Computer activity

Ecological Footprint Survey

Rebuild the Bay Bridge!


Learning Studio Computers

If you are using the Exploratorium Learning Studio's computers to add lessons to My Science Box, here's some notes on the various computers:

  1. The mac "Morrison" seems to work well (except the advanced editing options do not appear when using Mozilla).
  2. The PC "Angstrom" works great with Firefox.
  3. The mac "Abelson" works great with Fi

1. The Big One

San Francisco, 1906: Aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that caused an estimated 3,000 deaths and $524 million in damage.San Francisco, 1906: Aftermath of the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that caused an estimated 3,000 deaths and $524 million in damage.Students use the USGS World Earthquake Archive to research the major earthquakes in recorded history. Each student is given a range of dates and assembles a table of facts on 10 earthquakes within that time frame. Students present their research and plot the locations of their earthquakes on a large world map, thereby discovering distinct earthquake zones that define the boundaries of the earth’s plates (see the Plate Patterns activity for ways to elaborate on this idea).

Can use the USGS Earthquake Archives to research information about historically important earthquakes around the world.
Can diagram and explain what causes earthquakes in general terms.
Can understand and use basic earthquake terminology (fault, epicenter, magnitude, etc.)
Can use latitude and longitude information to plot locations on a world map.

tectonic plate

Sub Plan - Earthquake Fingerprints

Seismogram: Image created by Crickett.Seismogram: Image created by Crickett.Using the excellent Virtual Courseware - Earthquake program , students learn how to read a seismogram and use them to triangulate the epicenter of an earthquake. This program leads students step by step through the entire process of measuring the epicenter and calculating the magnitude of an earthquake. There is also an assessment tool associated with the program so that you can monitor how well your students did on the review quiz at the end of the activity.

Project - Dragon Genetics

In this long term computer based simulation, students play with a fabulous FREE software program called Biologica developed by the Concord Consortium. It offers an in depth, virtual experience exploring Mendelian inheritance patterns in dragons. Activities increase in complexity from initial modules introducing dragons and their chromosomes to later activities that require problem solving skills and the integration of many levels of prior knowledge. In the program, you can manipulate dragon chromosomes, breed dragons, explore pedigrees, and more. There are fantastic puzzles along the way: Which gametes should you select to breed a purple, fire breathing, boy dragon? What happens if you change the DNA sequence? Can you figure out the genotype of invisible dragon parents from the phenotypes of their offspring?

5. Geologic TIme on the Web

The University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP) created a fabulous introduction to the geologic time scale on the web called “Understanding Geologic Time”. Students are led through a series of interactive web pages covering a wide range of earth history concepts: relative vs. absolute time, the law of superposition, radiometric dating, the geologic timescale, and the origins and evolution of life on Earth. While the teacher section includes assessment materials including a “Scavenger Hunt” activity, I have included an alternative worksheet for students to follow as they navigate through the website and some extra credit questions in UCMP’s online “Geology Wing” for students that finish early. Links to activities that teach radiometric dating are included in the Going Further section.