Source: WikiJournal of Science
I’ve created this site for my students as well as teachers and learners of science around the world. My intention is to share engaging content-specific resources as well as general guidance for science learning and scientific communication. The tabs across the top of the page take you to pages dedicated to IB Biology, IB Environmental Systems and Societies, and MYP Integrated Sciences. Much of the content on those pages also applies to science classes which are not a part of the International Baccalaureate Organization structure, though the assessment criteria are specific to the IBO’s Diploma Program and the Middle Years Program.
Below, you’ll find a few resources which I think are some of the most valuable for my students, and which I want them to come back to regularly. This is where you’ll find guidance on writing lab reports, creating data tables and graphs for data analysis, and developing presentations to effectively communicate about science. You’ll also find a list of digital resources for science, which I update regularly as I unearth new tools that I think will benefit students’ learning, as well as previous blog entries (from the days when I had more time to write).
How to Write MYP Science Reports
How to Create Scientific Tables and Graphs
How to Effectively Communicate Scientific Knowledge
Digital Resources for Science
Posted in astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, Education, Environmental Systems, IBO, MYP Science, physics
Tagged biology, chemistry, earth science, ecology, Education, education resources, environmental science, IB Biology, IB ESS, IBO, international baccalaureate, lab report, life science, MYP, MYP Science, physical science, physics, science, science communication, Science education, science resources, science skills, science writing
I’m back with another set of bookmarks for students and teachers. Because I’ve taught the IB Environmental systems and societies course for several years, this set of online resources is closest to my heart. Some of these links are here simply because I think they’re cool or fun. Many may also be applicable for studying biology and chemistry as well. Let’s get to it:
- United States Census Bureau. Extensive database of global human populations. Can be used to create age-sex pyramids, as well as other applications.
- Earth wind map. A cool interactive resource to check wind patterns in real time anywhere on the planet.
- Visualizing Environmental Science, 1st edition. By John Wiley and Sons, Inc. Online textbook and animations. Much of the site is password protected, but parts are available for free.
- IB Environmental systems and societies worksheets and past questions. From Pearson, a of publisher of one of the IB-aligned student textbooks.
- Edge of Existence, by the London Zoological Society. Full of resources on endangered species.
- Living National Treasures. A guide to threatened and endangered species which are endemic to a single country and nowhere else. Searchable by country or species.
- Aquatic and Terrestrial Biomes. University of Miami, Florida, USA. The page looks a little dated but is still a wealth of information.
- The Habitable Planet. An extensive digital platform for teaching “the systems approach to environmental science”. By the Annenberg Foundation and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
- Ecology and geography fieldwork techniques.
- Survey techniques for beginners. From Wild About Britain.
- Field survey methods from the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage. More advanced than resources above.
- Wildlife Surveys presentation 1. A powerpoint presentation about how to conduct wildlife surveys.
- Wildlife Surveys presentation 2. A powerpoint presentation about how to conduct wildlife surveys.
- Wildlife survey field lab template. This PDF from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has a good layout to help middle school teachers and students design their own field surveys.
- GRID-Arendal Maps and Infographics Library. In association with UNEP. This is one of my favorite resources for teaching environmental science. Searchable by topic, keyword, or geography. All maps and images are free to share. Awesome!
- Timelapse. Watch the world change over the course of nearly three decades of satellite photography.
- Ocean Health Index. A searchable database around several components of ocean health.
- NicheScience. An IB ESS YouTube channel, with podcasts for most of the old syllabus and a growing list of videos aligned with the new syllabus.
- AP Environmental Science. Another YouTube playlist from the very talented Paul Andersen.
- Kyoto Protocol. A website dedicated to the organizations and research involved in the effort to understand climate change.
- IPCC official website. Home of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service homepage.
- Animation gallery from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Searchable. Reliable. Lots of visual data.
- Visualizing global carbon footprints. Interactive data maps from National Geographic.
- Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. From the World Food and Agriculture Organization.
- ARKive photo and video collections organized by species, conservation status, geography, environmental topic, habitat, and student age group. UK-centered.
- Edible Schoolyard. All the resources you need to create a food garden at your school. Based on the very successful program in the U.S.
Posted in Environmental Systems, MYP Science, Random Thoughts, Uncategorized
Tagged 21st century learning, Africa, agriculture, biodiversity, biology, chemistry, climate change, conservation, cool stuff, ecological pyramids, ecology, ecosystems, Education, elephants, energy, Energy resources, environmental perspectives, environmental science, ESS, evolution, food resources, human impact on the environment, human populations, life science, online resources, photosynthesis, plants, poaching, population growth, research, resources, science, Science education, trophic levels, videos
As with my last post, this one is dedicated to sharing the random assortment of helpful bookmarks I’ve collected over the years. Like the first part of my bio resources, these are in no particular order, unless you consider where they fall in my browser’s drop-down menu some kind of order. Without further ado, some resources for your chemistry studies:
- PTable.com. Hands down the best periodic table on the internet. Period.
- Chemistry.about.com. A good, all-around general chemistry resource. They’ve updated the site format to include news and events, which may tie in nicely with MYP Criterion D: Reflecting on the impacts of science.
- LibreTexts virtual chemistry textbooks. These are some fairly advanced materials which may be more appropriate for students in Diploma Program or AP chemistry classes. Organized around broad topics such as analytical chemistry, environmental chemistry, organic chem, and physical and theoretical chemistry.
- IB Chemistry Web. This site appears to be meticulously maintained, and it’s closely aligned with the new IB Chemistry syllabus. Heavy on text, but a tremendous amount of resources for every part of the course.
- PCCL Flash animations for learning chemistry. These aren’t fancy animations, but they clearly and simply demonstrate a bunch of key topics in general chemistry.
- Molecular Workbench. Hundreds of engaging, interactive simulations in chemistry (and other subjects). Many include embedded assessments, and you can build your own simulation if you really get into it. You can spend hours with the MW.
- Cavalcade o’ Chemistry (a.k.a. ChemFiesta). Mr Guch’s incredible chemistry page. He’s been maintaining this page since the late 1990s, and it gets better and better each year. Supremely helpful for middle school and early high school students. He also has a special section just for teachers.
- Practical chemistry activities from the Nuffield Foundation. Over 200 activities you can do to teach or learn about chemistry. Some are virtual, but many require a science lab.
- Behind the Scenes at MIT. As the website tagline says, “A series of two-minute videos relating concepts from textbook chemistry to current MIT research and applications in medicine, the environment, and energy.” A nice way for students to see the real-world applications of what’s happening in the lab and the classroom.
- Off the Shelf Chemistry. A series of 18 chemistry labs for middle school and high school. Download PDF or Word versions to use in your own class/lab.
- Chemlab.com from Truman State University. This website hosts the course materials for several university-level chemistry courses, but many of them are appropriate and applicable for high school.
- Periodic Videos from TED-Ed. “A lesson about every single element on the periodic table.” Enough said.
Those are my Chrome chemistry bookmarks. After I’ve run through my resources for earth science, ecology, and physics, I’ll revisit all these subjects and add a second round of resources from my Firefox browser.
Posted in chemistry, MYP Science, Uncategorized
Tagged 21st century learning, animations, chemistry, cool stuff, Education, Flash animations, online resources, science, Science education, simulations
Welcome – or welcome back – to another exciting year of learning about science!
After recharging my internal batteries on an extended safari with my dad and brother, followed by a couple of weeks in Italy with my children and my mom, I’m energized for the upcoming school year. It’s time to get started on what should be an exciting, innovative, engaging year for myself and all the students in my classes.
We’ve overhauled the grade 8 science curriculum since last year, which means that this year we’ll be studying astronomy, chemistry, electricity and magnetism, and plant adaptations – a nice mix of sciences that will hopefully offer a little something for everyone.
Grade 10 science is broken into the three ‘classic’ sciences of chemistry, physics, and biology, with units on stoichiometry, sound and light waves, and genetics and evolution, respectively.
This year is particularly intriguing for me as I make the transition from teaching the Diploma Program’s Environmental Systems and Societies course for the past 7 years to my first year teaching IB Biology. It will be fun to apply some of my “teaching bag o’ tricks” to a new subject.
Let’s get started!
Posted in MYP Science, Random Thoughts
Tagged astronomy, biology, chemistry, Education, ESS, evolution, physics, science, Science education, Tanzania
“Chemistry is, well technically, chemistry is the study of matter. But I prefer to see it as the study of change.”
-Walter White, Breaking Bad
My last class today was one of those moments that keeps me teaching. My two grade-level collaborators and I just launched a Genius Hour project for our Grade 10 chemistry unit – How have scientific and technical innovations in chemistry changed our world? – and some of the ideas our students came up with are pretty engaging. Check out this brief list of some of the more memorable proposals from today:
- A discussion of the benefits and limitations of spray-on solar cells
- Are methadone treatments for heroin addicts ethical?
- How has molecular gastronomy impacted the food industry?
- How has the development of cheap plastics impacted the lives of subsistence farmers in east Africa?
- What are the potential environmental consequences of new-generation car batteries for electric and hybrid vehicles, and how do they compare to the consequences of internal combustion engines?
- How has our perception and use of LSD changed, from a proposed Cold-War truth serum, to a recreational drug, to a possible treatment for psychological disorders?
- A comparison of social interactions before and after the invention of indoor air conditioning.
I love the idea of kids exploring their own personal interests within the framework of a subject or topic. School should be more like this more often. It’s certainly less boring for the students, but it’s also considerably more engaging for us teachers as well. For one thing, I don’t have to grade 60 of the same tedious essay topic assigned year after year! Instead, students create videos and animations, write songs, and make public speeches à la TED talks.
In previous open-ended projects I’ve done with my classes, I have found that I am better able to judge individual students’ understanding of major concepts in science because we have many more two-way conversations, rather than the typical one-sided lectures common to so many classrooms around the world. Not only am I better able to assess their learning, but students’ learning goes considerably deeper.
For more on the Genius Hour movement in education, check out Chris Kessler’s blog, GeniusHour.com, and the video below.
Avogadro’s number. Source unknown, but if it’s yours, please contact me and I will offer proper credit.
For the past week, I’ve been teaching the mole concept and conversions between moles, mass, and particles, and even though I remember being somewhat confused by the concept when I was a student, I can’t figure out why this topic is so difficult year in and year out.
Part of me thinks it’s simply the magnitude of the number: 6.02e23, or 602sextillion, is just too big for humans to actually comprehend. But a mole is really just a name for a number, like a dozen (12) or a gross (144). So why is it that Avogadro causes so much grief? Here’s TED-Ed’s take on the mole.
Maybe it’s the dimensional analysis (ladder method) used to convert between moles, molecules, and mass? So many students tell me that they can’t remember when to multiply and when to divide, but that’s exactly what the ladder method does: it’s just an organizational tool! I’ll let Mr Andersen from Bozeman Science explain the conversions.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’ve stumbled across some valuable resources this morning – I shared them via Twitter – and they inspired me to share some more science-y things. Here are a few more channels I follow regularly on YouTube, all of which are great for support and/or inspiration in your scientific endeavors.
First up today is Numberphile. Numberphile makes videos about numbers, and since science and mathematics are so inherently intertwined, this channel is kind of a natural pairing for a lot of what we do in our studies of physical science and astronomy. Lots of entertaining and fascinating stuff here.
Next is The Bad Astronomer. As you might guess, this channel focuses heavily on astronomy and space science. Mostly it’s a collection of cool informational videos that don’t seem to be organized around any one central theme – just neat stuff about outer space.
The Science Channel is a really broad, very well-curated channel dedicated to all the major branches of science. Check out their playlists to filter your search down to specific topics or subjects within a given field of study. Highly professional.
Finally, I’ll link to NASA’s official YouTube channel. Here you’ll find literally hundreds of videos assembled by a large team of scientists working on a wide variety of projects at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA.
Posted in MYP Science, Random Thoughts
Tagged astronomy, biology, chemistry, math, mathematics, physics, Science education, twitter, videos, YouTube