The 2013-2014 school year is winding down (and in some locations already done). But, that does not mean learning or the enjoyment of science stops – in fact this can be the best time of year to explore and build upon what your students have learned (or you for that matter).
My husband and I recently took a trip to part of the United States we had never been before – the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and the “North Woods” area of Wisconsin. Having just taught Earth Science – I found myself looking at the geology and the weather with a different eye. We even had discussions about the true technical names of various features and debates how to categorize various items. Here are some examples:
* What is the name of a rock or boulder left behind by a glacier? – An erratic
* What is the name of the hillocks left behind by a glacier? – Moraines
* Where is the ice age trail? The North Woods area of Wisconsin
* Just where does the Mississippi-Missouri drainage basin fit in terms of drainage basins in the world? It is number 3 – the Amazon is number 1.
Questions like these come up while you are traveling place to place. You may also have the fun mythology of the formations as well – why is Minnesota the land of 10,000 lakes? They are the foot prints from Babe the Blue Ox. Or, from geology – they are the result of glaciation. PS – the name comes from the Dakota word for “clear water”. It is an easy way to bring in literature, folklore and science – without the stuffiness of a text book.
You can use the time to enhance observations – just check out these pictures – taken during our trip. The following are two different examples of cloud formations. They were interesting to the eye.
And look at how the dew decorates the fir tree.
All of these – are just observations – but lead to questions – and questions lead to exploration. Use this time to explore.