Using Skype for an Outside Expert

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This past Monday my classes were lucky enough for a chance to talk with a true expert in the field of landforms and geology. I’ve been searching this year for ways to use Skype to bring in outside experts using video conferencing, and with the help of a former professor of mine from the USC school of Ed, I was able to locate another science professor interested in collaborating with my students.

So, this week was our first chance to get to know Dr. David Barbeau Jr., tectonics and sedimentology expert from USC. Dr. Dave has been studying the mountains of North and South America as well as Antarctica. He spoke with us this week about natural earth processes such as erosion, deposition, and weathering. Students had an opportunity to ask Dr. Dave their own questions, and we listened to him tell us about his type of work.

It was a unique experience to hear about far off places and landforms from someone who has been there and studied them. Dr. Dave told us about his trip coming up this February to Antarctica and how he will be collecting samples of rocks from mountains poking through the ice sheet covering most of the continent. He will be looking at the elements inside the rocks using special equipment like a mass spectrometer to try and solve some questions he has about the movements being made by plate tectonics over the past million or so years. Hopefully we will be able to actually visit Dr. Dave when he is in Antarctica this February by using Skype. Either way, we are making plans to talk with Dr. Dave some more and maybe even organize a visit with him and his graduate students to our classroom.

Using Skype with a Tectonic and Sediment Expert

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This past Monday my classes were lucky enough for a chance to talk with a true expert in the field of landforms and geology. I’ve been searching this year for ways to use Skype to bring in outside experts using video conferencing, and with the help of a former professor of mine from the USC school of Ed, I was able to locate another science professor interested in collaborating with my students.

So, this week was our first chance to get to know Dr. David Barbeau Jr., tectonics and sedimentology expert from USC. Dr. Dave has been studying the mountains of North and South America as well as Antarctica. He spoke with us this week about natural earth processes such as erosion, deposition, and weathering. Students had an opportunity to ask Dr. Dave their own questions, and we listened to him tell us about his type of work.

It was a unique experience to hear about far off places and landforms from someone who has been there and studied them. Dr. Dave told us about his trip coming up this February to Antarctica and how he will be collecting samples of rocks from mountains poking through the ice sheet covering most of the continent. He will be looking at the elements inside the rocks using special equipment like a mass spectrometer to try and solve some questions he has about the movements being made by plate tectonics over the past million or so years.

Hopefully we will be able to actually visit Dr. Dave when he is in Antarctica this February by using Skype. Either way, we are making plans to talk with Dr. Dave some more and maybe even organize a visit with him and his graduate students to our classroom.

Science Safari at Pontiac

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Today was our annual Science Safari Day at Pontiac. This is always one of my favorite days of the school year, since it is entirely dedicated to science activities. I’m glad our school has committed time and money to teaching science and endorsing activity based learning. I dont believe anyone will have trouble remembering what they did today.

In Fifth grade today students watched a science demonstration from the folks at Mad Science, experimented with bubbles, learned the importance of recycling and how to do it correctly, built with K’nex and other blocks sets, learned about CSI from the FBI, and played a wolf simulation game. And this was all before lunch. After lunch we dissected owl pellets, and explored what happens when Diet Coke and Mentos are combined.

Today was a day with a late lunch, without recess or bathroom breaks and hardly anyone seemed to notice!