Journey to the Edge: In the Field

 Besides enjoying the splendor of this incredible place…I am here to work as well. There are 11 other teachers here with me. A wonderful group, that have come from all over. including Jamaica.

 image

We are here to assist some of the leading scientists with their study of climate change and it’s impact on the arctic environment. This work, is not only important for the entire world, but is gathering and analyzing data that will be used for years to come. We are conducting real investigations and engaging in real scientific processes.

We are being scientists in every sense of the word. This opportunity is something that I’ve only imagined. And now…here I am. As a scientist…out in the field…doing science

The tundra ponds and their diverse populations are one means to measure the impact that global warming is having and has implications for habitats everywhere. This unique place…the edge of the arctic circle…is an indicator, a predictor, of what’s happening and what will happen if warming trends continue.

To be a part of this work is humbling. To work along side some amazing scientists, is inspiring. To be here, in the forefront of learning and research is a dream come true.

image

Advertisements

Quarries Revisited

I have a thing for quarries.

image

The geology fascinates me

The glimpse into how quarrying is and was done is fascinating

The rocks and the water and how the land is shaped by quarries is fascinating

Discovering abandoned quarries…is not only fascinating but exciting. I feel like an archeologist. Digging into the past; learning, investigating, questioning, exploring and enjoying

image

Last Sunday was a cold and dreary day. But I so badly needed my quarry fix. When I pulled into the parking lot for the trails…there was a sign.

Closed for hunting season.

So I got back in the car and drove. Not knowing where to go. But knowing I needed to find some place to hike and explore…

And I saw another sign…this one made of granite

image

Wow

I had driven by here before but never saw this sign. I had stopped at this quarry before but never really explored.

And so I explored.

Old foot trails and snowmobile trails. Near the road and houses so no hunters.

And I discovered the past…

The scarred and fragmented rocks

The turquoise waters created by the minerals from the quarrying…

Tools from a distant time left to become part of the land…

Buildings, eerily quiet and in ruin, where workers once toiled…

Machinery, slowly rusting…it’s patina beautiful and a reminder of the creative and inventive spirit of man…

Quarries. This area once a thriving granite industry. Its illustrious past left exposed for us in the present…and in the future.

The Elements

Earth, water, air, fire

The 4 elements

The vital forces or energies believed to make up creation. The simplest and most essential materials of all phenomena.

image

Solidity, fluidity, cohesion, sensation, perception, interaction

The states of matter…solid, liquid, gas, plasma

Change, growth, transformation

All around us. And within us.

Sometimes it is difficult to put into words…the thoughts, ideas, and feelings I have. When I take a picture, it often portrays what is going on inside me. The elements of life…express the elements of me and my journey.

Earth, water, air, and fire.

The Science of Fall

This fall has been spectacular.  I truly have been in awe of the brilliance I see every day. And it makes me wonder…Why are the colors so incredibly vibrant this year?

image

This year I changed my science units around. Normally I teach our life science unit in the spring when we can go to the local pond and observe life cycles up close. It’s the perfect time…

But this fall…it has been perfect for learning too.  For me and for my students.

image

I love my students’ curiosity. I love their excitement about science. I love their questions and their explanations of why and how.  This is why I teach. They inspire me and I learn right alongside them. And we have fun!

This beauty of this fall has led us to want to know more. So we went in search of answers. Answers from the trees in front of our school.

We had so many questions!

Why do the leaves change color? How do they change? What’s happening?

Why do some trees change color sooner than others?  Do other trees besides maples change?

Why do the leaves die? How do they die? Why do they turn brown and crispy when they die?

Why are some leaves different colors? Why are some red, yellow, orange or a combination of colors?

So we observed the trees. And we collected leaves…lots of leaves.

We observed them…

image

We made predictions about them…

image

And we researched. We read. We found out about pigments. Pigments that are always there, but become uncovered as the green chlorophyll fades. Trees know that winter is coming. The shorter days, less sunshine…and they begin their process of dormancy. The leaves then fall…and without any food or water go through their own changes. Later, becoming nutrients for the new leaves in the spring.  The life cycle continues…

image

This fall has been perfect. The warm sunshine during the day, the cool nights. Perfect conditions for producing this amazing display of color.

We learned so much. And we had fun!

image

Nature’s Show

Each year for science class I have my students observe closely the colors of nature. Nature’s show I like to call it. Sometimes in our hurried lives we miss what’s right in front of us and often what’s  all around us. Waiting to be seen, appreciated, and awed. This is such a colorful time of year… Perfect for beginning this exploration and discovery.

Of course every season has it’s own unique colors.

I stop at our local hardware store, and pick up a variety of paint chips. Then armed with the chips we go in search of these shades of color in nature…

Blue. Like the sky…big, bright, and serene

Green. Like the trees…soft, lush and soothing

Red. Like fall leaves…Vibrant, bold and passionate

Yellow. Like the sun…golden, shiny, and happy

Orange. Like pumpkins…warm, friendly, and optimistic

Purple. Like lavender…peaceful, healing, and spiritual

White. Like snow… Brilliant, pure, and innocent

Pink. Like cotton candy…sweet, fun, and lovely

And all the shades of color in between.

Nature’s show…for our viewing pleasure.

Enjoy!