You don't have to go any further than your window to have wonderful learning experiences that connect the natural and virtual world. Read Right Outside Our Window by Mary Ann Hoberman. What's outside your window? What's right outside the door in the playground or a local natural area?
Use digital photos, charts and graphs to record your findings.
- Record the weather (i.e., sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, stormy, windy, foggy, raining, drizzling, snowing).
- Measure the temperature, humidity, wind speed, and precipitation.
- How many trees, cars, houses, people, and animals do we see?
- Use words and photos related to location, direction, distance (i.e, here/there, over/under, left/right, up/down).
- Use words to describe locations (i.e., north, south, east, west, near the road, across the river, next to the sign)
Connecting Data to Authentic Problems
Explore Data and Statistics. There are many online sources for data that's useful in student project such as the Population Reference Bureau. Use software such as InspireData to organize data. Open the Empty Electronic Spreadsheet document in Excel. Explore the Olympics (Excel) example. Create a way to visualize data using charts and graphs. Incorporate your data into an Election Scrapbook tracing trends during the course of the election.
Use the following online tools for creating charts and graphics for your project:
- Analog Clock
- Bar Chart
- Bar Grapher from Illuminations
- Box Plotter from Illuminations
- Circle Grapher from Illuminations
- Create a Graph
- Fraction Paint
- Fraction Paint 2x2
- Fraction Paint 3x3
- Fraction Paint 4x4
- Fraction Paint 5x5
- Fraction Paint 6x6
- Interactive Activities from Illuminations
Create a screen shot of the chart or graph to incorporate into your project. In Windows, press the ALT + PRINT SCREEN key. A screen shot of the currently selected window will be placed on the clipboard. Then, paste it into any application.
On the Mac press the Control-Apple-Shift-4 keys, then select the area of the screen. The picture will be placed on the Clipboard to paste into your project. If you have Mac OSX, you can also use the Grab Utility located in Applications/Utility.
Combine charts and graphs with photos of the process to document a science experiment. Use the following websites for ideas:
- Illuminations from Marcopolo
- Bill Nye
- Steven Spangler
- Science Fair Central
- Star Child Science
Create a scrapbook comparing your mold with the mold others have grown. See some examples at the Thinking Fountain.
Use the following websites where students can collect virtual science data.
- Science NetLinks
- Elementary/Middle School
- All Systems Go - Interactive and Lesson
- Antibiotic Attact - Interactive and Lesson
- Break it Down! - Interactive and Lesson
- Gravity Launch - Interactive and Lesson
- Marble Mania! - Interactive and Lesson
- Nowhere to Hide - Interactive and Lesson
- PowerUp - Interactive and Lesson
- Touch of Class - Interactive and Lesson
- Zap - Interactive and Lesson
- Middle/High School
- Day on Mercury - Interactive and Lesson
- From Cell to DNA - Interactive and Lesson
- Geohunter - Interactive and Lesson
- Make a Mission - Interactive and Lesson
- Orbit and Rotation - Interactive and Lesson
- Places in the Sun - Interactive and Lesson
- Planet Size Comparison - Interactive and Lesson
- PowerPlay - Interactive and Lesson
- Protein Synthesis - Interactive and Lesson
- You and Your Skin - Interactive and Lesson
Social Studies Connection
Go to the following data sets. Focus on a particular region and graph the information. Then, compare your state or province.
- Migration Station from National Geographic and Sciencelink Lesson Ideas
- Population Pyramids from National Geographic and Sciencelink Lesson Ideas
- State Data Map
- State Names from Illuminations
Language Arts Connection
Go to the following Student Materials page. Use the product on a scrapbook page.
Go to the Escrapbooking: Data and Statistics page for lots of data sources online:
Explore the following student-produced examples:
- Statistics Canada's Web Page for Contest Winners from Statistics Canada - this page contains great web projects developed by students using data and statistics. The projects include charts and graphs developed by students as well as analysis and conclusions. Also, check out the Project Gallery of Student Projects.
Build Nature Connections
Explore the book Tree of Life by Rochelle Strauss.
Download the PDF guide with lesson ideas. (PDF file: use Lamb's email address and negenz57 or make your own). Adapt the lesson ideas to a PowerPoint activity format. Also check out The Tree of Life.
To learn more about the concerns related to the disconnect many children have with the natural world, read Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv.
Explore these resources to reach beyond the classroom.
- Backyard Nature
- Inspirations from the Forest from the Smithsonian
- National Geographic
Combine the power of online activities with hands-on, data collection projects. Examine Math Mania (PPT) PowerPoint Starter. Set up your own project.
Conduct an experiment or use an existing data set. Combine photographs and charts/graphs to scrapbook your results in a PowerPoint page. Use the Speakernotes to list the steps in your experiment and your findings.