Thursday, February 26, 2009


Today we were discussing fossil fuels and how they form.  You may recall that I referred to fossil fuels as "trapped sunlight."  Fossil fuels come from the remains of plants and animals that have died off millions of years ago.  All living organisms on this planet (with the possible exception of some bacteria that live at the bottom of the oceans) depend on sunlight energy to grow and live.


We do not only use fossil fuels as an energy source.  We also convert some of it to make plastic.  The invention of artificial plastics had a damaging effect on the environment because most plastics break down very slowly, so they remain in landfills and are dangerous to wildlife.  However, the invention of plastics also affected the environment in many positive ways.  Write a paragraph describing some of the positive qualities to plastic.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Energy Resources

photo by tomthecabinboy
Our next unit will cover energy resources and the way that we create and use energy as a society.  We often turn on light switches without thinking about where that energy comes from.  As we have discussed, one of the laws of energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only transfered (or transformed).  So when we turn on that light switch, where does it come from?


Go to the following link:

Scroll down and watch the video titled "Electricity and Magnetism: Electric Current."

Write 10 facts down that you learned from the video.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today we talked about some of the tools that we will use to collect data about our local ecosystems.  The barometer, the Kestrel (wind meter), and the sling psychrometer are tools for studying the weather.  We will use these tools, and others, when we work to analyze our local ecosystem and work to discover the problems that exist there.  


Find the link for "Environment Videos."

On the right side, click the link for "Freshwater."

Watch one of the videos. 

Write a paragraph response to the video (what was it about, what were some of the most important points).

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fresh Water

There is a very small percentage of fresh water in the world.  Of all of the water on the planet, less than one percent is fresh water.  Fresh water habitats are the home of many, many species and obviously humans are dependent on it for survival.  Human activities have been altering and impacting these ecosystems in many ways.


Read the source.

Answer the following questions:

1.     Where is fresh water found in the world?

2.     Why are freshwater habitats so important?

In what ways have humans been changing freshwater habitats?

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Hi everybody!  Sorry that I missed you in school today.  I hope you all got started on your research projects on conservation.  This work will culminate in another project that I will talk about when I get back.  Please get as much done as possible before I return.

BlogWork for Monday

Watch the video.  Comment on the message in the video (in a well-designed paragraph).  

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Carbon Cycle

Today we discussed the carbon cycle, which is the way that carbon gets moved through our environment.  Carbon is essential to life on Earth and is a key component to proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.  The carbon cycle is a model that scientists have created to show how carbon gets transferred between the atmosphere, land, water, and organisms.  When you eat a living organisms (whether it is a buffalo or a carrot) you are adding to the carbon cycle.  

A carbon sink is a deposit of carbon that stores carbon for an indefinite period of time.  Fossil fuels and limestone deposits are examples of these reservoirs of carbon.

In your life, where do you think you are creating the most CO2?  
What would be one way that you could reduce the amount of CO2 that you create?

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is the phenomenon of planets or moons trapping heat in the atmosphere.  Just like an actual greenhouse, thermal energy from the sun gets absorbed by certain gases in the atmosphere and the heat gets trapped.  Carbon dioxide, water vapor, and methane are the primary gases that trap this heat.  This trapped heat is extremely useful and allows our planet to keep the mild temperatures that we enjoy.  Useful, for us, perhaps, but deadly for other places (see your BlogWork).


Research:  Describe the atmosphere on Venus and explain why it is the way it is.