Science resources

The last few days of the school year are a challenge—the time in between the final projects/assessments and the last day of school. Students assume that the year is over, and to stay “busy,” they are sometimes inundated with videos or word puzzles. I often used this time for science activities we didn’t get to during the school year or topics that were beyond the curriculum goals. I’ve discovered some resources that could be helpful in keeping students engaged with new ideas and activities.
From Facebook, I learned about NASA Brain Bites.  These are short videos (the ones I looked at were less than two minutes) that relate space travel and exploration to topics of interest. These could be used as writing prompts or discussion-starters. This is another classroom resource from NASA.
On Twitter, I follow Neil deGrasse Tyson, who recently noted that NOVA Science Now has resources on the Teachers’ Domain site—video clips (about 5 minutes), animations, and lesson plans (mostly at the secondary level) with links to other resources.  Other NOVA resources are available on the Nova Teachers page.

Although I don’t live in or near New York City, I still subscribe (free) to the newsletter of the American Museum of Natural History. The April edition has K–8 resources related to the theme of its new exhibit The World’s Largest Dinosaurs. Most of these activities can be used without attending the exhibit (but if I get to NY this summer, it’s on my list of things to do!).

In the April issue of The Science Teacher, the Idea Bank column spotlighted the tool Dipity (short for serendipity?). This tool lets teachers or students create, manage, and share timelines. For the entries, you can add descriptions, pictures, links to videos and other sources. Although a timeline can be made public, only those with account information (setting up an account is free) can edit it. Timeline assignments are nothing new—but what makes this intriguing is its online presence, where students in a class (or several classes) can collaborate and share their work. “History of Science” activities come to mind, but this tool seems tailor-made for interdisciplinary projects. For example, a social studies unit on the industrial revolution cross-referenced with science discoveries and inventions. How about a timeline of the school year, with links to events and activities from your class? A recap of a sports season, complete with photos or video?

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