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 online article, from the museum's Musings newsletter for educators, profiles a student and mentor at work in the AMNH's molecular biology lab. It has an overview of the museum's Precollege Science Collaborative for Urban Minority Youth (PSC) program and discusses the benefits of the program to both students and mentors.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.