Wednesday, December 15, 2010


                             (Alaska Coal Beds courtesy of bigcatenergy)

Hello fellow classmates of Explore Alaska.  This is a lesson I have put together for my final project.  I cannot find a way to put my PowerPoint on here.  If you would like it send me an email and I can shoot it your way. 

The other part of my final project is not very formal but something I definitely plan on doing.  At our next in-service I plan to show our entire staff the Teacher's Domain website and how I have been using it.  The great thing is that it is FREE!

Below you will find my lesson plan minus the PowerPoint.

Coal and its' effects on Alaska and its' people and alternative energy options for Alaska

TOPIC: Coal and alternative methods as an energy source and its effects on the global and Alaskan ecosystem as well as appropriate alternatives to coal based electricity

STANDARDS ADDRESSED: Alaska Science Standard [10] SB2.1,  [11] SA3.1, [11] SC3.1, [11] SF1.1-1.3

OBJECTIVES:  Students should be able to:
  1. explain what a hydrocarbon is
  2. describe the different types of coal
  3. describe the basic steps in a coal fired electrical generation power plant
  4. list pros and cons of electric energy derived from burning coal
  5. elaborate on how other countries are contributing to greenhouse gases and the ecological and political issue associated
  6. give examples of alternative energy sources with pros and cons for each
 ANTICIPATORY SETTING: Open discussion with class on how we obtain electric power.  Brainstorm a list on the whiteboard.

STEP BY STEP PROCEDURES:  PowerPoint lecture on coal with the following resources embedded within the PowerPoint that were obtained from the Explore Alaska course as well as resources not from the course.
 INDEPENDENT PRACTICE:  This portion will be done at the end of the PowerPoint with an assignment to be done on school laptops and put in my "dropbox"  As well as the individual assignment with the greenhouse online simulation.

  • Formal assessment with textbook content exam on the chapter with coal and alternative fuels. 
  • Completion of online greenhouse assignment with class discussion on what observations / what was learned from the assignment (list of things learned on the white board...completion grade on assignment and participation points with white board list)
  • Completion of the assignment on the last slide of the PowerPoint (Answer the following questions in a word document or  a PowerPoint and put it in my dropbox)
    • How do carbon emissions into the atmosphere effect the global ecosystem and the Alaskan tundra? (5 points)
    • List at least 2 ways the Native peoples have aided Western science in learning about changes in Alaska's tundra and ecosystem (5 points)
    • What are some alternative methods to generating electricity from coal?  Use your school laptop to find 3 alternative sources appropriate for Alaska with 2 pros and 2 cons for each. (15 points, 5 points for each alternative source with its' pros and cons)
                   (photo courtesy of chieforganizerblog)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Module IX

                          (Captain George Vancouver photo courtesy of wikipedia

Explain: What new learning or reflections have you taken from this module?
I learned about Captain George Vancouver and the areas he explored.  Since my history knowledge is limited, I had never heard of him until today.  What an adventourous life, no motors on the ships, only the wind, ocean currents and the stars.

                                         (photo courtesy of

I learned that Antarctica contains approximately 70 percent of the Earth's freshwater.  I found this information in the cryoantarctica video.  I knew that most of Earth's freshwater is in the solid state, but for 70 percent of it to be at the south pole is quite interesting to me.  Did you know that Earth's magnetic south pole is actually by Earth's geographic north pole? If you didn't, check out this LINK

One thing that I used to know and was reminded of was continental rebound.  If you didn't see this in Clay's Module it is like pushing on a couch cushing (which would be Earth's crust) and then as you take the pushing pressure away from the cushion, or crust,  it rebounds or increases in elevation.

I have purchased the raffle tickets for the Tanana ice break up, but I had no idea how they determined what they considered "break up" until I watched the Youtube video Tanana River Breakup 2009

                                     (photo courtesy of moddedmustang)

Extend: How might you use this week's information and resources?  What other resources can you share?
I will be sharing the Alaska Native Knowledge Network with some of my native students.  I have a 17 year old young man who has decided to do his research paper on native culture because he said he has recently been feeling guilty that he is native but knows almost nothing about his heritage.  I will be sharing all of the links in Clay's cultural connections portion of module IX.

Another resource I will find useful  is the "A Drop in a Bucket" ( water on Earth) activity and the "1000 Snow Flakes" (Intro to Glaciers) activity in the ice for you section of the module.  We are just wrapping up a section on water in my Environmental Science course.  It will be interesting to see what they guess in those activities.

I will be saving the cryoantarctica video in my TD folder to use in my Geology course next sememster when we study ice sheets and glaciers.  I will also most definitely be using the interactive Documenting Glacial Change resource as well.  If you haven't checked it out it is very cool.  It can literally be used for K-12.

In addition to the resources above, I have saved and will be using the Fastest Glacier video from TD as well as the Earth System-Ice and Global Warming.  I must say that I have saved many resources from this module.  Below is a list of the other resources I think will be valuable to myself and my students.
If the Ice Melts - interactive
Fastest Glacier Video -5 min.
Melting Permafrost video - 4min

                (some aretes and cirques outside of Seward courtesy of myself, Dan Adair)

Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this weeks module's and information and resources?

I found this week's module very relevant for me because I saved many videos and online interactives in to my TD folder that I created.  As far as insightful, there wasn't much content that I hadn't already been exposed to.  But as far as usefulness this week was a great one for me.  I have already emailed some of the cultural links today with a few of my native students. 

I think we all have taken college courses we feel have been a complete waste of time, hopefully all of you have taken some resources out of some of the modules to use with students.  Even if it is something as simple as emailing your classes links or diagrams.  Hopefully you all are set up so you can email a specific class like I can.  They just implemented that last year for us and I use it all the time.

3 Colleagues

Alicia I felt the same way about the module IX.  I found many useful resources.

Kris, thanks for the Alaska's Cold Desert link.  I never thought to check out the Burea of Land Management's website.

Tommy I appreciate your feedback on the drop in a bucket activity.  It was helpful for me that you teach all ages because you encountered a wide range of problems depending on ages....even up to the parents with the calculations.  Thanks Tommy

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Module VII


                                          (diagram courtesy of

Explain: What new learning or reflections have you taken from this module?

I learned that Clay put the course participants link at the top of the class homepage.  Thank you Clay.

I learned that indigenous peoples are indeed collecting data but just not quite like we learn in the Western culture.  I thought it was very neat that the Inuit people were posting observations on pieces of paper onto a wall in the Inuit Observations  of Climate Change video.

I also learned that biologists are using the females to access knowledge on the condition of the animals harvested.  To me, this is interesting because they way I was raised was that the men kill, clean and process big game, not the women.

Also, I never even know that the Arctic Climate Modeling Program (ACMP)  existed at all.  If you haven't looked at the overview of the program please click on the link I provided in the previous sentence.

I found it fascinating that microbes are remaining active well into the winter months in the arctic.  I have already shown soil microbes and global warming video to my Environmental Science classes today.

Extend: How might you use this week's information and resources in your lessons?  What other resources can you share?

I will be showing the TD video Alaska Native Teens Help Researchers because first it shows teenagers can aid in actual research (I teach teenagers) and second I loved the very beginning of the video which shows the change of the norther polar ice cap.  It is a great visual from a satellite point of view.  This connects to a cool video on glacier retreat that I found on YouTube. 

The Life Before Oxygen video will be a resource I use in Geology next semester as we go over the concept and activities on the geologic timeline.  It made me think of black smokers and how cool I think they are.  There is a downside to this video I found when I tried to show it to one of my classes, you cannot maximize the video like the others.....bummer.

Did you know they have found microbes that live on the hydrogen sulfide at extremely high temperatures.  This kind of research may lead to a better understanding of early life forms on Earth.  If you are interested in this type of microbiology check out the abstract on this link

                      (black smoker diagram courtesy of Bergensis University)

                   (black smoker picture courtesy of underwater times)

As I was cruising the net looking for other resources on ancient and microbial life I found this link that gives a great shortened version of the history of the universe and our planet.  Perhaps some of you may find it useful instead of those resources that are very detailed and long reads.

Lastly, I will be showing the videos in the Carbon Chemistry section of Clay's module to my freshman after Thanksgiving as we will  be starting a Chemistry unit.  If you teach a full on Chemistry course to upper classmen like I do you will find Ian Guch's website of FREE Chemistry supplements a savior. 
You can get all of his materials for free or you can make a donation to his program as I chose to do because you won't find many sites like his.

Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module's information resources?

Every week I have found at least one thing that I have used or will use.  This week was a great week's module for me as far as useful resources for my classes as indicated in the "Extend" section of my blog.  This is most likely easier for me because I am teaching Chemistry, Geology, Physical Science and Environmental Science this year. 

Oh yeah, I almost forgot to give you guys a sweet link to an interactive Greenhouse Effect simulation.  Scroll to the bottom of the webpage and you will also find printable lessons that go with the simulation.  Or, you can simply project it on your Smartboard or a big screen and show the kids what happens when you manipulate greenhouse gas levels.

3 Colleagues

E.Hayes - thank you for the NASA tv link on your module V blog.  I sometimes visit NASA but I didn't know they had that.  Thanks

Jesse Bjorkman's blog has some funny political cartoons.  I will keep checking in on your blog Jesse to see what new cartoons you have up.

Tommy you have a cool earthquake link for us Alaskans.  Thanks Tommy.  Very cool.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Module VI

3 Colleague's
   Kevin thank you for the information on the ice cores.   Kevin had this info..."All three metal levels soar between 1850 and 1900 only to escalate 10 fold again in the early 20th century until the great depression curbed industry."  It find it astounding that people cannot see some of the extrememly suggestive correlations such as the one you pointed out.

Tyler- I love to hunt and really miss hunting white tail in the mountains of Montana.  I loved your pic and I didn't know the technique of hunting deer on the beach because of snow in the higher elevations.  That sounds AWESOME

1. Explain: What new learning or reflections have you taken from this module?

I have been aware of bio-accumulation for sometime but only with compounds like DDT and mercury.  I had no idea that industrial pollutants have been found in seal blubber whales.  It seems so obvious that I almost feel embarrassed that I have never made the connection to arctic wildlife that are on the higher trophic levels

I found it quite the coincidence that Clay linked us to the same video clip that I showed my Environmental Science classes yesterday on arctic haze.  You might want to check out another clip from the same episode on the coal industry

Another thing that I learned for the arctic haze video is that these pollutants can be suspended in the arctic air for weeks at a time and they can travel for up to ten thousand miles in Earth's air currents.

                                                        (photo courtesy of greenfyre)

2. Extend: How might you use this week’ information and resources in your lessons? 

I absolutely know that I will be using the warm and cold front models with my Physical Science classes next semester.  If you haven't created a folder in teachers domain to save you favorite items I highly recommend it.  I have saved things that I plan on using 3 to 4 months from now. 

Also, if you go in to "My Folders" on the left is "Add an external link".  So, if you find a link on some one's blog that you like you can save it with the other educational materials throughout the rest of this course.

I personally put the NOAA weather map link in there today.  I will use it as we study the atmosphere next semester as well as for my own personal  use.    

I have been aware of Earth's heat budget I did not know until this module that the convection cells in our atmosphere account for approximately 23% of the budget.  That is some serious power.  I wonder how many Watts of POWER that is?

                                                              (photo courtesy of hyperphysics)

 Lastly, even though I am not to my atmosphere unit for many months I still plan to use the graphs from the jet stream and temperature gradients simply to give my kids practice at making inferences from data.

3. Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources?
Once again the most useful things I encountered this week are new computer animations to help myself and students understand very large systems of the Earth. 

This is totally cool with me because almost every class or professional development I take I get nothing useful out of it.  Every week I find at least one thing I can use which is a win in my book.

The  ocean temperature video has a female narrator which is a nice change as I find most science videos have a more monotone male voice.

LAB- A fun and easy lab is to have beakers of sand and water both at room temp (set them out the night before)

Purpose: is to explore the difference in heating and cooling between sand (land) and water (oceans)

1. Have the kids talk about how to set up the experiment (thermometers should be at equal depths, heat lamps of equal distance from the beakers, when to record temps, etc.)

2.  After data is collected graphs can be made and compared

This can be super basic or you can make it for higher level depending on what grade you teach.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Module V

3 colleagues
Janet Reed has a link oceans alive which I will be using with my physical science classes.  Thanks for that resource Janet

Cheryl has a picture of a balloon with a light below it.  What activity is that Cheryl?  The ALISON link she provides is very "cool"  Check it out and you will get my terrible pun.

Alison makes a good point that as educators we need to filter out the resources and information in the modules that will best meet the needs of our students.  Great reminder Alison.

3 Questions

    I learned that we  know more about the surface of Mars than we do about our oceans.  The comments of how the Russian's exploited the otter population allowed me to reflect on the same mentality when many non-native people slaughtered and exploited the once fantastic resource of the buffalo herds of North America.  It truly makes me sad and somewhat ashamed.
    Warmer oceans affect food web video makes a wonderful point that most people don't realize in that a few degrees of temperature change has a tremendous impact on wildlife and their ability to survive. I know I will be using the youtube video on the seasons as the computer animation is better than my current video clip that I show.  When I have kids thinking that summer occurs when we are closest to the sun I turn on a lamp, have them stand at the other end of the room.  Then I ask them to take a 6 inch step forward and ask them "do think your body is going to be warmer after that tiny step you just took?"  Then I reinforce the concept that it is the angle of the incoming radiation that makes the difference. I also like to have students analyze data for different angles of light using our light sensor probeware
    EXTEND This week's information reminds me to use more visual aids than I already do.  I feel as though I use a lot of visuals but I think that you cannot have enough visual aid to assist in teaching new concepts to our students. I will certainly use the satellite thermal images to show the change in ocean temperatures through the seasons.
    If you like showing video clips to students the video on the EXTREME ICE SURVEY is really neat.  No matter what your view on global warming is, the time lapse videography is amazing. 
    EVALUATE I have found this week resources are quite valuable to me as a high school science teacher.  I think I will use that Does a Watched Kettle Boil lab and extend it by dissolving certain compounds into the water.  Perhaps some ionic and covalent compounds and make circuits and then measure which allows the most amperage to flow. As always, I find the blogs of many of my fellow classmates insightful and motivating to become a better teacher in using all the resources we have available in this digital age.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Module IV

3 colleagues  Matt you make some very interesting statements about studying the universe with a holistic approach.  Very insightful and true.  Thanks Matt. Tracy totally hit the nail on the head with some of these kids going insane if they couldn’t be “connected” to their technology.  So true, and sad in my mind.  Marilyn, I like to see that you too like to use the Google earth.  Pretty powerful teaching tool isn’t it?

Explain: I learned that some of the Hawaiian beliefs were that the islands were formed from a fish that came up to the surface and broke into pieces. (Hawaii)  I found the Mauna Kea video pretty cool simply by the helicopter footage of the cinder cones.  Another thing I learned today was that the different types of seismic waves were noted well before my initial assumption.  It is amazing that in 1755 humans began to investigate different types of waves. 1755
The last very cool thing that I learned is using infrared sensors from space to study volcanoes.  Although it is limited, it is still another tool in the belt of a scientist’s assessment of natural earth changing forces.   


Extend: I will definitely be using the video on infrared radiation of volcanoes as we just started a unit on waves and the electromagnetic spectrum.  Play this song for your kids; it gets so stuck in their heads as well as the teachers.  It is corny but the kids love it.EM spectrum song
I truly appreciate the interactive resources provided in this week’s module.  I will use "Explore Alaska's Volcanoes" and I will be emailing my students the link to the interactive simulation of plate, earthquakes and volcanoes
If you love interactive online simulations for education like I do, please explore this site   The site provides free lessons submitted by other educators.  I know we are given many links to look at.  PLEASE LOOK AT THIS ONE. IT ROCKS!!!

 Evaluate: I find that many of these video clips have much better footage and computer imaging than the one I normally find on As I stated above, I find interactive online activities extremely valuable and I am thankful for them being shared with us in this module.  Lastly, I will leave you with a song about volcanoes that my sister shows her elementary kids.  I have started showing my high school kids just because they like how catchy it is.  I hope you may find it useful.  corny volcano song

         (courtesy of NOAA)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Module III

(fresh silvers from the Swanson River provided us with great protein for the rest of our kayak trip this summer....water is a key component in our recreation choices)

Explain: What new learning have you taken from this module?
I have learned that elevation is part of the components in determining what biome a landscape falls under. .  If you teach elementary try the link I have provided.  I also learned from the “On the Yukon River” video from Teacher Domain ( ) that the five of the last seven years of salmon runs have been below average.  As I have already allowed this course to open my mind to a subsistence way of life, I am learning to keep in mind that a bad salmon year would directly impact a student and his or her performance in school.  In western culture we are taught that nutrition is vital to success in school.  Well, if an entire village suffers an off year with a salmon run it is not like they can run to Wal-Mart to get calories.  I also learned from the “Living from the Land and the Sea” video that using the size of the moon can aid in when to harvest resources.  I found that extremely fascinating because the only way this can occur is over many generations of a simple and holistic way of life.  I have learned that I am gaining a great deal of respect for Native Alaskan cultures.

Extend: How can/will you use this week’s resources and/or others in your community in your lessons?
I will use this week's resources to shape my lessons for my Geology class which starts next semester.  I will no doubt use so my students can see true pictures of how different land formations occur at plate boundaries.  I think I will also use the videos which I linked in my “Explain” section of the module to remind my Environmental Science students that cycles in nature directly relate to many Alaskans way of life.  I think they get so used to having several grocery stores that it is easy to lose site of that.  I know that I have not been keeping connected with the diverse ways of life in this enormous state we call Alaska.  Lastly, I will be using resources such as to have students look up other native cultures in the United States.  I grew up in Colorado so I was curious to know what times of native cultures used to exist there.  Students that are from Alaska could pick a state they may have visited and look at how people lived according the landscape and natural resources available.  I am finding out that that native ways of living are extremely fascinating.

Evaluate: How useful, insightful or relevant are this module’s information and resources for you?
I found the videos the most insightful.  Probably because I am a visual learner and just by seeing how the salmon were cut and hung, I think many of my “city attitude” students could learn from watching these videos instead of just listening to me talk about these things.  As I stated last week, I have found the Google earth a phenomenal resource.  Some of my classes have already begun to use this.  So, I am glad that Clay Good accidentally had it on last week’s module. 

(Little Raven Arapaho Chief used the lands of Colorado to survive

3 classmate blogs

1) has some cool links in her evaluate section on plate tectonics.  Check them out if you teach that.  Thanks Amy
2) Martha you and me both can agree on how amazingly challenging it is to try and make sense out of the thing Einstein wrote and published.
3) Alicia makes a great point on how important water is to the entire nation.  It makes me think of the things people have done and are willing to do for water.