Monday, November 24, 2014

You rock, Fred.

Fred is the "science fanatic" character from Big Hero 6. He loves science. I mean seriously, massively, exuberatingly loves science. If science were a sport, he would be a season-ticket holder. If science were a hard-rock concert, he would be in the mosh pit.
I kept thinking of the character Fred from Big Hero 6 these past couple weeks as I was making posters for the middle school Next Generation Science Standards. Like him, I'm not a scientist, but I love science, and I had a lot of fun making the posters. The fifty-nine posters cover grades 6 - 8 in topics ranging from engineering to forces and interactions. 

Anybody who knows me knows I'm a bit of a weather fanatic. I love the forecast maps on websites like TwisterDataThe National Weather Service, or WeatherWest. (In fact, for an in-depth analysis of the California drought, I go to Weather West and read the comments on the latest blog post there.) So naturally,  I was totally stoked when The Earth's Systems section of the Next Generation Science Standards gave me an opportunity to use some of the public domain scientific images found on those websites to illustrate Earth science topics.
This one seemed like it should get a full-page poster of its own. It's a map of Earth's atmosphere. It doesn't depict a hole in the ozone layer, but it's just as spooky: it shows shows how much current atmospheric pressures deviate from the historical mean. I'm no scientist, but from the looks of it, the high pressure areas are higher than in the past, and the lows are lower than ever, too. The overall range of pressures form high to low is greater than in the past. 

Thanks to NCEP/ESRL and WeatherWest for help with making this image.

Images like that one gave me an opportunity to make posters that hopefully will intrigue and challenge middle school students. Some of the Earth and Human Activity NGSS standards deal with the topic of the human impact on the climate.
Most of the NGSS standards for middle school don't touch on anything nearly as controversial as climate change. I'm guessing Fred's, favorite topics in the NGSS might be engineering, energy, and biology, seeing how his super-suit is a fire-breathing reptile.

Again, I had a lot of fun making these posters. They're available in my store on TeachersPayTeachers, Teachers Notebook, and TeachWise. Thanks again to the scientists at NASA, the National Climatic Data Center, and the U.S. Geological Survey who contributed to the creation of some of the images I used on the posters. And an especially big thanks to you, Fred, for being a regular dude who's crazy about science.