Time Travelling Through Dubai

Sep 5, 2013 by

What a difference a few years can make! A recent post on Mashable about some radical differences in satellite imagery over the course of just a few years in Google Earth got me thinking. How could a Geology or Math teacher use a time-lapse video of the terraforming taking place in the thriving Middle Eastern metropolis? Over the last decade or so, Dubai has managed to build extravagantly expensive archipelagos  for development, and with the advent of satellite imagery and the “time slider” in Google Earth (more formally known as the Historical Imagery tool), you can peer back to a time when all that existed off the coast of Dubai was ocean. Below is a brief example of myself walking through a quick “time travel” in Google Earth. I’m not sure how a roomful of students could escape asking the curiosities about how much time is taking place, how...

read more

Lake Effect – A Video Story Problem

Feb 27, 2012 by

On February 11th, 2012, I woke up to 13 inches of fresh snowfall. The night before my driveway had all of half an inch of snow on it, and I was shocked to say the least! What multiplied my amazement even more was that an extremely narrow band of lake effect snow (no more than 5-10 miles across) was dumping this snow on my poor little town along Lake Michigan at an alarming rate. By the end of the event we had over 20 inches of snow on the ground. I managed to capture some of it while snow-blowing the driveway for the second time that day, and I turned it into a video story problem that I hope might be useful as a way to introduce the concept of weather or lake effect weather patterns in a science classroom. While I understand the powerful effect of Lake Michigan on my...

read more

Video Story Problem – How Much Shampoo?!

May 9, 2011 by

In my ever constant, and increasingly obscure, quest to pose real life curiosities and problems that I come across throughout the week, I’ve created a video story problem centered around those tiny little bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotions that hotels offer their guests. I was staying at a hotel near the Detroit airport last week while producing some pilot video content for a new Michigan Department of Education grant, and I couldn’t help but wonder just how much shampoo a hotel must go through every year. It’s amazing what you can distract yourself with while sitting in an airport hotel with planes threatening to slam into your room every few minutes. The question started simply enough, but I decided to add a few extra layers as I became more curious….and yes, despite the bad acting I really was curious about all of the questions posed in this...

read more

Disaster! Brought to You by Google Earth!

May 3, 2010 by

The most recent posts on one of my favorite blogs, the Google Earth Blog, have done a great job of highlighting natural and environmental disasters visible in Google Earth. There are many sites and news organizations covering the oil spill in the gulf, and other natural disasters around the globe, but I was fascinated with the before and after shots that the Google Earth Blog posted for both the Haitian earthquake and the recent Yazoo City tornado. NASA oil slick imagery in Google Earth The imagery available in Google Earth once again manages to trump other still imagery found on the web, but more importantly adds an element of scale in comparison to video found on television and web news sites. Watching video of the oil leaking up from the ocean floor in the Gulf of Mexico and the ongoing clean-up efforts is great visual media, but I’ve always...

read more

E-Waste: Dumping on the Poor

Apr 14, 2010 by

Every April I like to do at least one environmental-themed lesson or activity with my students. I’m not a granola-eating hippie that’s out to save Mother Earth, and I’m not a right-wing climate-change denier that claims humans couldn’t possibly wreak such havoc on the planet. I like to take the middle road, and that’s where I like to guide my students as well. Rather than start with a position, I start with a problem. This month I’m sharing a short movie clip with my 5th graders about just one way that the world, and more specifically the U.S., disposes of their electronic waste; old computers, cell phones, digital cameras, etc. The problem I’m presenting to them is simple. Many thousands of pieces of technology are tossed out into the garbage each and every day. Some communities have recycling centers and programs for dealing with the toxic materials, plastics, and...

read more