Drawing on Nature

plant

Much of our understanding of science comes from interpreting visual images. The images that accompany scientific writing can enhance our knowledge of a subject and can add more precision to our perception. Drawings that accompany field notes offer researchers several paths which to interpret their experiences. Incorporating drawing into research improves one’s observation skills. Take … Read more

Iowa Invertebrates

crawdad

More than 97% of the animal species on Earth are invertebrates. Invertebrates are small animals that do not have backbones. There are many types of invertebrates, from fluid-filled jellyfish, and squishy earthworms to hard shelled insects like beetles, and eight-legged arachnids. This fascinating and diverse group of animals spans the globe – invertebrates live on … Read more

Citizen Science

*NPS Photo by Ivie Metzen Citizen science projects combine useful observation or data collection with an opportunity for students to learn more about scientific principles, problems, and processes as well as helping them better understand our environment and how to protect it. Citizen science projects involve students in data collection, presentation, and involvement on a … Read more

To Zone or Not to Zone

There are many issues involved when we are deciding how to utilize the land and our natural resources. How do we decide where to build new housing developments? How do we decide where to set aside land for wildlife and recreation? Figuring out how best to use the resources that we have for the greatest … Read more

Wild Weather

Thundersnow in December? Snow in May? Do strange weather phenomena ever leave you wondering about the weather? We do too! Let’s explore weather this week! Start by having students share what they know about weather. Make a list or chart to track what students already know. Lead into a discussion about what students want to … Read more

Using Local History in Your Classroom

A human community is a group of people who live and interact with one another in a specific region under relatively similar environmental, social, and political conditions. A natural community is a group of plants and animals that live and interact with one another in a specific region under similar environmental conditions. Our human communities … Read more

Happy Bat Week!

Bat week is an annual international celebration of the role of bats in nature. This year’s bat week is October 24-31. Step outside around dusk and take a few moments to look for bats in your neighborhood. Iowa is home to nine bat species: little brown bat, big brown bat, red bat, hoary bat, silver-haired … Read more

Flooding

What is a “flood”? A flood is an overflow of water that submerges land which is normally dry. Floods occur when there is more water in a river, lake, or stream than the body of water can hold. The excess water then floods onto the land. Floods occur frequently when there is excess rain and … Read more

Helping our Native Pollinators

monarch

What is Pollination? Pollination is the process where plants receive pollen from other plants of the same species so they can reproduce and form seeds. Many plants are pollinated by animals, and most of the animal pollinators are insects. The relationship between plants and their insect pollinators is beneficial to both the plant and the … Read more

Keep Wildlife Wild

It is that magical time of year again when baby wildlife are born and hatched. We often stumble upon these cute critters when we are outside enjoying nature. If you find baby wildlife, they should be observed only and not handled or “rescued.” They may appear to be alone, but you can rest assured that … Read more

Spring Themed Nature Games

Keep your students active this spring with these fun spring themed games. Robin’s Egg Select one student to be the robin. Have the robin sit with his/her back to the other students, at least ten feet away. Place a plastic egg behind the robin. The robin needs to protect the egg. The remaining students take … Read more