, A Perilous Journey teaches viewers some statistics about songbird migration, the role of bird migration in the ecosystem, and the man-made challenges facing songbirds on their annual migrations.



Applications for Education
After watching the video and completing the lesson questions, a next step is to have students head to Project FeederWatch where they can see maps of bird migration patterns.

Project Feeder Watch is a public project. You and your students can contribute to the project by counting birds at a site near your school or even in your school yard.

Friday, February 2, 2018

What is Groundhog Day?

Today is Groundhog Day. Today is the day that, according to legend, a groundhog will predict how much longer winter will last in the northern hemisphere. Your students might be wondering where this tradition originated. The following two videos provide brief explanations of Groundhog Day's origins.

This video from Storm Shield explains a bit of meteorology that goes into whether or not the groundhog will see his or her shadow.


This video from CGP Grey deals mostly with the origin of the tradition. Like most CGP Grey videos there is a fair amount of snark included in the video so review it carefully before deciding if it's appropriate for your students.


At 7am Eastern Time today you can watch the livestream of Punxsutawney Phil "predicting" when spring will begin.

Monday, April 10, 2017

An Interactive Mural of Birds

This afternoon while walking my dog, Max, I saw the first ducks of spring paddling around a small opening in the ice on a local pond. This reminded me of a neat resource from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. The Wall of Birds is an interactive mural of bird drawings. Clicking on a drawing will reveal a side panel that contains information about that bird, audio of that bird's call, and a map of that bird's natural range. Watch my video below to see the mural in action.


Applications for Education
As the weather warms in the Northern Hemisphere a fun outdoor learning activity is to take students on nature walks during which they try to identify as many different birds as possible. They could do this by sight and sound with the help of some of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's resources.

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Couple of Short Lessons About Changing Seasons

Today is the first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. Although the five foot tall snowbanks around my house make that hard to believe. Why do we have seasons? What causes the changes in weather patterns throughout the seasons? The answers to those questions and more are found in the following SciShow Kids video and Crash Course Kids video.




Try one of these seven tools for creating flipped lessons out of these videos. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A Few Resources for Learning About Birds

About a week ago while walking my dogs I started to notice the sounds of birds returning my neighborhood. This morning a little fluffy bird landed outside my window stayed long enough for me to take a grainy picture of it. If you live in a northern climate like me, you and your students are probably starting to see the birds return too. Here are some resources for teaching and learning about birds.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers more than 7,500 hours of recordings of nearly 9,000 bird callss. The recordings are published on the Macaulay Library site. You can browse for recordings recommended by Macaulay Library or you can search for a bird by name. When you find a recording you can also see a Google Map of where the recording was made. While the recordings cannot be downloaded for free they can be heard for free. Click here for an example.

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a YouTube channel that offers some nice mini documentaries about birds. I've embedded a video about Snowy Owls below.



Untamed Science offers a nice video about bird migrations. Physics of Bird Migration provides some short explanations of why birds fly in V formations, how they navigate thousands of miles and return to the same places every year, and how they prepare for a long migration. The short video is embedded below.



The Canadian Museum of Nature hosts a good collection of online games and animations about mammals, birds, and dinosaurs. A few of the games and animations are Canada-specific, but those and all of the others have a broad appeal. The three games that I tried were focused on the adaptations of animals to their environments. In the mammals section I played a game about the adaptations of polar bears and grizzly bears to their environments. In the birds section I played a matching game in which I had to pair the beak of a bird to the adaptation it represented. And in the fossils section I viewed an animation through which I learned how horned dinosaurs eat their food.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Spring Timelapse - A Video Project

Last night I shared a post about using Project Noah to have students document the signs of the seasons. While I was walking my dogs this morning I remembered a project idea that I shared last fall. The idea was to create a timelapse video to document the signs of the change of seasons. The idea is to have students take one picture per day for a few weeks. Then at the end of a few weeks they can upload those images to a video editor like JellyCam, WeVideo, or iMovie to create a timelapse video.

1. Take one picture per day of the same view or of one singular plant. 
Using your cell phone is probably the best tool for this because we rarely go anywhere without one.

2. Upload the pictures to a Google Drive folder. 
It only takes one or two taps to move my photos from your phone to a Google Drive folder. If This Then That has a recipe for doing this automatically from Android phones and from iPhones.

3. After four to six weeks, upload photos to JellyCam and create your timelapse. 
JellyCam is a free video editing program for Windows and Mac users. You can easily adjust the duration of each frame and easily add a soundtrack to your video. Click here for a video about using JellyCam.

Lapse It is a timelapse video creation tool available for iPad and Android tablets.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Making of Maple Syrup

One of my favorite signs of spring is seeing maple syrup taps and buckets on the trees around me. Next Sunday is Maple Syrup Sunday here in Maine. If you're in Maine you might take kids to check out the process in person. If that's not an option for, take a look at the resources below for learning about the maple syrup creation process.

Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.


Pure Canada Maple has a nice little graphic illustrating the maple syrup production process.

And Visit Maine has a little promo video about Maple Syrup Sunday. The video includes some information about the process.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Week In Review - The First Flowers of Spring

Good evening from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Greenwood, Maine. It's starting to kind of look like spring here, there is still some snow on the ground and plenty of mud everywhere (my house might not be free of mud until June), but the first flowers of spring popped-up this morning. Seeing the flowers pop-up makes me feel like summer can't be too far away. Speaking of summer, I've had quite a few people ask me where I'll be presenting this summer. I will be publishing a list of my summer presentations and workshops very soon (there are still some details to finalize on a couple of events).

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. A Short Guide to Finding and Using Media On Your Blog - Part 3
2. Mission Map Quest - Create Your Own Geography Games
3. How to Subscribe to New Blogs in Feedly
4. A Short Guide to Finding and Using Media On Your Blog - Part 2
5. A Good Collection of 13 Digital Citizenship Resources
6. 7 Good Virtual Tours for Students
7. How to Create YouTube Photo Slideshows - A Good Alternative to Animoto

Would you like to have me to visit your school this year? 
Click here for information about my professional development services.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Three Quick Resources About How Maple Syrup Is Made

Today is the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. That means that here in Maine Maple Syrup Sunday isn't too far away (March 24 for those of you in the area). As I walked my dogs down the road on Sunday I noticed that one of my neighbors has his maple syrup collection equipment in place. I love maple syrup and I bet that many of your students do too. But do they know how it's made? Learning about the process of creating maple syrup can make for a nice elementary school science lesson. Here are a few resources that you might incorporate into a lesson on making maple syrup.

Maple Syrup the Modern Way is a three minute video about the process commercial producers use to make syrup.


Pure Canada Maple has a nice little graphic illustrating the maple syrup production process.

And Visit Maine has a little promo video about Maple Syrup Sunday. The video includes some information about the process.