By: Robert W. Blake, Jr., J. Adam Frederick, Sarah Haines, and Stephanie Colby Lee
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Inside-Out: Environmental Science in the Classroom and the Field, Grades 3–8
|Type of Product:||NSTA Press Book (also see downloadable PDF version of this book)
|Grade Level:||Elementary School, Middle School
|Read Inside:||Read a sample chapter: Water
Our reviewers—top-flight teachers and other outstanding science educators—have determined that this resource is among the best available supplements for science teaching.
[Read the full review]
Teachers seeking new ways to integrate Earth science, chemistry, physical geography, and life science into a study of the environment should just step outside! So say the authors of Inside-Out: Environmental Science in the Classroom and the Field, Grades 3–8, who provide thought-provoking, interesting activities to help teachers and students leave the classroom and learn outside.
Inside-Out covers topics such as using topographic maps to better understand landforms, exploring the physical landscape of a local area, how water sustains biological organisms, and the relationship between soil conditions and local flora—using both field- and classroom-based lessons to convey important environmental science concepts. Each chapter includes an introduction to the material covered, followed by activities that allow students to use direct observation and inquiry to learn various concepts in environmental science. The authors also provide many web resources that will point teachers in the right direction for gaining even more information about these subjects.
If you’re looking for a way to bring environmental science lessons to life for your students, Inside-Out can help you do it!
(mouse over for full classification)
Acids and bases
Scientific habits of mind
Using scientific equipment
|Intended User Role:||Curriculum Supervisor, Elementary-Level Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
|Educational Issues:||Assessment of students, Classroom management, Curriculum, Educational research, Inquiry learning, Instructional materials, Interdisciplinary, Professional development, Teacher preparation, Teaching strategies
Why This Book and Why This Way?
Why an Emphasis on Content?
Why the Elementary Level?
Why Field-Based Learning?
Why So Many Web Resources?
Concerns Over Regionalism
Why the Environment and Why the Field?
Organization of the Book
Why This Way?
Chapter 1: Topography
A Content Primer
An Introduction to Maps
Using Topographic Maps
Activity 1. Geographic “Flights”: An Exploration
Activity 2. Modeling a Contour Map
Activity 3. Creating a Simple Contour Map
Activity 4. Map Legends: An Exploration
Activity 5. Contour Lines: Part I
Activity 6. Contour Lines: Part II
Activity 7. Mapping the Schoolyard
Activity 8. Constructing a Topographic Map Outside the Classroom
Chapter 2: Physical Geography
A Content Primer
Natural Resources, Biome, Habitat, and Watershed
Riparian Buffers and Stream Structure
Physical Geography Activities
Activity 1. What Is Your Watershed Address?
Activity 2. Go With the Flow: An Exploration
Activity 3. Schoolyard Habitat Assessment
Activity 4. At-Home Habitat Assessment
Activity 5. Stream Habitat Assessment
Appendix A: Schoolyard Report Card
Appendix B: Your Yard Report Card
Chapter 3: Water
A Content Primer
What Is Water?
The Water Cycle
Other Aspects of Water
Activity 1. Modeling the Water Cycle
Activity 2. Preparing pH Indicators From Red Cabbage
Activity 3. Red Cabbage Juice as a pH Indicator: Developing pH Standards
Activity 4. Using Red Cabbage Juice and pH Paper to Determine the pH of Household Products
Activity 5. Modeling the Impact of Salinity in Water
Activity 6. Exploring the Impact of Temperature and Salinity on Water Density
Activity 7. Sponging Up the Dissolved Oxygen
Activity 8. Testing Solubility of Oxygen in Water Over Time
Activity 9. Modeling Turbidity
Activity 10. Measuring Turbidity With a Turbidity Tube
Chapter 4: Soil: It’s Not Dirt
A Content Primer
What Is Soil?
Soil as a Habitat
Activity 1. Soil Color: Wetland Versus Nonwetland Soils
Activity 2. Soil Texture Investigation
Activity 3. Percolation of Soil
Activity 4. Soil Chemistry
Activity 5. The Living Soil or Winogradsky Column
Chapter 5: Energy and Nutrients
A Content Primer
What Is Energy?
Why Chemistry and What Are Nutrients?
Tying It All Together: Nutrient Loading and Water Quality
Activity 1. Exploring How Light Source Affects Plant Growth
Activity 2. Exploring Energy Through Evaporation
Activity 3. Exploring Energy Through Heat and Circulation
Activity 4. Chemical Water Quality Analysis
Activity 5. Tying It All Together: Nutrient Loading, Turbidity, and Water Quality. What’s the Story?
Chapter 6: Biodiversity
A Content Primer
Definition of Biodiversity
Determinants of Biodiversity
How Do We Measure Biodiversity?
Why Do We Measure Biodiversity?
Activity 1. Leaf Litter Fun
Activity 2. Analysis of Plant and Animal Habitat in a Square Meter
Activity 3. Macroinvertebrate Analysis
Activity 4. Biofilms and Biodiversity
Chapter 7: Action Projects
A Content Primer
Why Action Projects?
How to Choose an Action Project
Process and Completion of the Project
Single Classroom–Based Project: A Storm Drain Rain Garden
Schoolwide Single Project: A Native Plant Garden
Schoolwide Single Project: Habitat Restoration
Schoolwide Multiple Projects
An Example of Changes in Attitude With Action Projects
Teacher Advice Regarding the Implementation of Action Projects
Chapter 8: Reflections on Implementation
Christine Wolfe: Creating a Schoolyard Habitat in Middle School
Stephanie Lee: Helping Students Become Green Kids
Mark Herzog: In the “Old Days” We Went Outside
Pamela Lottero-Perdue and Steven Lev: A Science Educator and a Geologist Work Together to Make Topography Elementary
Debbie Freels: “Where Are My Sneakers?”
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National Standards Correlation
This resource has 56 correlations with the National Standards.
- Physical Science
- Properties and changes of properties in matter
- A substance has characteristic properties, such as density, a boiling point, and solubility. (5-8)
- Transfer of Energy
- Energy is a property of many substances and is associated with heat, light, electricity, mechanical motion, sound, nuclei, and the nature of a chemical. (5-8)
- Heat moves in predictable ways, flowing from warmer objects to cooler ones, until both reach the same temperature. (5-8)
- Life Science
- The characteristics of organisms
- The world has many different environments, and distinct
environments support the life of different types of organisms. (K-4)
- Organisms and environments
- An organism's patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism's environment, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the physical characteristics of the environment.
- When the environment changes, some plants and animals survive and reproduce, and others die or move to new locations.
- All organisms cause changes in the environment where they live. Some of these changes are detrimental to the organism or other organisms, whereas others are beneficial.
- Humans depend on their natural and constructed environments. Humans change environments in ways that can be either beneficial or detrimental for themselves and other organisms.
- Populations and ecosystems
- A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time. (5-8)
- All populations living together and the physical factors with which they interact compose an ecosystem. (5-8)
- Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem. (5-8)
- Plants and some micro-organisms are producers--they make their own food. (5-8)
- All animals, including humans, are consumers, which obtain food by eating other organisms. (5-8)
- Decomposers, primarily bacteria and fungi, are consumers that use waste materials and dead organisms for food. (5-8)
- Food webs identify the relationships among producers, consumers, and decomposers in an ecosystem. (5-8)
- For ecosystems, the major source of energy is sunlight. (5-8)
- Energy entering ecosystems as sunlight is transferred by producers into chemical energy through photosynthesis. (5-8)
- Energy passes from organism to organism in food webs (5-8)
- Biotic parts of an ecosystem include animals, plants, and microorganisms. (5-8)
- The number of organisms an ecosystem can support depends on the resources available and abiotic factors, such as quantity of light and water, range of temperatures, and soil composition.
- Given adequate biotic and abiotic resources and no disease or predators, populations (including humans) increase at rapid rates. (5-8)
- Healthy ecosystems ensure a healthy biosphere by regulating the flow of energy and the cycling of nutrients.
- Lack of resources and other factors, such as predation and climate, limit the growth of populations in specific niches in the ecosystem. (5-8)
- Diversity and adaptations of organisms
- Millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms are alive today. (5-8)
- Earth Science
- Properties of earth materials
- Earth materials are solid rocks and soils, water, and the gases of the atmosphere.
- The varied Earth materials have different physical and chemical properties, which make them useful in different ways, for example, as building materials, as sources of fuel, or for growing the plants we use as food.
- Earth materials provide many of the resources that humans use.
- Soils have properties of color and texture, capacity to retain water, and ability to support the growth of many kinds of plants, including those in our food supply.
- Structure of the earth system
- Destructive forces include weathering and erosion. (5-8)
- Soil consists of weathered rocks and decomposed organic material from dead plants, animals, and bacteria. (5-8)
- Soils are often found in layers, with each having a different chemical composition and texture. (5-8)
- Water, which covers the majority of the earth's surface, circulates through the crust, oceans, and atmosphere in what is known as the "water cycle." (5-8)
- Water evaporates from the earth's surface, rises and cools as it moves to higher elevations, condenses as rain or snow, and falls to the surface where it collects in lakes, oceans, soil, and in rocks underground. (5-8)
- A watershed is entire areas of land that are drained by a river.
- Water is a solvent. As it passes through the water cycle it dissolves minerals and gases and carries them to the oceans. (5-8)
- Science as Inquiry
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. (K-4)
- Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.
- Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
- Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.
- Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.
- Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.
- Understandings about scientific inquiry
- Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).
- Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations. (K-4)
- Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
- Types of resources
- Resources are things that we get from the living and nonliving environment to meet the needs and wants of a population.
- Some resources are basic materials, such as air, water, and soil.
- Some resources are produced from basic resources, such as food, fuel, and building materials.
- The supply of many resources is limited.
- Changes in environments
- Pollution is a change in the environment that can influence the health, survival, or activities of organisms, including humans.
- Students should understand the different consequences of changing environments in small increments over long periods as compared with changing environments in large increments over short periods.
- Process Standards for Professional Development
- Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. (NSES)
- Uses learning strategies appropriate to the intended goal. (NSDC)
- Build on the teacher's current science understanding, ability, and attitudes. (NSES)
- Content Standards
- Quality Teaching
- Deepens educators’ content knowledge, provides them with research-based instructional strategies to assist students in meeting rigorous academic standards, and prepares them to use various types of classroom assessments appropriately. (NSDC)
- Teaching Standards
- Teachers of science plan an inquiry-based science program for their students.
- Select science content and adapt and design curricula to meet the interests, knowledge, understanding, abilities, and experiences of students.
- Select teaching and assessment strategies that support the development of student understanding and nurture a community of science learners.
- Teachers provide students with the time, space, and resources needed to learn science.
- Create a setting for student work that is flexible and supportive of science inquiry.
“Inside-Out: Environmental Science in the Classroom and in the Field realizes that elementary school teachers are generalists, and may not feel they have a good enough grasp of the content to be confident communicating it, so each chapter begins with a short refresher on key content for the teacher, followed by detailed instructions for student activities that will illustrate the scientific principles. … The activities each include detailed instructions and lists of required materials that will help the teacher gauge its feasibility and suitability for their particular situation. A list of websites the authors found both credible and especially useful for educators is included as an additional resource."
“Many school systems promote ‘project-based Learning’ (PBL) or ‘project-based Science’ programs; yet teachers can be overwhelmed by the scope and sequence involved in any environmental project. Here is a complete primer; each chapter is logically organized around a yearlong watershed program beginning with topography and ending with ideas for ‘action’ projects. … One nice feature is the way the book dovetails with other environmental programs that are available, such as ‘Save Our Streams,’ ‘Project Wet,’ ‘My World,’ or GLOBE. … Many of the activities, while simple, are quite eloquent, such as the activity measuring the impact of salinity in the water (p. 60). These activities can be used for all ages; the salinity activity with food coloring makes a great demonstration even for high school students. … The book provides excellent background information for the teacher, particularly an elementary school educator who may not have had any previous environmental studies. The text even supplies ideas for integrating the lessons into an existing curriculum.”
SB&F, September 2010
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