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 online database of our African Ethnographic collection includes artifacts that were found throughout the continent of Africa, from The Gambia to Madagascar, from Algeria to South Africa. 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 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 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 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.
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.
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.
This Web site, created to complement the museum's Butterfly Conservatory exhibit, looks at the butterflies that color our world.
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.
Students learn about ultraviolet light in this Moveable Museum unit, where they detect UV rays and then explore ways to block them. 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. Students make a bracelet from beads that respond to UV light by changing color, and test it in different light environments.
For most of human history, recording a star meant describing it with words or drawing a picture. The 19th-century invention of photography changed that—only to be revolutionized by digital imaging. This Moveable Museum article, available as a six-page printable PDF file, takes a look at the technology of digital imaging. It discusses how digital images are pictures stored as numbers and explains how computer manipulation can enhance images and reduce distortion. Some suggested resources are provided for further research.
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.
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.
Marine Animals is one of the AMNH Education Department's many collections of specimens and artifacts gathered the world over by explorers and scientists. In its online Discovery Collection form, Marine Animals includes photographs of 20 specimens with classification and distribution details, an interactive key that guides you through specimen identification, an activity where students select and identify a specimen photograph using the interactive identification key and an Educator's Guide with suggestions for how to use the Marine Animals Discovery Collection in the classroom.
Oyster Shells is one of the AMNH Education Department's many collections of specimens and artifacts gathered the world over by explorers and scientists. In its online Discovery Collection form, Oyster Shells includes photographs of 15 specimens with classification and distribution details, an interactive key that guides you through specimen identification, an activity where students select and identify a specimen photograph using the interactive identification key and an Educator's Guide with suggestions for how to use the Oyster Shells Discovery Collection in the classroom.
Help kids learn their place in space with this rousing rendition of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" that teaches the Long Address used by astronomers. The song's five verses work their way out into space:Planet Earth,Solar System,Milky Way,Virgo Supercluster, and Universe.
This online article, from the museum's Musings newsletter for educators, provides an introduction to environmental stewardship. It discusses Earth's rarity as a planet that supports life and the mounting evidence that indicates human activity is, indeed, altering global climate.
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.
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 Web article is part of OLogy, where kids can collect virtual trading cards and create projects with them. Here they meet two Museum scientists who go fossil hunting every year in the Gobi, and view the duo's scrapbook. In addition to seeing photos and illustrations from the Gobi scrapbook, students learn about the journey to Mongolia, discover the challenges of fossil hunting, and see what a typical day is like for these scientists.
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.