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 site presents a collection of scientific learning resources for educators, parents, kids, after-school coordinators, informal learning center staff, and anyone else interested in teaching or learning about science. The site provides a searchable database of resource materials, including activities (computer based and otherwise), curriculum materials, articles, evidence and analytical tools and procedures, exhibition materials, reference lists, and special collections of resources organized around a particular theme. Users can browse resources by topic, sub-topic, grade level, or resource type. Each resource is displayed with a concise description that includes the title, resource type, grade level, and key concepts. Clicking the icon next to the title displays the full resource description. If available, other icons link to the resource in print format, Web format, or both.
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.
This fun Web site is part of OLogy, where kids can collect virtual trading cards and create projects with them. Here, they take a look at genetics and DNA research with six AMNH scientists' journals. The Humpback Whale Journal takes kids to Madagascar to meet this endangered species. The Spotted Owl Journal takes kids to California for a look at these birds who are at risk because their forest homes are being cut down. The Sumatran Tiger Journal takes kids to Indonesia for a look at this genetically unique tiger. The Ruffed Lemur Journal also takes kids to Madagascar, but this time they venture inland to meet the endangered primate. The Pacu Journal takes kids to Brazil to meet this vegetarian relative of the meat-eating piranha. The St. Vincent Parrot Journal takes kids to the West Indies to meet the rare, colorful birds that are further at risk because of smuggling.
After researching the characteristics of arthropods, students observe arthropods in the field, analyze their data, and learn how to develop their own arthropod collection. The unit is designed to be completed in eight or more sessions. The comprehensive curriculum materials contain information for teachers, including activity tips and an overview of the characteristics that define arthropods.
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.
This Web site, created to complement the Hall of Meteorites, looks at these fallen rocks and what they tell scientists about the formation of stars and planets.
This online database of our Asian Ethnographic collection includes artifacts that were found throughout the continent of Asia, from Russia to Indonesia, from Turkey to Japan. The database allows you to see all artifacts for a country by clicking on a map or list of country names, search by object type, culture, and keyword, find out what items are currently on display and learn about recently acquired artifacts. There are two ways to search the collection as a picture-only gallery, or as a catalog that describes each artifact's provenance (country, locale, culture), materials, dimensions, and year of acquisition.
This reference list has more than 20 recommended astronomy books for older students and adults. For each title, the publisher and publication date is included, along with author name. The list is divided into three subcategories: General Astronomy and Astrophysics, Light and Telescopes, and Digital Imaging and the 3-D Universe.
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.
This fun Web site is part of OLogy, where kids can collect virtual trading cards and create projects with them. Here, they learn about cladograms and the vast variety of dinosaurs that once roamed Earth. The activity opens by telling kids that there are more than 400 known species of extinct dinosaurs and by explaining how cladograms show their relationships to one another. Students then go to an interactive cladogram that has 19 dinosaur species. Each of the 19 dinosaurs includes a trading card with details about the species and its discovery, photographs, and interactive multiple-choice and "Fact or Fiction?" quizzes.
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.