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  1. Dinosaurs and Us
       Students will visit several on-line museums with dinosaur exhibits. While at the sites students will gather information about dinosaurs' habitats and survival needs and ways in which dinosaurs met these needs. This information will serve as the basis for a discussion of adaptation.

    1. Lesson One: Visiting Museums. Students will visit museums and gather information about dinosaur habitats, survival needs, and how they met these needs.

    2. Lesson Two: Discussion of Adaptation. Students will synthesize the information they gathered at the museum to discuss ways in which dinosaurs adapted to their environments.

  2. Worm Bin Project
       In this unit, students will learn about decomposition and the life cycle by creating worm bins. Through direct observation, they will develop an understanding of the effects different organisms, including humans, have on one another.

    1. Lesson One: Introduction to the Worm Bin Project. Students create worm bins and begin worm bin activity.

    2. Lesson Two: Collaboration Online. Students organize into small, collaborative groups and match up with partner groups at another school. Collaborative groups of students collect and exchange data and observations related to the worm bins with their partner group.

    3. Lesson Three: Growing Plants with Worm Castings. Students test worm castings for content using a soil testing kit or through a 4-H extension office. Students use the worm castings to plant seeds, hypothesizing which castings will best sustain plant growth and why.

    4. Lesson Four: Decomposition, Soil, and Life Cycle Research. Students conduct background research on the decomposition process, soil composition, and the life cycle using the resources provided here and directed Internet searches. This research can help students answer any questions that may arise out of the Worm Bin Project.

    5. Lesson Five: Presentation of Findings. Students compile and format their findings from the worm bins, the plant activity, and from their Internet research into "scrapbooks." They may wish to prepare their scrapbooks graphically, pictorially, or in written form; schools that have the capability may publish these presentations on the Internet.

  3. Heart Rate Project
       Students will check and record heart-rates of fellow students, teachers and family members. They will then compare and design questions to explain the differences in their findings.

    1. Lesson One: Classroom Heart Rates Students will check and record heart-rates of other classmates. They will then compare and design questions to explain the differences in their findings.

    2. Lesson Two: Local Heart Rates Students will determine the type of data needed to test their inferences from lesson one. As homework, they will check and record heart rates of fellow students, teachers and family members.

    3. Lesson Three: Collaboration on the Internet Students will work collaboratively, via the Internet, with another class/school/country, to share and analyze data. They will interact with another class to construct a reasonable explanation for the evidence they have gathered.

    4. Lesson Four: Research and Report Students will use the internet and other resources to locate, read and summarize information relevant to the Heart.

    5. Lesson Five: Application Based on their conclusions and research, the students will give an oral presentation that applies their findings to a lifestyle change.

  4. Growing Plants
       This unit is designed to encourage students to develop the scientific skills of observation, predicting, controlling variables, experimenting, inferring and recording information as they study the effects of water, soil, and sunlight on growing plants. Lesson #4 incorporates Internet access by sharing the results of these experiments with others outside the classroom.

    1. Lesson One: What Makes a Healthy Plant? Students will make inferences, form a hypothesis and a plan to test their hypothesis about what makes a healthy plan.

    2. Lesson Two: Planting. Student groups will conduct experiments with plant seedlings to test the effects of sunlight, water, and soil on the growth of these plans.

    3. Lesson Three: Collecting and Recording Data. Plants will be measured and compared to a control plant. Students will keep a journal to record their data in a Science Journal.

    4. Lesson Four: Sharing and Validating Results. Students will collaborate with another classroom via the Internet to share data, questions, results, and to check the validity of their testing procedures.

  5. Climate and Weather
       This unit was designed to introduce students to variances in temperature relative to time of day and time of year. Students gather their own local data, use current and archived weather facts from the national weather database and other on-line sites.

    1. Lesson One: Where to look. Students will become familiar with on-line weather sources and weather terminology by using Websites. They will also practice using and interpreting a weather database, determining the effects of time of day and time of year on temperature.

    2. Lesson Two: Is Temperature Effected By How Close You Are To The Equator? Students will participate in a collaborative project to gather data from other schools to see how average daily temperature is affected by how close someplace is to the equator.

    3. Lesson Three: What Causes Irregular Temperature Patterns? While examining the weather and climate database, students will recognize a general relationship between latitude and temperature (for a given month). After locating those cities on a map, they will see that many times, they are situated near a large body of water or at a different elevation.

  6. Severe Weather
       As part of this unit, local weather data is collected daily and posted to a collaborative weather site on the Web, and the students develop (or review) a severe weather action plan for their school.

    1. Lesson One: Introduction to Severe Weather Patterns. As part of this lesson, students learn how the basic weather measurements (temperature, humidity, and air pressure) are used by meteorologists to predict weather patterns from models of atmospheric change.

    2. Lesson Two: Choose a Severe Weather Pattern. Students select a specific severe weather pattern to research based on their interests such as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, lightening, and hail.

    3. Lesson Three: Writing and editing a research report on severe weather. Following their research, students write and peer edit reports on the severe weather they selected in Lesson Two. Students are encouraged to read and make suggestions for improving reports of students who pursue different severe weather patterns.

    4. Lesson Four: Develop (or review) a severe weather action plan for the school. If the school has an existing severe weather action plan, students read copies and discuss how the plan can be used in a real weather emergency.

    5. Lesson Five: Presentation to the Class/School. Following the first five lessons, a special severe weather awareness day is planned where students present their research reports, along with their action plan and any other associated products (models, Web-pages, etc.) to the rest of the class/school.

    6. Lesson Six: (optional) Discussion of severe weather and the Greenhouse Effect. A whole-class discussion of the possible impact of the Greenhouse effect on recent severe weather patterns can encourage students to consider how local weather patterns are driven by larger, global warming and air movement systems.

  7. Space Science and Fiction
       Students conduct research on space science and fiction at the Franklin Institute's exhibition "An Inquirer's Guide to the Universe." After completing their research, students will compose science fiction stories about imaginary planets.

    1. Lesson One: Exploring Space Fact. Students visit Websites to conduct research on facts about space and space exploration.

    2. Lesson Two: Exploring Space Fiction. Students visit Websites with information on space fiction and collect information for their stories.

    3. Lesson Three: Creating Space Fiction. Students synthesize aspects of the information that they gathered in the previous two lessons to create stories about imaginary planets. They may choose to publish their works at the Franklin Institute's story studios.

  8. Global Warming
       This unit includes classroom activities to help students understand global warming and its possible effects on human beings. Lessons in the unit provide students with opportunities to study global climate changes, discuss and debate the current arguments for and against global warming and the Greenhouse Effect, investigate the possibility of global warming and the Greenhouse Effect, and present their findings in the form of research reports.

    1. Lesson One: Introduction to Global Warming. This lesson uses traditional and on-line resources to introduce students to basic information on global climate and atmospheric changes over time.

    2. Lesson Two: The Greenhouse Effect Debate. Students discuss and debate the possibility of a Greenhouse Effect and its possible impact on the earth.

    3. Lesson Three: The Greenhouse Effect Visualizer. Students work in groups using the Greenhouse Effect Visualizer, and other available on-line visualization tools, to study global climate changes looking for evidence for and against global warming and the Greenhouse Effect.

    4. Lesson Four: Writing and Editing a Research Report on Global Warming. Following their research, students write and peer edit reports on global warming and the Greenhouse Effect.

    5. Lesson Five: Presentation to the School. Following the first four lessons, a special school earth day is planned where students present their research reports, along with any other associated products (models, diagrams, Web-pages, etc.) to the rest of the class and school.

  9. Investigating Environmental Legislation
       The Investigating Environmental Legislation Unit includes a variety of activities where students learn about environmental laws and the voting records of their local and state legislators. The unit promotes awareness of the impact of national and state policy making on local environmental issues and encourages students to become active participants in the larger social policy-making process.

    1. Lesson One: Identifying local and state legislators. This lesson involves using a variety of resources to identify local and state legislators. The activity can be introduced with a general group discussion on how laws are made at the state and national level, as well as how legislators are elected, the kind of laws recently passed, and the relationship between laws and environmental issues.

    2. Lesson Two: Legislator environmental voting records. In this lesson, students use the Internet to investigate their local and state legislators' voting record on environmental issues of interest. Students can be organized into groups to investigate stance specific Senators and Representatives have on a variety of important environmental issues.

    3. Lesson Three: Write a report on environmental records of local and state legislators'. Following their research, students write and peer edit reports on their local and state legislators. Students are encouraged to develop their own criteria for evaluating the performance of legislators and focus on specific environmental issues such as endangered species, toxic waste, or timber/logging on federal lands.

    4. Lesson Four: Current environmental legislation. Students use the Internet to identify and review pending environmental legislation that might impact their local community. The rich variety of Internet resources available allows students to search for legislation of interest on environmental issues.

    5. Lesson Five: Letters to local and state legislators. Students write to their local and state legislators, either via e-mail or U.S. mail, critiquing their voting record on environmental issues and sharing their own views on these important issues.


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