My daughter loves the movie Big Hero 6. (I love that she loves it because the main characters are kids, not princesses!) I kept thinking of the character Fred from Big Hero 6 these past couple weeks as I was making “I can statements” for the middle school NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards). Fred is a “science fanatic.” He loves science. I mean passionately, massively, astronomically loves science. If science were a sport, he would be a season-ticket holder. If science were a rock concert, he would have front row seats.
Like many people, the California drought has turned me into a weather fanatic. I love the forecast maps on websites like TwisterData, The National Weather Service, or WeatherWest. 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 on my I can statements.
This map of the atmosphere is truly amazing. It doesn’t depict a hole in the ozone layer, but it’s just as spooky: it 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 from high to low is greater than in the past.
Images like that one gave me an opportunity to illustrate my I can statements in a way 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.
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.