The Sun Is Pretty Hot Stuff!


Ted Beyer, Educational Innovations, Inc.by Ted Beyer

The sun is, on average, about 93,000,000 miles (149,668,992 kilometers) away from us.  That’s pretty darn far.  In fact, if the sun went out right now, we would not know about it for about eight minutes.  Not to worry, that’s not going to be a thing to fret about for quite a while—a couple of billion years last time I checked.

That huge (try 109 times as big as Earth) ball of fusion reactor up in our sky is arguably responsible for all of the energy we use on Earth.  Not just solar power, but all of it.  Fossil fuels (oil, coal, and natural gas) were created from ancient plant and animal matter—which all lived because of the sun.

The Sun Is Pretty Hot Stuff! Educational Innovations Blog

  Image source: Stanford Solar Center

Hydropower is only possible because of the water cycle (best look that one up on your own, they won’t let me make these posts too long).  Wind power relies on, well, wind—and that is a byproduct of the warming and cooling of the atmosphere—and that’s the sun doing that warming too.  Atomic power uses heavy elements like Uranium, which was created in the hearts of suns.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea.

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Tips for Using the Private Eye Loupes


inman_liz_photoby Liz Inman

I first discovered The Private Eye Loupes when I borrowed a class set from a professor friend at the University of Kentucky.  I fell in love with them and so did my biology students!

Here are some tips I discovered while using the loupes. Read the rest of this entry »


Teaching Disease Prevention with White-Nose Syndrome in Bats


priscilla-wells-robinsonBy Priscilla Robinson

Teaching Disease Prevention

This summer, during a visit to Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, I had an experience that reminded me of why teachers and parents should emphasize good hygiene and disease prevention habits to our children.  Whether fungal, bacterial, or viral, pathogens can be real threats to humans—and to wildlife.  Preventing the spread of infectious disease is something we can ALL do, if we are taught the proper steps.

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Let Your Classroom Glow with 100 Candles for our National Parks


priscilla-wells-robinsonby Priscilla Robinson

Who doesn’t like to celebrate a big birthday?  As we mark the centennial year of the National Park Service (NPS) on August 25, we as teachers can hook our students’ curiosity with the extensive network of America’s scenic spaces, indigenous wildlife, and natural resources.  If ever there was a year for a solid and diverse learning theme, this is it!  Keep the parties going as teachable moments—this is the best time for teachers to nurture lifelong learners and wards of the Earth.

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Is Hydropower a Renewable Energy Source?


C:UsersRoyDocumentsYoucamSnapshot_20140509  crawford-jpegBy Roy Bentley and Ken Crawford

There are so many things happening in the world of energy these days.  One only needs to watch the news or Google the word “energy” to find myriad examples and discussions of pipelines, carbon footprints, windmills, climate change and more.

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