Star in a Box

Today I stumbled upon this gem called Star in a Box from the Las Cumbres Observatory. They have differentiated lesson plans and presentations posted on their web site to accompany this interactive model of a stars life cycle and within a Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram.

My Top 10 list of interactive tools

As a distance learning science teacher, I am always looking for good ways to engage students in my lessons. Here is my latest list of interactives. These are all open source, free resources.

  1. PHET – HTML 5 and Java based simulations
  2. ITSI – Innovative Technology and Science Inquiry (models and sensors)
  3. – e-text, simulations, plix, and more
  4. Simbucket /Physics Classroom ( HTML5 Simulations and Models)
  5. PBS learning Media – Media and Interactives
  6. HHMI – video and interactives
  7. Annenberg – Interactives
  8. – Super Fun Instant Response Game for Review
  9. – Broadcast interactive presentations to student desktops (similar to Classflow and Pear Deck)
  10. adds questions and tracks progress as students watch flipped videos

New HTML5 Models: Meiosis and Gene Inheritance

The Innovative Technology and Science Inquiry project is busy converting the library of Java models into HTML5 models.  The new HTML5 versions are browser based and will run on most tablets. Recent updates include the Meiosis and Gene Appearance models. You can find the Meiosis and Gene Inheritance activities at in the “Activities” Menu.  Look for the Middle Life Science unit titled “Inheritance”. You will notice a new teachers guide that will help you facilitate the model inquiry activity.  Included in the guide are sample responses to the Analysis and Conclusion questions.

All model activities can be cloned and customized for your grade level. If you are new to the Innovative Technology and Science Inquiry Tools, make sure to explore the “Help” videos and/or join our Professional Learning Community at Go to Courses and use the code GF3RM-7C3BF to join our group. We have many experienced teachers who are happy to answer your questions.

Modeling Predator Prey Dynamics

One of the most important concepts in Ecology is the dynamics between predator and prey relationships. I have often struggled with a good way to teach this including the concepts or carrying capacity, limiting factors, and adaptations. This year I added the ITSI model activity as a lesson right after my traditional graphing lessons. It was a perfect fit.

I started with the “Deer: Predation or Starvation” lesson published on the web site.  I modified it for my locality by using the word caribou instead of deer.  I have the students complete their graphs on a free site called “Create a Graph“. It is so much easier than using excel and the graphs look good. Then we do the “Lesson of the Kaibab Deer” from I have created a PowerPoint to illustrate the story including some graphic pictures of what the marrow of a starving deer bone looks like compared to one that is healthy. These two lessons are a great prelude to using the “Predator Prey Activity ITSI Model Activity” on the ITSI portal.  It was great that the students had graphed populations prior to working with the model. (