Dimensions of Learning


Dimensions of Learning is a comprehensive model designed by the Mid-Continent Regional Educational Laboratory in Aurora, Colorado that uses what researchers and theorists know about learning to develop dimensions of thinking.

Dimension 1: Attitudes and Perceptions

If students view the classroom as an unsafe and disorderly place, they will likely learn little there. Similarly, when they have negative attitudes about classroom tasks, they will probably put little effort into those tasks. A key element of effective instruction, then, is helping students to establish positive attitudes and perceptions about the classroom and about learning.

Dimension 2: Acquire and Integrate Knowledge

When students are acquiring new skills, they must learn a set of steps, then shape the skill to make it personally efficient and effective. Finally, they must internalize or practice the skill so they can perform it easily.

Dimension 3: Extend and Refine Knowledge

Learners rigorously analyze what they have learned by applying reasoning processes to help them extend and renew information. These processes include:

  • Comparing

  • Classifying

  • Abstracting

  • Reasoning inductively and deductively • Constructing support

  • Analyzing errors and perspectives

Dimension 4: Use Knowledge Meaningfully

Ensuring students have the opportunity to use knowledge in meaningful ways is one of the most important parts of planning a unit of instruction. In the Dimensions of Learning model, tasks can be constructed around six thinking processes to encourage the meaningful use of knowledge:

  • Decision making • Problem solving • Invention

  • Investigation

  • Experimental inquiry • Systems analysis

Dimension 5: Productive Habits of Mind

The most effective learners develop powerful habits of mind that enable them to think critically and creatively to regulate their behavior appropriately and effectively.

Source: Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning

The Garden Classroom

Gardening reclaims the heart in nature education!   Gardening with children is active learning, and gardens are a place where the cycle of life and season’s come alive for kids.

An outdoor classroom promotes social interaction and communion with nature. And they can bridge age gaps by bringing together family and community members who are generations apart. They are a place of spontaneous hands-on discovery that can not occur sitting at a desk or reading a book.

Young children not only strengthen fine and gross motor skills, but experience their own impact on their environment. They hone in their observation skills and develop a scientific understanding as early as preschool years as they watch plants change and grow. Gardening is a way to learn the consequences of one’s actions in a very direct way.

Watching a seedling unfurl, witnessing the death of a neglected plant, raising a garden for butterflies — such experiences help students acquire a direct, personal understanding of what living things require to thrive, and how they adapt and interact. These connections serve as a vital foundation for developing a lifelong ethic of environmental stewardship.

Children learn about conservation and recycling, and develop skills they can use for the rest of their lives. The garden shows the children’s strength, ability, and love for the outdoors and nature. Gardening with kids gives them “a real-life connection to what they learn in the classroom and develops deep roots for lifelong learners.

Develop a curriculum that improves communication skills, increases their knowledge and understanding of each other, promotes peace, and brings about healthy changes in their lives, community, and the world. Sound nutrition and physical activity are one of the most important parts of a child’s health and development.

We are nature’s guest. The leader of a good outdoor classroom or study group must posses the ability to arouse curiosity and enthusiasm and share a genuine love for nature. Every situation should reflect the teachers environmental ethics.Our values reveal the relative importance of the human to other organisms. To establish values for the environment we need to observe and understand it.

Environmental values will inevitably become more and more critical as population growth, the lack of clean air and water, climate change, resource depletion and poverty grow.

There was a child went forth everyday,
And the first object he looked upon, that object he became,
And that object became part of him for the day
or a certain part of the day,
Or for many years or stretching cycles of years.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover,
and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs and the sow’s pink-faint litter,
And the mare’s foal and the cow’s calf.

Walt Whitman

Children and Nature

There was a child went forth everyday, And the first object he looked upon, that object he became, And that object became part of him for the day or a certain part of the day, Or for many years or stretching cycles of years. The early lilacs became part of this child, And grass and white and red morning glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird, And the Third-month lambs and the sow’s pink-faint litter, and the mare’s foal and the cow’s calf, . . . Walt Whitman

Learning is taking place at all times in all circumstances for every person. There are many ways to learn. Children learn best by doing. Inspire children with the diversity of life!

“It’s absurd and anti-life to be part of a system that compels you to sit in confinement with people of exactly the same age and social class. That system effectively cuts you off from the immense diversity of life and the synergy of variety; indeed it cuts you off from your own past and future, sealing you in a continuous present much the same way television does…

Whatever an education is, it should make you a unique individual, not a conformist; it should furnish you with an original spirit with which to tackle the big challenges; it should allow you to find values which will be your road map through life; it should make you spiritually rich, a person who loves whatever you are doing, wherever you are, whomever you are with; it should teach you what is important, how to live and how to die.” ~ John Taylor Gatto ~

Biophilia is the love of nature. Eco-psychology and evolutionary psychology suggest that humans are genetically programmed by evolution with an affinity for the natural outdoors. Evolutionary psychologists use the term biophilia to refer to this innate, hereditary emotional attraction of humans to nature and other living organisms. Natural outdoor environments produce positive physiological and psychological responses in humans, including reduced stress and a general feeling of wellbeing. People, especially young children, who have not yet adapted to the man-made world, prefer natural landscapes to built environments.

Biophobia is the aversion to nature. If the human attraction to nature is not given opportunities to flourish during the early years of life, biophobia may develop. Biophobia ranges from discomfort in natural places to active scorn for whatever is not man-made managed or air-conditioned. Biophobia manifests in the tendency to regard nature as nothing more than a disposable resource.

Research consistently shows that children have a strong preference to be outdoors in nature. Nature sustains us and is an incredible library of knowledge. Children are natural explorers and have an intense desire for knowledge about their surroundings. They need opportunities to explore the natural world for if there are not early experiences with nature, a love and respect for nature doesn’t develop. It is important that we guide children to discover themselves and the world around them.

In the outdoor classroom children feel a sense of belonging in nature, become more observant, and develop a reverence for life. Watching a seedling unfurl, witnessing the death of a neglected plant, raising a garden for butterflies – these experiences help students acquire a direct, personal understanding of what living things require to thrive, and how they adapt and interact. These connections serve as a vital foundation for developing a lifelong ethic of environmental stewardship. The outdoors is a developmentally appropriate classroom for children.

Society puts its best foot forward in early childhood education. Fifty percent of our intellectual capability is achieved before the age of four. Psychological patterns are set before the age of seven and the child’s self image is formed during this time, which sets his personality pattern. I can’t think of any better place to stimulate their senses and develop perceptual motor skills than the great outdoors!

Children are not born with finely tuned perceptual motor skills. They are a result of being challenged as a child. Research has shown us the intellectualizing capability of the senses. The development of the senses precedes that of superior intellectual activity and the power of observation is procured through the development of the senses.

Children are sensorial explorers. They gain a better understanding of the world around them when they are involved in activities that bring them in direct contact with nature. Nature captivates the child’s imagination, activates the senses and gives them a sense of belonging in nature and they develop the ability to express their experiences.

Knowledge advances rapidly when the line between work and play fades. Remember . . . children are always unconsciously taking in impressions that form their minds.

Conduct some observation excursions. Walk with a purpose. Maybe it will be to discover trees, the kinds of leaves or fruit they bear, the shade they give, or the shelter they give to birds and animals. You can teach children about trees in the classroom, but they must see and experience trees to make trees real to them. Get outside with children, get some exercise, build a garden and explore together. Everyone benefits! Rather than showing them a tomato, let them grow one and see where it comes from, and how and what it needs! Our children will grow healthier, understand where their food comes from and that plants are alive, and an outdoor classroom addresses our health in every way . . . mentally, physically, and spiritually. It is a fact.

It is our responsibility to see that our children get what they need in the healthiest environment possible. It is a critical time to stand up for children and provide them with more than a swing and monkey bars and a yard of fire ants or a basketball. I know this is not every school, but I have seen and experienced enough to know that our children’s greatest needs and period of learning and development are from conception through the elementary years. This is where our focus should be in order to help children grow healthy and strong. After these years there focus changes, there ‘s a social adjustment, a different focus, and very different life experiences.

Environmental education should start early with hands-on experiences with nature. There is evidence that concern for the environment is based on affection for nature that only develops with autonomous, unmediated contact with nature. The way people feel in pleasing natural environments improves recall of information, creative problem solving, and creativity.

Early experiences with the natural world have been positively linked with the development of imagination and a sense of wonder. Wonder is important as it a motivator for life long learning.

The natural world is essential to the emotional health of children. Just as children need positive adult contact and a sense of connection to the wider human community, they need positive contact with nature and the chance for solitude and the sense of wonder that nature offers.

All the manufactured equipment and indoor instructional materials produced by the best educators in the world cannot substitute for the primary experience of hands-on engagement with nature. Manufactured equipment falls very short of the potential of outdoor areas to be rich play and learning environments for children, and denies children their birthright to experience nature outdoors, which includes vegetation, animals, insects, water and sand, not just the sun and air that manufactured playgrounds offer.

The lives of children today are more structured and supervised, with few opportunities for free play. Their physical boundaries have shrunk. Parents are afraid for their children’s safety And when children do have free time, it’s often spent inside in front of the television or computers. For some children, that’s because their neighborhood, apartment complex or house has no outdoor play space. Children live, what one play authority refers to, a childhood of imprisonment. Childcare facility playgrounds are often the only outdoor time many young children experience.

Gardening reclains the heart in nature education!


Link to Bracken Bat Cave

What do you call a little bat? A battle.

What do you call a bat in a belfry? A dingbat.

Why did the bat use mouthwash? Because he had bat breath!

Which bat knows the ABC’s? The alpha bat!

“Catch a bat in your hat and good luck will follow!” In Chinese art 5 bats represent the blessings of Health, long life, prosperity, love of virtue, and peaceful death. How we think about animals depends on our cultural biases.

Blind as a bat!

Wise as an Owl!

Smart as a fox!

Hungry as a bear!

Busy as a bee!

Bats are mammals and make up the order Chiroptera. There is evidence bats have existed for 50 million years or longer. They are warm blooded, nocturnal, nurse their babies with milk, and have fur. There are over 900 species of bats, but only 3 are vampires located in Central and South America. They suck blood from the wounds of birds and mammals. A lot of bats, including the flying fox, eat fruit. Other bats eat insects, frogs, fish, and other small animals. Because they are active at night their life seems mysterious.

Bats are the only mammals that can fly with “hand wings”. Their finger bones are elongated and connected with membranes. If we had fingers like a bat they would be longer than our legs! A few tropical bats have a wingspan of 6 feet, but most bats are small (1/10th of a pound in the U.S.). They have enlarged ears, bizarre noses, and the habit of hanging upside down. Their leaf- noses and large ears are involved in echolocation.

Bats produce a high- pitched burst of sound and then their brain analyses the echo for finding their way and finding their prey. Bats’ brains process the auditory information within those echoes as visual maps. All bats can see and all bats are sensitive to changing light levels because this is the main cue that they use to sense when it is nighttime and time to become active. To track down prey, avoid predators and find their way home in the dark, most bats depend on echolocation. They broadcast high-pitched sonar signals and listen for the echoes of sound waves bouncing off objects they’re looking for or obstacles in their path. Biologists listen to bat sounds with bat detectors that translate the ultrasonic signal into a range that we can hear. Bats increase the number of calls before they attack prey in order to pinpoint their meal. Many insects can hear echolocation and hide.

You may see bats at night around lights trying to catch insects. In the southwest, the long-nosed bats seek fruit nectar of the saguaro cactus and agave. The organ pipe cactus has flowers that open at night and is dependent on bats for pollination. Bats eat the fruits and disperse the seeds in their guano

Bats carry their babies for 4 months and have 1 single “pup” each year. The red bat has multiple births. Baby bats are born big like a 120 lb. woman having a 40 lb. baby. There are large maternity crèches but some species roost alone. Mother bats feed babies milk and babies make a distinct sound that the mother recognizes. Babies grow quickly and in 3 moths the little brown bat is ready to fly. The big brown bat is ready in 1 month. Fifty percent of babies die the first winter.

Bats are present throughout most of the world and perform vital ecological roles such as pollinating flowers and dispersing fruit seeds. Many tropical plant species depend entirely on bats to distribute their seeds. The greatest numbers of bats are in the tropics. Bats are absent from the poles and the very dry desert. Forty species live in the United States. Hawaii has 1 bat species. CA. has 25 bat species.

About seventy percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, or fruit eaters. A few species such as the Fish-eating bat feed from animals other than insects, with the vampire bats being the only mammalian parasite species. Bats play an important role in controlling pests (the mosquito.) They need to eat 30-50% of their body weight nightly. A single bat can eat enough mosquitoes in a single evening to save several people the agony of these insects that bite and cause great itching bumps protecting us from malaria, dengue, and yellow fever. Bat droppings are good fertilizer

Bats are disappearing due to the destruction of habitats, pesticides, and roosting sites being disturbed. Bats are very sensitive and susceptible to pesticides. The gray bat is endangered in the U.S., and so are the Hawaiian hoary bat, Indiana bat, Mexican long nosed, and big-eared bat.

Bats live 10 – 30 years and often migrate with the seasons to more sheltered sites. They may migrate 300 miles in all directions of their summer home. The free tailed bats may migrate 1000 miles to Brazil or Mexico. When bats hibernate, their body temperature drops to save energy and their heartbeat slows to 10 beats/minute. Their heart beats 13,000 times a minute in flight. Flight has enabled bats to become one of the most widely distributed groups of mammals. Apart from the Arctic, the Antarctic and a few isolated oceanic islands, bats exist all over the world. Bats are found in almost every habitat available on Earth. Different species select different habitats during different seasons — ranging from seacoast to mountains and even deserts — bat habitats have two basic requirements: roosts, where they spend the day or hibernate, and places for foraging. Bat roosts can be found in hollows, crevices, foliage, and even human-made structures; and include “tents” that bats construct by biting leaves.

Inside a cavern in Mexico there are 20 million bats hanging by their toes. It is the largest concentration of warm-blooded animals in the world! At dusk they all fly out to feed. Because they are active at night their life seems mysterious.

The scientists who discovered Onychonycteris finneyi, the oldest known bat fossil concluded that the prehistoric species could fly but that the sonar sense didn’t evolve until later. When scientists examined O. finneyi, as part of the study, their results suggested that the ancient species may have shared that same echo locating bone structure. Though echolocation is a relatively primitive trait, existing since at least 50 million years ago, researchers are still discovering new complexities about the sonar system.

Most bats do have bad eyesight, but they are definitely not blind. What they see can sometimes interfere with what they hear. We know that visual information can override echolocation information even when the echolocation information contradicts the visual information. A captive bat in a darkened room might fly into a window since it sees light coming through pane as an escape route, although echolocation sonar tells it there’s an obstacle in the way. In laboratory tests, bats have been shown to be able to distinguish shapes and colors. This is not unlike dolphins that use echolocation to hunt, especially in the murky depths. Their eyes, while small and sometimes poorly developed, are also completely functional, not to mention the fact that they have excellent hearing and sense of smell. Perhaps the saying should be changed to “Keen as a Bat”?

The smallest bat is the bumblebee bat (with a wingspan of 6 inches=15 cm. It is arguably the smallest extant species of mammal, with the Etruscan shrew being the other contender. The largest species of bat is the Giant Golden-crowned Flying-fox, which is 336–343 mm (13.23–13.50 in) long, has a wingspan of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) and weighs approximately 1.1–1.2 kg (2–3 lb).


Two traditionally recognized suborders of bats are:

  1. Megachiroptera (megabats)
  2. Microchiroptera (microbats/echolocating bats)

Not all megabats are larger than microbats. The major distinctions between the two suborders are: Microbats use echolocation: megabats do not with the exception of Rousettus and relatives. Microbats lack the claw at the second toe of the forelimb.

The ears of microbats do not close to form a ring: the edges are separated from each other at the base of the ear. Microbats lack under fur: they are either naked or have guard hairs.


A little Dust Devil caught by my friend and photographer David Jones!

Jokes: How does the rain tie its shoes? In a rainbow.
What did the cloud say to the wind? You blow me away!

Weather is the variations in the atmospheric conditions experiences at a given place. It affects our lives and our activities. Climate is the usual weather over a long time: frigid, temperate, or torpid. The study of weather is called meteorology. Weather happens in the troposphere, the layer of air 8 miles next to the earth. It is caused by the interaction of the heat from the sun, air and water and the tilt of the earth as it spins around the sun. The sun is the engine that drives weather. It affects both animals and plants. As weather changes animals may migrate, hibernate, estivate, and some even change colors like the Arctic hare.

There are currents in the ocean (gulf stream) and currents in the air (trade winds). The wind comes from the earth spinning and air moving from high pressure to low pressure. Because the earth spins west to east, winds don’t blow north to south but there is the Coriolis effect where wind curves right north of the equator and left south of the equator. In the middle latitudes the winds blow mainly west. Air and water change in the atmosphere. The air can be still, moving, hot, cold, wet or dry. Air has pressure and takes up space. All air contains water vapor. Humidity is a measure of the water vapor in the air. A Front is when moist warm air meets cool dry air. Hot air moves faster than cold air and rises above cold air.
Water cycles and it can take many forms. It evaporates into the air, condenses into clouds and precipitates out as rain, snow, hail, sleet and fog. The biggest hailstone documented had a circumference of 17.5 inches(the size of your head) and weighed 1.67 pounds. A raindrop doesn’t take the shape that people depict but because of air resistance looks more like a hamburger bun. The SUN is the engine that drives the water cycle. Weather and gravity cycle the earth’s water. Water is found in fog, dew, rain, lakes, rivers, oceans, icebergs, clouds, and ground water. Water warms and cools more slowly than the soil. It evaporates, condenses, and expands when it freezes at 32 degrees and forms a six sided crystal. A molecule of water is made of 2 hydrogen atoms and 1 oxygen atom and looks like Mickey Mouse, therefore called the “Mickey Mouse Molecule” It travels in cycles and forms clouds. When moisture in the air freezes it becomes frost and covers the ground. If it freezes on plants it may form hoarfrost or it may form fernfrost on windows. Wind and water contribute to erosion and shape land (ex. glaciers).
Clouds are the biggest natural electrical generators. The basic cloud formations are stratus, cumulus, cirrus, and nimbus. A large cumulonimbus cloud can weigh more than one billion pounds!When sunlight passes through water it separates light into the colors of the rainbow. You can also do this with a prism or a glass of water. There is no energy released in a rainbow. When there is a thunderstorm, lightening travels from cloud to cloud, cloud to earth, or earth to cloud. Light travels faster than sound and we see the lightening before we hear the thunder. The lightning is electricity and because it is so hot it causes the air to expand making the thunderous sound. Lightening can have a peak temperature of 55,000 degrees Fahrenheit (hotter than the sun’s surface). There is more electricity in a bolt of lightening than can be produced by all the generators in the U.S. If you want to know how many miles away a storm is, count the time between the lightening flash and the sound of thunder and divide by 5. Light travels faster than sound. Planet earth has a negative charge and the atmosphere has a positive charge. There is a global electric current and a thunderstorm belt that surrounds the earth. Always remember “When thunder roars, go indoors!”
Droughts happen when the earth loses more water than it collects. They can happen for months or even years. Strong winds may form a vortex and act like a vacuum cleaner forming hurricanes, tornadoes, or dust bowls. It can suck up all sorts of small things from the ground or water.
A haboob is a violent dust storm that occurs only is the Sudan of Africa and Arizona. The strong winds can stir up sand and dust into a moving wall 15000 to 3000 feet high that can scrub the paint off of houses and cars.

A tornados average duration is 15 minutes however one in Missouri lasted for 7 hours 20 minutes and traveled 293 miles. It is an intense whirlwind of small diameter over land that extends downward from a convection cloud in a severe thunderstorm. They are funnel shaped, can extend 2000 feet high and may spin at a speed of 250 mph. If it occurs over water it is called a water spout. They arise from “mammatus” clouds which are thunderclouds with small rounded bumps. “Tornado Alley” stretches through the plains from Texas to Illinois.

Hurricanes are violent storms that form in warm water over the western Atlantic Ocean. They may spin 200 mph with an eye from 4 too 25 miles wide. The storm becomes a hurricane when it reaches 73 mph. Tropical storms in the China Seas are called typhoons. In the Indian Ocean and the seas north of Australia they are called cyclones.

Weird weather: Tornados and waterspouts are responsible for curious thing raining from the sky. It has rained spiders in Hungary, maggots in Mexico, thousands of tiny fish in England and the bloody rain in Europe was caused from the red sand of the Sahara desert. In London they have “pea-soupers” when the fog is thick and green from dust and smoke. When there is indoor air pollution it is called the “pigpen Effect”. When we say “It’s raining cats and dogs” we mean that it is heavy rainfall!

  • Weather forecasters may include animals and plants! The pine cone closes up when there is moisture in the air. The groundhog is probably the most famous looking for his shadow. If he doesn’t see it there is supposed to be 6 more weeks of winter. Crickets chirp faster when the weather gets warmer. They say if you count how many times a cricket chirps in 15 seconds and then add 10 to the number , you get the temperature.
    Natural predictors of good weather:
    1. Cumulus clouds appear to dissolve and vanish
  • 2. Sky is red at sunset
  • 3. Wind is from the west
  • 4. Clouds are high in the sk
  • 5. Birds fly high in the sky
  • 6. Fog rises

Bad weather predictors:

  • 1. Cumulus clouds increase and move lower in the sky
  • 2. Clouds travel at different speeds and in opposite directions
  • 3. The sun looks hazy and has a halo
  • 4. Birds fly low or not at all and are noisier
  • 5. There is a ring around the moon
  • 6. The sky is red at sunrise
  • 7. Cows huddle and turn their tails to the storm
  • 8. Crickets are in the chimney
  • 9. Wooly worms have a heavier coat and there are a lot of them crawling about.
  • 10. Butterflies migrate earlier
  • Hornets and yellow jackets build heavier nests

California is the hottest, snowiest, and driest place in the United State. Alaska is the coldest. Hawaii is the wettest. and New Hampshire is the windiest.

Instruments used to measure weather: Weather vane(wind direction), rain gauge(rainfall), barometer( air pressure), anemometer(wind speed), hygrometer(humidity) and thermometer(heat). Today meteorologists use radar and satellites to track weather patterns.

There are 3 major concerns for our atmosphere: 1) Ozone depletion 2) Acid rain 3) Global warming
Ozone (O3) is caused by CFC’s (chloroflourocarbons) from refrigeration and air conditioning units, industrial solvents, insulation, polystyrene foam(styrofoam) and aerosol spray cans. One CFC molecule can destroy 100,000 ozone molecules. There is a growing hole in the ozone layer of the stratosphere over the Antarctic. Ozone at ground level poses serious health risks and is harmful to lung tissue. The ozone layer in our atmosphere protects us from the sun’s harmful rays.
Acid rain results from pollution of the air by power stations that burn coal or oil to generate electricity. They pour the waste gases into the air and when it rains they are dissolved in the water creating acid rain. The acid rain kills trees, plants, and life in rivers and lakes and eats away at buildings. Smoke and gases from factories and car exhaust pollute the air and form smog that can make people sick. Too much pollution can cause changes in the weather causing heat buildup, floods and droughts.
Global warming is caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. CO2 is made when we burn wood, coal, or oil. Cutting down trees or burning trees may lead to less rainfall and the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere which raises the earth’s temperature.

1. Make a rainbow by placing a 4″ prism in a sunny window of your room and kids can follow the path of the sun across the room. You can also make one by placing a glass of water on a piece of white paper in the sun. Make sure the paper is in the shadow. Color a rainbow.
2. Test for acid rain by chopping finely a red cabbage, pouring hot distilled water over it and let it stand for one hour. Strain the juice which should be purple. Put distilled water in one jar and the same amount of rainwater in another jar and add the same amount of cabbage juice to each jar. If the rainwater turns red it is acidic.
3. Have kids describe ice, tell where it is found and how it is used.
4. Make a wind sock (use a tall white trash bag decorated, wire, tape, and a bamboo pole), weather vane, a rain gauge, sundial or barometer. Take a large black plastic bag tied to a long string, sit it in the sun and watch the heat from the sun lift it up(best to do early morning)
5. Using a connector (from supply store listed in resources) between 2 large drink bottles to show the formation of a vortex. Young kids love this!
6. Teach the water cycle song.
7. Give children a thermometer (plastic for safety) and let them hold it in a closed hand and watch the temperature rise.
8. Make a cloud by pouring hot water in a jar, covering it with plastic wrap and putting several ice cubes on top of the plastic.(Sit jar in front of black piece of paper.) Make clouds ( stratus, cumulus, and cirrus) on a piece of paper using cotton and gluesticks.
9. Put a dry pine cone (a natural barometer) in water to see it close when it is wet and open when it dries.
10. Teach the poem

“The Thermometer”
The thermometer has a little red line,
That jumps right up when the weather is fine..
But when it’s cold as everyone knows,
Down to the little round bulb it goes.
It scrunches all up in a tight little ball,
As if it can’t stand the cold at all.
Then the weather begins to change, and
The little red line begins to climb again!A






Lightening strikes a tree




‘Fire rainbows’ are a rare phenomenon that only occur when the Sun is higher than 58° above the horizon and its light passes through cirrus clouds made of ice crystals!


No Name Phenomenon Rainbow


Fog Tsunami    Panama City, Fla.


Cloud Tower

Clouds are the biggest natural electrical generators!


Experiments With Air

Experiments with Air

Air pressure is 15 lbs. per square inch. These experiments will show that air has weight, exerts pressure, and takes up space and when air expands it makes noise. There is air in water, our bodies, and the soil and air affects many things around us. Give examples such as the rust of iron is caused by oxygen in the air. Thunder is the rapid expansion of air (and so is popping a bag or a balloon.). Air currents can be seen in smoke circulation. The air toy I use that young students like the most is a plastic arm with a little fist on the end. I open it and ask them if anything is inside. They take turns looking and all say nothing is inside. So I close it with the little fist and squeeze it and it shoots off! They learn that air takes up space and has power to move things! I wish I could find another one. Mine is almost worn out! There is also a toy that gives someone a “blast of air”! I ask kids to blow on their hand and feel the air. Though they cannot see it – it is there (invisible to them like germs). This is a good time to impress upon them that they can’t see everything – some things are so small that they are invisible!

  • To show weight – tie a balloon on each end of a dowel ( pop one and watch other fall)
  • Thunder = fill paper bag with air and listen to the sound from the rapid expansion of air
  • Showing currents = a smoking rope in a jar. Ask why circulation occurs.
  • 2 wet cloths on chalkboard. Fan one of them. Air hastens evaporation. Dry hot air hastens it even more.
  • If you cut off the air from a flame it goes out (no oxygen.)
  • Put a string through a straw and attach the string to opposite walls and attach a filled rocket balloon (that you can let the air out of) with tape to the straw to show jet thrust.
  • Put a paper in a jar and lower it in water. The compressed air keeps it dry.
  • Put water in jar with a piece of cardboard over it. Turn it upside down and see air pressure at work.
  • Try to separate 2 rubber cups to feel air pressure
  • Put some water on the back of your hand and blow. How does it feel? Evaporation takes heat with it.
  • Use 2 jars of water and a tube to siphon and create an air vacuum
  • Two objects of different weight fall at = speed and shape changes air resistance. (Galileo). Try a crumpled paper and a flat paper.
  • Air moves things. Try straws and ping pong balls.
    Jump on air!
  • Name some ways we use air. Ex. tires, bubble wrap, mattresses, cooling,
  • Make little flags to check out currents in the classroom
  • Straw and water make a dropper,
  • Name some sounds air makes. Bubble wrap makes a sound when popped. And sound is made when air moves through trees, the roar of a hurricane.
  • Ice in a can with salt forms dew on outside.
  • Pour air from one glass to another under water
  • Put a balloon in the fridge. It expands when taken out.
  • Get a solar balloon and let kids see how the warmed air in the balloon (from the heat of the sun) makes the balloon rise.

Airborne Pollutants


Air is invisible. It is made up of gases that cannot be seen. Many major air pollutants are invisible gases. In some areas of the country, these air pollutants can build to levels where they can be seen. For example, in some cities, smoky, yellowish clouds of primarily car exhaust build up to create smog.

Other easily visible air pollutants, called particulate matter, are made up of tiny particles of solids or droplets of liquids. Some of these particulates are naturally occurring and may pose less of a problem to human health than man-made particulates. Some natural particulates include pollen, wind-blown dust and volcanic ash. Man- made particulates are generated by coal and oil- fired power plants and manufacturing plants, automobile and diesel fuels as well as fireplaces and wood-burning stoves among others.

Place collectors where they can hang freely – not touching other surfaces and where they will not be touched by other students. Be sure to let the custodial staff know about your experiment, too. These particles carried through the air can be harmful to plants, animals and humans. Buildings and statues can be discolored and corroded

Let students make stick-up collectors to see the air pollution. Cut holes in strips of poster paper and cover the holes on one side with clear tape. Put name, date, and location on each strip and select places around the school to hang them. They should hang freely and not be touched. Tell custodial staff about the experiment.

After a week, retrieve the Stick Up collectors and analyze. Can students see pollution with the naked eye. Inspect the strips with a magnifying glass or microscope.