Monthly Archives: October 2003

The Mastodon Matrix Project

In 1999, a backhoe operator uncovered a jumbled pile of mastodon bones in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Since that time, the Paleontological Research Institute (PRI), in conjunction with Cornell University, has been involved with a three different mastodon excavations in upstate New York. The Mastodon Matrix Project was started to give school children, home schoolers, youth groups, scout troops, senior citizens et al. from around the world the unique opportunity to help with the analysis of the dig sites.

From the Mastodon Matrix Project site:

You [will receive] a 1 Kilo bag of “matrix” from a mastodon site in Dutchess County , New York . Everything in the bag is at least 11, 000 years old. Some of the twigs, leaves and shells look very recent. They have been well preserved by being sealed in an acidic bog for 11,500 years. We have found that a kilo will keep 20 or so students busy for 2 -3 sessions at about 30 minutes each. In your bag there is likely to be a mixture of peat, which is brown, organically rich material, and marl, a gray, clay-like material containing small shells.

  • Directions for the Matrix Project
  • Things you might find
  • How to get involved
  • Bubble-ology

    Bubbles and balloons can be used to teach the following concepts: Bernoulli’s principle, color, images, light and surface tension.

  • Ms. Cheek 4th grade teacher from Kennesaw, Georgia, has a list of bubble-related web pages on her classroom website.
  • The Nueva School has a list of links related to bubbles and ballons.
  • The Exploratorium provides information about bubbles, recipes for bubble mixtures, as well as a “bubbliography” and a list of internet resources.
  • Tornadoes in the Classroom

    Some heavy storms moved through the area today resulting in a tornado watch. The weather over the past few days has been pretty topsy turvy (see October 24th). I realize that I just posted some weather related sites on Friday, but today’s storm kept me thinking about how to bring “extreme weather” into the classroom:

  • NOAA presents an activity to “introduce you to the history of tornado forecasting, tornado formation and tornado safety.
  • Scholastic provides instructions on how to make weather forecasting tools from scratch, as well as information about how tornadoes are formed.
  • The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research presents WebWeather for Kids with instructions on how to make your own thunderstorm, lighting and a tornado.
  • Daylight Saving Time

    REMINDER!!! Don’t forget to set your clocks back before you go to bed tonight. And if you want to learn why we “spring ahead, fall back”. There are a few sights on the web that discuss the history of Daylight Saving Time. Learn NC (the North Carolina teachers’ network) has links to a number of sites relevant to Daylight Saving Time, including a link to a WebExhibit site that describes the history of this custom.

    Weather in the Classroom

    Yesterday’s forecast included reports that it might snow in parts of New Jersey. There was no snow in the Princeton area, but there was a little bit of freezing rain/sleet as I was driving into work. Ack! I’m not ready for winter yet!

    Anyway, that weather report got me thinking about weather and weather forecasting. I discovered that ProTeacher has an extensive archive of classroom activities related to:

  • Weather
  • Weather Forecasts
  • Clouds
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Water
  • They also have links to eight different resources for current weather forecasts.

    The New and Improved “Citizen Scientist”

    You may have noticed a few changes in the menu bar on the left over the past few days. These changes were designed to make this site a bit more user friendly. Articles are now archived by subject (as well as date). This should make it a bit easier to look through the archives for activities related to your subject of interest. You can also use the “search” window to search for posts on specific subjects or containing specific keywords.

    If you have any other suggestions on how to improve this site, please let me know!

    The Physics of Life

    At Physics.orgyou can explore the relevance and importance of physics in all our lives with Physics Life. Playing with this fun multimedia site shows you the influences and applications of physics in everything from the skateboarding to kitchen appliances.” Go explore!

    The site uses an “EasyAsk” interface to answer your physics-related questions with links to “relevant and accurate web sites from its database of refereed resources. If you provide your age and extent of your knowledge in physics, the site tailors its answers to your questions.

    This site also hosts the constants and equations page, “one of the most popular web sites on physical constants…a vital reference for anyone interested in physics – from a school student to a professor.