Biocubes: Life in One Cubic Foot: What can we learn about diversity in our ecosystem by examining and comparing different sites, one cubic foot at a time? The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History’s educational web page Biocube: Life in One Cubic Foot (which accompanies an ongoing exhibit of the same title at the museum) is a resource designed to help science educators facilitate student exploration of this question. On this site, visitors can learn about the current Biocubes exhibit, which emerged from a partnership between a group of Smithsonian scientists – including biodiversity scientist, Chris Meyer – and photographer David Liittschwager. Liittschwager and this team of scientists set up one hollow cube around the world and examined and photographed all the species that appeared in this cube throughout the day. These gorgeous photographs were featured in National Geographic and, eventually, published as a book. On this website, educators can find lesson plans and teaching resources to lead their own biocube projects in the science classroom. This site also contains an online interview with Meyer and a link to an article in Smithsonian that features Liittschwager’s photographs.
F1000Research: F1000Research is an online journal that publishes articles, opinion pieces, posters, and slides relating to life science and medicine. Topics addressed in this journal include health, nutrition, disease, and ecology. As part of the open science movement, which seeks to make new scientific research quickly accessible to all, F1000Research publishes new articles within seven days of submission and allows visitors to read through the open peer review process themselves. This format allows science students and researchers to quickly engage in new publications and also, at times, explore conversation and critiques of recent studies. Visitors can browse recently published articles or conduct a text search for papers of interest. The Channels feature is another great way to explore published research. These thematic collections have been curated by institutions and context experts and include articles, posters, and slides – often from conference presentations.
Nova Labs: Evolution: The team behind the popular PBS series NOVA, produced by WGBH in Boston, has created a collection of online Labs that provide interactive learning experiences relating to a number of scientific topics. The most recent addition to the series is the Evolution Lab. In this engaging resource, learners can participate in two activities: Build a Tree and Deep Tree. In the Build a Tree activity, students create an evolutionary tree by reading about a variety of species and identifying the traits that connect them to one another. Meanwhile, Deep Tree is an interactive chart that demonstrates the connections between 70,000 species, from algae to bananas to human beings. Visitors can search for any species to learn about their classification and characteristics or to explore how any two species are related to each other. These two interactive activities are accompanied by an educator’s guide, which includes lesson plans and worksheets for the classroom. In addition, this page includes Videos, an Evolution Quiz, and a Meet the Experts component.
Sciblogs: Funded by the Science Media Centre, a science and technology journalism organization in New Zealand, Sciblogs is a collection of multiple science blogs addressing all aspects of science, including health, technology, and the environment. Visitors to this website can browse for blog entries of interest across all affiliate blogs via general topics. Alternatively, users can explore individual blogs at their leisure, such as Mind Matters, a blog focused on brain science; Nano Girl, a blog dedicated to nanotechnology; and Physics Stops, about all things physics. Each blog is authored by a different scholar, journalist, or research scientist, resulting in a multitude of voices and perspectives. Sciblogs publishes new entries from all of its affiliate blogs on its homepage, facilitating browsing and allowing visitors to quickly stay up-to-date on their favorite topics.