Monday, December 13, 2010


For the next few weeks we will be spending time learning about ROCKS! One of my favorite subjects, studying rocks is one of the ways that we can understand and uncover the history of the Earth. This is a picture of one of my favorite rocks. Half-Dome, as it is called, is a massive rock in Yosemite National Park. The rock was formed deep under the surface of the Earth as the molten rock slowly cooled. After a long period of time the ground above the rock eroded away, leaving this beautiful rocky valley behind. At some point, a glacier moved through this valley and you can almost see the path it took as it sliced Half-Dome apart. Half-Dome is one of the greatest rock climbing destinations of the world.


Go to the following website:

Choose an igneous rock to read about. Click on the link to the rock of your choice.

Write 7-10 facts about the rock and post them (in your own words, complete sentences).

Monday, November 29, 2010


As we continue to talk about mineral resources, we have started learning about the process of extracting the minerals from the Earth. Open pit mining and shaft mining are the two primary types of mining and each has its own pros and cons. Since minerals are a necessary part of our modern world we need to make sure that our methods of extraction are sustainable for our future Earth.


Either read the article or listen to the news report about the plan to open an open pit mine in Alaska.

Write five questions that come up for you about the report.

Your questions should be deep, probing questions. Do not write questions that have obvious answers.

Example of a good question: What impact will the mine have on the local animals?

Example of a bad question: What is the name of the reporter?

Radio Report

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This week we began talking about minerals. What is a mineral you ask? O.K., all together as if in one voice...a mineral is a naturally occurring inorganic solid with a definite chemical composition and a crystalline structure. Very good.

Minerals are amazing and we use them all the time. Indeed, our bodies physically require minerals and if we did not have access to them we would not survive for long. Minerals are also beautiful. Check out this video of the largest known crystal cave in the world in Mexico (optional):


Go to the following website:

On the website you will find links to a bunch of mineral-related topics from "Diamonds to Coal" to "Sea Floor Nodules." Pick one of the links and read through the information.

Write 10 (ten) sentences in your own words describing some of the things you learned in that link.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Web 2.0 Presentations!

Here is a snapshot of some of the cool Web 2.0 presentations that the students created for their element project.


Monday, October 25, 2010


Welcome to the first BlogWork assignment for the 2010-2011 school year. I would like you to spend a little time exploring this site so that you know about the kinds of things you can find here. Throughout the year, I will use this site as a learning environment as we move through the content of Earth Science.

This week we have been talking about "Elements", the substances found on the periodic table of elements that make up our entire world, and indeed the entire universe. Elements can stand alone as they are and be very useful. Iron is an element that we use every day in its pure form. Some elements want to combine with other elements to form something completely different (like salt, right?).


1. Please watch the video below and write three facts stated in the song about elements.
2. Search through the blogsite and write a sentence about something else that interests you.

All posts should be written in complete sentences.

Hit the "comment" button on the bottom of this post. Please give yourself a name so that I can give you credit.

Monday, May 24, 2010's what's for dinner

Earlier in the year we talked about the food chain and how energy is transfered through ecosystems. We learned that a food chain starts with the producers (organisms that can make their own food) and then how that energy can then be transfered to the herbivores, omnivores, carnivores, and finally the decomposers. Well, if it is true that the food chain begins with the producers then the most vital aspect of that chain must be the ground in which those organisms grow. We don't often give respect and appreciation for the dirt that is one of the most significant components of our ecosystem.


Go to the website: Life Under Your Feet

On the left side of the page you will find six links (soil ecology, what is soil, soil organisms...etc). Go through each page, read the whole page, then write down three important facts (in sentence form) for each page.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Niches of Fishes

Fishes exist in just about every aquatic environment on the planet. From the shallow seas to the deepest, darkest parts of the ocean, fishes have found ways to adapt and survive. Some fish, like the stingray, are bottom dwellers that spend their time searching the bottom of the ocean floor. Others, like the hagfish, have amazing adaptations (remember the mucus?).


Go to the following website: National Geographic.

Pick an article to read or a video to watch. Report on what information was being presented and discuss any adaptations you learned about the fish and what it's niche is.

Extra Credit

Research the reproductive technique of the Angler Fish.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Mollusk!

There are approximately 85,000 species of mollusk in the world. Mollusks have soft bodies and many of them live in hard shells. The gastropods, like snails and slugs, are the most classified of all of the mollusks and make up about 80% of the total. Cephalopod mollusks, like the giant squid or the cuttlefish, are some of the most neurologically advanced of all the invertebrates.


Watch two of the videos below and write down 10 questions (total) for both videos. Please make sure you describe which videos you watched.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Kingdom Plantae!

"It's not easy being green."
- Kermit, the Frog

Until about 500 million years ago, the life on this planet was almost purely aquatic. Photosynthetic organisms covered the world's oceans while the land remained a desolate, barren wasteland. In those early days of life's history on Earth, it was hard to imagine that one day the land would be covered in living organisms. The first multicellular plants most likely came from green algae which teamed up with a fungus, similarly to how lichen survives today. This symbiotic relationship continues to be a popular way to move energy through the ecosystem, as four-fifths of modern plants have fungal partners (called mycorrhizae), on their roots.

Plants provide nearly all of the food that supports terrestrial life. They are now the dominant feature of land life. The angiosperms, or flowering plants, are the most diverse with more than 275,000 species.


Go to the following website: The Plant Kingdom

Go through the slide show about the plant kingdom.

Answer the following questions:

1. What does mycorrhizal fungi do for plants?

2. What are the main characteristics of plants?

3. What is xylem and phloem?

4. What is fruit?

5. Why is an angiosperm more complex than other plants?

6. What is your favorite plant and why?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Slime Molds!

Slime Mold is an organism that straddles two kingdoms. They share qualities with both the protist kingdom and the fungi kingdom. There are more than 500 species of slime mold and can be found ingesting bacteria and decaying wood. There is still a tremendous amount that we do not understand about the slime molds. It seems evident that they might have an intelligence beyond what we would expect from such a simple life form. In one experiment, slime mold was able to navigate its way through a maze in order to find the food source.


Read the article about the experiment: BBC News.

Watch the video about slime molds.

What are five interesting things you found in the article and the video?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Kingdom Protista!

The protists are a kingdom of organisms that consist mostly of single-celled organisms but also contains some related multicellular species. If you were to look at a drop of pond water under a microscope (as we shall do) you will find it teeming with tiny, wriggling creatures. Protists flourish wherever there is moisture. In many marine ecosystems, protists are the key organisms driving all of the others within the food chain.

There is a wide range of types of protists. No other kingdom includes so many different kinds of cells. Some photosynthesize, while others are heterotrophs (organisms that feed off of other organisms).


Go to the website about protists.

Scroll through the page, pick one protist and write a description of it. Describe it in detail in your own words.

Extra credit: Go to this website, print out a protist mask and wear it to school!

(I'm just kidding... maybe.)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Your CIA mission!

Hey everybody! I'm sorry I'm out today. I have a stomach flu which I expect will only last 24 hours. I should be back in tomorrow.

As we prepare to design our biome dioramas I want you to look at the countries that have your biomes in them.


Go to the CIA website, The World Factbook, and find information about one of the countries that has your biome in it. Read through the information about that country and write down a list of ten facts about the country. Please write in complete sentences. There is extensive information on every country, so make sure you read through all of the drop down menus.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Snowy BlogWork!

Hey everyone. I wish I were wearing the pink wig today. Oh well, perhaps we will return to school tomorrow. I'm not ready to make a prediction yet.


Go to the following website: National Geographic.

Pick one of the links on the page describing a habitat (sustainable agriculture, grasslands, deserts, etc.).

Read the whole article about that habitat and then write 5 - 10 good questions about the article.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


As we read and learn about the climates and living conditions in biomes around the world, we are also spending time thinking about how plants and animals have adapted qualities that allow them to survive in a wide range of physical settings. I’m always interested in seeing extreme examples of survival techniques. The world is covered in these examples, as life tends to find ways to survive in the harshest of environments. One example of this is the lungfish, which is one of the strangest animals I know of.


First watch the video about the lungfish and write a response about that crazy fish.

Then, pick a video from the same page about another animal and write a paragraph describing the adaptations that the animal has that allows it to survive in its biome.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This weeks biome is the Rainforest. Located in a belt that wraps around the Earth's equator, the world's rainforests are home to some of the most diverse species on the planet. A plethora of life exists at every level of this biome, from the understory up through the canopy. At night, the rainforest continues to be an active space for species to make their way in the world.


Go to the website: Rainforest at Night

Search for and read about all five species found in this tour, plus the section about deforestation (you are required to leave the sound on the whole time you are doing your homework). Write a description of two of the species and answer the following questions about deforestation:

1. Who are the Penan and what challenges do they face?

2. What does "loss of biodiversity" mean? Give an example.

3. How might deforestation lead to global warming?

Monday, February 1, 2010


Our latest unit involves learning about the different types of biomes that exist on the planet. A biome is a large region characterized by a specific type of climate and certain types of plant and animal communities. The two biggest influences on what determines a biome is the climate and the vegetation, because they, in turn, determine everything else.


Go to one of the following websites:

Pick one of the biomes described on the website and write 5-10 sentences describing some of the characteristics of the biome. Please write the sentences in your own words (no cutting and pasting).

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Food Web

All organisms, living or dead, are potential food sources for other living organisms. A caterpillar eats a leaf, a robin eats the caterpillar, and a hawk eats the robin. Decomposers consume the leaf, caterpillar, robin and hawk after they die. therefore, there is very little matter wasted in natural ecosystems. The food chain, or the more realistic food web, are ways to model the energy that gets transferred from one organism to the next. As you can see from the pyramid, it takes many more producers to support a group of herbivores and many more herbivores to support carnivores.

Go to the following websites and complete the activities at each site.
Make three to five observations based on your experience going through the activities.