In this activity, students will learn about populations of stars by making an analogy with human populations. They will graph properties of humans and stars (the latter using real astronomical data) and look for relationships between the properties they graph. Finally, they will determine what can be learned about each population using this technique and decide ways in which the technique is limited.
This activity serves as an introduction to stellar astronomy, but it also works as an illustration of the general methods that scientists use when confronted with a new set of data that they are trying to understand.
The activity is aimed at a high school audience, but it could easily be modified for use with middle school students. The essential activities can be covered in 40 minutes, or the entire project can be stretched to 4 hours or even much longer. (The activity is broken up into several sections that teachers are free to select from, and time estimates for each section are included.)
This resource is hosted by the Cornell Science Inquiry Partnerships (CSIP) program.
The Earth is a dynamic system, constantly changing through a multitude of systems; the geologic, hydrologic, atmospheric and biologic systems are all integral to one another. Despite the fact that we inhabit this blue planet many of us are unaware of how even the simplest of systems work between one another and how even a small perturbation in one system can ripple through them all. The curriculum that follows will outline the systems of the earth and draw upon their interconnectedness to bring about a new found understanding of our environment and the critical modern day issues we are facing now and in the future. Through a multitude of hands-on and investigative lessons and activities this series will help students take their prior knowledge and combine it with new understandings and conflicts to ultimately apply the information gained in the local communities for a culminating environmental action project.
This curriculum is meant for students who have already progressed through some earth science classes. There are many lessons within the collection that can be pulled out and used separately from the curriculum as a whole.
The 5th Unit covers many topics addressed in a book called The Revenge of Gaia: Earth's Climate Crisis & The Fate of Humanity, by James Lovelock, 160 pages with glossary. I recommend this as a reading for the semester, especially during Unit 5 though it is not a requirement to follow the science or the lessons.
The Revenge of Gaia, James Lovelock, 2006
British ISBNs: 978-0-713-99914-3; 0-713-99914-4
This Electricity and Magnetism unit will help students understand the world around them through inquiry and hands-on experimentation. The major concepts covered will be static electricity, current electricity, magnets / magnetic fields, and electromagnetic induction.
The unit takes 3 weeks, averaging 45 minutes a day if meeting 5 days/week.
The unit is stand alone and/or could be used to accompany a number of texts. It roughly follows the content and ordering of Holt Science and Technology: Physical Science (2000 edition).
This Waves, Sound, and Light unit will help students understand the world around them through inquiry and hands-on experimentation. The major concepts covered will be waveforms, measures of a wave, interference, reflection, standing waves, refraction, diffraction, Doppler shift, bow/shock waves, sound transmission, wave speed, loudness and pitch, resonance, beats, electromagnetic spectrum, speed of light, luminous bodies, transparent materials, color, pigments, shadows, polarization, mirrors, images, lenses, and the eyeball. The unit takes 5-6 weeks, averaging 45 minutes a day if meeting 5 days/week. The unit is stand alone and/or could be used to accompany a number of texts.
This unit focuses on spiraling concepts of the atom, the electromagnetic spectrum, energy, material properties and nanotechnology. All lab activities are student-centered inquiry labs which are open-ended. The unit also includes two POGIL activities, which should be completed within student groups of 3-4 students.