Monday, September 23, 2013

Six Resources to Help Students See the Effects of Climate Change

This month's issue of National Geographic includes a feature on glacial meltdown. Part of the online complement to that article is the interactive map of estimates of coastline changes based on glacial meltdown that I posted last week. That map is fairly basic and I had received a few requests for more resources for teaching about climate change. Here are six other resources through which students can see the effects of climate change.

Google, NASA, USGS, and TIME host timelapse imagery that depicts how the Earth's surface has changed over the last 25 to 30 years. Using the TIME Timelapse powered by Google you can see how shorelines have changed, cities have grown, and glaciers have shrunk. Start out with some the featured imagery on the homepage then search for other places around the world. The first place I searched for was Cape Cod.

Climate Commons is an interactive map developed by the Earth Journalism Network. The map features weather data and emissions data related to climate. The map allows you to compare baseline weather data with anomalies and extreme weather events. The map also features articles about climate change. The articles are displayed on the map according to location.

NASA's State of Flux image collection features before and after pictures of more than 200 locations worldwide. The satellite images show the effects of climate change, natural disasters, and land use on places all over the globe. For some examples from the State of Flux collection take a look at the impacts of dam building in Brazil, drought along the Mississippi River, or volcanic activity in Iceland. You can browse for images by clicking placemarks on the State of Flux Google Map or by scrolling through the image gallery.

Surging Seas, produced by, is an interactive map of the potential impact on the United States of rising sea levels. The map allows you to click along coastal areas on the east coast and west coast to see how high the sea level could rise. The Surging Seas maps also project the number of people, homes, and land area that could be affected if the projections are correct.

Glacier Works is a non-profit organization studying the shrinking glaciers of the Himalaya and the impact of glacier melt on the people of the region. One of the neat features of the Glacier Works website is the panoramic before and after images. The panoramas show images of the glaciers from the 1920's side-by-side with recent images. You can quickly compare the two views by sliding your cursor across the panoramas.

ARMAP is a comprehensive resource of interactive, online maps of Arctic research. ARMAP's resources include files for use in Google Earth as well as ArcGIS explorer. You can also access 2D maps directly on the ARMAP website. ARMAP provides map layers and placemarks about a wide range of topics related to Arctic research. Before opening the general ARMAP map, visit the map gallery for a primer on the type of resources that can found on ARMAP. You should also check out the links section of ARMAP to visit the sources of much of the ARMAP content.

Learn Anatomy & Physiology With Study Jams

Earlier today on iPad Apps for School I reviewed an app that teaches children about human anatomy and physiology. If your students don't have iPads take a look at the Human Body Study Jams from Scholastic. Study Jams are slideshows and animations that provide a short overview of various topics in science and math. There are six human body Study Jams; skeletal system, nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, muscular system, and circulatory system.

Applications for Education
The Human Body Study Jams from Scholastic could be useful resources for elementary school or middle school students to review prior to a lesson that you teach to them. The Study Jams could also be good review materials for students.

A Short Guide to Creating and Sharing Google Calendars

Creating a public Google Calendar and embedding it into your classroom blog is a great way to keep your students and their parents informed about what is happening in your classroom. I often included my lesson plan outlines and important handouts in the events on the public calendars on my classroom blog. If you would like to do the same thing, just sign into your Google Calendar account and follow the directions included below.

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Step 8: (The embed code can be pasted into a Blogger or Wordpress-powered blog).

Sunday, September 22, 2013

27 Topographic Maps Lessons

The USGS offers free topographic maps for most of the United States. The maps can be downloaded as PDFs through the USGS store. The maps can be used in the 27 suggested topographic maps lessons found in the USGS education site. All of the lessons are rated by grade level and time required for completing the activity. In the list of lesson ideas you will find suggestions for lessons about typical geography topics like coordinates, scale, and map projections as well as lesson suggestions for less common things like analysis of stereo aerial photographs and analysis of humans and hydrography.

Dozens of Games About Mammals, Birds, and Dinosaurs

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 ate their food.

Applications for Education
The games and animations available through the Canadian Museum of Nature are appropriate for elementary school students. The games could prove to be useful as fun activities for students to test the knowledge they gained from one of your lessons about mammals, birds, or dinosaurs.