Inside the Tuscaloosa Twisters

As the nation mourns the many lives lost and altered by the recent supercell tornadoes, the NYT Learning Network and NOAA’s National Several Storms Laboratory are two excellent resources to help your students gain a better understanding of this deadly weather phenomenon.

The NYT Learning Network offers this comprehensive lesson plan entitled Inside Twisters that includes information on tornado basics, a warm-up slideshow for students to watch, discussion questions and a set of group activities. The lesson is correlated to McREL (and can be correlated to the new Common Core).  NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory also provides a wealth of resources and teaching aids including information on weather safety and weather careers.

Don’t forget to check out the MSP2 Resource Guide on Oceans, Climate and Weather, and the corresponding Weather student virtual learning experience on the SMARTR student site that includes videos, games and simulations on the topic.

Project Earth – Making the World a Smaller Place

Project Earth is a global networking website for K–12 educators and the public designed to connect people around the world to help solve environmental problems. Its mission is to generate ongoing conversation and collaboration across national boundaries that collectively lead to positive environmental change. Registration is required and member teachers/schools/classrooms are able to showcase their innovative environmental projects, connect and interact with ecologically-minded people around the world (from Minnesota, to Los Lagos, Chile, to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia!).  Teachers and students also have the opportunity to participate in environmental contests and earn recognition for efforts.

Last year, Project Earth’s World Environment Day Contest drew winners involved with environmentally conscious projects such as studying how plastic bags affect our environment, and growing food for a school kitchen and composting the waste. Submissions to the 2011 contest are due May 15th. A great project idea for your classroom!

A few  other resources to tap into on this topic include the MSP2 resource guides on Technology and the Environment, Populations and Ecosystems, and Oceans, Climates and Weather.

Reading in Science

As we all know, reading in science requires its own targeted strategies that differ from those needed in the other subject areas. Try these resources to enhance your students’ skills and comprehension:

Reading Comprehension Strategies provides descriptions of strategies that can be used in all disciplines.

Some Approaches to Learning Science Vocabulary and Concepts shares techniques for helping middle school students master vocabulary related to abstract concepts.

Science Literacy: Get Real! describes how to introduce vocabulary through real-world events.

Make Science Reading Fun and Meaningful in Middle School! discusses how reciprocal teaching can help students remember what they have read, make connections, and draw conclusions.

Literacy Support Strategies & Ohio Resource Center Science Lessons shows how various reading strategies can be used to help students read informational text.