Sky Brightness Maps

Wow is this cool.   We’ve all seen the black-and-white world-at-night map; this one is more accurate and more current.   There is a series of about a dozen maps to pick from.   It lets you ask your students questions about sociology and geography.  Plus pick our your location for your next star party!   Thanks John WD5IKX for the link!

Click on http://djlorenz.github.io/astronomy/lp2006/overlay/dark.html   and then click on “More Information” to access the other maps.

Maps of Ecosystems

Very nice maps of North America by region or by states, in a variety of different levels of detail, are available from http://www.epa.gov/wed/pages/ecoregions.htm

If you ask nicely you can sometimes get a large classroom copy mailed to you.

 

One example of how to use this is to post them side-by-side with a geology map of the same area, or a precipitation map and have the students looks for similarities and patterns in the distribution of vegetation types and the surface geology.  They can also look for patterns in the distribution of vegetation types and the amount of precipitation, or of any other weather characteristic you might be able to generate maps of.  Shown is Oklahoma but these are available for most states and regions.

History of Oklahoma Highways

Today seems to have evolved into an Oklahoma History theme.  Fine, let it go in that direction then.  Here is another one of Wes Kinsler’s sites that I have used often. This one is about the history of Oklahoma Highways.  It’s good for armchair traveling, either down the highway or backwards into time.

http://okhighways.wkinsler.com/

Oklahoma Bridges

A photographic history of bridges throughout Oklahoma, and some discussions and diagrams of the various kinds of trusses. Especially useful for students working on a balsa-wood bridge for Engineering Day!  The pages “Bridge Design” and “Oklahoma Bridge Types” would be excellent required reading for these students.

http://okbridges.wkinsler.com/

 

 

 

Oklahoma Water Resources

Water is becoming more and more important to Oklahomans.  There are water shortages, legal conflicts over water ownership, climate change and the occasional flood.  All of these and more are reflected in the daily and hourly changes in streamflow in watersheds across the state. This information is readily available and it makes for great discussions and projects on graphing and interpretation of graphs.

What you will find is hourly streamflow, water use, groundwater, maps and other water-related data for dozens of water locations in Oklahoma.  What you won’t find are lesson plans.  This is an area where you can shine by making your own:

http://ok.water.usgs.gov/

 

Minerals of Oklahoma

If you teach rocks then you teach minerals, right?  Here is a nice little site devoted to the minerals of Oklahoma.  It even has a county-by-county list of what and where you can find in each county.  You will need to know how to read legal descriptions though.  It’s only a few pages long and like many things on the internet you might want to just print it out.  There are also some good links and other information for rock and mineral collectors.

http://www.brightok.net/~rockman/index.htm is the mineral site.

http://homestead.org/NeilShelton/Legals/HowToReadLandDescriptions.htm is a site you can use to teach (or learn) how to read the legal descriptions.

Soils maps of Oklahoma

This may take you a little time the first time you use it, but if you are studying soils it is worth it; it takes basically four steps.   You can get a soils map by any size area of interest.  You can then modify, save or print your maps.  http://www.soils.usda.gov/survey/printed_surveys/state.asp?state=Oklahoma&abbr=OK

Free Geology Downloads – maps, time scale and much more.

We are fortunate here in Oklahoma to have the Oklahoma Geological Survey.  These fine folks present a tremendous amount of material, for free!  You will find maps of all kinds, and teaching ideas, and teaching materials.  The more time you spend exploring the site the more you will find.  I have found it even better to pay them a visit in person – they are on the north side of Norman, east of the airport.

Like most sites, the best place to begin is the tab labeled “outreach”.  The link below also takes you directly to  a page with lots of geology goodies.

They also have inexpensive materials, like a geology map of Oklahoma that is huge – it takes two bulletins boards in my classroom!

http://www.ogs.ou.edu/pubs.php