Roland Roberts's blog

Inquiry Based Science Lessons

Another generic resource, also from the NSTA elementary mailing list.  The issue of using inquiry in science lessons is a big deal and also came up a recent School Leadership Team meeting.  Inquiry does, of course, get used, but it's always a tough item since it is easy to get "off script" when using a lesson plan that allows student-driven inquiry.  At the same time, it's hard to really teach science without it.  The issue in NYC, and probably many other places, is that since the city has instituted standardized science testing, the test is naturally content based. 

Science Resources for Teachers

Today I am at jury duty here in King's County.  That means, for now anyway, that I'm waiting for my name to be called while the machinations of justice do their thing somewhere else in the building.  But the court system has moved into the modern age, at least in some ways, like providing free wifi here in the jury assembly room.  So I can catch up on a little reading from the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) elementary level mailing list.

Historical Videos of Nuclear Tests

The national Nuclear Security Administration's Nevad Site Office has made available a number of historically important videos for nuclear tests from the 1940s through the 1960s.  Apart from our common morbid fascination with things that go boom, you can always think of splicing these in as special effects for your next July 4th videos....

Videos at

"Recent" Planetary Collision around nearby Star

Recent, is of course, relative to the timescale involved.  In the case of planetary collisions and their aftermath, that can be a very long time, like, tens of millions of years.  So while very interesting, this isn't a train wreck (or planetary wreck) in progress, but the aftermath of one that is still settling.

Saturn Week

Well, okay, I made that up.  But the first two weeks of October, say Oct 4-17 will be a great time to be up early to view Saturn, Mercury, and Venus as they dance around the early morning sky during the morning twilight.  Saturn will actually be the faintest of the bunch.  On Oct 16, the crescent moon will have joined the fray and there will be a nice visual grouping of the three planets with the moon.

Urban Starfest on Saturday!

If you are New York City, this weekend is the annual Urban Starfest held in Sheep Meadow (Central Park).While those of you from more rural areas may think it something of a joke to have a (mini) star party in the middle of the a major city, you would be surprised at what you can see.  Of course, at this time, the first quarter moon and Jupiter are easily visible in the early evening and those alone are worth the trip out if you (or your children!) have never looked at them through a telescope.  And with some of the scopes, the brighter deep-sky objects will be readily d


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