"You know Orion always comes up sideways,
Throwing a leg up over our fence of mountains,
And rising on his hands, he looks in on me
Busy outdoors by lantern-light with something
I should have done by daylight..."
- The Star-Splitter, Robert Frost
Visit the Sandburg Sky Poetry Web
page, including CSMS student-authored sky poems.
Sandburg Center for Sky Awareness
A Fairfax County Public Schools Planetarium
'00-01 Past WoWs! | '99-00 Past WoWs! | '98-99 Past WoWs!
Website of the Week (WoW!)
Every week from October through May, the SCSA will feature one interesting
sky-related Web site. Ideally, the Web site will be related to a current
topic of interest (e.g., a site related to cloud identification featured
during "Sky Awareness Week") and could be used by classroom teachers to
deliver timely, high-interest cross-curricular instruction. The Website of
the Week will be updated on Monday of each week.
Editor's Note: Be advised, WoW! goes on Summer hiatus beginning 31
May; WoW! will return October '01.
28 May 2001 - Lightning Safety
During the past week, several severe thunderstorm events blew through the
Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, prompting us to offer some very timely
weather safety information.
||Lightning is the second deadliest weather hazard (second
only to flash flooding). Learn how to minimize your risk by visiting the
following lightning-related Web sites:
- Know the enemy! Questions
and Answers About Lightning, prepared by the NOAA/NWS National
Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL).
- "Generally speaking, if an individual can see lightning and/or
hear thunder he/she is already at risk." Updated Recommendations
for Lightning Safety - 1998, is a report from the NSSL Lightning
Safety Group which provides potentially life-saving information regarding
appropriate action to take when threatened by lightning.
- Is lightning a current (pun intended!) weather hazard where you live?
For a view of all lightning activity in the continental United States,
Explorer, featuring actual lightning information from the National
Lightning Detection Network. (Courtesy Global Atmospherics, Inc. Requires
Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x and 4.x or Netscape 4.x. "Cookies" are
used and must be accepted by your Web browser.)
Teacher Tip: The Weather Channel
Project SafeSide - a free
collection of cross-curricular lesson plans and activities that teach
students how to prepare for severe weather and natural hazards, including
floods, tornadoes, extreme heat, hurricanes, winter weather, and
earthquakes. Designed for grades 4-12.
21 May 2001 - Top 10 Reasons to Look Up!
Five (5) reasons for openers, plus one-a-day each day of the week
beginning 21 May.
- "It all begins with the simple act of looking up. The look skyward is
the beginning of quests and questioning, because where our gaze goes, our
mind follows." - Donna B. Smith, Vanderbilt University
- The sky is the greatest show on Earth. Well, above the Earth. And it's
FREE! It costs nothing (other than a little time) to look up and feast
your eyes upon the view (or, if you are confined indoors, to look out and
- The sky is dynamic and ever-changing. The sky is a piece of classical
music; nature composes endless sky symphonies. Can't "hear" the music at
night? Perhaps it's because you live in a light-polluted urban area.
According to Fred Schaaf, Editor, Sky & Telescope magazine,
"Growing up with light pollution is like never being allowed to hear
music." Turn up the volume--go to a rural location under a really dark,
star-filled sky! Or visit your local planetarium.
- Many skies are simply spectacular to behold. There is no better way to
say it--the sky is often magnificently beautiful! It's pleasing to the eye and stirs the
- Being aware of the
sky gives you a sense of connectedness with Nature. We need to remember that our
roots are in Nature. An appropriate metaphor is the difference between rooted
and cut flowers--eventually, cut flowers die!
- Because Chicken Little was right! Well, sort of. The sky is not
falling, but sometimes stuff falls from the sky! Like flooding rain. Or
lightning. On average, flash flooding and lightning are
the number one & two deadliest weather hazards, respectively. Being sky
aware can help to minimize the risk of personal injury or property damage.
(Monday, 21 May 2001)
- Look for shapes in the clouds during the day (technically known as nephelococcygia);
look for patterns among the stars at night, like the Constellation(s) of the Month. (Tuesday, 22 May 2001)
- Learn to identify the 10 basic cloud types: cirrus, cirrocumulus,
cirrostratus, altocumulus, altostratus, nimbostratus, stratocumulus,
stratus, cumulus, and cumulonimbus. It's helpful to have a reference such
as the Skywatcher's
Cloud Chart that shows pictures of the basic and unusual clouds, with
names and descriptions. (Wednesday, 23 May 2001)
- Look for optical phenomena such as sundogs,
contrails, etc. Watch the sunrise or sunset; ponder why the sky is red
Observe "Earthshine" on the Moon. Watch a meteor shower. (Thursday, 24 May
- Feel "grounded" by looking up. Huh? Yep, if you can locate Polaris,
the North Star, then you know your latitude on Earth (in the Northern
Hemisphere, the altitude of the North Star
equals the latitude of the observer). For an explanation of a simple
star-hopping trick that can be used to find Polaris, visit the August Constellation of the Month
Web page. (Friday, 25 May 2001)
- There's more than meets the eye! Using a pair of binoculars or an inexpensive telescope, see phenomena invisible to the unaided
eye such as craters on the Moon, the Galilean Moons of Jupiter, the rings
of Saturn, star clusters (e.g., the Pleiades), and the Andromeda Galaxy,
to name a few interesting targets. (Bonus Item)
- "Things are looking up!" "Nothing but blue skies from now on." "The
sky's the limit!" "Shoot for the Moon--even if you miss, you will land among the stars." Colorful expressions such as these
enrich the language and suggest that good things happen when you look up.
Make good things happen in your life--look up more often! (Bonus Item)
Adapted (with permission) from 10 Reasons to Look UP!
by Dr. John Day, a.k.a., the "Cloudman."
14 May 2001 - Top 10 Reasons to Preserve the FCPS
- It's fun to visit a planetarium! Teachers and students enjoy
visiting the planetarium and learn a lot during their visit, and we have
data which shows clearly that the FCPS Planetarium Program is
- We have space for everyone! The nine
FCPS Planetaria serve every student enrolled in Grade Level 4, 5, & 6,
delivering high-quality, hands-on instruction which meets or exceeds the
Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) and FCPS Program of Studies (POS) in
astronomy and meteorology. In addition,
the planetaria are used frequently by school and community groups such as
PTAs, civic associations, adult education classes, and boy & girl scout
- The sky touches everyone! A visit to the planetarium is a multisensory
aesthetic experience that provides immeasurable motivation for many
students. For Spacious
Skies, a non-profit national effort to increase sky awareness and
concern, reports compelling evidence of increased academic performance as
a result of increasing students' sky awareness. In 1986, a Harvard study
of sky-based learning proved that "sky-aware" students surpass "non-sky"
students in several areas of learning, including music appreciation,
literary skills, and visual arts skills. Another case in point: read the
sky poetry written by Carl Sandburg
Middle School Grade Level 7 Language Arts students after their visit to
the planetarium--very compelling evidence that the FCPS Planetarium
Program is extraordinarily inspiring!
- Anytime--day or night, rain or shine--sit back, relax, look up and
behold the beauty and the wonder of the night sky! The unique 3-D
immersive environment of the planetarium is the ideal environment in which
to learn about astronomy and meteorology.
- Virtual reality is far better than reality! As a result of urban light pollution, we see
only the 25-or-so brightest stars in the real sky and familiar
constellations such as the Big Dipper and Orion the Hunter are often
difficult to see. Another sad fact-of-life in a major urban area: in many
neighborhoods, it's unsafe for unsupervised young children to go outside
at night to skywatch. In contrast, the planetarium--which shows the sky as
it would appear in a more pristine environment--provides a safe,
stimulating place for children to learn about the sky.
- "Oh, I get it!" The nine FCPS planetarium teachers are uniquely
qualified to deliver instruction in astronomy and meteorology that is
scientifically accurate yet interesting and accessible to younger
students. Among the nine FCPS planetarium teachers, one team member is
formerly Secretary and President of the Middle Atlantic Planetarium
Society (MAPS) and is currently a member of the MAPS Board of Directors;
she is also serving her third term as Secretary of
the International Planetarium
Society (IPS). Another planetarium teacher is an American Meteorological
Society "Atmospheric Education
- The FCPS Planetarium Program is a bright shining star in the
constellation of Fairfax County Public Schools! It distinguishes the
school system: most school systems don't have a single planetarium; FCPS
has nine! The FCPS
Planetarium Program Web site (including the Sandburg Center for Sky
Awareness) attracts national and international recognition of the
academic excellence of FCPS.
- The nine FCPS planetarium teachers are truly a bargain, routinely
providing the same services as planetariums staffed with five or six
positions! Regular duties include scheduling, programming, evaluating
program efficacy, provisioning, and performing routine maintenance.
- The investment of approximately $10 million in equipment &
facilities has been made already. In reality, it actually costs relatively
little to maintain the program. Other than staff salaries, modest
financial outlays for annual maintenance (of the planetarium equipment)
and field trip transportation are the primary expenses. Bottom line: as
long as the equipment is operational, FCPS students should benefit from
- Less is more? Not always. Sometimes, less costs more! It would
actually cost a lot of money to close the nine
FCPS Planetaria. In addition to the loss of its initial investment in
equipment, the school system would have to incur the cost to renovate and
repurpose the facilities, perhaps as much as a quarter-million dollars per
07 May 2001 - Looking@Earth Online
Look Up! No, look down! Huh? Visit the new Smithsonian National Air and
Space Museum Looking@Earth
Online Exhibit. "The Looking at Earth gallery first opened to the
public May 8, 1986 in the National Air and Space Museum on the Mall in
Washington, D.C. It documents the changing ways that we have viewed our
planet from above. This online version is part of an ongoing effort by the
NASM web site to create a 'virtual' representation of each of the physical
galleries of the museum. Each completed online gallery brings as much
information as possible from the the physical gallery to the Internet
30 April 2001 - Space Day/Cyber Space Day
Thursday, 03 May 2001,
Washington, D.C. The fifth annual Space Day, which celebrates the
achievements, benefits, and opportunities in the human exploration of
outer space, kicks off at the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum.
Spearheading the festivities is the event's spokesperson, NASA astronaut
and former U.S. Senator John H. Glenn Jr. Cyber Space Day is a live,
interactive Webcast (archives of past Webcasts also available online). The
theme for Space Day/Cyber Space Day 2001: "Living and Working in Space."
Teacher Tips: Visit Teachers' Space for
a variety of space-related classroom activities in the Lesson Library.
Students should enjoy a little open-ended exploration of cyberspace by
visiting 101 Ways to
23 April 2001 - Sky Poetry/National Poetry Month
Saturday, 28 April, 6 p.m. Inspired by
the innovative Sandburg Sky Poetry
interdisciplinary instructional unit, the Smithsonian Institution National
Air and Space Museum free Monthly
Star Lecture utilizes "the unique capabilities of the planetarium" as
"the perfect backdrop for an evening of poetry" under the stars--a
delightful way to celebrate one of the last few days of National Poetry Month!
16 April 2001 - Me and My Shadow
02 April 2001 - The Date of Easter
Every year, Easter occurs on the first Sunday after the first Full Moon
after the Spring Equinox (e.g., the Spring Equinox occurred on 20 March
2001, the next Full Moon occurrs on 08 April, and Easter is Sunday, 15
April). Well, usually. For more details, visit The Date of Easter
Web page, including the Easter Calculator.
Webmaster's Note: WoW! takes a break--Spring Break, that is--during
the week beginning 09 April 2001. WoW! will return on 16 April. With
apologies to non-Christians, Happy Easter!
26 March 2001 - VA Severe Weather Awareness Week
Virginia Governor Gilmore has declared Tuesday, 27 March
2001, "Tornado Preparedness Day." Visit the NOAA National Weather
Service Office of Meteorology Severe Weather
Awareness Web site for an online Tornado Preparedness
Guide, including information regarding tornado safety in schools.
Preparedness Guides for other weather hazards are available online also.
A GUIDE TO
DEVELOPING A SEVERE WEATHER EMERGENCY PLAN FOR SCHOOLS, by Barbara
McNaught Watson, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the NWS
Baltimore/Washington Forecast Office, is a "must read" for school safety
19 March 2001 - Astronomy-Related Flags
The Alaska state flag
(shown left) features the Big Dipper, an asterism in Ursa
Major, one of the more prominent constellations visible from the Northern
Hemisphere. The "Pointer Stars"--the two stars at the end of the cup of
the Big Dipper--form a straight line which points toward Polaris, the
North Star (upper-right corner of flag). As the northernmost state in the
United States, Alaska's state flag literally says Alaska is the "star of
Teacher Tip: Challenge students
to discover some of the many astronomy-related flags from countries around
the world by visiting the NationalGeographic.com Flags
and Facts Web page. Use a world map and push-pins to locate countries
with astronomy-related flags. Hint: There are lots of flags with
stars, crescent moons, and suns. One of the more interesting
astronomy-related flags is the flag of Brazil.
Stars on the Flag of Brazil for an explanation of the star patterns
shown on the flag. Also worth a look: the flags of South
Carolina (Waxing Crescent Moon), Australia
(the Southern Cross). and Turkey
(Waning Crescent Moon and Crab Nebula
12 March 2001 - Sky Awareness Week & Astronomy Week/Day
Plan to celebrate National
Awareness Week (NSAW), April 22-28, 2001. Its theme
SKY - Where Meteorology Meets the Heavens and the Earth."
This year, Astronomy
Week/Day coincides with NSAW: Astronomy Week is April
2001; Astronomy Day is April 28th. For the first
Astronomy Day has a special theme: "Sun-Earth Day." The NASA
Connection Education Forum has set up a special Web site
providing Astronomy Day theme-related resources.
05 March 2001 - Skywatcher's Guide to the Moon
26 February 2001 - Stellar Evolution & Death/NASA Observatorium
Like people, stars live and die in a much longer life cycle than
humans. Explore the lives of stars by visiting the NASA Observatorium Stellar
Evolution & Death Web site, then test your knowledge by taking the
Teacher Tips: As an
extension/enrichment activity following the FCPS Grade Level 5 Planetarium
Program, Stars and
Constellations, provide students with the opportunity to explore
Evolution & Death Web site. For other pre-visit & post-visit
instructional activities, visit the SCSA Site Visits Web page, including
annotated links to a variety of Related Internet
Information Resources which may be used to extend/enrich the Stars
and Constellations unit.
19 February 2001 - Weather Underground Astronomy/Shapes of Snow
Weather Underground Astronomy
Visit the Weather Underground Washington, DC
Forecast Web page, then follow the link to "Astronomy" for an
interactive night sky image generated with Distant Suns (commercial
planetarium software). Not as good as a visit to your local planetarium,
but hey, not bad!
Shapes of Snow Crystals
Did you notice the shape of the snow
crystals which fell upon Washington, D.C. during the 22 FEB '01
snowstorm? They were needles, not dendrites (the stereotypical
snowflake shape). Can you infer the air temperature at cloud level?
12 February 2001 - Happy Valentines Day...
...from Mars!!! Check out the cool image of a Martian heart-shaped
surface feature captured by the Mars Global Surveyor. Men may be from
Mars, but clearly we have a romantic side for all to see!
29 JAN/05 FEB 2001 - AMS Interactive Infrared Weather
22,300 miles above the Earth's surface, geostationary
weather satellites continuously monitor the Earth's dynamic
atmosphere. Special satellite sensors measure infrared energy (heat
energy) radiated by the Earth, showing the temperature of the tops of
clouds and land & water surfaces visible between clouds. Among other
advantages, infrared weather satellite imagery (a.k.a., I.R. imagery) is
available day and night.
Explore the world through "heat-sensitive eyes" (similar to looking
through night-vision binoculars) by visiting the American Meteorological
Society (AMS) Interactive Infrared
Weather Satellite Image. You will need a Java-capable Web browser; be
patient--the Applet takes a while to load! As you move the computer cursor
over the image, note that the temperature (in Celsius degrees) and
geographic location (latitude & longitude) are displayed for the point on
the Earth (or above the Earth, in the case of clouds) below the cursor.
Cool, huh? No, it's hot (remember, I.R. sensors detect heat energy).
Teacher Tips: Weather satellite
image interpretation is challenging and fun, and provides a variety of
opportunities to deliver authentic instruction:
- Practice working with decimal fractions and positive & negative
numbers. [Note: the higher the negative number, the lower (colder) the
- Temperature scale conversions, e.g., °C-to-°F (and vice
- Practice using geographic coordinates (latitude & longitude) to
determine location (Theme 1 of the National Council for
Geographic Education Five
Themes of Geography).
Challenge students to use an I.R. weather satellite image to demonstrate
the following understandings and/or competencies (ranked in degree of
difficulty, beginning with the easiest task):
- Given the latitude & longitude of Washington, D.C. (39°N,
77°W), find its location on the satellite image.
- Record the current temperature (either land or cloud top) in the
vicinity of Washington, D.C. Convert the temperature from Celsius degrees
to Fahrenheit. [Visit the Sterling, VA NWS Forecast Office Web site for an
- Infer the relationship between color (black, white, and shades of
gray) and temperature, as shown on I.R. weather satellite imagery.
- Identify land and water surfaces; identify clouds (including high and
- Compare land and water temperatures at the same latitude; explain
possible causes for the observed temperature difference (if any). Compare
surface temperatures at different latitudes; in general, what is the
relationship between surface temperature and latitude? Use geographic
coordinates to identify the locations used for comparison.
- Infer the location of the most intense storms by locating areas with
the coldest cloud top temperatures. Access other online sources of real-time weather
observations which verify your inferences.
- Locate major ocean currents, e.g., the Gulf Stream (requires a
relatively cloud-free view of the ocean).
For more information regarding weather satellite image interpretation,
visit the UIUC Weather World 2010 Satellite
Meteorology Online Remote Sensing Guide.
22 January 2001 - Man-Made Shooting Stars: Tracking Satellites
Be they faint streaks or brilliant flares, satellite observing is like watching man-made
"shooting stars!" Track the International
Space Station (ISS) in real-time. This NASA Web site makes it easy to
locate some of the larger man-made objects in space, including the ISS,
Space Shuttle (when in orbit), Mir, or Hubble Space Telescope. Or use J-Pass
to calculate the next visible pass of these man-made satellites (your Web
browser must support Java applets).
15 January 2001 - Interactive Solar System Scale Model
Make a scale model of the Solar System and learn the REAL
definition of "space" by visiting the Exploratorium Build a Solar
System Web page. Set the scale of the model by selecting the size of
the Sun; the model size of the planets and their distance from the Sun is
Teacher Tip: Seeing is believing!
Provide the opportunity for students to actually construct a physical
scale model of the Solar System (based upon the Web page model
calculations). For directions, refer to "To Do & Notice" (at the top of
the Build a
Solar System Web page).
08 January 2001 - Wind Chill
One of the bigger winter weather hazards is Wind Chill, the apparent
temperature which results from the combined effect of air temperature and
wind speed. Did you know that exposed flesh will freeze at a wind chill of
less than -25°F! See how low air temperatures and high wind speeds can
combine to produce dangerously cold wind chill temperatures by visiting
the Sterling, VA NWS Forecast Office Web site for either an interactive Weather
Calculator (including a Wind Chill section) or a "printer-friendly" Wind Chill
25 December 2000 - Happy Holidays!!!
WoW! takes a break for the holidays. WoW! will resume next year.
Whoa, don't tell me you fell for that old joke! But seriously
folks, WoW! will resume 08 January 2001. 'Til then, Happy
18 December 2000 - Where in the World is Santa Claus?
The Official NORAD Tracks Santa
Claus Web Site. The Website has a variety of high-tech features and
tackles numerous aspects of Santa Claus--including calculations of cookie
and milk consumption; how he gets around the world so quickly; how he gets
down the chimney, etc. On Christmas Eve, the page will track Santa using
digital animation, satellite/cockpit images and audio reports from
Cheyenne Mountain--NORAD's Operations Command Center. New images and
reports will be posted every hour for a 24-hour period. The site is
available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Japanese. (Requires the
Flash multimedia plug-in for your Web browser.)
11 December 2000 - Solar System CyberSurfari
04 December 2000 - SolarMax "Hot
Learn about the
Sun by visiting SolarMax's "Hot
Facts" Web page.
Teacher Tip: Play "SolarMax Facts
in Five - The Game of Solar Knowledge" (a variation of the classic
3M® trivia game). Divide the class into teams of four- to five
students per team. Provide each team with hardcopy of the SolarMax's "Hot
Facts" Web page; players have five minutes to become familiar with the
fact sheet. Collect the fact sheets. Teams have five minutes to record as
many solar facts as they can recall. Teams receive one point for each
correct answer. After a pre-determined number of rounds, the team with the
most points is the winner. Award prizes to the winning team, e.g., Atomic
Fireballs® (get it?).
27 November 2000 - If you know what a conjunction is,
...grammatically speaking, then you know what a conjunction is,
astronomically speaking. The dictionary defines a conjunction
- the act of joining together or the state of being joined together.
- a word used to connect words, phrases, or sentences. And,
but, or, and if are conjunctions.
- Astronomy, the apparent meeting of two or more planets or other
heavenly bodies at the same celestial longitude.
29 November 2000, a picturesque evening conjunction occurs
as the planet Venus and the Waxing Crescent Moon appear to come together
in the southwestern sky shortly after sunset. Twilight is usually a good
time to go planet-watching, as the planets are the first objects--other
than the Moon--to appear in the sky as daylight fades to darkness (or vice
versa for the morning). The Moon appears slightly above Venus because its
orbit is inclined approximately five (5) degrees with respect to the plane
of the Earth's orbit around the Sun. (Graphic courtesy Sky
& Telescope magazine.)
Teacher Tip: The planetary
conjunction provides a great opportunity to deliver some timely,
high-interest, cross-curricular instruction. We suggest you dust off your
copy of the Disney video, Schoolhouse
Rock!: Grammar Rock and show the old favorite, "Conjunction
Junction." Once students know what a conjunction is (grammatically
speaking), you can easily make the connection with an astronomical
conjunction--a brief, effective grammar lesson and astronomy lesson rolled
into one, and good preparation for the Virginia Standards of Learning
(SOLs) exams! Note: If you miss this late-November "teachable
moment," then be aware that there are two other conjunctions in December
(for details, refer to the SCSA Special Events Web page).
20 November 2000 - Mars Revealed!
A virtual gallery of nearly
60,000 photos from the Mars Global Surveyor archive, covering a single
Martian year (687 Earth days) from September 1997 through August 1999.
13 November 2000 - Winter Storm Preparedness Week
Winter Storm Preparedness Week is November 12-18 in Maryland,
Washington, D.C., Virginia, and West Virginia. [19 DEC is the
average date of the first inch of snowfall for Washington, D.C.] Visit the
Weather Channel Project
SafeSide Web site for a free collection of cross-curricular lesson
plans and activities that teach students how to prepare for severe weather
and natural hazards, including winter weather (as well as tornadoes,
lightning, floods, extreme heat, hurricanes, and earthquakes). Designed
for grades 4-12.
Teacher Tips: Snowflakes - A Thematic Approach provides K-12
teachers with a flurry of ideas for using snow to deliver interesting and
exciting interdisciplinary instruction perfect for the winter season. For
example, Computer-Aided Design (CAD) of snowflakes using Snowflake
Designer (requires Shockwave
Player multimedia plug-in for your Web browser):
- Design virtual snowflakes before actually cutting folded
paper. This is so cool!
- Challenge students to duplicate a specific snowflake pattern, e.g., Wilson Bentley's snowflake
Test patterns using Snowflake
06 November 2000 - Visible Earth
30 October 2000 - SCSA "State of Sky" Kiosk
The Sandburg Center for Sky Awareness recently rolled out the prototype
for the State of
Sky Kiosk--an online automated "slideshow" presenting a series of
sky-related Web pages, featuring the current sky (day & night) as well as
some of the sky's greatest hits. In a little more than 10 minutes, the
kiosk provides a fairly comprehensive picture of, well, the current state
of the sky. For some "slides," the content is "randomized," meaning that a
slightly different Web page will appear during subsequent cycles through
the slideshow. Just point your Web browser to the kiosk
"splash" page, sit back, and enjoy!
23 October 2000 - Solar Maximum
16 October 2000 - Teacher Tuesdays
Teacher Tuesdays is a series of astronomy-related
professional development programs hosted by The Challenger Learning Center of
Greater Washington which "focus on informative and entertaining ways
to engage students in science, math and technology. Guest speakers,
representing various science professions, will present programs that
assist teachers in inspiring their students to explore, to question, and
to learn." The next program is on Tuesday (of course!), 24 October
2000. Additional information, including the entire schedule
of events for 2000-2001, is available online. [Note that Waynewood ES will
host the 24 April 2001 meeting; teachers at schools in the Sandburg
Planetarium Service Area should plan to attend!]
09 October 2000 - Powers of Ten
02 October 2000 - Cricket Chirp Converter
Did you know that the rate at which crickets
chirp is loosely correlated with air temperature? See for yourself by
counting the number of cricket chirps in 15 seconds, then enter that
number in the Cricket Chirp
Converter, and voila--your very own "cricket thermometer!" For
example, click on the cricket to hear it chirp--in slightly less than 15
seconds, it chirps 23 times, which converts to an air temperature of
Compare the chirping rate of outdoor versus indoor crickets (as overnight
low temperatures tumble, notice that more of 'em are seeking shelter
indoors!). Verify the accuracy of the cricket thermometer by using an
actual thermometer (caution: use only alcohol thermometers with children!)
to observe the air temperature (outdoor and indoor). Have fun!
Teacher Tips: A couple of
suggested insect- and cricket-related activities in which students make
observations and create scientific illustrations based upon their
Diagrams; and Cricket
Life Cycle [activities courtesy Joanne Goodwin, School-Based
Technology Specialist (SBTS), Churchill Road ES, Fairfax County, VA].
Geoscience-Related Information Servers | Geosystems in FCPS
Meteorological Society DataStreme Project