Category Archives: Online Resources

MadSci Network

In their own words…

“MadSci Network represents a collective cranium of scientists providing answers to your questions. For good measure we provide a variety of oddities and other ends as well.”

In addition to their library and a search engine that will help you find scientific information on their own site and the world wide web, they have amassed a small collection of science experiments “that require little more than a quick rummaging through the kitchen cabinets.”

If you have an experiment that you would like to share with others, you can submit your ideas to using their on-line submission form.

They also provide links to a large number of scientific demonstrations for different age levels. Be aware that some of the links are no longer viable (e.g., Student Alleles Database).

Project Dragonfly

Dragonfly logoProject Dragonfly began as a collaborative project between the National Science Teachers Association and Miami University funded in party by the National Science Foundation. The Dragonfly website contains collections of on-line articles written by children about specific scientific topics.

These topics include: Butterflies, Houses, Baseball in Space, Family Ties, Navigation, Space, Time, Water, People and Plants, and more…

“[Project Dragonfly] celebrate[s] good questions and investigations, rather than science as “following directions.” Avoid cookbook science and static “activities.” Making a leaf collection, for example, would not be sufficient unless the leaf collection answers a particular question, or unless it generated certain questions and investigations. Also, tell us of your different predictions, different possible methods for their study, different interpretations of their findings. What went wrong? What surprised you? Science is rarely perfect or undisputed–when it is, it is usually boring. We value students’ reasons for conducting their inquiries and their personal feelings. (We prefer inquiries generated by students and teachers or parents, but if the inquiry came from, or was based on, a suggestion in a book or other publication, please include the title, author, and publication information with your submission.)”

Children are invited to submit their own work (including articles, narratives, poems, stories, artwork, jokes, interviews, etc). Information on how to submit can be found at the following link.

Pathfinder Science

I found the PathFinder Science web site while surfing the web. Their tagline is “creating student scientists, not just science students.” What a great philosophy!! PathFinder Science is a national and international collaboration of teachers and students from over 1,000 registered classrooms in 21 differnt countries. The classrooms share data and work together in order to answer questions about our world. Collaborative projects include:

  • North American Lichen Mapping – “Help us explore the environmental impacts of Sulfur Dioxide by studying the density and diversity of lichens”
  • Winter Bird Survey – “Join thousands of citizens and schools for this annual survey of winter birds visiting school and home feeders”
  • Keeping An Eye on the Ozone – “Check out your local Ground Level Ozone readings with Ecobadges and Milkweed plants.”
  • How Does Your Cookie Crumble? – “Help us decide which commercial cookie brands hold up the best!”
  • Driving Me Crazy – “How fast are those cars really going? Help us take a speeder count in your neighborhood.”

    You don’t have to register on their site to access the information and ideas on the site, but is necessary for you to share your ideas and classroom data. Find out more about PathFinder Science from their web site.

  • National Institutes of Health Bookshelf

    Science textbooks can be very pricey (as I am sure a lot of you already know.) The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has aquired the rights to publish some well-known biomedical text books on-line. The books include:

    Berg, Jeremy M.; Tymoczko, John L.; and Stryer, Lubert. New York: W. H. Freeman and Co.; 2002.

    Introduction to Genetic Analysis. 7th ed.
    Griffiths, Anthony J.F.; Miller, Jeffrey H.; Suzuki, David T.; Lewontin, Richard C.; Gelbart, William M. New York: W. H. Freeman & Co.; c1999.

    For a complete list of books, check out the main page of the NCBI Bookshelf.

    Connecting Classrooms Over the Internet

    I found an article on the Education World Web site about using the internet to connect classrooms across the country and across the world:

    “Projects can use the Internet as “more than just as a large library!” It’s easy for teachers to integrate science and math projects on the Internet! The Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) provides teachers with the necessary classroom tools for five different projects and for several real-time projects that connect students worldwide.”

    One of the CIESE projects described in this article is Square of Life, which I posted about a few days ago.

    How To Build Your Own Microscope (And More)

    Fun Science Gallery is a Web site for the amateur scientist created and maintained by Giorgio Carboni. He has posted instructions for building “scientific equipments from relatively cheap materials. Projects include instructions for making telescopes, microscopes, batteries, sidereal indicators, and several other instruments…” Included along with each set of instructions is a history of the original device along with ideas for experiments and activities. Be sure to check out the Fun Science home page for details of his copyright agreement.

    If you know of any other similar Web resources, please let me know. Either send me an e-mail or leave a comment on this post.

    “Science Snacks”

    The Exploratorium has instructions for miniature versions of some of their most popular exhibits, which they call Science Snacks. The experiments are indexed alphabetically or by subject.

    Subjects include: Chemistry, Color, Electricity, Fluids, Heat, Life Science, Light, Magnetism, Math, Mechanics, Perception, Polarization, Reflection, Refraction, Sound and Waves.

    Examples include:

  • Milk Makes Me Sick: a study of the basis of lactose intolerance
  • Glue Stick Sunset: the scattering of light by the atmosphere, which creates the blue sky and red sunsets, can be modeled when light from a flashlight shines through clear glue sticks.
  • and many, many more…
  • The site also offers a list of resources for buying “snack supplies“:

    …a collection of resources recommended by the teachers who created the original Snackbook. It includes sources for some hard-to-get items, for books and print materials considered exceptionally valuable, for unique suppliers, and for items that might not conventionally be considered to be science resources. It does not pretend to be all-encompassing, exhaustive, or universal, but we hope it will be useful.