Resource of Interest: Modeling the Reasons for Seasonal Change
The approaching winter solstice in the northern hemisphere provides an opportunity to discuss the changing seasons and Sun/ Earth dynamics with your students. This activity from GLOBE—Modeling the Reasons for Seasonal Change—looks at what causes the Earth's seasons, with a focus on the Earth's tilt and spherical shape. Students learn how sunlight spreads over the Earth at different times of the year, emphasizing the solstices and the equinoxes. Students investigate the effect of the Earth's tilt on the spread of sunlight by modeling different tilts using a three-dimensional polyhedron which they construct from paper, and calculate the relative sunlight intensity received by the Northern and Southern Hemispheres to understand seasonal differences between the hemispheres. The precise moment of the 2005 solstice will be December 21, 2005 at 1:35 P.M. EST (18:35 UT). (Note: Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to access the resource).
Free professional development for teachers impacted by Katrina and Rita: NSDL and DLESE Program Center
In partnership with the DLESE Program Center, the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is offering two free online professional development workshops for K-12 science and math teachers in hurricane-impacted schools and those teaching hurricane-displaced students. Online resources—such as those offered by NSDL and DLESE—offer one solution to the scarcity of basic teaching materials in affected communities. The workshops will provide training and assistance in finding and using digital library resources, with particular emphasis on strategies that are easy to implement in storm-stressed classrooms and in distance-learning courses being offered to displaced students. These interactive sessions include insights from teachers already using NSDL and DLESE resources who will share advice and answer questions. Registration is limited—the initial session on Tuesday, December 6 is full, but space remains available for the December 8 session (3:00 - 5:00 PM CST for each workshop). For more information or to participate, contact Susan Van Gundy, firstname.lastname@example.org, NSDL Education and Outreach Director.
Teaching the Science of Evolution
The Biological Sciences Initiative at the University of Colorado at Boulder offers a workshop addressing the challenges of teaching evolution in today's public schools. The goal of the two-day workshop is to provide tools to help middle and high school teachers in teaching evolutionary theory. By understanding the context of evolutionary theory's historical development and by reviewing key evolutionary concepts using examples from human evolution and adaptation, the workshop enables teachers to address contemporary challenges (such as Intelligent Design) with a discussion of the distinction between philosophy (faith, belief) and science (scientific theory, data). The workshop takes place on two Saturdays, February 4th and February 18, 2006, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. at the University of Colorado. Attendance is required at both days. Registration
Another excellent resource for addressing evolution issues is the University of California Museum of Paleontology's Understanding Evolution site, which provides strategies for teaching evolution and responding to misconceptions and roadblocks. The site contains practical examples of how evolution impacts daily life, and covers all grade levels and informal education.
The DLESE Program Center announces the release for comment of an updated version of its annotation metadata framework, with a final release planned for January 2006. Comments on the annotation framework may be directed to email@example.com. Annotations are additional content or metadata that may be associated with a resource in the library. The DLESE annotation metadata framework enables the creation of collections of comments, educational standards, teaching tips, or ideas for use; reviews or contextual explanations; additional information about resources; graphical layers over Web-based resources; or other summary information. The framework permits the capture of comments or feedback by library users; the recording of information that is not in any existing DLESE metadata framework, such as state educational standards; or an overall rating of a resource.
Version 1.0.00 of the framework has been updated to account for changes in the vocabulary used to describe an annotation type; the addition of a field for rating—to capture an overall judgment about a resource using a controlled vocabulary; and the ability to provide, at the same time, both text and a link to annotation information as opposed to either/or. A complete summary of Version 1.0.00 of the annotation framework is available from the DLESE Metadata web site. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are a number of opportunities to participate in DLESE-related activities at the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco, from December 5 - 9, 2005. The DLESE booth in the Exhibit Hall will be available throughout the meeting - stop by and say hello! Check the AGU program information for additional posters and sessions of interest.
A reception for geoscience researchers, educators and outreach professionals will take place on Tuesday, December 6, from 6 - 7:30 PM, at the California Academy of Sciences, 875 Howard (across the street from the Moscone Center). The Geoscience Education and Public Outreach Network (GEPON) reception is co-hosted by the Academy, the University of of California Museum of Paleontology, and the DLESE Program Center. GEPON is an NSF-sponsored initiative emerging from a geoscience outreach workshop held in May 2005. Workshop organizers Mary Marlino and Judy Scotchmoor will present a session at AGU to report on the workshop, its outcomes, and the published report Making a Broader Impact: Geoscience Education, Public Outreach, and Criterion 2. Session ED24A-04 takes place on Tuesday, December 6, at 4:00 PM (Marriott Salon 5).
Bryan Aivazian of DLESE Community Services will do three presentations (elementary, middle school, and secondary levels) at the Southern regional meeting of the National Science Teachers Association meeting in Nashville, Dec. 1-2, and will conduct a DLESE Ambassadors training workshop on Saturday, Dec. 3:
Happy Holidays to everyone!