OER STEM Science User Group

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All resources in OER STEM Science User Group

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

Rated MPG for Confusion: Using Gas Mileage to Learn Graphing and Data Analysis Skills

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This case study follows a family's dilemma about how to save money on gasoline. Should they keep their SUV and trade in their Corolla for a hybrid sedan? Going from 28 (Corolla) to 48 (Hybrid) miles per gallon (MPG) should really save money on gas. That's a change of 20 MPG! Or, should they keep their Corolla and trade in their SUV for a minivan? The SUV gets about 13 MPG while the Minivan gets 17 MPG. Students learn how to analyze fuel efficiency in terms of "gallons per miles" driven instead of miles per gallon, and gain graphing and data analysis skills. An extension activity also relates fuel efficiency to greenhouse gas emissions. The case was developed for use in a high school general science course. It could be adapted for use in introductory physics, chemistry, algebra, or environmental science courses at the high school or college level.

Material Type: Case Study

Authors: Alan Gleue, Carolyn Pearson, Claudia Bode

Genetics

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This science resource covers a variety of topics; however, the specific URL is on Genetics. It has significant explanations on the basic Principles of Genetics, Co-dominance, Incomplete dominance, and Sex-Linked traits. The units have precise and manageable explanations, and there are numerous links and additional resources to support instructors and students to advance learning. The access to videos and online simulations enhances particular areas, and the diverse assessments support mastery of skills. This is a very purposeful resource on genetics; it is useful to make learning more effective either as an overall instructional method or as an individualized learning supplement.

Material Type: Activity/Lab, Assessment, Case Study, Diagram/Illustration, Game, Interactive, Lecture, Lecture Notes, Lesson Plan, Primary Source, Reading, Simulation, Teaching/Learning Strategy, Textbook, Unit of Study

Music and Math

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An overview of some of the math concepts that are relevant to music. Includes suggestions for classroom activities for grades 3-7 that use music to illustrate a math concept, as well as reviews of the math necessary for older students to understand some music theory and acoustics.

Material Type: Reading, Syllabus

Author: Catherine Schmidt-Jones

Bird Beaks

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In this Science NetLinks lesson, students explore the relationship between a bird's beak and its ability to find food and survive in a given environment. Students learn about bird beaks through observation, both virtual and of local birds, and through a variety of games and activities.

Material Type: Lesson Plan, Teaching/Learning Strategy

Reading a Map

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In this online interactive, learners investigate how Earth's three-dimensional, physical environment is represented on a two-dimensional topographic map. Learners explore the essential parts of a map including legend, scale, and slope indicators. Map reading skills are then tested by learners choosing the best trail to take in different scenarios.

Material Type: Activity/Lab

Authors: Best Buy Children's Foundation, National Park Service

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

Meteorological Monsters

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Students will study the pattern of hurricanes using data from the 2005 huricane season. The U.S. Weather Service has been documenting tropical cyclones in the Atlantic Ocean for over 150 years. The hurricane season of 2005 broke several records, making it the most extreme season since record keeping began: 2005 had the most hurricanes in one season (15), the most category 5 hurricanes (4), the most intense Atlantic hurricane ever recorded (Wilma), and the first recorded European landfall of an Atlantic cyclone (Vince).

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

The Botany of Desire

(View Complete Item Description)

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

How Simple Ideas Lead to Scientific Discoveries

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Adam Savage walks through two spectacular examples of profound scientific discoveries that came from simple, creative methods anyone could have followed -- Eratosthenes' calculation of the Earth's circumference around 200 BC and Hippolyte Fizeau's measurement of the speed of light in 1849. A quiz, thought provoking question, and links for further study are provided to create a lesson around the 7-minute video. Educators may use the platform to easily "Flip" or create their own lesson for use with their students of any age or level.

Material Type: Lecture

Authors: Adam Savage, Franz Palomares, Jeremiah Dickey, Kari Mullholand