Real Time Earthquake Data Mapping Activity

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Image Source: USGS

Essential Questions:

  • Where do earthquakes occur?
  • How are earthquakes recorded and measured?
  • What is the relationship between earthquake location and magnitude?
  • How do earthquakes impact humans and the environment?

Materials:

  • Internet Access & USGS Earthquake Data
    • this link is set to the following settings: 30 days, 2.5+ magnitude, terrain, and no plate boundaries
  • Google Sheets Template – one per table top map
    • Earthquake Data Mapping Activity (Public Template)
      • to edit this spreadsheet, make a copy for each map, then share editing rights with each group of students who will be working on that map
        • if you don’t use Google Drive, you can download the Google Sheet as an Excel spreadsheet
      • ex: Map A data is shared with 4 students from period 1, 4 students from period 2, 4 students from period 3, 4 students from period 4, and 4 students from period 5. When done, they will have 200 EQs plotted and color coded on the table top map.
  • Colored pencils or markers per map
  • 1 Table sized map per lab group (3-6 students) – printed and assembled
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Sampling of student data from different regions of the world

Procedures:

  1. Assemble one table map and materials per lab group.
  2. Show students how to use and navigate the USGS website, find EQ data, and how to record their data on the Google Spreadsheets.
  3. Assign each group a map and 1-2 regions of the world. They will collect 25 data points for each region. They can choose any EQs over a magnitude of 3.0 for their region(s).
  4. Once they have all of their data, they will plot the EQs onto the table map. The magnitude of the EQ is the color they will plot onto the map.
    1. ex. Magnitude of 7.5 will be a purple dot
  5. Students will analyze their data and look for patterns
    1. What regions of the world have EQs?
    2. What regions of the world had more EQs? Less?
    3. What regions of the world had lower magnitude EQs? Higher?
    4. Why are EQs located where they are?
    5. etc…
  6. After this activity, I introduced Plate Tectonics and we discussed the relationship between EQs and tectonic plates.

 

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Hurricane Season: Lessons & Resources

Image Source: NOAA Current Hurricane Activity

Updated August 2016

We are heading into Peak Hurricane Season, with forecasts predicting 12-17 named storms. Using the resources below, students can track Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, as well as learn about how hurricanes form, the parts of a hurricane, the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane, and the intensities of hurricanes with this mini-unit from my Adopt-a-City Weather Unit (link).

Hurricane Resources:

  • Hurricane Notes (pdf) –
    • How are hurricanes named?
    • Which storm was more destructive, Katrina or Sandy?
  • Tracking Hurricanes (Google spreadsheets)
    • Choose any one Hurricane and plot it on the NOAA/NWS Atlantic Basin Hurricane Tracking Chart (pdf)
  • Practice latitude and longitude: plotting hurricanes worksheet (pdf)
  • Hurricane Isabel 2003: tracking and analysis of Hurricane Isabel (pdf)
  • BrainPOP Hurricanes Video (link) & Activity Sheets (link)
    • this website needs a subscription to view video and activity

View Current Activity using WunderMap: https://www.wunderground.com/wundermap/

  1. Layers: Click on Tropical – deselect any other layers to make map less cluttered for now
  2. Check the box next to Hurricanes/Typhoons to view activity for the US
    • The Legendtab will show Hurricane categories
    • There may not be any activity today
  3. Check the box next to Sea Surface Temperature to view ocean temperatures

Interactive Activities

  • Create-a-Cane (link)
  • Aim a Hurricane (link)
  • Hurricane Tracker (link)
  • How Hurricanes Form (link)
  • NatGeo – Forces of Nature (link)
  • Saffir-Simpson Scale (link) – What happens when a hurricane hits?

Additional Resources:

  • Hurricane Names (link)
  • NOAA/NWS Historical Hurricane Data (link) – Data for every Hurricanes, including maps
  • Weather Underground Hurricane Archive (link)
  • NOAA/NWS National Hurricane Center (link)

“I am a Scientist” – Social Media

September 2016 – Social Media Platforms Edition

Click here for cell phone templates: LINK

 

Oct. 2015 – Instagram Edition

20151002_130035
I am a Scientist Instagrams

My 6th graders did a really nice job and had a lot of fun creating their Scientist Instagrams. Each student picked a field of science that they were interested in and imagined themselves in those roles. The students also enjoyed seeing each other’s drawings and tapped on the bulletin board to like the images 🙂

July 2015

Each year, as part of my “Becoming a Scientist” Unit, I ask the students to envision themselves in their favorite field of science. What would they like to do? Where would they be located? What tools would they use? What would they wear? What would they be working on?

I thought it would be fun to have their drawings be Instagram snapshots depicting themselves as scientists in their field of choice. One other option is they can draw scientist selfies using a cell phone template (free downloads @ link)

Resources:

  • What does a scientist look like? ppt slides (free ppt) or (Google Slide) – You can download this Google Slide Presentation in any format:
    • Click “File” then “Download as” and choose ppt, etc
    • please do not request editing access, that will alter my copy of the slides
  • “I am a Scientist” directions (pdf)
  • Free Instagram template located on TPT @ “Fun’s Not Just for Elementary” (link)
  • Fun scientist puzzles @ ScienceSpot.net (link)

Adopt-a-City: Weather Report Summary

My 6th graders completed their Adopt-a-City unit and wrote their weather reports comparing the weather in Morristown, NJ to their adopted cities. Students transferred their data to the following Google Sheet Template and then analyzed their data to write their weather reports using Google Docs.

  • Google Sheets Template for Weather Report (link)
  • Google Doc Template for Weather Report (link)
  • Adopt-a-City Unit with resources (page)

Overall this was a successful unit. The students enjoyed having an independent study based classroom experience and working at their own pace. They worked cooperatively with their peers and were able to explore each topic in depth with the provided resources. They also learned so many valuable skills and had a real understanding of weather. Below are some sample graphs for different cities:

image (9)
Morristown, NJ and Butte, MT
Sunset Times
Morristown, NJ and Baton Rouge, LA
image (5)
Morristown, NJ and Miami, FL
image (3)
Morristown, NJ and Seattle, WA
humidity
Morristown, NJ and Las Vegas, NV
Moon Rise
Morristown, NJ and Baltimore, MD

Pacing for Adopt-a-City Unit – students collected data and created Mini-Maps at the start of each class, and they updated their weather data over the weekends. I checked mini-maps and gave a daily grade of 5 pts per map completed and graded completed tasks as they handed them in. I also graded weather data for completion to be sure their data was up to date. Having a shared spreadsheet, with tabs for each student in the class, made it easy to quickly check each student’s data. I also added quizzes to check for understanding along the way. Their weather report was weighted as a test grade.

  • Day 1: Tasks 1-2
  • Day 2:  Tasks 2-3, HW Task 2 completed
  • Day 3: Tasks 3-4-5, HW Tasks 3 & 4 to be completed
  • Day 4: Tasks 4-5-6, HW Task 5 to be completed
  • Day 5: Tasks 6-7, HW Task 6 to be completed
  • Day 6: Tasks 7-8
  • Day 7: Tasks 7-8, HW Task 7 part 1 to be completed
  • Day 8: Tasks 7-8, HW Task 7 – complete Part 2
  • Day 9: Tasks 7-8-9, HW Task 8 to be completed
  • Day 10: Tasks 8-9-10
  • Day 11: Tasks 9-10-11, HW complete Task 9
  • Day 12: Tasks 10-11
  • Day 13: Tasks 10-11-12, HW complete Task 10
  • Day 14: Tasks 11-12-13
  • Day 15: Tasks 11-12-13, HW complete Task 11
  • Day 16: Tasks 12-13
  • Day 17: Tasks 12-13-14, HW complete task 12
  • Day 18: Tasks 13-14
  • Day 19: Tasks 13-14-15, HW complete task 13
  • Day 20: Tasks 14-15 or begin Weather Report, HW complete task 14
  • Day 21: Task 15 or begin Weather Report, HW complete task 15
  • Weather Report due x/xx/xx

NatGeo Map Maker – free maps to use in your classroom

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Download and Print Maps for Free

NatGeo has a wonderful website that allows you to select any US state, foreign country, continent, or geographic region and download/print maps for free.

How can you use maps in the science classroom?

  • Earthquakes – assign each student a region and plot real-time Earthquake data
  • Tornadoes – select a state and research tornado activity
  • Hurricanes – track current hurricanes or research historic hurricanes
  • Mining – where are coal mines located? salt mines?
  • Weather – plot current weather, fronts, isotherms, etc.
  • Biomes – color in the biomes for your selected state or country
  • Animal habitats – where do animals make their homes?
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map – what zones are in your state? what types of plants can grow there?
  • Rainfall maps – does the amount of rainfall differ across your state?

NatGeo – Map Maker (link)

Using Real-Time Data: NOAA & Tides

Tides

I love when we have an opportunity to collect real-time data in class, as part of our unit on tides, we used NOAA’s website (link) to learn how to find real-time tide information, to learn how to read tide graphs and charts, and to find water temperatures for 10 different stations and compare their data. The kids enjoyed picking their own cities and sharing their findings.

Resources:

  • Tides Google Slides Public (link) – this is a shared Google Slide that gives some basic information on tides and then it goes into a step-by-step tutorial on how to use the NOAA website to collect information.
  • NOAA Tides Website (link)
  • Data Collection worksheet (pdf) – students will record and analyze their data

The second activity, included graphing information for high tides at Atlantic City for the month of January. Students will learn how to read a tide chart and graph tide data to see the relationship between tides and moon phases. This activity was also a great way to practice graphing skills. Creating graphs by hand, instead of on a computer, is something that they don’t get to do very often.

  • January Tides Worksheet (pdf) for Atlantic City, NJ.
  • Blank worksheet (pdf) for students to choose data from a different location.
  • Tide Charts (link) – set for New Jersey but you can pick different states and locations for monthly tides data.
  • For more lessons about the Moon, visit the Moon Page, under the Space Science tab.
  • Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MSScienceBlog

Drawing Isotherms

NOAA_map_1-27-15

Looking at today’s weather map inspired me to dig out a lesson on reading and drawing isotherms. I haven’t taught weather in a very long time, but plan to in the spring, and was happy to see that this interactive website was still up and running (link) after all this time.

I really like this interactive tutorial for drawing isotherms because after a student has drawn their line, they can immediately check their work by comparing the line they drew to the line drawn by the computer. They have instant feedback and make adjustments if needed. Then they draw the correct line on their worksheet and try the next one using what they just learned.

After students are done with the online tutorial, they can try creating their own lines on a map of the USA for additional practice.

Graphing Sunrise, Sunset, and Moonrise Data

image (10)

In this activity, students collected data from different cities around the world and entered the sunrise, sunset, and moonrise times into an excel spreadsheet. I have the spreadsheet set up to automatically graph the data as it is entered into excel for 7 consecutive weeks. (I printed out and photocopied the 4th tab of the spreadsheet to make it easier for the students to collect their data and then enter into the spreadsheet)

image (11)

For my classes, I gave everyone the information for the New Jersey data (it is in the spreadsheet as an example, but you can easily delete it and modify as needed). This gave everyone a foundation to make their comparisons. Each student was randomly assigned their first city, and when done, were able to choose any city from the list for their 3rd choice.

Files needed for the lesson: