Have you ever wanted to know how leaves change their color? How about the science behind throwing a football? Or, how tires on a car are related to the lettuce in your salad? Enter Science Underground, a podcast series hosted by TED speaker and scientist Ainissa Ramirez. In the span of two minutes, Ramirez will explain science concepts in common terms so that anyone can understand.
New episodes are released each week and are accompanied with a written summary, list of references, and links to additional content. Search the archive for past episodes and use their tag list to find episodes based on specific topics such as Math, Chemistry, STEAM, and more. Scroll down to the bottom of any page to subscribe to the podcast via email, or sign-up using iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud.
- Assign episodes for homework and have students reflect the next day in class or online using a discussion forum such as Padlet or blog like Google’s Blogger or WordPress.
Brain Pump – Learn something new and feed your curiosity
Brain Pump contains a wealth of short video clips designed to stimulate the mind and encourage discussion on a wide variety of topics. Would you like to know what causes the smell after rain? Did you know that there’s no such thing as cold? What happens when Homer Simpson is pitted against Pierre de Fermat?
Videos are organized into topic categories including Business, Technology, Food, and more. The site also has videos organized by user-submitted topics such as Game Design, How It’s Made, Nature, and Spanish. Each video comes with tools to share on social media or get a direct link to the video. Sign-up is free but not required to use the site, although an account does allow you to star favorite videos for later.
- Use these videos to spark class discussions or as writing prompts to open students to new possibilities.
- Pair the videos with a commenting tool such as Padlet, EDpuzzle, or Comment Bubble to take the discussion online.
Google Maps recently expanded its services to include “The Man in the Moon” and the “Red Planet” in its toolbox. Both celestial maps contain labels of important landmarks and natural formations which can by directly linked to. On the Moon, for example, you can find the Sea of Tranquility as well as where Neil Armstrong put man’s first steps onto the lunar surface. On Mars, you can share the link to Olympus Mons (the second tallest mountain in our solar system) or to the Gale Crater where the Mars rover Curiosity landed in 2012.
NOTE: The Google Maps interface for Earth, Moon, and Mars work best within the Google Chrome web browser. If you are using a different browser then you may need to install the Google Earth plug-in.
For more information and updates on the Google Maps expanding universe, check out the Google Maps Mania blog.
Timelapse – Landsat satellite images of climate change
With the help of Google Earth, Timelapse shows amazing growth and/or change over time on a variety of topics. See how these satellite images have been put together to show change over time in such places as: The deforestation of the Amazon rain forest, urban development around Las Vegas, the reduction of the Mendenhall Glacier, and more. The site also includes several galleries of satellite images and a summary of how satellite and mapping technology have helped us to better understand our impact on the world.
- These animated images touch on some pretty heavy topics such as global warming, urban growth, deforestation, etc. These would be great topics for students to debate on.
- Use the imagery as prompts for creative writing or persuasive essay assignments.
- Consider having students conduct their own time lapse project over the course of a week, month, or the school year.
Here’s an example
Provided by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Molecularium is a digital theme park dedicated to the exploration of atoms, elements, molecules, and their interesting and diverse properties. Once you enter the Hall of Atoms and Molecules, click on the center dome to view the current molecule on display. Click on the atomic symbol on the wall above to watch a video with your host Mel the computer and his friends Hydro and Oxy as they introduce you to the park. Underneath there are four images on the wall, each leading to a different area of the park that contain videos, interactive experiments, and other activities to explore. To the far left is the entrance to the theater where you can watch episodes of “Molecules to the Max!” To the far right is the entrance to the arcade, where there are five arcade-like games to choose from including Ion Storm, Electronz, Mission to Bond, and more!
- This site is huge, with a wealth of information and activities to choose from. It would be easy to break this site up into multiple exploratory activities and spread them throughout a unit of study.
- The site has a sign up feature if students want to be able to save their progress and create their own Atom Face. Sign-up is free and does not require an email address.
MapMaker Interactive – Explore your world with map themes, data, and tools for customizing your map
MapMaker Interactive, created by National Geographic, is an interactive map tool that can be customized to display certain types of information, highlight specific areas around the world, and then share those customizations with others. Choose between six different Themes that deal with water, land, climate, population, politics, economics and more. Under each theme are a variety of information layers that you can turn on and off, changing how and what type of information the map to your right will display. Click on the Drawing tab to add your own marks to the map, helping to focus your audience on the area(s) of the map you want to draw their attention to. You can also click on the Markers tab to help add emphasis to your custom map.
Once you have finished creating your customized map, you have several options available for sharing. You can generate a link to your map which can then be emailed or posted on your website. You can print off your map; if you used a theme with a specific legend, the legend will also be printed. You may also download the map as a static image file (.png) or as an .xml file which will allow you to re-open the map for future editing.
- Use this tool to create your own custom maps that highlight the specific areas and data that relates to your lesson. Include your map (or maps) in handout packets, links on your website, or screenshots in your presentations.
- Start out with a generic map of a specific area, then give students the share link and ask them to label the map with relevant markers based on your unit of study (i.e. a regions natural resources, locations of important military battles, important industries found in a country, etc).
- Have students use MapMaker Interactive to provide a visualization to go along with their own research projects.
Ocean Chlorophyll levels in the Gulf of Maine
Thanks goes to FreeTech4Teachers.com for sharing this find.
ChemReference – Periodic Table & Reference tool
ChemReference’s interactive Periodic Table tool allows students to explore and investigate the current inventory of elements. Use the colored buttons just above the table to isolate different groups of elements, from nonmetals to halogens and noble gases. Click on any element to view a detailed description of that element in the right-hand control panel. Click on the various descriptors within the panel to view relationships with respect to mass, melting/boiling points, electronegativity, and more. Don’t forget to check out the navigation bar on the far-right side of the window to access a visual map of the element as well as links to Wikipedia and other supplemental materials. NOTE: This sit does contain ad banners.
- This is a great resource to use with lessons that ask students to compare and contrast elements based on a variety of attributes.
- Some of the information in the element descriptor box may be challenging for students, but could also be used in conjunction with a Google ‘jockey’ assignment to see who can come up with a friendly definition first.
Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.