Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

Classroom Compass
Volume 3 Number 1
Fall 1996

Eisenhower SCIMAST

Resources and Opportunities

Ten-Minute Field Trips

by Helen Ross Russell. Published by National Science Teachers Association. $16.95 + $4.25 s/h. 1-800-722-6782.

This collection of activities, ideas, and examples urges teachers to explore the environments around their schools, whether urban, suburban, or rural. In addition to more than 200 short, close-to-home field trips, the author provides introductions that support an understanding of what might be seen during the students' explorations. The book is divided into topic sections-Plants, Animals, Interdependence of Living Things, Physical Science, Earth Science, and Ecology-and includes a special cross-referenced list of field trips for hard-topped school grounds. The preface, "Saying 'I Don't Know,'" sets the tone for teachers who will join their students in discovering the world outside their classrooms.

Exploratorium Teacher Institutes

The Exploratorium is an interactive science museum founded in 1969 by Frank Oppenheimer, noted physicist and educator. The center, located in the heart of San Francisco, presents hundreds of interactive exhibits and a variety of programs for children and adults. Every summer the Exploratorium offers 300 science teachers, grades 612, the opportunity to take part in a summer experience called the Teacher Institute. These intensive, two-, three-, and four-week programs provide a mix of content-based discussions, classroom experiments, and teaching strategies based on the Exploratorium's exhibits. Applications for admission to the summer 1997 Institutes are being accepted until April 1997. For those teachers accepted, tuition will be borne by the Exploratorium. For more information, take a look at the Exploratorium Web page or contact Exploratorium Teacher Institute, 3601 Lyon St., San Francisco, CA 94123. Phone: 415-561-0313

You can use materials created by these institutes if you get copies of the four-volume Exploratorium Science Snackbook Series, a collection of more than 100 teacher-created versions of Exploratorium exhibits. The books provide instructions for classroom-based constructions (balancing a ball on a stream of air, building a light-scatter box) that illustrate such concepts as magnetism, polarization, and refraction.

  • The Cheshire Cat and Other Eye-Popping Experiments on How We See the World
  • The Cool Hot Rod and Other Electrifying Experiments on Energy and Matter
  • The Magic Wand and Other Bright Experiments on Light and Color
  • The Spinning Blackboard and Other Dynamic Experiments on Force and Motion

Published by John Wiley and Sons, the books are available for $10.95 each plus shipping from the Exploratorium Mail Order Dept., 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA 94123 (415-561-0393) or from the publisher.

Also of interest to classroom teachers is The Exploratorium Guide to Scale and Structure; Activities for the Elementary Classroom. The activities are starting points for exploring the physics and mathematics of structure as well as the effects of scale on structure. The book sells for $29.50 and is available from Heinemann publishers, 361 Hanover Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801-3912 (1-800-541-2086). It can also be ordered from the Exploratorium Mail Order Department.

Hands-On Universe

For the past four and a half years this program, with the support of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy, has enabled high school students to request their own observations from professional observatories. The students download images to their classroom computers and use powerful HOU software to visualize and analyze their data. Until recently the project has forwarded all requests to the Leuschner Observatory at the University of California Berkeley astronomy department. New collaborations between observatories in Hawaii, Illinois, California, Washington, Sweden, and Australia will provide a network of automated telescopes that can respond based on such conditions as geography, weather conditions, scheduling, and equipment characteristics.Exciting results can occur when students are given access to this powerful equipment, as witnessed when two high school students requested observations of the Whirlpool Galaxy as part of their lesson on spiral galaxies. Their observation captured the first light of SN1994I, a supernova. Their names will appear as co-authors on a photometry paper about SN1994I.

For more information about this project, write: Hands-On Universe, MS 50-232 Lawrence Berkeley Lab One Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA 94720. The Web page address is:

Classroom Compass Back Issues: Issue 3.1 Contents: Previous
Search Contact
Copyright ©2001 Southwest Educational Development Laboratory     Terms of Use     Top of page