September 6th, 2011

npr:

Map an installation by Aram Bartholl (via architizer)

It’s happening. — Wright

First of all, I think this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen! Secondly, I’m proud to share that I’m finally making some progress on my Google Earth file for the Academy of Natural Sciences. I went through a bit of a lull, with summer camps and my part-time job munching through much of my free time this summer. Now that school is back in full swing, I have dedicated more time to the Academy and my thesis.

(Reminder: I’m creating a KML file for ANSP in honor of their upcoming 200th anniversary! The file will be an exploration for the institution’s supporters, documenting the Academy’s global reach in scientific research.)

I’ve been spending a few hours a week at the Academy in an effort to make some progress on the KML file. I’ve finally played around with Google’s Spreadsheet Mapper, a program that makes it easier to plot several locations in Google Earth with a streamlined layout, and it’s been just the impetus I need to get moving on my project! 

I can’t wait to share more with you all, but for now, visit the ANSP Bicentennial page on the Academy’s website. In honor of the upcoming celebration, the Academy is posting a series of 200 stories about the institution, for the 200 days leading up to the big day: March 21, 2012!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

(via poptech)

August 13th, 2011
world-shaker:

EarthandSpaceQuest might enjoy this.

HAHA YES! Whenever I teach a lesson on this or try to explain my project to others, I always make sure to say that Google Earth is so much more than looking for your house or your neighbor’s pool! 
Hahahaha… this is the best!
Keep questioning (and finding more interesting things to search for on Google Earth),Sara 

world-shaker:

EarthandSpaceQuest might enjoy this.

HAHA YES! Whenever I teach a lesson on this or try to explain my project to others, I always make sure to say that Google Earth is so much more than looking for your house or your neighbor’s pool! 

Hahahaha… this is the best!

Keep questioning (and finding more interesting things to search for on Google Earth),
Sara 

(via world-shaker-deactivated2013092)

August 6th, 2011
Spending some time on this beautiful Saturday morning working on my thesis. This photo is from Academy ornithologist, Dr. Nate Rice's personal collection. He spent time collecting specimens and researching birds in Vietnam in 2010 and 2011.
His field work is directly related to a study of emerging diseases in collaboration with the University of Kansas. In 2010, Rice worked in southern Vietnam on the Dong Nai Nature Reserve in lowland secondary forests. In 2011, he worked in northern Vietnam on the Muong Nai Nature reserve in montane secondary forests. Throughout these expeditions, he has collected over 800 specimens for the study.
I have yet to match these beautiful pictures with the names of these bird species, but I’m about to upload a handful of photos that I’ll be adding to the Google Earth file for the Academy’s 200th anniversary next year.
Keep questioning,Sara 

Spending some time on this beautiful Saturday morning working on my thesis. This photo is from Academy ornithologist, Dr. Nate Rice's personal collection. He spent time collecting specimens and researching birds in Vietnam in 2010 and 2011.

His field work is directly related to a study of emerging diseases in collaboration with the University of Kansas. In 2010, Rice worked in southern Vietnam on the Dong Nai Nature Reserve in lowland secondary forests. In 2011, he worked in northern Vietnam on the Muong Nai Nature reserve in montane secondary forests. Throughout these expeditions, he has collected over 800 specimens for the study.

I have yet to match these beautiful pictures with the names of these bird species, but I’m about to upload a handful of photos that I’ll be adding to the Google Earth file for the Academy’s 200th anniversary next year.

Keep questioning,
Sara 

June 25th, 2011

buzziebeeteacher:

Well, it is just two days till ISTE. Actually, I leave tomorrow so maybe I should say only one day. I have never been to an ISTE conference before so I am rather overwhelmed with the idea of being with 7,000 other attendees trying to find the conference rooms in a mass of moving bodies. We have about a 6 block walk to the Convention Center from the hotel so that part should be good. Can’t wait to get in a big city again. There is something magical about visiting one after being stuck in rural America for several years.

There are to be some big heavy-hitters at this conference. People on Twitter and Facebook whose tweets and blogs I have followed over the last year will all be there. Wondering if I will recognize any of them. Names escape me but their faces are stuck in mind. I know Kathy Schrock will be there but her face I don’t know very well. Just have to wait and see how this plays out. Either way it will be a good time because I will be immersed in technology, which always brings confusion at the end of the week. Too much information causes brain overload.

I can’t believe it’s already here! I, too, am really excited to see people I’ve been following on twitter (@mbteach @aleaness @ksivick @hadleyjf @tomwhitby @web20classroom, and lots more)!

I started a twitter account for the Earth & Space QUEST a little over a year ago, in the hopes of bringing my educational activities to as many people as possible. With a little rummaging around, I found a tight-knit community in a group of Philadelphia-based teachers. Some of the aforementioned tweeters/teachers were organizing #edcampphilly, an unconference for local educators. Although I didn’t end up going, I had fallen in love with the idea of an online PLN, or personal learning network.

I’ve been socializing online since the internet made it big in the 6th grade. Connecting with people through the internet was nothing new to me, but this world of educators — global educators — was something fascinating. It was a group of people who had discovered a meaningful, personal use for the internet and social media. Not only was I interested in learning more from these established, knowledgeable educators, but I was intrigued by the dynamic role social media played in their lives.

I reached out to one of the educators I met, and hoped to help her with some of the educational technology she was using for geography-based lessons in her classroom. I was so excited to make a tangible connection to an intelligent person I’d met online! Shamefully, I let our plans fall through. I hope to see her at ISTE and bring up the possibility of working together again.

I’m so excited for ISTE! I get completely, overwhelmingly inspired when I attend conferences. Out of all the conferences I’ve been to, ISTE (read more about it here, for those who aren’t familiar!) is the most relevant to my interests.

Shameless promotion!: I’ll be presenting during Monday morning’s poster session from 8-10AM on the multidisciplinary uses of Google Earth in the classroom.

I know I asked this before, but who’s going?! Let me know!!

Keep questioning,
Sara

June 10th, 2011

SO MUCH TO DO.

This is me organizing my thoughts and to-do list:

  • Poster for ISTE 2011
  • QR code!
  • QUEST website edits
  • Plug in Dolan to Google Earth
  • Plug in Crabby Creek to Google Earth
  • Email the Academy’s archivist
  • Blog post about Crabby Creek
  • Blog post about yesterday’s geology classes
  • POST FOR WORLD-SHAKER OMG WHY DO THINGS TAKE ME FOREVER
  • Email list of TED talks to Jen
  • Work on Academy curriculum

Okay, no big, right? I have all day…

Keep questioning and don’t ever procrastinate because things pile up, hullo!
Sara 

May 27th, 2011
mothernaturenetwork:

Pens made from water bottlesPilot is turning water bottles into reusable and refillable gel-ink pens — but don’t let that convince you to go back to your bottled water habit.

After reading through this Earth & Space QUEST by my friend Abbey, I vowed never to drink from plastic water bottles again! You should do the same!
The QUEST for Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It is free to download. Open the file in Google Earth & enjoy!
Keep questioning,Sara

mothernaturenetwork:

Pens made from water bottles
Pilot is turning water bottles into reusable and refillable gel-ink pens — but don’t let that convince you to go back to your bottled water habit.

After reading through this Earth & Space QUEST by my friend Abbey, I vowed never to drink from plastic water bottles again! You should do the same!

The QUEST for Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It is free to download. Open the file in Google Earth & enjoy!

Keep questioning,
Sara

April 25th, 2011
Dead tilapia on the Salton Sea short (via Wikimedia Commons)
California’s largest body of water, Salton Sea, is a man-made lake in a desert basin in Southern California. In the early 1900s, the lake became a dumping ground of sorts for the Colorado River. After the river flooded and destroyed the town that used to reside in the desert basin, the area was evacuated and became a permanent lake.
The surface of the lake is approximately 227 feet below sea level, it is bordered on three sides by mountains, and there is no outlet for its water except for evaporation. The hot and dry climate has intensified the salt concentration of this body of water, which is now 25% saltier than the ocean.
In the 1980s, the elevation and salinity of this lake were rising, causing a shift in the ecosystem. Fish populations began to decline, algae flourished, and pathogens and parasites were found in abundance, bringing diseases to the nearby plants and animals, including hundreds of thousands of birds. In 1999, an August 4th measurement confirmed the death of 7.6 million fish in one day.
With increasing pollution of the nearby Colorado River (due largely in part to agricultural run-off), there is very little clean freshwater coming into the Salton Sea… and with an increasing need for freshwater supply, the surrounding area is in dire need of some kind of solution.
—-
This is part of a project for my EARTH111 class, Water: Science & Society. Since this assignment is due tonight at 11PM (eek!), stay tuned for some more real-life water crises, which will ultimately be documented and available for free download in the form of a Google Earth file that geolocates all of these issues.
Keep questioning,Sara

Dead tilapia on the Salton Sea short (via Wikimedia Commons)

California’s largest body of water, Salton Sea, is a man-made lake in a desert basin in Southern California. In the early 1900s, the lake became a dumping ground of sorts for the Colorado River. After the river flooded and destroyed the town that used to reside in the desert basin, the area was evacuated and became a permanent lake.

The surface of the lake is approximately 227 feet below sea level, it is bordered on three sides by mountains, and there is no outlet for its water except for evaporation. The hot and dry climate has intensified the salt concentration of this body of water, which is now 25% saltier than the ocean.

In the 1980s, the elevation and salinity of this lake were rising, causing a shift in the ecosystem. Fish populations began to decline, algae flourished, and pathogens and parasites were found in abundance, bringing diseases to the nearby plants and animals, including hundreds of thousands of birds. In 1999, an August 4th measurement confirmed the death of 7.6 million fish in one day.

With increasing pollution of the nearby Colorado River (due largely in part to agricultural run-off), there is very little clean freshwater coming into the Salton Sea… and with an increasing need for freshwater supply, the surrounding area is in dire need of some kind of solution.

—-

This is part of a project for my EARTH111 class, Water: Science & Society. Since this assignment is due tonight at 11PM (eek!), stay tuned for some more real-life water crises, which will ultimately be documented and available for free download in the form of a Google Earth file that geolocates all of these issues.

Keep questioning,
Sara

April 14th, 2011

Hey everyone! For my online educational technology class, our professor had us experiment with podOmatic, an online podcast-hosting site. It’s a really neat way of using social media! I just need to find some cool people to follow :)

I was at the Museums & the Web conference this past weekend, and someone I talked to suggested I listen to Radiolab podcasts. I wrote it down and tucked it away with my copious notes from the conference (I get kind of obsessive when I attend conferences & get really inspired!), and didn’t think about it again until I stumbled upon a link to Radiolab’s "Help!" podcast right here on tumblr! (Ah, the power of tumblr!)

I hope to get more involved in podcasting myself, and listening to more podcasts! I’ve been told to listen to Story Corps, CarTalk, Radio Times, Wire Tap, This American Life, and The Moth.

Any other suggestions… leave ‘em here!

Keep questioning,
Sara

P.S. Click here to read the script for this podcast.

April 4th, 2011

A little more on my thesis: I’m going to be working with the Academy of Natural Sciences on a Google Earth project for their website. In my initial meeting with two people from the Academy, they mentioned an upcoming conference, hosted in Philadelphia, called Museums & the Web. My little ears perked up, and luckily, Penn State was able to get me registered!

I’ll be attending most of the workshops/talks on Thursday, and hopefully as much as I can on Friday and Saturday (though Friday I’m co-presenting at the Sigma Xi conference at St. Joe’s with some of my peers). If you’re interested, I’ll try to post as much from the conference as I can (I take COPIOUS amounts of notes when I go to conferences… I still have a ton I’ve been meaning to share from GSA last month and from the Gigapan conference back in November, eek!), but be sure to check out the link above (the title of this post) and the #mw2011 tags on twitter & flickr.

A list of ways to keep you connected:

Get connected, stay tuned, and keep questioning!
Sara

March 9th, 2011

Great meeting yesterday with the Academy of Natural Sciences!

Yesterday, I took the train into the city to meet with some great minds at the Academy of Natural Sciences for a potential Google Earth-related project for them. It was great to see the offices burrowed between passageways underground and the warm sense of community the Academy’s employees, scientists, researchers, educators, etc. seem to have!

More details to come on the project… but it will hopefully make way to a rewarding thesis. Yes, it’s that time already! Senior year is coming up!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

February 23rd, 2011

This is pretty neat! It’s a Google Maps compilation of science museums all over the world! You can also view the pinpointed museums in Google Earth.

As a recently-developed informal education enthusiast, I’m going to have to start checking out more museums more often!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

(Source: blogs.nature.com, via poculum-deactivated20120319)

July 9th, 2010

Keep your eye out for the Earth & Space QUEST in “Science Activities!”

Although I hoped to blog more this summer, I’ve been keeping myself very busy & in the process, have neglected my blog! Today I got an email from my advisor, Dr. Guertin, and I couldn’t wait to share the news: my second publication is officially in the works! 

When I went to Kentucky at the end of May, I’d created three activities to use in the classrooms I visited. I wrote a brief entry on the Kentucky Water Stations Activity, and one that briefly summarized all of the activities. I planned on explaining all of the activities in more detail, but never got around to it.

One of the activities I created (with a LOT of help from Dr. Guertin) is called the Global Oil Spill Exploration. In light of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, we decided to create a relevant activity for Earth science teachers. Not only does it include information on oil spills (how/why they occur, the effects on the environment, etc.), but it also helps students understand spatial relationships and geography.

A screenshot of the Earth science-based activity for middle & high school students, the Global Oil Spill Exploration (can be found & downloaded here). Each of the oil spills’ locations are marked in Google Earth. The informative blue windows came from a KMZ file created by David Tryse (found here).

An aerial view of the gulf, May 18, 2010 (via boston.com)

Dr. Guertin found a Google Earth (or KMZ) file created by David Tryse on the Google Outreach website, and we transformed the file into a series of questions relating to different oil spills that have happened in history. The questions vary from basic questions that deal with the size or location of different oil spills, to application questions. A writing prompt is also included in the activity.

In creating the exploration, Dr. Guertin and I hoped to cover a variety of types of spills, and get students to think critically about the information provided by Tryse’s KMZ file. As timely as the activity is, we wanted to get it out there and submitted a proposal to Science Activities, a publication for science teachers that includes lesson plans written by teachers for teachers.

I can’t wait to see our activity in print! I hope people reach out to me, too! I’ve been yearning for some feedback, and I can’t wait to see if this publication yields any suggestions, criticism, or ideas!

Check out the activity here & tell me what you think!
earthandspacequest@gmail.com

Keep questioning,
Sara 

May 26th, 2010
One of the many gorgeous, historical houses in Newport, KY (via Wikimedia Commons)
I’ve just spent my first full day in Kentucky, right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. I’m working with two wonderful teachers from the TESSE workshop by helping them incorporate Google Earth into their 8th grade science curriculum. I’ve created three interactive activities for them (with a lot of help from my advisor, Dr. G) using both Google Earth & Google Sky.
A lot of people don’t realize that Google Earth also has Google Moon, Google Sky, and Google Mars! I didn’t know until I began developing an activity for this 8th grade science class that covers astronomy. I made a constellation scavenger hunt for the students that accomplishes the following:
teaches them to work with Google Earth/navigate themselves through the night sky
encourages them to read through information (pre-loaded sets of themed information called “layers”) in Google Sky to answer questions asked of them
incorporates a range of questions from Bloom’s Taxonomy
uses distance measurements to complete some math problems
gives them a little room to be creative with some open-ended/critical thinking questions and a drawing exercise
The other two activities are for a science class focused on Earth science; I’ve used USGS data that monitors water quality, and plugged some of the graphs of data into Google Earth. I’ll be leading a discussion as to what the graphs represent, what they mean, and how they relate to each other, inviting students to really connect their prior knowledge of water, streamflow, and pollution to real-time data and really gaining a firm grasp on the concepts.
The final activity is another scavenger hunt. This one, inspired by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, focuses on global oil spill disasters. On the Google Earth Blog’s twitter, my professor found a KMZ file created by David Tryse on comparing the Gulf oil spill to other historic disasters. Although this was a great informational tool, Dr. G helped me utilize Tryse’s framework to create a quiz of sorts (more excitingly titled an “exploration” to get students more involved!) that allows students to guide themselves through Google Earth while gaining knowledge about what an oil spill can do to land, water, ecosystems, etc.
Once I test these activities out in the classroom and get it to run smoothly, I’ll be posted links either here on the blog or up on the Earth QUEST website, so keep an eye out! For now, I’m off to bed for another bright & early Kentucky morning.
Keep questioning,Sara 
EDIT: The Constellation Scavenger Hunt & Oil Spill Exploration are both up on the Earth QUEST website & available for download! 

One of the many gorgeous, historical houses in Newport, KY (via Wikimedia Commons)

I’ve just spent my first full day in Kentucky, right across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. I’m working with two wonderful teachers from the TESSE workshop by helping them incorporate Google Earth into their 8th grade science curriculum. I’ve created three interactive activities for them (with a lot of help from my advisor, Dr. G) using both Google Earth & Google Sky.

A lot of people don’t realize that Google Earth also has Google Moon, Google Sky, and Google Mars! I didn’t know until I began developing an activity for this 8th grade science class that covers astronomy. I made a constellation scavenger hunt for the students that accomplishes the following:

  • teaches them to work with Google Earth/navigate themselves through the night sky
  • encourages them to read through information (pre-loaded sets of themed information called “layers”) in Google Sky to answer questions asked of them
  • incorporates a range of questions from Bloom’s Taxonomy
  • uses distance measurements to complete some math problems
  • gives them a little room to be creative with some open-ended/critical thinking questions and a drawing exercise

The other two activities are for a science class focused on Earth science; I’ve used USGS data that monitors water quality, and plugged some of the graphs of data into Google Earth. I’ll be leading a discussion as to what the graphs represent, what they mean, and how they relate to each other, inviting students to really connect their prior knowledge of water, streamflow, and pollution to real-time data and really gaining a firm grasp on the concepts.

The final activity is another scavenger hunt. This one, inspired by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, focuses on global oil spill disasters. On the Google Earth Blog’s twitter, my professor found a KMZ file created by David Tryse on comparing the Gulf oil spill to other historic disasters. Although this was a great informational tool, Dr. G helped me utilize Tryse’s framework to create a quiz of sorts (more excitingly titled an “exploration” to get students more involved!) that allows students to guide themselves through Google Earth while gaining knowledge about what an oil spill can do to land, water, ecosystems, etc.

Once I test these activities out in the classroom and get it to run smoothly, I’ll be posted links either here on the blog or up on the Earth QUEST website, so keep an eye out! For now, I’m off to bed for another bright & early Kentucky morning.

Keep questioning,
Sara 

EDIT: The Constellation Scavenger Hunt & Oil Spill Exploration are both up on the Earth QUEST website & available for download

May 8th, 2010
During today’s TESSE reunion, the teachers, graduate students, and I discussed how the lessons we learned over the summer were implemented in the teachers’ individual classrooms this school year. At the end of the workshop last summer, each of the three graduate students was assigned 3-5 teachers to work with during the school year on a specific lesson they needed help with. The goal was to create some kind of learning experience — whether it was a standalone activity or an entire unit in the curriculum — based on an inquiry-based approach to learning. The graduate students spent time with the teachers both in & out of the classroom to support them on this journey.
It was really fascinating to hear the returning teachers’ experiences in the classroom. One teacher has not had his students crack open a text book all year! The entire curriculum has been taught through hands-on experiential learning (labs, activities, demonstrations, current event articles (reading & synthesis), the Cornell note-taking system, partner & group work, and the occasional video. How cool is that?! 
One of our fearless leaders did a presentation on the recent Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland, and showed us a bevy of beautiful photographs like the one above (reblogged photo via pipe-dreams). After hearing more from the teachers, our other fearless leader (and my advisor!), Dr. Guertin, did a presentation on the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve learned a lot in the past 24 hours!
As mentioned in the entry below, I’m working on creating activities for two of our TESSE participants’ classes… I’ll be spending the next few weeks playing around in Google Earth and Google Sky and searching online frenetically for material to use. I’ll keep you posted!
Keep questioning,Sara 

During today’s TESSE reunion, the teachers, graduate students, and I discussed how the lessons we learned over the summer were implemented in the teachers’ individual classrooms this school year. At the end of the workshop last summer, each of the three graduate students was assigned 3-5 teachers to work with during the school year on a specific lesson they needed help with. The goal was to create some kind of learning experience — whether it was a standalone activity or an entire unit in the curriculum — based on an inquiry-based approach to learning. The graduate students spent time with the teachers both in & out of the classroom to support them on this journey.

It was really fascinating to hear the returning teachers’ experiences in the classroom. One teacher has not had his students crack open a text book all year! The entire curriculum has been taught through hands-on experiential learning (labs, activities, demonstrations, current event articles (reading & synthesis), the Cornell note-taking system, partner & group work, and the occasional video. How cool is that?! 

One of our fearless leaders did a presentation on the recent Eyjafjallajokull volcano eruption in Iceland, and showed us a bevy of beautiful photographs like the one above (reblogged photo via pipe-dreams). After hearing more from the teachers, our other fearless leader (and my advisor!), Dr. Guertin, did a presentation on the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve learned a lot in the past 24 hours!

As mentioned in the entry below, I’m working on creating activities for two of our TESSE participants’ classes… I’ll be spending the next few weeks playing around in Google Earth and Google Sky and searching online frenetically for material to use. I’ll keep you posted!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

Playing around with Google Earth…

I’m currently on campus at the TESSE Workshop reunion, and I’m working on some new stuff in Google Earth to possibly be used in two teachers’ classrooms. I’m digging up all kinds of interesting links and have about 13 tabs open, so in order to organize a little bit, here’s a link dump!

And The Gombe Chimpanzee Blog … just because I stumbled upon it today and I don’t want to forget I found it! Oh, how I love Jane Goodall.

Keep questioning,
Sara