Finding the Science in Recycling

Few topics are easier to relate to a student’s everyday life than recycling. Many of the materials that are recyclable are used in the home and the classroom. These materials and the recycling process can be used to illustrate concepts in science. The resources here employ research techniques, games, and projects.

Recycle City
A citywide view of recycling is presented in this site designed for classroom use by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to learning about recycling possibilities in homes, public places, and businesses, students play the role of city manager and help residents learn to recycle, reduce, and reuse waste. Extension ideas are included.

Talking Trash
Writers for the online Why Files interview people in the field about the cost-effectiveness of recycling, covering such topics as the market for recycled paper, new techniques, and the safety of recycled industrial waste.

Visiting a Recycling Plant
In video segments from ZOOM, a PBS show, a young person learns how paper is recycled. The background essay gives an overview of recycling and discussion questions.

Everyday is Earth Day: Realistic Ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
Step-by-step instructions for a research project on waste disposal are found here. Teams explore the pros and cons of the various methods of reducing, reusing, and recycling products their families use. They also create an ad campaign to convince others to recycle.


We Want Your Feedback
We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What
would you like to know more about? What questions have your
students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers
by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest
posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. Let us know what
you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We appreciate
your feedback on all of our Middle School Portal 2
publications. You can also email us at msp@msteacher.org. Post
updated 12/07/2011.

Wetlands

At one time wetlands were known only for being the mosquito-breeding grounds they can be. Thus, management practices included eliminating the wetland altogether. It is now known that wetlands have at least three useful functions for human inhabitants: pollutant filter, flood mitigator, and site of exceptional biodiversity compared to adjacent dry land areas. How can educators convey these important concepts to students? Here are some web sites to supplement your content knowledge and to complement your lesson repertoire for educating students about wetland and estuary value and conservation practices.

USGS National Wetlands Research CenterNSDL Annotation
This home page contains links to publications, maps and data, and a section titled “About Wetlands” and enhanced with photographs. Among the Hot Topics listed is a link to information about the changing wetlands of Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Estuaries.gov
Explore this web site to learn more about estuaries, how to protect them, and the EstuaryLive interactive field trips. Visit this site often for updates on EstuaryLive broadcasts and ways that you can participate.

Environmental Concern
This nicely organized page contains several links of interest in its left navigation bar, including Educator Training, Schoolyard Habitats, and Wetland 101 Online.

Ducks Unlimited Canada
Three wetland and environmental education units with lesson plans, called the Wetland Ecosystems series, are found at this site. The units were developed by teachers to meet Canadian curriculum requirements in the life sciences.

Wildlife at the Olentangy River Wetland Research Park
Here you can find photos of wildlife typical of most Midwestern and Northeastern wetlands in the United States. This is part of a more comprehensive site devoted to wetland research.

We Need Your Help

We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. You can also request email notification when new content is posted (see right navigation bar).

Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We want your feedback on all of the NSDL Middle School PortalNSDL Annotation publications. Email us at msp@msteacher.org.

Animals on the Move

Most kids are familiar with the migration patterns of monarch butterflies and Canada geese, but do they know that many more animals are seasonal movers too? The National Science Education Standards point out that middle school students are capable of broadening their understanding of how many different species interact, compete, and coexist in the same environment.

Enjoy and share these resources with your students while they learn the reasons behind seasonal migration.

Space for Species NSDL Annotation
This interactive web site invites young people to investigate the contributions that satellite and remote sensing instruments make to wildlife conservation. Students can download their own journal to track real-time movements of migratory animals such as polar bears and leatherback sea turtles, monitor climate and habitat conditions, and evaluate threats to animals along migration routes.

Operation MigrationNSDL Annotation
Operation Migration is part of a consortium created to save the endangered whooping crane from extinction in the wild. Visitors to this site can read field journals and follow along as a team teaches a flock how to migrate. The site includes lots of photos and video clips from the migration. Work with flocks of sandhill cranes and Canada geese is also reported.

Marathon MigratorsNSDL Annotation
A video segment from NOVA’s “The Mystery of Animal Pathfinders” explores how the migratory patterns of shorebirds have evolved over time. Birds that time their travels well are rewarded with breeding success, while birds that leave too early or too late pay the price with unsuccessful reproduction.

Journey North: A Global Study of Wildlife MigrationNSDL Annotation
Although the focus of this project is spring migration, students track the journeys of a dozen migratory species and share their field observations throughout the year. Students also note changes in daylight, temperatures, and the food chain. The site provides a discussion forum, teaching tips, a sightings database, and lesson plans related to migration.

We Need Your Help

We want and need your ideas, suggestions, and observations. What would you like to know more about? What questions have your students asked? We invite you to share with us and other readers by posting your comments. Please check back often for our newest posts or download the RSS feed for this blog. You can also request email notification when new content is posted (see right navigation bar).

Let us know what you think and tell us how we can serve you better. We want your feedback on all of the NSDL Middle School PortalNSDL Annotation publications. Email us at msp@msteacher.org.