Drexell University's Math Forum is the site for "Ask Doctor Math." Choose to read FAQs; browse the archives by formulas, answers, or grade levels (K–beyond college); receive immediate tutoring help; or ask Dr. Math your own question. This is a great site for students and teachers. http://mathforum.org/dr.math/
Contexts for Learning Mathematics, a series by Catherine Twomey Fosnot and colleagues (from Mathematics in the City and the Freudenthal Institute), includes Investigating Number Sense, Addition, and Subtraction (grades K–3); Multiplication and Division (grades 3–5); and Fractions, Decimals, and Percents (grades 4–6). Each series is comprised of an overview book, eight unit books, eight read-aloud books, and three yearlong resource guides. The overview book includes philosophy, outlines the contents of the unit, and suggests how to dovetail this unit with your existing curriculum. The unit books each contain a two-week sequence of games and mini-lessons that address the essential ideas of the unit. The read-alouds are picture-books written specifically to show children in age-appropriate situations solving real-world problems related to the unit. The resource guide contains games and mini-lessons for extending the unit to early and advanced learners. This is an outstanding resource for the elementary teacher: well-written, extensively field-tested, and thoroughly documented. It is typical of the high-caliber materials we have grown to expect from Mathematics in the City.
The Adopt-A-Watershed curriculum has had several years of field-testing and every unit offers good instructional ideas. The material can be used in urban, suburban or rural schools and may be adapted to fit your needs and region. The authors have incorporated a number of resources into the curriculum at every level. The fourth grade unit, Landforms and Geology, is linked to the grades 3 and 4 FOSS unit, "Earth Materials." (Note: The FOSS teacher's guide for this unit is available without the complete FOSS kit, but only if you are implementing Adopt-A-Watershed.) The seventh grade unit, Watershed Geological History, includes the excellent GEMS unit, Stories in Stone. Also included is Major John Wesley Powell's journal (with a discounted price for multiple copies of that book). All units are supported by a variety of high quality resources and references to even more.
Units for other grade levels explore a variety of topics and relate them to watershed environments. Taken together, these topics cover many important issues of science including diversity ("An Apartment in the Woods"), forces reshaping earth ("Significance of Soil") and interdependent systems ("The Streamside Community").
Ag in the Classroom is a large national project linking agricultural and educational organizations and state and federal Departments of Agriculture. Each state has its own Ag in the Classroom program and the USDA supports them with resource materials, conferences and expertise. Their resource guides include materials from public and private sources, lists of children's literature, both fiction and non-fiction, carefully developed ideas for middle school laboratory investigations of plants and a project newsletter. Because of the state-by-state programs, there are options for local support and instructional ideas that may work particularly well in your environment. for example, the newsletter of the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom reports on the work of an elementary science specialist in San Jose who developed an elaborate school garden and curriculum. The newsletter (Winter '96-'97) points to a special study of beans done by students in the ethnically diverse school. They studied different plants as they grew, but also investigated the origin of the plants, and how they were used in traditional cultures.
This Annenberg/CPB videotape allows the viewer to see a group of classroom teachers working with children and, in a studio, commenting on their experiences with early algebra. The group is led by Monica Neagoy, a mathematics education professor from George Washington University. The participants present algebra as the study of variables and the representation of those variables in verbal, pictorial, tabular and graphical ways. Various examples of childrens approaches are shown and discussed, including interesting mathematical storytelling by children. The video is based on a public television series for elementary teachers that aired first in Massachusetts. Because this is part of a larger series, Mathematics: Whats the Big Idea? that allowed for call-ins from participating teachers, it is not as polished as some films. Both the teaching sequences and the studio comments seem candid and make todays viewer feel like a participant, too.
Animals and Their Homes is a primary grades unit about investigations of habitats. It does not require keeping animals in the classroom, except for suggestions of a "bottle biology" approach to insect collections. Record keeping, art and outdoor observations are all described. Activities include: Wet or Dry?, Cool or Warm?, Alike and Different. (84 pages)
Incorporate live animals into your science curriculum and help students to learn ecological concepts and develop a sense of responsibility towards living things. Here's advice about planning activities, observing, recording, designing cages, preparing diets and handling animals. David Kramer provides information about characteristics, reproduction and habitats for 28 different animals and insects, from earthworms to fruit flies, doves and rabbits. give your students a close-up look at the world of creaures right in the classroom. Photos, drawings, plans and a resource list are included. Paperback. 234 pages.
this book describes many of the animals encountered by the Corps of Discovery. Patent also tells how the explorers used the animals buffalo for food, horses for transportation and how surprised they were by some, from grizzly bears to prairie dogs. Modern photos show these mammals and birds in todays environment. Photographs by William Munoz.
Animation for Kids is a twelve minute video for grades 4-8 in which children describe and demonstrate how to make flipbooks, zoetropes and other animation devices. Patrick Jenkins, an animator and creator of eight flipbooks, works with a group of kids as they explore engaging projects which use simple and inexpensive materials.
Arcobaleno, rainbow colored blocks can be used by young children for making unusual curved and arched shapes. Older children can use them for scribing semi-circles on a piece of paper or for a complex discussion on radii, diameters and arcs. Using it can lead to discussions of spirals in nature or in human-made objects. Building with Arcobaleno addresses many NCTM Standards such as problem solving, communication and reasoning. But perhaps most intriguing are the possibilities for developing spatial sense, and ideas related to geometry and to patterns and relationships.
At Synergy Learning, we have built with Arcobaleno for years, with children and adults, yet it is fascinating how challenging this 13-piece set remains, even to those who are familiar with it.
For practical, low-cost, exciting science investigations, it's hard to beat the creative ideas of Bernie Zubrowski. His books encourage "messing around" and exploring materials to enhance understanding. With ballons you can power a monorail, a car or a boat. You can study air pressure and measure the force of air. For third grade through middle school but very adaptable for younger learners
This is the style of journal featured in Lynn Levine's article in the Observation issue. This handy, inexpensive, blank book is spiral bound and each page has open space for drawing and lined space for writing. Filled with good quality paper, it is perfect for young journalers' writing and drawing ideas, questions, and observations. Comes in a vertical or horizontal format, 8 1/2" x 11" or 5" x 8".
Birdsis an Usborne Discovery internet-linked book. In addition to beautiful illustrations and interesting facts, most pages have at least one website to explore on the internet. Some sites are outdated, but there are many marvelous sites you can find through this book. Here are a few of them: http://math.math.sunysb.edu/~tony/birds/ This site links to many birdsong sites. Auditory clips from species all around the world are available, including some with sonograms and breeding maps. www.audubon.org is a huge site with links for birders, teachers, and student programs. www.zoomwhales.com/subjects/birds is an easy-to-navigate site with clear, large print (and pictures for young readers); great for kids. It has information about bird fossils, evolution, and the scientific debate about the link between dinosaurs and birds. There are several pages related to general bird topics such as feeding, nesting, and migration.
This wonderful book explores wild plants of many sorts and encourages student investigations and experimentation. In a section devoted to herbs she writes," Part of the pleasure of growing herb plants from seeds comes from being able to enjoy the distinct and pungent characteristics of herbs almost as soon as they show above ground. This makes herbs good short-term garden plants for young or impatient gardeners." We have learned from education staff at arboretums and other science centers that this book is used as a reference and a source of ideas by many professionals in the field.
Bridges is a new K-2 math curriculum developed by the Math Learning Center at Portland State University (Oregon). The lead researchers and writers are Allyn Snider and Donna Burk, both of whom are practicing classroom teachers. Allyn is also the author of "Paper Quilting" in the Jan/Feb 2000 issue of Connect. This curriculum does a fine job of providing both problem solving challenges and computational skills in flexible ways that encourage innovation and creativity on the part of teachers and students. Bridges responds to some criticisms of other modern math curricula and is unusual in a couple of ways: it relies on easily understood visual models to teach math concepts and it is built upon a belief that higher order thinking skills can be taught in conjunction with basic skills in a balanced fashion.
Bringing the World Alive is a bibliography of nature stories for children, published by the Orion Society (195 Main St., Great Barrington, MA 01230). This is one of several such selctions of children's books, but we have found this one particularly useful, with a good review and background information on each title they have selected. Books include classics and new titles. Write the Orion Society for details on this fifty page resource.
Buoy,is an endearing story about the friendship between a buoy, a seal and a seagull. They meet all manner of creatures passing by: people, whales, crabs and sharks. Each has a distinct personality that is expressed in simple and poetic language. This is a quiet and patient sort of text, with many evocative passages that recall the feel of being at sea, what its like to have friends, to be bored, to long for something you cant have, and to celebrate what you do have.
Exquisite nature photographs by William Neill grace thought provoking text in this wonderful resource. This book entwines the artistic and the scientific while exploring the relationship of patterns. The content could inspire works of art, investigatable questions, discussions, and further observations. While the Exploratorium (San Francisco's museum of science) suggests this for ages 14 and up, the photos offer insights that even young children can appreciate.
Celestial Products are suppliers of many astronomy titles for children and teachers, among them The Thousand Yard Model by Guy Ottewell. They also carry posters, greeting cards, calendars, moon calendars of all sizes, (even one showing the moon phases for the entire century!) and a 16" beach ball of the universe.
This is another title in the GEMS series. This title is designed for Grades 6 to 10 and explores chemical reactions and conservation of matter as chemicals in a ziplock bag bubble, change color and produce gas, heat and an odor - all safely.
Children's Choices is an intriguing cookbook designed for family childcare providers. In a very attractive style it presents ideas for breakfasts, lunches, snacks and other events with menus designed for eight preschool servings or eight school age servings. There is no reason these healthy recipes should be limited to day care environments or early childhood. Many of he menu items are keyed to indicate that they are appropriate for children's participation in preparing the recipe. The recipes are diverse and relatively simple. All respect current ideas about lowering fat and cholesterol and following the guidelines of a food pyramid. This cookbook and a related video, Ingredients for a Good Start, are available from the California Department of Education which also offers many useful materials in their free Educational Resource Catalog (available to anyone throughout the US).
These authors examine what children know about math concepts upon entering kindergarten and how those ideas can be used to enhance their math learning in school. The book is useful in tracking children's problem-solving strategies. Curiously, the examples of problems are drawn from traditional textbook work problems. The book includes two CDs which provide images of children at work on problem solving in classrooms.
Children's Participation: is a comprehensive look at involving children in immediate and relevant decision-making and policy in their communities. Part one deals with history and concepts behind community development, part two features case studies from around the world, part three offers different methods and techniques for display, presentation and communication. Most remarkable is the "ladder of participation," an elaboration from Arnstein's essay on adult participation in 1969 which serves as a metaphor to examine how deeply we involve children, as well as other questions about standard practice in elementary classrooms. This is an outstanding resource which also addresses themes of democratic classrooms and ecological issues. 220 pages.
CHOW! A Nutrition Curriculum is intended for middle school and high school students. Developed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, it explores several major topics, including links between diet and disease, weight and fitness, understanding food labels and political and economic issues. It includes a 75 page teacher's guide, a 26 minute video, a handbook of extension activities and CSPI's three dimensional, "Healthy Eating Pyramid." The curriculum has a strong point of view, based on the Center's research on soft drink consumption, excessive sodium intake and the increase in children's obesity.
Circuit Sense provides clear explanations of simple logic circuits, with diagrams and instructions. For example: How would you build a starting gate for a model car race? Or, how would you turn on a light when a gate is opened? Materials are readily available and the book is an excellent follow-up to a batteries and bulbs unit.
City Safaris has the accurate subtitle, "urban adventures for grownups and kids." These two experienced teachers have tested these projects with elementary and middle school students, both for this book and their earlier Ecology for Kids, which used San Francisco as a laboratory. This book is nicely attuned to children with differing learning styles and provides suggestions for how children and adults can discover the amazing web of human, plant and animal life, along with technological systems that keep a city alive and functioning.
Each chapter ends with a specific "how-to" activity which can be used in that form or adapted to your needs. The book includes an appendix on planning these adventures as well as a list of common resources and organizations.
Cloud Chart (17 x 23) has color photographs of 26 types of clouds with descriptive captions. It is fully laminated for longtime classroom use and comes with a laminated Summary of Forecast Rules by Cloud Types to aid in weather prediction.
Collaborative Inquiry in Science, Math and Technology argues that scientific inquiry and mathematical problem solving skills can best be encouraged in an atmosphere of cooperative learning. Field tested activites and assessment strategies appear throughout the book. They illustrate specific points, but they are also well explained and usable in classrooms. Examples include investigations of light, sound, patterns and the use of manipulatives to promote inquiry in math.
Color Addition Spotlights do everything that the three-projector set up can do (described in this issue) in a more efficient way. The spots fit in a base that holds them securely but allows you to aim them to create three circles of light overlapped in whatever pattern you wish. The kit contains primary and secondary color filters ($125.00). An optional control box has dimmer switches ($61.00).
Comparing and Scaling is a supplementary student book in the Connected Mathematics curriculum. While the activities are not unusual, Connected Math presents ratio, proportion and percent in useful, real life terms.
Conceptual Physics has been reviewed several times in Connect. This book is a marvelous support for educators who want more background about subjects such as mechanics, sound, electricity, light and other topics that effect so many aspects of the world around us. This is a serious treatment of physics, but it is presented in non-mathematical language and a down-to-earth manner. The book is a college text and Paul Hewitt is well known for his teaching, writing and demonstrations, all of which relate physics to common experience.
Using the same title, the book has been rewritten as a high school text, but the college version is more useful for elementary and middle school teachers who want assistance with their own inquiry into aspects of physical science.
Convection is one of many, fine units from the GEMS series, produced by Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, BErkeley. Intended for grades 6 through 9, the major themes in this unit are heat, convection, diffusion, fluids, wind and ocean currents. Whether through a study of food coloring in a glass of water or steam rising from a cup of hot water, Convection opens many opportunities for exploration and discussion of currents of air, effected by heat.
This cookbook gives background information on the ingredients and processes involved in the recipes. Some are quite complex, while others, like "Crisp Corn Wafers" could be done in school if you have access to an oven. A section of each recipe is, "What this recipe shows," giving you specific information about the effect of the ingredients in the recipe. This book can enhance aspects of classroom or kitchen chemistry.
Creating Scientific Communities in the Elementary Classroom, encourages sustainable classroom communities that support student inquiry and successful scientific collaboration. This book may cause you to step back and consider how the human dynamics of a classroom can become sustainable systems! Written by elementary teachers and a developmental psychologist, this book can have an impact on all classroom work.
Creepy Crawlies and the Scientific Method includes detailed instructions for creating informative and fun experiments that encourage problem solving and develop children's ability to fully explore animal behavior, physiology, and anatomy. Through the process children will gain new understanding and appreciation of earth's small beings.
Delta Science Module (DSMII), Chemical Interactions, is designed for middle school grades. It delves into atomic and molecular structure, density, and organic compounds such as fats. Some of the suggested work involves hands-on investigations while other activities are based on chemical models. There is also some introductory pencil and paper work on chemical equations which may be difficult for many 6th and 7th graders.
Powders and Crystals is an adaptation and expansion of ESS Mystery Powders. The investigations are similar to other mystery powder units for middle elementary grades. The instructions are clear and student record keeping is emphasized. An additional feature of this unit (and many others in the series) is a section at the end of each major investigation on connections to other elements of the curriculum, giving you ideas to integrate science and other fields.
Written by educators with extensive experience in elementary and middle schools, this book shows you why design and technology are so important in the lives of children and how to incorporate them into your curriculum. Cooperative learning, thematic approaches and connections between technology and other aspects of the curriculum are all addressed here, along with the specifics of implementing children's engineering. Excellent line drawings and color photographs are both enjoyable and informative. This superb book enhances teaching, supports in-service education and communicates the value and wonder of children's engineering.
This unit features student investigations into dry ice, whose intriguing and "sublime" behavior makes for a totally memorable learning experience. High student interest and the captivating nature of the substance porvide a strong motivational framework for students to construct essential understandings of inquiry, as well as age-appropriate understandings of matter, gases, chemistry and carbon dioxide itself. The unit is designed to meet the dual educational challenge of providing compelling student-centered experience in scientific investigation and experimentation while introducing aspects of the particulate theory of matter, phase change, nature of gases and the history of science. Grades 6-8. 212 pages.
This book is a compilation of 160 tested activities, many of which relate to the theme of this issue of Connect. Sections on air, water and weather all can prove useful to teachers and students working on atmospheric science. Every activity has a section called, Teacher Information, which provides background, but the book does not dictate how to carry out activities. There is room for innovation and inquiry.
Eco-Inquiry is subtitled, "A guide to ecological learning experiences for the upper elementary/middle grades" and is built upon careful research conducted by the Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York. This National Science Foundation funded effort involved a large number of classroom teachers in a pilot study. The book details approaches to ecological inquiry, assessment, portfolios and student self-evaluation. There are three major modules, Who Eats What?, Decomposer Dynamics and From Rot to Radishes. Within each module are several suggested areas of study, reading opportunities and challenges. The book is unusual in that it can be used as a complete structure for a unit including activities and resources needed, or it can be treated as a series of suggested activities and projects.
Electricity and Magnetism begins with the idea that earlier scientific investigations have resulted in today's technology. In seventeen hands-on activities, he suggests links between the work of Franklin, Faraday and many others and some of the devices that we have become used to today. The activities are well described and illustrated for upper elementary and middle school students.
Elementary Science Study (ESS), Mystery Powders is one of the classic units of the famous ESS project of the late '60s and early '70s. The 20 page Teacher's Guide is the basis of several of the more extensive units reviewed here and the investigations are just as good now as they were when written. The book concludes, "More important than learning specific information about the powders is the opportunity for your students to experiment and observe, and subsequently, to draw conclusions based upon the data they collect. This is the essence of Mystery Powders."
Environmental Detectives, from the Lawrence Hall of Science, is a GEMS (Great Explorations in Math and Science) guide that presents a mystery for fifth- through eighth-grade students to solve. A significant fish die-off began five years ago in the Gray Area, a fictional watershed that includes forests, a city and town, a coast, and several bodies of water. Students collect data, learn about potential contributors to the problem, and realize the complexity and interwoven nature of environmental problems. GEMS guides in general are excellent and this one is typically well thought out and incredibly thorough. Not only is the content excellent, the supporting ideas such as managing groups and materials, asking leading questions, scaffolding learning, and assessing student progress are outstanding. Correlations to national standards and resources are included. 256 pages.
Estes Educator is a guide for teachers and youth group leaders, written to encourage the productive and safe use of Estes rockets. Estes Industries is the well-known supplier of model rocket products. They offer specific education packages through such things as the Estes Teachers Starter Set. This set includes a rocket, motors, launch pad and extensive guides for $38.95. There are many rocket designs that can be created from scrap material at home and in school. The Estes designs are excellent for students to begin working with rocketry. For full information about Estes products, programs and safe use of their equipment, call their Educational Services Division at 800-920-0202. Ask for their Educator Catalog.
This is a 27 minute video that can help upper elementary and middle school students and teachers to make sense of plate tectonics. Using specific examples of research near the Oregon-Idaho border, the video tells the story of vast movement of the earth's crust over millions of years. The directors have used the work of three scientists, who are interviewed for the video, to make the story comprehensible and informative. Exotic Terrane also provides a fine example of scientists collaborating to solve a massive puzzle.
This book on model rockets uses many Estes parts in its varied activities, but it goes beyond a basic rocketry manual to suggest both individual designs and possible avenues for investigation. It has lists of locally available materials with which to build rockets. The book also provides very helpful guidance on planning experiments with rocketry. The entire GEMS series encourages experimentation, but this book gives more direction than some others in the actual design of experiments. Grades 6-8.
This book encourages both drawing and science learning through investigations in four large areas of natural history: (1) size, scale and the world of the very small, (2) predator-prey relationships among animals, (3) animal communication and (4) the ecology of living communities. Designed for grades 4 to 6, the book provides dozens of investigations. A teacher who became an author, Raham has put his research and teaching experience into this useful book. (204 pages)
Exploratorium AfterSchool http://www.exploratorium.edu/afterschool/index.html is the site of The Exploratorium in San Francisco, California, dedicated to bringing science and math enrichment activities to out-of-school time. Links to activities, videos, professional development materials, teaching tips, and concept maps.
This is one of five titles written by members of the Joint American Statistical Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. This teachers guide reflects the expertise of each group, including not only what concepts are most important to teach, but how best to teach them. In lessons appropriate for students in grades six and up, teachers are guided to lead students through a wide variety of more recent recording methods, (such as dot plots, stem and leaf plots, and box plots) and interpretation of data. While it provides many examples of data to be charted, in the preface the authors state that it is important to include real situations, as they are often messy (often with missing and or faulty values) and present legitimacy and excitement to the process. The book suggests the activities could span three to nine weeks, depending on how much the teacher would like to include.
Exploring the Night Sky has won the New York Academy of Sciences Childrens Science Book Award. Dickenson presents a large amount of information in this book. The text drifts casually from the factual to the fantastical as it slips into sentences such as, If a spaceship from another planet were to approach Earth, the alien science officer might record in the ships log . . ." While these descriptions may be compelling to young readers or to listeners of this book, it may also provide confusing representations of what scientists know, what they are currently studying, and what they hypothesize. There are three sections: the first provides an overview of our solar system. The second looks at some of those features in depth. The third is a guide for viewing the night sky, with beautiful and clear paintings showing the constellations. 72 pages.
Eyewitness Science: Force and Motion, explores the forces that set the world in motion: What are they? How can they be harnessed? Using force to create motion to do work. Each page covers a separate aspect of motion and force, including: levers, gears, gravity, Newton, energy. The illustrations are a major strength: Color photographs of tools and machines (or their reproductions) of today and yesterday accompany the text.
This is the second book in this useful series which began with Family Math, for families with K-8 children. In this book for preK-3rd grade years, families use geometry and number sense as they work with puzzles, mobiles, shadows and repeating patterns, among other investigations. The book is specially designed for families, including the use of non-technical language and encouragement for more math investigation and play. Occaisional sidebars highlight a conversation between adults or model a conversation with a child about topics that may be surprising or hard to explain.
This is the newest Family Math book, intended for children in grades 5 through 8. Students in these older years are not always easy to engage in family math projects, but this book offers over fifty investigations that are presented in intriguing ways. The activities do not need to be done in order. In these grades, math in school may become more abstract. These Family Math activities involve challenging, important math concepts, but are presented in a style that invites participation and engagement. Chapters on parent advocacy encourage parental involvement in decisions about middle school math courses that can greatly enhance students' opportunities later on.
Feisty Females, Karen Karp, E. Todd Brown, Linda Allen and Candy Allen
This book has the subtitle, "Inspiring Girls to Think Mathematically." The authors' approach is through literature-based math instruction, using books and stories with strong female characters and then having students develop the mathematical implications. Dozens of books are explored in Feistey Females, including Megan McDonald's Insects Are My Life and Arthur Levine's Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand. The good ideas in this book for teachers could be applied in a multitude of classrooms, no matter what basic strategies you use to teach math.
Flights of Imagination by Wayne Hosking provides 18 hands-on projects, each one of which is meant to describe a particular principle of aerodynamics and then make the principle a reality through model building. This book, which is full of many specifics about each one of the projects, can be treated as a resource for the teacher or a guide for older students. With younger students you will not want to deal with terminology such as drag, weight, pitch, roll and yaw in order to figure out how and where to tie the kite string on the kite. However, its valuable to have this information as background both for the teacher and for the student who wishes to go further with the opportunities in this book.
Forestry Suppliers Educational Products is our favorite catalog if you want to browse through the tools that foresters use, some of which can be very useful in the classroom. For example, the DBH tape and metal tree tags mentioned in several articles can be purchased through them.
FOSS kits are attractively packaged in heavy-duty cardboard drawers. The look of these kits alone invites exploration. FOSS was developed over twenty years ago to address equally the learning of content and process as it pertains to exploration of the natural world. Each of their thirty-three modules is intended to span two grades in the kindergarten through eighth-grade range. A website, FOSSWeb for Students, (http://fossweb.com/) supplements the kits with online games and activities.
Physics of Sound was designed for grades 3 and 4, but can also be used with older students. It is one of the 27 modules of the Full Option Science System, each of which is available as a kit. This kit and teacher's guide contain several excellent activities including building a xylophone, kalimba and "mini-gutbucket." Much printed material for sutdents has been translated into Spanish. A new series of FOSS Science Stories is available. The teacher's guide is available only with purchse of FOSS as a full classroom kit.
This book for ages eight and up includes biographical information and 21 activities. Some of the activities included are casting reliefs out of plaster, reducing natural forms to basic geometric shapes through drawing, origami, and molding, and reading architectural plans to solve a maze. There is a good deal of historical content, however some seems to be conjecture presented as fact. Many activities are interrelated; they can build on one another. The content of activities moves beyond science and math, i.e. cooking his favorite breakfast. This book could be the base for a large study either on architecture in general or specifically on Wright.
Frigits is a set of chutes, spinning buckets and bumpers that can be arranged on any vertical metal surface (such as a refrigerator or file cabinet) in countless configurations. The pieces attach with magnets. When you have designed and set up the eight piece system, a marble travels through the course where it is deposited into a box at the end. Or you can add to Frigits, making these pieces part of an even more complex marble ramp system. For ages 8 and older.
This is one of many fine GEMS Guides. Beginning with an Arnold Lobel story, "The Lost Button," from his book, Frog and Toad Are Friends, this GEMS Guide for K through 3rd grade offers strategies for estimation, simple probability and statistics. These are all important challenges and Frog Math provides both specific ideas and support for teacher creativity.
This book provides stories about women inventors beginning at the time of the Civil War and moving forward. These women created solutions to problems facing themselves or society in fields of health care, chemistry, computers, aerospace and more. While many of the activities review the facts about these inventors, some will stimulate students to discover their own inventive strengths. Grades 4-9. Paperback .160 pages.
Geocaching is a game of hide and seek, using GPS devices to locate caches. This is played throughout the world by families, older and younger folks, and classes. The Web site has all the information you need to join (for free) and get started finding and leaving "treasures" for others. http://www.geocaching.com.
Girlosophy is a teen-centered manual of cooking, eating and living. Written for girls ages thirteen and up, this book features over sixty favorite recipes that also serve as portraits for the girls from around the world who introduce them. The basic drive of the book is that girls are better served by paying attention to the messages they get from their bodies rather than from the media. Dieting is described as an ineffective approach to health; it is better to aim for sound nutrition when deciding about meals and food. 200 pages.
This book offers twenty stories about different inventions, with drawings and photos of the inventors. a further section explains the opportunities and problems of being an inventor, including the patent process.
This book explores ideas of gravity from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein. Eleven major investigations, all carefully organized for the classroom, are the centerpieces of this book, which also offers some very clear writing about Einstein's theories. Intended for Grades 5-8, the book requires careful study by the teacher before putting the activities into practice.
We asked the authors of this book to comment on their work. They told us that students, using these ideas, "...have investigated matter, learned about different states of matter, puzzled over questions about the properties of matter and changes of states of matter. They are ready for the larger question: "Why does matter matter?"
Gilbert and Smith continued, "We begin with the idea that everything in the universe that occupies space and has mass is matter. In a universe empty of all matter, there would be no gravity. It is matter interacting with space that gernerates gravity. Matter in any form (solid, liquid, or gas) will generate gravity. In the beginning of the universe all of the matter was in the form of hydrogen and helium gas. This line of thought leads very rapidly to the study of the chemical elements."
The book is well worth your consideration for the study of matter, going well beyond the suggested 8th grade level.
Green Teacher magazine is an exceptional resource for topics related to sustainable systems and many other environmental science and education topics. Published in Canada, Green Teacher uses articles and ideas from both the US and Canada to explore issues such as nitrogen pollution, raising monarch butterflies in the classroom, and "Sidewalk Botany." Articles are informative and activities are very well explained.
Readers will find numerous school yard projects, all of which have been tried in school settings. They range from tree nurseries to school composting to native- plant gardens. More than a dozen schoolyard habitat and garden options are presented ranging from roof top and multicultural gardens, through desert and butterfly gardens, to ponds and prairie restoration. Packed with inspiring ideas, practical examples, photographs and extensive resources. 136 pages.
NGA's design for an indoor classroom gardening environment won it funding from the National Science Foundation. This book contains a wonderful series of challenges, activities and investigations written with substantial attention to problem solving skills. It is an excellent guide to indoor gardening and to how such gardening can be used for specific science learning on the part of elementary and middle school students. It is particularly valuable for exploring plant life cycles and examining both diversity and interdependence.
While the book assumes that you have access to some kind of indoor gardening system with flourescent lights to increase the amount of light available to plants, it does not necessitate the use of the actual Grow Labtm indoor garden, also sold by NGA.
Growing Ideas is a newsletter published by the National Gardening Association. With National Science foundation funding, they have produced excellent teacher resource books and kits, many of which relate to nutrition. The April, 1996 issue of the newsletter focused on nutrition. The newsletter regularly explores student gardening, particularly edible plants. It reviews resources from other places, for example in this issue, Growing Connections, nutrition based gardens, PO Box 30332, Tucson, AZ 85751.
Guide to Math Materials: is an outstanding source book of videos, games, manipulatives, kits and literature for K-4 curriculum. It is well organized and follows the format of the NCTM Standards. The introduction includes an overview of each standard. Each chapter has numerous, yet brief, book and product reviews. At the end of the book is a comprehensive list of suppliers and publishers. This would be an excellent resource for department heads or adminstrators as well as classroom teachers.
Guppies is part of MMAP, a math curriculum funded by the National Science Foundation. This unit explores the breeding and feeding habits of a guppy population. Students can maintain an aquarium or use software to study a virtual population. The unit is designed to develop data organization and communications skills, as well as to offer practical applications for calculators and computer software applications.
Habitats: Making Homes for Animals and Plants, is another excellent resource written by Pamela Hickman. Look around your home. It provides you with shelter, food and a place to live and play. Your home is your habitat. . . Hickmans direct and conversational writing ensures that students can develop meaning from her text. This book includes dozens of investigations that can be conducted using simple, everyday materials. The author addresses issues of conservation, empathy, and responsibility for creating homes and capturing live animals.
Hands-On Nature draws upon years of environmental studies and science work by the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. This widely recognized organization has supported teacher training and community participation in schools in several states. The four major sections of the book point to its value in relation to Connects topic for this issue: adaptations, habitats, cycles, and designs of nature. Within each section of the book are numerous investigations, such as rotting logs (the tree to turf machine), insect life cycles, a study of change in white-tailed deer, and frogs and polliwogs. This is a very usable book with well-tested activities and background information that can aid teachers and community volunteers in K-6 classrooms. Paperback. 236 pages.
If you have a hardware store near you that has helpful people behind the counter, this can be an economical way to expand your design technology resources over time. In addition to tools, look for plastic tubing (for spacers), welding rod (for axles and connectors), varied measuring devices, low cost rope or line for pulley systems, and glue guns. The list is endless.
Healthy Foods from Healthy Soils, a Hands-on Resource for Educators is, at first glance, another book of activities for K-6 classrooms. But the authors have gone well beyond that to provide links to standards, extensive resource lists and background information for every investigation. Their topic seems increasingly important and it highlights a vital area for study: if you want organic vegetables, they have to grow in healthy soils, tended by people who understand a process. Their suggested investigations can lead to discussion and other forms of communication regarding human endeavors in science and agriculture.
This is a free publication from the U.S. Department of Education intended for families with elementary children. You can obtain multiple copies for parents. The 30 activites are enjoyable and each one offers a "parent pointer" that suggests futher projects or underlying concepts. There are several parts-of-a-whole activities included in sections such as Math in the Home, Math at the Grocery Store, and Math on the Go.
This is a video by Rob Perkins, who canoed the Connecticut River from the Canadian border to Long Island Sound. Poignant and humorous, this video is most appropriate for older elementary students, although a teacher can fast-forward through inappropriate or slow-moving sections for younger students. Perkins offers a unique perspective and a captivating look at the people, animals, and industries that survive along the river. 1 hr.
This is a resource for teachers of grades four to eight. It begins with an optional activity to practice experimenting with variables and controls, and leads students through experiments based on model solar homes, solar cookers, and greenhouses. Background information for each experiment, guiding questions to support learners, and reproducible masters are included. Helpful management strategies and trouble-shooting are also included, such as advice like, "Caution your students not to attempt to carry the pan once it is filled with waterwater should be poured only after the pan is placed on its experimental position . . ."
How a Plant Grows is a non-fiction childrens book with fairly simple language (except for some terminology). A combination of color photos and illustrations are used to enhance the text. Many of the photos provide a magnified view of seeds and plants. Cut-away views show root structures well. With younger children, you could use the photos and illustrations without reading all of the text and still have a very good discussion about the development of plants. With older children, all of the text is valuable. This is an excellent book to accompany an investigation of plant growth in your classroom.
This is a series of books for grades four to eight focusing on Bridges, Dams, Roller Coasters, Houses, Roads and Highways, and Skyscrapers (which contains several references to the World Trade Center Twin Towers, intact at the time of publication). Each book includes step-by step explanations of how these structures are made, a glossary, references for further reading, and websites to visit.
In a nation littered with diet books, Bonnie Lukes has provided one that reads well for teens and preteens. She encourages moderation, explains calories and suggests how to plan a long term program for weight loss and maintenance. This is partly her own story and it is written with feeling and encouragement.
"How to Get Fat Without Really Trying", originally a Primetime investigation, is hosted by Peter Jennings. It is a critical look at the complex relationship between the US Department of Agriculture, lobbyists, advertisers, and marketers of food. The most abundant and least expensive food is often not the healthiest choice. Why is this? Parts of this report would serve as a great base for conversations with older students about marketing and the media as well as nutrition. This is one of six varied programs in a two-DVD set, called The Peter Jennings Collection.
HowStuffworks is a website which includes descriptions, diagrams, photos and animation that show how over fifty "things" work. topics range from car engines and cell phones to computer programs and helium balloons. The information is presented in a well-rounded format including history, answers to questions and activities. The text is written in a coversational tone and avoids supplying an overwhelming amount of information on each topic. It includes information on many subjects in addition to toys.
http://lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/ will eventually provide all of the Lewis and Clark journals online. Right now, it consists of volume four and an introduction. This site at the University of Nebraska includes survey notes, sextant readings and is unabridged.
http://www.24game.com/ is the home page for the 24 Game. From here you can find the online version of the game with progressively difficult levels: start with addition subtraction and move up to multiplication and division of fractions. The site also has contact information for ordering the game cards and spinners to play in your classroom.
http://www.esri,com/lewisandclark is a new site developed by ESRI, a major developer of GIS software. This site applies modern technology to 19th century maps and other resources to give us fascinating ways to view the expedition, as well as to view change over time. The site is also a nice example of corporate support of education through the corporation providing free access to its resources.
Journey North at http://www.learner.org/jnorth is a continually expanding site that follows seasonal changes, particularly the migration routes of monarchs, bald eagles, whales, and whooping cranes. But it also contains an enormous amount of other information: background on each species; the progress of migratory creatures and flowering bulbs in spring, as reported by elementary schools along the routes; how the changes in sunlight drive all seasonal change, There are pages designed particularly for students as well as comprehensive resource pages for adults. To sign up your class as reporters, you must complete a free registration form. Video clips and "Challenge Questions" are also found here.