Students see firsthand that stars and constellations are not arranged in a flat, 2-D pattern in this Moveable Museum unit. The five-page PDF guide includes suggested general background readings for educators, activity notes, step-by-step directions, and a Big Dipper map. Students make their own 3-D models of the Big Dipper using readily available materials and examine their models, observing the 3-D constellation from new perspectives.
A 2-D map is a great guide here on Earth—and virtually worthless for finding your way around in outer space. Take a 3-D look at mapping our solar system and universe. This Moveable Museum article, available as a printable PDF file, looks at how astronomers use data to create 3-D models of the universe. Explore these concepts further using the recommended resources mentioned in this reading selection.
This comprehensive guide to the Paleontology section of OLogy, the Museum's science Web site for kids, explains how after-school educators can make the most of the site. It focuses on dinosaurs because that's what kids are most familiar with. An introduction to the Big Ideas in Paleontology brings educators up to speed on how scientists study early life on Earth, what kind of information the fossil record contains, and why dinosaurs are not extinct. A Site Map shows where to locate all Paleontology resources, from stories to quizzes to hands-on-activities. Paleontology units offer ways to combine different types of resources around a topic. Follow-up questions encourage inquiry-based learning. Wrap-Up Paleo Projects suggests fun ways to wrap up any of these units. A Links and Resources section lists recommended paleontology-related books and Web sites for educators and for kids. A glossary of paleontological terms wraps up the guide.
This activity, which centers on Antarctica, challenges students to research and create the answers and questions for a game of classroom Jeopardy. The printable six-page handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about Antarctica and guidelines for conducting additional research, illustrated activity directions and a worksheet that helps students craft their Jeopardy-style answers and questions.
This classroom activity introduces students to Antarctica's organisms, landscapes, and seascapes. After examining the images in the photo gallery, students work in small groups to discuss their conclusions about the living conditions on this continent. The printable three-page handout includes a series of questions to help students structure their thoughts while viewing the gallery images and a group worksheet that guides students through a discussion of their evolving hypotheses and conclusions.
In this Biodiversity Counts activity, students use their arthropod knowledge to create and play a classroom Jeopardy-style game. The printable five-page PDF handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to help students identify what they already know about arthropods and step-by-step directions for developing Jeopardy-style quiz questions.
Students learn about material culture in this Moveable Museum lesson plan by taking a firsthand look at how culture influences the kinds of things we do. The 12-page PDF guide has educator materials including background information, teacher strategies, assessment guidelines, and detailed notes about the curriculum standards addressed. The Becoming a Cultural Researcher activity worksheet has a series of questions that prompts students to reflect on the material culture of daily activities, customs, or ceremonies. There is a kid-friendly glossary of related terms.
In this classroom activity, middle school students examine the wide-ranging sizes of dinosaurs. The activity opens with background information for teachers about the enormous range of dinosaur sizes. In a classroom discussion, students describe the size of some dinosaurs. Then, working from an existing grid, students create either a to-scale drawing of a Tyrannosaurus head or a life-size drawing of a Protoceratops.
This reference list has a dozen kid-friendly books on a wide range of biodiversity topics. For each title, the author, publisher, and publication date are included along with a brief description of the book. The list includes field guides and other reference books to help students begin exploring plants, insects, birds, and other living things, easy-to-complete activities to bring the importance of biodiversity home, and engaging stories that introduce students to cultural tales that celebrate biodiversity.
In this activity, learners work in teams to study the observation skills essential to scientific research. Learners work in groups and lead one blindfolded member of the group to a tree and other various places nearby. The blindfolded team member describes what he/she smells, feels, and hears while the other members take notes. Learners switch roles and at the end, compare their observations and analyze their observational skills.
Students learn about refracting telescopes in this Moveable Museum unit, in which they construct a simple telescope. The three-page PDF guide includes suggested general background readings for educators, activity notes, step-by-step directions, and information about where to obtain supplies.
Students learn about the variations of white light in this Moveable Museum unit, in which they build a pocket-sized spectroscope from readily available materials and examine different light sources in school, at home, and around their town or city. The seven-page PDF guide includes suggested general background readings for educators, activity and safety notes, step-by-step directions, and a spectroscope template.
In this Biodiversity Counts activity, students learn how scientists calculate a biodiversity index using a page from the phone book as their data source. The printable five-page PDF handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about what they already know about biodiversity and how living and non-living things are connected, step-by-step directions for calculating a biodiversity index, and a worksheet that includes brainstorming questions and areas for recording answers.
This online article is from the Museum's Science Explorations, a collaboration between AMNH and Scholastic designed to promote science literacy. Written for students in grades 6-10, this article from Science World magazine has an interview with AMNH astrophysicist Mike Shara, in which he explains what space objects are and what happens when they collide. There are Web links that offer further opportunities for learning about space objects and their collisions.
In this classroom activity, students record the temperatures in and around a walk-in refrigerator or freezer to see how cold air behaves when it meets warmer air. The printable five-page handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about how the temperature of air changes its density, detailed experiment directions and a worksheet that helps students use the experiment results to obtain insight into the wind patterns of Antarctica.
In this OLogy activity, kids learn how a compass works and why it will always point north. The activity begins with an overview that discusses our reliance on directions and how a compass works. Students are then given step-by-step, illustrated directions for creating a compass with a sewing needle, a small bar magnet, a small piece of foam, and other household items. The activity includes ideas about how to try out your compass.
In this classroom activity, students use recycled materials to construct a polar creature that's ideally suited to life in Antarctica. They then document their creation with a field guide entry. The printable four-page handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about what organisms need to survive in extreme environments, illustrated activity directions and a worksheet that includes brainstorming questions, areas for recording their answers, and directions for creating a field guide entry.
In this classroom activity, middle school students explore the Greek and Latin root words used to create dinosaur names. The activity opens with background information for teachers about how dinosaurs are named. As a class, students explore the Greek and Latin roots of the words photograph, terrace and other familiar terms. Working individually, students complete a worksheet that challenges them to translate the meaning of seven dinosaurs' names. Then, working in pairs, students create their own dinosaur; name it; and describe how it moves, what it eats, how it raises it young, and how it behaves.
This activity sheet for young children is designed to be completed during a visit to the Museum's Hall of Biodiversity. The printable two-page handout includes an explanation of biodiversity, a "scavenger hunt" and a writing and drawing activity using the Forest Floor Diorama, a classification activity using the Spectrum of Life Wall and a treasure hunt using the Rain Forest Diorama.
Created to accompany Exploratorium AMNH, ts guide helps visitors fully explore the 35 hands-on exhibits. The PDF guide for this bilingual exhibit is available in Spanish and English. It contains a glossary of terms, and activities and questions to guide visitors along five different exhibit paths:Things that TurnĺŃan exploration of rotation and how its physical laws allow us to understand the world around usFluids in MotionĺŃa look at how liquids, gases, and even granular solids moveCan You Believe Your Eyes?ĺŃan experiential journey designed to demonstrate the risks of making conclusions based only on past experiencesChange One ThingĺŃan exploration of the scientific approach and the value of changing one variable at a timePendulum PlayĺŃa look at the remarkable properties of pendulums
This activity sheet for young children is designed to be completed during a visit to the Museum's Reptiles and Amphibians Hall. The printable two-page handout includes notes about the distinguishing characteristics of reptile and amphibian eggs and a hall map that directs students to 10 numbered display cases, with at least one observation activity to be completed at each.
This activity sheet for young children is designed to be completed during a visit to the Museum's Hall of Planet Earth. The printable two-page handout includes notes on the rough terrain found on the ocean floors, a hall map that directs kids to seven numbered areas with observation activities, a hall-wide writing and drawing activity for the rocks on display and a collection of fun facts.
In this classroom activity, students work in groups to test a variety of fabrics to determine each one's effectiveness as an insulator. The printable five-page handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about the conditions in Antarctica and the properties of specialty fabrics, illustrated activity directions and a worksheet that includes areas for recording their experiment data, and questions that prompt students to compare their results against their original hypotheses.
This OLogy activity introduces kids to the concept of biodiversity by helping them discover the diversity of their local bird population. To begin, students create a simple bird feeder from a milk/juice carton or a plastic soda bottle. They then fill the feeder with black-oil sunflower seeds, popular with a range of birds. In addition, they are given a list of additional foods to experiment with, such as millet, raisins, and breakfast cereal. Students track the birds that visit their feeder in field journals, making note of the kinds of foods used and the number of birds from each species that visit. Along with step-by-step directions for creating and hanging the feeder, the activity also includes tips for attracting more or fewer visitors.
Students learn how CCD cameras use color filters to create astronomical images in this Moveable Museum unit. The four-page PDF guide includes suggested general background readings for educators, activity notes, and step-by-step directions. Students look at black-and-white photos to understand gray scale and construct simple red and green cellophane filters and observe magazine images through them.
This classroom activity gives students an appreciation for the difficulties deep sea researchers must face in order to find hydrothermal vents. Working in small groups, students can complete this Web investigation in a single class period. The printable handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions that prompt students to use what they already know about mid-ocean ridges to hypothesize about how scientists locate deep sea vents, detailed directions for a Web research project that takes them on a virtual deep sea journey investigating hydrothermal vents, and a worksheet that helps students apply their building knowledge to locate a vent in the northern Pacific Ocean.
About 4.6 billion years ago, a cloud of interstellar dust, ice crystals, and gas collapsed to form a rapidly rotating disk with a young sun at its center: our solar system. This comic strip, a supplement to the Hall of Meteorites Educator's Guide, explains the processes that led to the creation of the planets and the asteroid belt.
In this classroom activity, middle school students simulate a "dinosaur dig." The activity opens with background information for teachers about fossils. Working in groups, students excavate fossil sites created in advance by the teacher, or other group of students, and try to reconstruct a chicken skeleton. The activity closes with a two-page student worksheet that directs students to diagram the fossil site and includes probing questions to help them decode their findings.
In this Digital Universe activity, students learn firsthand about estimation strategies and observational bias. They estimate how common several celestial objects are based on their location and make inferences about larger population patterns throughout the galaxy. The printable PDF activity includes illustrated step-by-step instructions for the following hands-on and computer-assisted activities: Introduction to Celestial Objects, Broad Distribution of Objects in the Galaxy and Making Galactic Estimates
Students learn how a telescope's aperture determines how much light it can gather in this Moveable Museum unit. It has three procedures, one of which is optional. The four-page PDF guide includes suggested general background readings for educators, activity notes, step-by-step directions, and information about where to obtain supplies. In this activity, the light collector is not a lens or a mirror, but a hole in a cardboard box. Light enters through the hole and lights up the box. Users can change the size of the hole and see how the amount of light entering the box changes. The results show why increasing the aperture of a telescope increases the amount of light it can collect.
This OLogy activity takes a look at some of the more amusing traits that are determined by genetics. Students answer four yes/no questions, and then compare their answers with others.
The Museum's Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth allows visitors to explore geologic time and to gain an understanding of the methods scientists use to study vast Earth systems. This comprehensive guide to the hall's resources is designed to help you maximize your trip to the Museum with elementary school students. It includes detailed background information, a map of the hall that shows the five sections of the exhibit and several pre-, during-, and post-visit activities to do with your students. There is a listing of related Museum exhibits and suggestions for how to tie them into your field trip and notes about how the topics featured in the hall address performance standards and curriculum requirements.
We owe our lives to gravity. It holds the atmosphere to Earth and keeps us all from falling off into space. Not to mention that without gravity, the stars and planets—including Earth—wouldn't even exist! This Moveable Museum article, available as a nine-page printable PDF file, introduces the key concepts of gravity, orbits, weight, and weightlessness.
In this classroom activity, young students are introduced to sets and subsets. The activity opens with background information for teachers about cladistics. After brainstorming different ways to group the class itself, students work in small groups to identify subsets of coins. The groups then complete a worksheet that challenges them to group dinosaurs into sets and subsets and share their results with the class.
In this biodiversity activity, students learn how to construct their own cladogram. They consider four coins (quarter, dime, nickel, penny), identifying defining characteristics. Then, students construct a Venn diagram, followed by a cladogram. The two-page printable PDF includes tips for both teachers and students.
In this biodiversity activity, students learn how to construct their own dichotomous keys. They use either specimens they've collected or ones you bring into class, such as shells, fruit, or leaves. The one-page printable PDF includes guidelines about what students should look for and include when creating their dichotomous keys.
These two biodiversity exercises will help students become familiar with the methods of scientific research. The printable seven-page PDF guide includes Studying Biodiversity in Arizona, where students review a paper written by one of the museum's Young Naturalist Award winners and deconstruct her scientific investigation and Biodiversity in Our Own Backyards,where students use a Biodiversity Counts activity (included in the guide) to investigate the interaction of living things near where they live.
This activity is designed to be used with the online text and graphics that are part of the Transformation of the Biosphere Wall in the Hall of Biodiversity. The one-page printable PDF includes two student activities: a general investigation of a threat to the world's biodiversity and a specific investigation of the concrete way in which one of these threats has affected the U.S. environment.
This printable PDF map of the museum's Hall of Biodiversity identifies the eight key stops to hit during your visit, including a photograph of each.
This treasure-hunt activity is designed to be completed during a trip to the museum's Hall of Biodiversity. The printable one-page PDF challenges students to find 31 animals and plants in the Hall's diorama. Photographs of 21 of these specimens are included.