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.





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:



Oklahoma Climate

Oklahoma Climate – The educator’s part of the Oklahoma Climatological Survey is at http://climate.ok.gov/ and there is an incredible amount of material here – lesson plans, current data, archived data, and so forth.  The site is interlinked with Okahoma’s companion weather-education organizations – Mesonet and Earthstorm.  These are major sites with lots of information and teaching ideas – they take awhile to get familiar with where the materials are located.  Sometimes there are summer workshops to help you with this.  There already exists a cadre of experienced teachers who are using these materials in their classrooms.  In any case, be prepared to invest some time and energy, and in return, your classroom with be the premier weather classroom in your district if not your county.

Oklahoma Climate:  http://climate.ok.gov/

Oklahoma Mesonet:  www.mesonet.org

Earthstorm (Education):  http://www.mesonet.org/index.php/earthstorm

Oklahoma Weather

If you like the raw data, whether it is satellite (of many kinds), radar (doppler and reflective) this site has it without any ads or hoopla., They also link you to the same kind of info anywhere else in the nation.

There is a nice matrix of weather lessons at the lower left, called “Jetstream”.  I have reviewed that elsewhere in this blogsite; search for “weather”.


Fossils of Oklahoma

Great explanations of fossils and of geology, with quality photos of many fossils. Some parts of this are good for stand-alone lessons.  Also a gallery of images, how a fossil is formed, more.

Hint:  Once you get there, click through the “Geological Ages” on the right to get the most out of this site.


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!


Wetland and aquatic plants of Oklahoma

If you do any environmental work with kids you will eventually be drawn to the water’s edge – or get deeper into it!   All of us who do this need to know the basic aquatic plants.  This site will help you in two ways.

First, it has the easiest key you will ever find.  You use pictures, photographs and short descriptions, not the detailed descriptions in Latin that we had to learn for Waterfall’s book back in the day.  Granted, these keys might not take you down to the most specific level but they can give you an answer in less than a minute to “what plant is that?”.   This is one reason to (carefully!) take that laptop into the field.

Second, it provides great photographs to many of the plants, but not all.  Did I mention that this is a work in progress?

Third, there are range maps for most of these plants.  I know, I said there were two reasons so think of the range maps as a bonus.

Add this to the bookmarks of your smartphone or tablet:  http://www.biosurvey.ou.edu/wetland/wetland_interactive.html

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/