Earth Day


Virtual Electronic Field Trips
by National Hall of Fame teacher Alan Haskvitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

Thing back to your school days and the chances are that besides a lost love it was a field trip that you recall vividly. Whether that class visit was to a museum, park, or historical place the learning and enjoyment standout. Today, with modern electronics, budgeting concerns, lawsuit avoidance, curriculum standards, and high value testing results, field trips are a rarity, if not extinct.

Sad, yes, but what is even more disheartening is the fact that students won’t have the opportunity to go somewhere that they could later in life share with their family. Even when a grant has been secured to help pay for the transportation and entrance costs you need to impose on other teachers to have that student miss their class. A small favor to ask, but nonetheless a day of learning missed for that subject area.

There is also the time consuming of tasks of trolling for parents to supervise, arranging the time for buses to arrive, medications, making sure no child is without an emergency number, and that the students understand the time schedule. There may be need for substitute plans and it is recommended that you take a picture of the group on the day of the trip so that if one is missing he or she is easier to identify by officials. This is a lot to ask from a teacher and certainly not a requirement for their position.

But all the above are practical matters. What is missing is the spontaneous learning opportunity across curriculum areas and the diversity of learning opportunities. For example, before the students get on the bus they must calculate the mileage, make an estimate of the miles per hour, study a map to see what other significant places are along the road, and study a layout of the facility noting where they are to report, restrooms, and other places they need to know. The combines both geography and math and map reading. Add to that mix the directions the bus will travel and estimated time of arrival and you have a great learning experience before the trip begins. Having the students make their own note taking book using inexpensive note pads and self-made marbled paper using printers ink and library or book binding tape and you have an art lesson. Using technology, students can even use global positioning information to track the trip and note the various streets taken to make them more aware of the importance of knowing where they are when traveling.

There is always the value of debriefing once the trip is finished and having the students share a study guide for the trip about such items as types of occupations noted, most unusual fact, names of docents, and a list of items observed and the addresses of those who need thank you notes and, perhaps, art work.

The learning that can be linked to a field trip makes if memorable, but just as importantly, enables them to learn on their own, something that electronic field trips to do not currently offer. It is not that electronic field trips are bad, far from it, what better way to visit places far behind the immediate area. What they lack is the spirit of adventure, the learning with friends on their own, to learn from others and, above all, the excitement to actually tell their family about and share the learning and motivate a future excursion.

Fortunately, when I was attending school legal matters were not the main concern. Learning was. We stood in the back of a truck on the way to a historical park, walked miles across town to visit a museum, went to a zoo and were simply told to report back at a certain time, not to mention trips to airfields, ships, museums, and significant buildings. The fact that I can recall these and don’ t remember the teacher’s name is not an indictment of the school system, but a reflection that perhaps we need to rethink what I call “seated learning” as the only way to inculcate facts.

Due to legal and financial constraints perhaps it is time to take a longer look at electronic or Internet field trips.

First, to make this lesson as real life as possible it would be good to have a map of the location, and, if it is a building or park, a map of that as well. In this way the student has a sense of where the images are coming from. Furthermore, if it is a location, such as a museum, the students can be given math problems on time and distance to help them understand the expenses of such travel. This also ties in with Common Core questions as well.

Before the trip is taken the students should read about the place, be prepared to compare it to others, and be given time to write what they might learn or would like to learn. These can be used at the end of the lesson as the bases for a compare and contrast essay. Obviously, the lesson also ties in with technology and science lessons as well.

The students need to take notes on the field trip including the webpage and what was shown. I would recommend that the trip take place during class time to keep the group on task and eliminate students going off-topic.

The teacher needs to review the site first, make an agenda of what is going to be shown and in what order, and create a list of questions for the students to answer as the lesson progresses.

It should be remembered that field trips may not be the same as once thought. There are now field trips that show how to make bread, ride a horse, and more. So be selective and make sure they meet your objectives.

Virtual Field Trips
Ten of the Best Virtual Field Trips
http://www.eschoolnews.com/2013/04/07/ten-of-the-best-virtual-field-trips/

Huge List of Electronic Field Trips
http://www.bsu.edu/eft/home2/31digest.php

http://www.pitt.edu/~poole/VirtualFieldTrips.html

Apps for field trips from Edutopia
Rather limited, but varied.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/ipad-apps-virtual-field-trips-monica-burns

Advertisements

One of the Nation’s Most  Energy Efficient Homes

 

by  The Car Family

 

Tucked into a cul de sac in Alta Loma is a Spanish style, one story family home that is unique and yet common. For the secret of this 2400 square foot home is that despite its tract house appearance the owners have taken inexpensive steps to make it one of the most energy efficient homes in Southern California with a gas bill that seldom goes above $300 a year and an electric bill that is just a tad over $400 a year and that includes charging the Prius Plug-In nightly.

HOUSE11

 

 

Let’s start with the facts. First, the house is essentially all electric except for the gas dryer, water heater, and furnace. The back of the house has a southern exposure and is largely glass with a fairly large roof overhang. There is an oversized three car garage attached and the roof has three distinct pitches providing the interior with very high ceilings. Into this mix add a normal sized family, two large dogs, and the usual array of appliances and you have a very typical ranch style residence.

 

 

Now comes the interesting part the average gas bill is about ten dollars a month. On extremely cold months this could rise to $35, but the dual pane windows let in an abundance of southern sunlight that heats the tile floor and helps keep the home comfortable long into the night. The addition of the newer windows and doors greatly helps in keeping energy costs down. Southern California Gas and Edison both offer rebates in some cases. During the warmer summer months the roof overhang keeps the sun from shinning into the house. Helping keep the stucco exterior cool is the placement of large bushes on the southside of the house. The large attic acts to “store” the rising heat from the living areas and together make running the air conditioner a rare event. Indeed, last year it was only on twice and this year three times.

 

HOUSE9a

 

 

The water bill was reduced by the use of drought tolerant plants which require little maintenance, very little care, and no fertilizer. A drip system was installed, but even in hot weather watering twice a week is all that is needed. A grant to remove the grass front yard was given by the area water agency. Although some people hire professional landscapers, the yard was designed by the homeowner to reflect their desire to have a colorful, happy yard. Citrus trees on the property and a garden add to the water cost, but the drought tolerant landscaping has partially offset this and resulted in substantial savings. In addition, the home has low water use toilets and washing machine. The showers have restrictive flow features and the dish washer is never started unless it is full.

 

 

The gas bill was dramatically reduced with the tankless water heater and a two-stage furnace. Helping reduce the need for heating are ceiling fans that bring down the warmer air from the high ceiling in the house. Changing the directions of the fans in summer also helps to increase evaporation and keeps the family cooler. Energy efficient fans only cost about three tenths of one cent per hour to operate.

 

 

Electricity rates were also kept low by taking advantage of Southern California Edison’s savings plans and the installation of an upgraded SEER air-conditioner. Energy Star appliances, the use of outlet strips that can be shut off ending parasitic losses to devises that are plugged into them, and having lighting systems that use less electricity all squeeze the energy costs. Another important saver is programing the dishwater and clothes dryer to run during late hours. Interestingly, the Prius Plug-in, has a timer that enables it to start charging during off-peak hours. The addition of the Prius has raised the monthly bill for electricity by a measly $4.

 

 

There are other things that can reduce energy use that may take more time. For example, having large bushes and trees keep the sun off the house is worthwhile. The west side of the Alta Loma house is shaded by a hedge and vine. Keeping your freezer and refrigerator full and keeping the coils clean helps save running costs and using small solar entry lights can keep your entry lighted for very little cost.

 

 

One final tip, on those cold nights when the thought of going to bed unless the home is 68 or higher degrees, is not appealing, use the microwave to prepare a couple of rice heating bags. They can be tucked under the covers a few minutes before bedtime and they can easily take the chill off the bedding and retain warmth for over an hour.

 

 

Setting the programmable thermostat at 62 at night and 68 in the day in winter and a maximum in summer of 78 or 80, taking advantage of utility offerings checking your usage with an Edison account are ways you can certainly save yourself some hard earned income as well as help to save the environment.

The bottom line is that this house does not use solar panels because it is so energy efficient it does not qualify. It just uses items that  are subsidized by many energy agencies and water districts.  The energy costs of this house would save a potential buyer thousands of dollars a year so those looking to purchase a home should definitely check the utility costs before making a decision.

For free teaching resources go to

http://www.reacheverychild.com

 

 

 

  Wolf Mountain Sanctuary: The Saving Place

Note: Idaho has apparently joined Alaska in the use of aircraft to rundown wolves and shoot them from the air. There is also the possibility, according to the Defenders of Wildlife, of the pups being gassed in their dens. It is my hope that wolves shall be placed back on the Endangered Species list of Interior Secretuary Salazar. Meanwhile, I have cancelled my trip to Alaska this summer and refused to attend any conference in Idaho or Montana.

 by Alan Haskvitz

The door swung open and I stood looking into the enclosure of the legendary wolf. The antagonist of Little Red Riding Hood, the Three Little Pigs and other works of fiction stood before me. I was entering the world of an animal that has created such fear in humans that they were hunted into extinction in the lower 48 states. Before me was a large wolf with vivid yellow eyes that followed my every move. I sat on a nearby picnic table and wondered what was going to happen next.

Licked by a Star

I caught a glimpse of the wolf as she moved towards me. Effortlessly she jumped on the table. I sat still, arms folded against my chest, breathing a bit fast, with my senses on high alert. What happened next was magic. The yellow-eyed giant started pushing against me, rubbing her nose in my hair, and…was that a kiss? No, it couldn’t be. Maybe a lick. Either way, this was the first time a movie star had ever, ah, kissed me. Yep, movie star. This was one of the wolves featured in the Twilight movies and several other films and television productions. .

During the rest of the visit with these great animals I was enthralled with their actions. They pushed against me, walked around me, and in general they were, well, good wolves. Little Red Riding Hood be damned. I left an hour later not only with a new appreciation for these endangered animals, but feeling that this was the best $35 I had ever spent. I wonder how the the Inland Empire Tourist people had missed promoting this gem.

Interacting with the Wolves

Wolf Mountain Sanctuary is located in Lucerne Valley, about an hour drive for 909 readers. This is truly a saving place dedicated to preserving the lives and legacy of this nation’s few remaining wolves and to educating the public about them in a way few have ever dared. Unlike nearly any facility in the world, Wolf Mountain Sanctuary provides visitors with the opportunity to directly interact with the wolves, look into their eyes, and perhaps develop a fresh perspective on an animal that continues to be hunted for sport.

Tonya Littlewolf, who is part Apache, developed this remarkable facility as an extension of her life’s calling. As a youngster she would hide in wolf dens to escape the adult world. Seeing this unique ability to be at ease with these ancestors of the domesticated dog, her grandparent told her that working with wolves was her summons in life and believed she had the the spirit of the wolf about her. A lifetime later that prediction has proven correct. Littlewolf established the sanctuary in 1986 and never looked back despite huge meat bills and the rising cost of veterinarian visits. She has nearly single handled carved out a safe place for the public to go meet these noble creatures and to learn the truth about an animal that is again being pushed into oblivion after being removed from the endangered species list by the Interior Secretary.

I am part of he wolves they are part of me toghter they are one, we walk together, spiritial. healers.

Adopt a Wolf

At present there are 14 wolves sheltered at the Sanctuary and two pups are scheduled to arrive later in the fall. She takes in wolves from Alaska and other states. Typical of them is the wolf adopted by Suzanne Middle School in Walnut, California as part of meeting the State curriculum. The students had stared a wildlife club in honor of Wolf 527 who was killed just outside Yellowstone. This famous wolf was featured in a documentary showing how the wolves helped restore balance to the national park. The wolf was killed as it wore a radio transmitting collar. The students saw the need to get involved and asked Ms.Littlewolf if there was a wolf that needed adopting. She described a young, clumsy one that needed some love. The students arranged to provide ten dollars a month to sponsor this wolf named Denali. Over the years the students have watched Denali grow into an older, mischievous, and still clumsy wolf. They love to hear about his escapades such as nearly flooding his enclosure by opening the water spout or falling off a ledge when he misjudged his jumping abilities. It was a win-win for the students as they learned about wolves and their fund raising helped off-set the food bills for this clownish wolf. Others wolves need adopting, too, and Ms. Littlewolf supplies adoption papers and a biography. 

Wolf Mountain sanctuary is a non-profit facility and all funds go to the care of the wolves and are tax deductible. Several groups have tried to help, but it is the general public that is needed most, said Ms. Littlewolf. For $35 a person, half of what it would cost for Disneyland, the visitors get an explanation of what wolves are like, an introduction into how they are cared for, and an opportunity to enter their world. No extra charge for kisses from the stars. 

For more information go to

http://www.wolfmountain.com/

For reservations and directions call 1-760-248-7818

Trees

http://www.nthf.org/inductee/haskvitz.htm

For Arbor Day

Forest lesson links

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/forests.html

2008 Arbor Day Poster Contest

http://www.arborday.org/kids/postercontest/

Major Arbor Day site

http://www.arborday.org/

Kraft sites

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/arborday/

State trees

http://www.arborday.org/arborday/arborDayDates.cfm

Lesson plan sites

http://www.emints.org/ethemes/resources/S00000835.shtml
http://www.first-school.ws/theme/mini_theme/trees.htm
http://www.theteachersguide.com/arbordaylessonplans.htm

Elementary short stories, poems

http://www.apples4theteacher.com/holidays/arbor-day/index.html

Lorax save the tree game

http://www.seussville.com/games/lorax/

Great resource for types of trees.

Photos and essential information

http://arbor-day-foundation.com/trees/treeguide/

General lessons for elementary students

http://holidays.mrdonn.org/earthday.html#Arbor

The importance of trees to the environment

For older students.

http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/deforestation.htm

Basic tree coloring book pages

http://www.coloring.ws/trees.htm

Large link site

http://www.education-world.com/a_lesson/lesson/lesson309.shtml

Lesson plans including Johnny Appleseed and The Great Kapok Tree

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/ArborDay.htm

Global Warming by Alan Haskvitz

Whether or not you believe global warming exists, the teachable moment it represents is a major plus for integrating lessons in math, science, language arts, social studies and economics.  To help, I’ve assembled some quality sites that offer free resources. I also hope you took advantage of the free copy of An Inconvenient Truth that was featured on Reach Every Child earlier this year.  I shared my copy with the entire school.

Information and analysis
Lessons and links
Opinions and rebuttals

For more resources go to http://www.reacheverychild.com

Global Warming  Lessons and Links

By National Hall of Fame Educator Alan Haskvitz

http://www.reacheverychild.com

Whether or not you believe there is a global warming trend or not, the teachable moment it represents it a major plus for integrating lessons in math, science, language arts, social studies, and economics. Here are some quality sites that offer free resources. Hopefully, you took advantage of the free copy of An Inconvenient Truth that was featured on Reach Every Child earlier this year. I shared my copy with the entire school.

Air and Weather sites

http://www.reacheverychild.com/science/environment/weather.html

Transportation sites

To give background on why transportation is vital and its history.

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/transportation.html

 

Global Warming themes and lessons

A large link site.

http://www.cln.org/themes/global_warming.html

 

Global Warming link site with the emphasis on definitions and articles

http://www.teachervision.fen.com/climate-change/greenhouse-effect/44476.html?wtlAC=GS_2007-06-18,email-gs_15

Academic links

Some very good work here for a great debate.

http://www.academicinfo.net/environstwarming.html

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Global_warming

Unit of Study

http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/letsnet/noframes/subjects/science/b5u1.html

An Inconvenient Truth’s Lesson Plans

http://www.participate.net/educators/node/1

Photos of impact of global warming

Click on the boxes at the top of the site.

http://www.worldviewofglobalwarming.org/pages/references2.html

Global Warming: Does it Exist?

And other links that cover all grade levels.

 

http://www.theteachersguide.com/Environment.html#Global

Global Warming International Center

http://www.globalwarming.net/

Alternative Actions

From the always excellent Constitutional Rights Foundation

http://www.crf-usa.org/bria/bria18_4b.htm

EPA Site on climate

http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/

 

Teacher’s Guide to Global Warming

http://hdgc.epp.cmu.edu/teachersguide/teachersguide.htm

Global Pollution Map

http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEM340NKPZD_index_0.html

Air Quality Maps by State

Updated daily

http://www.airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.currentconditions

Environmental Ratings of Car Companies

A good way to integrate current events, science, and math.

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/vehicles_health/automaker-rankings-2007.html

 

Graph of global warming last 1000 years

http://planetforlife.com/gwarm/glob1000.html

Small math unit on impact of Global Warming

Nothing you couldn’t do yourself, but a nice template to follow.

http://www.lessonplanspage.com/ScienceMathSSGlobalWarmingMathConversionWorksheet912.htm

There is no global warming and debate site

http://www.nationalcenter.org/TSR032204.html

http://www.junkscience.com/news/robinson.htm

http://www.ncpa.org/bothside/gw.html

 

President Bush on Global Warming

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/06/20010611-2.html

And a rebuttal to the President’s comments

http://www.nrdc.org/globalWarming/bushinx.asp

Ask the Climate Guy

ClimateGuy@conservation.org

 

The Best Earth Day

lessons and teaching

resources

By Alan Haskvitz, national motivational speaker

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Haskvitz

These are the best Earth Day and general environmental sites and lessons I could find. They can be used in several classes and by parents. All free.

Begin here
Air and water quality links
Energy and overall environment
Links to more

REC Science—Environment 
As usual, start right here for a good list.

REC Earth Day 

REC General Science

http://www.reacheverychild.com/feature/environment.html