Birds of Oklahoma

Didya know that the GSO (Great State of Oklahoma) is only second in the nation (to Texas) in species of birds?  Birding is a fast-growing hobby here and it attracts visitors from all over.  We have so many different ecological areas packed into a small state – from the deserts of Black Mesa to the Coastal Plains of McCurtain County, Oklahoma is one of the richest states in terms of species diversity!

Here is a nifty site with superb pictures of birds found in Oklahoma.  Besides the great, detailed pictures you will find most of them have a few paragraphs about the natural history of that bird.  The site also has a checklist for Oklahoma birds, a link to Oklahoma Butterflies, Oklahoma Dragonflies, Oklahoma Gardening and more.  http://www.birdsofoklahoma.net/

Mammals of Texas

Alas, there is no “Mammals of Oklahoma” – – not yet.  However, this book is a classic resource and has been for fifty years.  It has full descriptions of all of the mammals of Texas, with range maps.  The maps can give a pretty good suggestion of where they might be in Oklahoma, like the Porcupine (above).  The entire book is posted online, or you can order it online.  It’s not very expensive and would be an excellent library resource for southern or western Oklahoma schools.  http://www.nsrl.ttu.edu/tmot1/

Reptiles and Amphibians of Oklahoma

This is simply a checklist of the over 150 species of herps (reptiles and amphibians) found in Oklahoma.  It would be easy enough for me to copy and paste it, but that would not be proper use of Greg Sievert’s exhaustive research.  He is considered an authority in Oklahomoa herpetology.  http://academic.emporia.edu/sievertg/okherps.htm 

If you want more information get a copy of Reptiles of Oklahoma.  It is not expensive and it even has range maps, by county, for each species!   http://www.oksnakes.org/

Steve Spangler

Steve puts out a regular email where he describes an experiment you can do or a demo.  These are usually flamboyant, attention-getting, and the kind your kids will upload videos of you doing.   You can also find on his website a list of many of these favorites, along with videos and hints about how to do it and what can go wrong.  He is an educator by heart and this is an A+ list to get on.

Up front though, Steve is a businessman and he sells two things – science equipment and himself.  Both are quality products and he is not going to twist your arm for a sale – in fact he is the first to tell you that there are cheaper alternatives to some (not all!) of the products he offers.  He genuinely wants you to bring these experiences into you classroom and wants to help you do that.  But he will cheerfully sell you the materials, too.

Sign up for his mailing list on the link on the right-hand side of his website http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/

 

Weather Lessons from your National Weather Service

Pu-lease!  Not another wordfind or definitions exercise!  Nope, that is not what you will find on this site.  Nor will you find a list of links to links to (hopefully) lessons you can use.  What you will find is a number of packaged, free, ready-to-use lessons on many aspects of weather and oceanography.  There is also a nice matrix that breaks them into subjects and sub-subjects.  Some of the material is appropriate for early elementary and some of it can be used all the way into high school.  (Or you can use it yourself).

The only downside I have found is that there is no filter for grade level.  The good news is you’ve paid for it with your tax dollars so you can use it for free in any way you want.  They say so, right on the opening page.  So go explore the NWS.  Their education site is called “Jetstream”.   http://www.srh.noaa.gov/srh/jetstream/index.htm