OER STEM Science User Group

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All resources in OER STEM Science User Group

Earth System Science (Lab 1): Think Globally, Act Locally

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Students are introduced to four major components of the Earth system: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and pedosphere. They start to apply this knowledge as they visit the local study site to identify elements of these four spheres and infer connections among them. The investigation concludes with students making predictions about ways that a change in the characteristics of one component of their study site might affect the characteristics of other components.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Data Set

Heredity Mix n Match

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Students randomly select jelly beans (or other candy) that represent genes for several human traits such as tongue-rolling ability and eye color. Then, working in pairs (preferably of mixed gender), students randomly choose new pairs of jelly beans from those corresponding to their own genotypes. The new pairs are placed on toothpicks to represent the chromosomes of the couple's offspring. Finally, students compare genotypes and phenotypes of parents and offspring for all the "couples" in the class. In particular, they look to see if there are cases where parents and offspring share the exact same genotype and/or phenotype, and consider how the results would differ if they repeated the simulation using more than four traits.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Author: Mary R. Hebrank

Virtual Plants

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Computer simulations of the structural development and growth of individual plants in 3-D space. Students will learn plant structure in an interactive format.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Interactive, Simulation

Author: Jim Hanan

Debris Dilemmas

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View the video ̢ĺŰĺĎTrash on the Spin Cycle̢ĺŰĺ to discover what causes huge quantities of garbage to end up on the most remote islands in the world and how this garbage affects wildlife.

Material Type: Lesson Plan

The Botany of Desire

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In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan explores risks inherent in one of the most widespread practices in modern agriculture. It's called monoculture, and it refers to cultivation of single or very similar varieties of a food crop on large acreages. In many cases, the variety is one that dominates the marketplace, like the Russet Burbank potato, whose shape makes it a favorite for cutting French fries, or one of the few apple varieties commonly seen in supermarkets. Monoculture may offer economic advantages, but Pollan argues that it brings serious environmental risks.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lecture, Lecture Notes, Lesson Plan, Reading, Unit of Study

Inside the Brain: An Interactive Tour

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The human brain is in many ways a fantastic and enigmatic part of the body, and only within the past few decades have scientists begun to understand its many nooks and crannies. When the brain is beset with any number of neurological conditions, it changes in a myriad of ways. This website, provided by the Alzheimer's Association, provides an interactive tour of the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease. The tour contains sixteen interactive slides, and each slide contains informative text that provides background material. The first seven slides contain a bit of background information about the brain, such as what the brain is composed of and how it functions.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Diagram/Illustration, Interactive, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Simple Machines

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This is an online activity about simple machines. Learners will try their hand at putting these amazing devices to work. They will use several simple machines to "build" a tree house. This an excellent activity to demonstrate how science-particular, simple machines-are at work in our every day lives.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Diagram/Illustration, Game, Interactive, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Author: COSI

Reactions in Chemistry

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Reactions in Chemistry is an eight-part workshop for the professional development of high school chemistry and physical science teachers. The workshop blends chemistry content, history, and technological applications with a range of classroom lessons to provide teachers with updated knowledge and new approaches to pedagogy. Teachers will see diverse classes doing hands-on lessons and labs and will hear teachers reflect on their own practices. The on-camera teachers meet in roundtable discussions about teaching strategies and the particular challenges of helping students connect the content to their own lives. The programs also present the work of industrial and forensic chemists and researchers.

Material Type: Diagram/Illustration, Lecture, Lesson Plan

Are You In Control?

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This lesson teaches the engineering method for testing wherein one variable is changed while the others are held constant. Students compare the performance of a single paper airplane design while changing the shape, size and position of flaps on the airplane. Students also learn about control surfaces on the tail and wings of an airplane.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan

Authors: Alex Conner, Geoffrey Hill, Janet Yowell, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Tom Rutkowski

AC / DC: What's the Difference?

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This animated essay from the American Experience Web site explains the difference between alternating and direct electric current and offers in-depth explanations about the role played by a battery, light bulb, wire, and generator. Grades 6-12. ***Access to Teacher's Domain content now requires free login to PBS Learning Media.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Interactive

Authors: National Science Foundation, WGBH Educational Foundation