Monthly Archives: October 2003

National Geographic Xpeditions

I found the National Geographic Xpeditions website while exploring the National Digitial Science Library. The Xpeditions site has a variety of resources designed to help make learning about geography fun. These include:

  • LESSON PLANS: “teacher tested and organized by standards and grade level
  • ACTIVITIES: “interactive fun for home or the classroom
  • ATLAS MAPS: “hundreds of printer-friendly maps
  • XPEDITION HALL: “our virtual museum – where every click brings geography to life
  • STANDARDS: “Through games, lesson plans, maps, and more, Xpeditions helps integrate the U.S. geography standards into learning – both at home and in the classroom.

    I started off by exploring the Xpedition Hall. There are interactive maps, etc. that bring geographic facts to life. In Room I, you can learn about “the world in spatials terms.” Check out the “X3 World Viewer”, and you can see “six different kinds of information in spatial terms including population growth, language, biomass energy and religion.” What fun! Stop by and visit when you get a chance…

  • Rubber Duckies and Ocean Currents

    What do rubber duckies have to do with ocean currents? In 1992, a crate containing about 29,000 toy plastic ducks was washed overboard from a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean during high seas. Dr. Curtis Ebbermeyer, an oceanographer, has been able to track the movement of these toys with the help of beachcombers who have reported ducks that have washed ashore.

    Find out more about the “migration” of these toys at They have a page on their site dedicated to these Plastic Duckies aka Rubber Duckies. Their site has a link to Dr. Ebbermeyer’s website, along with links to news articles and other websites about these plastic toys now roaming the ocean.

    The Physics of Baseball

    Want to find out more about about the physics behind the great American past time? Then, here are a few sites where you can learn more:

    1) Baseball: The Game and Beyond

    Have you ever wondered why a curveball curves, or how ERA is calculated? Well in this site we try to answer those questions along with many more. You can learn how to score a game and study the physics behind baseball. You can even hear Red Sox PA Announcer Ed Brickley's impressions of the game.

    2) San Francisco's Exploratorium presents The Science of Baseball

    This site has exhibits, articles and activities related to the science behind the game of baseball…as well as links to many other baseball-related web sites.

    3) The Physics of Baseball

    A professor of physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a site devoted to the physics of baseball, complete with info about corked bats, wood vs. alumninum bats, the dynamics of the baseball-bat collision, characterizing the performance of baseball bats, sites geared towards younger people, Aerodynamics of the Baseball, aerodynamics of the baseball, NCAA bat standards, etc.

    Note: I would like to dedicate this post to memory of the 2003 season of the Boston Red Sox. Here's to almost taking us to the 2003 World Series! Cheers!

    National Chemistry Week Open House

    For those of you in the Princeton, New Jersey area:

    The Princeton Local Section of the American Chemical Society and the Princeton Chemistry Department will sponsor a National Chemistry Week Open House at Princeton University’s Frick Lab on Friday, October 24, from 7:00-8:30 pm. The program will start in the auditorium, just across the foyer from the main entrance. All community members 6 years old and up are invited. Children ages 6-12 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

    This year’s theme is “Chemistry in Earth’s Atmosphere and Beyond.” The program will include short presentations with demonstrations in the auditorium and hands-on activities and demonstrations in the laboratories downstairs. Activities will be supervised by American Chemical Society members and Princeton University staff and students.

    Topics include chemistry in space, how gases behave, the structure of the atmosphere, chemistry of oxygen, chemistry of carbon dioxide, making clouds, pollution and how it travels, flight and space flight, the greenhouse effect, the ozone hole, and many more.

    Please register with Kathryn Wagner, Princeton University Chemistry Department, by Thursday, October 23. E-mail or call 609 258-2937 and leave your name, the number of people, and the ages of any children you are bringing.

    Gray's Anatomy

    The internet is obviously a wonderful resource for many types of information. In fact, many scientific textbooks and references are now available on-line. For example, “Gray’s Anatomy”, an invaluable reference on human anatomy and physiology, is available through

    Barnes & Noble Books describes “Gray’s Anatomy” as follows:

    “From its simplest and most basic parts to its most important and complicated systems, almost anything you want to know about the human body can be found in Gray’s Anatomy, the seminal book on the way the human body works. A landmark in scientific writing, Gray’s Anatomy has been an important source of reference for students of medicine and medical history for more than one hundred years. The classic engravings are by H.V. Carter, and Henry Gray’s prose describes in fascinating detail the miraculous forms and functions of our bones, organs, muscles, veins, arteries, and nerves.”

    “Here you have the opportunity of learning the anatomy and purpose of every part of the human body. For example, if you want to know how your heart does what it does, simply turn to the appropriate section within and you will find diagrams and illustrations accompanied by a clear, comprehensive text that will give you the information you desire quickly and completely. No home is complete without Gray’s Anatomy. It is both an essential reference book for family health, and an enlightening voyage of discovery into the nature of our bodies. This new edition will not only maintain, but enhance the reputation Gray’s Anatomy has enjoyed for more than a century.”

    Reference Shelf

    Here are some on-line references from Holt, Reinhart and Winston:

  • A World Atlas – click on the names of the continents, countries and states to find out about their total area, populations, natural resources, etc.
  • The Periodic Table of Elements (available as a pdf)
  • Holt Researcher – an on-line reference for “American History”, “World History and Culture” and “Economy and Government”.
  • The Census and History – “this site examines the historical context of the census, its impact on American political institutions, and what it reveals about our culture.”
  • Evaluation Rubrics for teachers.
  • Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Autumn?

    National Digital Science Library

    The NSF issued a press release to announce the creation of the National Digital Science Library (NDSL), “an online digital library for science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for all ages.” The press release contains brief descriptions and links for just a few of the collections available through the NDSL. I have posted these descriptions below.

    I plan to spend some time exploring this resource, and will most likely mention some of my findings in future postings to “Citizen Scientist”. However, I encourage you to go forth and explore on your own! Have fun!
    Continue reading National Digital Science Library