Extreme Science: From Nano to Galactic

by: M. Gail Jones, Amy R. Taylor, and Michael R. Falvo

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Whether we are imagining microbes or mammoths, dinosaurs or diatoms, molecules or stars, people of all ages are fascinated with the very large and the very small. New technologies have enabled scientists to investigate extremes of science previously unknown. An understanding of scale and scaling effects is of central importance to a scientific understanding of the world.

Help your middle and high school biology, Earth science, chemistry, physics, and mathematics students develop quantitative evaluation with Extreme Science. Authors Gail Jones, Amy Taylor, and Michael Falvo offer a detailed look at types of scale, measurement, powers of ten, estimation and models of scale, surface area to volume relationships, limits to size, and behaviors at different scales.

Scaling conceptions are one of the four recommended unifying themes in the AAAS Benchmarks for Science Literacy. A knowledge of scaling will serve as a solid framework for students to anchor further learning and allow them to make cross-curricular connections between seemingly disparate topics.

The investigations in this book are designed to help students develop a comprehensive and flexible sense of scale through experiences with the quantitative units and tools of science. Investigations build on our research that has documented how people learn scale. To aid in comprehension, Extreme Science uses the 5Es (engage, explore, explain, extend, and evaluate) to illustrate each topic. By using this learning method, the activities help students learn to invent scales, develop benchmarks, estimate, and apply body rulers (estimating using fingers, arms, or pacing off distances). In so doing, students will come to understand scale on an intrinsic level and will appreciate that no problem is too big or too little to be scaleable. Comprehending scale at the largest and smallest levels is where a quantitative understanding of the world begins.

NSTA Press produces classroom-ready activities, hands-on approaches to inquiry, relevant professional development, the latest scientific education news and research, assessment and standards-based instruction.

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