Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Solar Cells – Learn About Energy and...

You've probably seen calculators with solar cells -- devices that never need batteries and in some cases, don't even have an off button. As long as there's enough light, they seem to work forever. You may also have seen larger solar panels, perhaps on emergency road signs, call boxes, buoys and even in parking lots to power the lights.

The sun's light (and all light) contains energy. Usually, when light hits an object the energy turns into heat, like the warmth you feel while sitting in the sun. But when light hits certain materials the energy turns into an electrical current instead, which we can then harness for power.  A solar cell is a device people can make that takes the energy of sunlight and converts it into electricity.

Solar cells are expensive to make and to install.  They are not very efficient – meaning that they for every one unit of light energy they convert to electricity, about three units are wasted (or converted to heat).  In some cases, they are a smart choice, in locations with long hours of sunlight, or in special applications such as satellites.

Solar panels CONVERT energy from the sun into electricity.  Leaves on plants and trees CONVERT energy from the sun into chemical energy.  This process is called photosynthesis.

You are the scientist who is in charge of a new electrical power system for GW Long Elementary.  The Governor of Alabama is requiring that you use one of these methods to power the school:
  • Solar Energy
  • Wind Energy
  • Energy Derived from Water (Rivers)

In your first meeting with the Governor, he provided you three maps to use in your study.

Prepare a short report for Governor Bentley that answers the following questions.  (You might have to do some additional research online in order to complete your answers.)
  1. What would a solar energy system look like at GW Long?  Describe in words or draw a picture.
  2. Why might it be a good choice?  (provide at least three reasons)
  3. Are there any challenges that would have to be addressed? (list at least three)
  4. What would a wind energy system look like at GW Long?  Describe in words or draw a picture.
  5. Why might it be a good choice?  (provide at least three reasons)
  6. Are there any challenges that would have to be addressed? (list at least three)
  7. What would a water energy system look like for GW Long?  Describe in words or draw a picture.
  8. Why might it be a good choice?  (provide at least three reasons)
  9. Are there any challenges that would have to be addressed? (list at least three)
  10. What source of energy is your final recommendation to the Governor?
To EARN A REWARD, turn in your answers to Mrs D before class on Friday, September 21st.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Better Breakfast Can Boost a Student's Brainpower

Attention students: Do not skip breakfast — or your grades could pay a price.  Evidence suggests that eating breakfast really does help kids learn. After fasting all night, a developing body (and brain) needs a fresh supply of glucose — or blood sugar. That's the brain's basic fuel.  "Without glucose," explains Terrill Bravender, professor of pediatrics at Duke University, "our brain simply doesn't operate as well. People have difficulty understanding new information, they have a problem with visual and spatial understanding, and they don't remember things as well."
Sugary cereals get into your body quickly and cause a peak in blood-sugar levels, but the levels then fall dramatically after two hours or so. Oatmeal, on the other hand, is absorbed slowly, so oatmeal eaters gets a slow rise in blood sugar and enough energy to last through the morning.
To keep your brain powered up, the first meal of the day should be rich in protein and good carbohydrates — the whole-grain variety that will sustain you for a long spell rather than the sugary kind that will push your blood sugar up, then let it fall. Here are some breakfast recommendations from the experts:

  • Peanut butter and jelly on multigrain bread
  • Whole-grain cereals, hot or cold, with low-fat milk or yogurt and 1-2 tablespoons of slivered nuts on top.
  • Eggs with bacon or sausage 
  • A bowl of whole-grain cereal (cold or oatmeal), preferably with nuts, milk, fresh fruit. 
  • Whole-wheat toast, 1 or 2 eggs, milk, fresh fruit

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Alabama Outdoor Class Program

We are excited to report that GW Long has had discussions with a corporate sponsor about the possibility of constructing an OUTDOOR CLASSROOM for our school!!  What's an outdoor classroom?  Checkout this link for more information and check back with our website for updates !  Outdoor Classrooms Link

Monday, September 3, 2012

Tools for Research and Fun !
Become a Better Scientist - Learn to Use GoogleEarth and EARN A REWARD!

Google has collected and integrated photos and data from satellites, aircraft, and cars to give us an incredible new way to look at our world.  Google doesn't shoot its own images. There are a handful of companies that do that. But GoogleEarth has designed software that knits it all together so it feels like we're zooming in.  

GoogleEarth has an addition called "street level" mapping. Basically it's a rig on top of a vehicle containing eight cameras, covering a full circle as it slowly drives along, snapping digital images.

EARN A REWARD!  Learn to use GoogleEarth and complete these exercises.

You will need GoogleEarth on your computer to complete this exercise.  You are welcome to use a computer in Mrs D's class.  If you want to install GoogleEarth on your home computer, BE SURE TO FIRST GET PERMISSION FROM YOUR PARENTS.   If you have not used GoogleEarth or just want to brush up on the features, click on this link to get short tutorials.

To earn your reward, put your answers on paper and turn in to Mrs D before class time on Friday, September 7th. Have fun!

  • Type in these LAT LON coordinates.  51.997915,8.49231   Who do you see at this location?
  • Type in “Cape Cod”.  Zoom in on the northern tip of the cape.  What is the name of the town?
  • Type in your street address.   Does GoogleEarth have a view of your house (yes or no)? 

  • Turn on layers for volcanoes (under Layers - Gallery).  Now go to the island of Hawaii.  How many volcanoes are on this island?
  • Turn on labels for  Now search on Martha’s Vineyard and find the webcam for Martha's Vineyard, Edgartown Harbor from the Vineyard Square.  Click on the webcam…..  write down what you see in the webcam photo.

  • Find a place that interests you.  It might be your house, or a ball field, or the Statue of Liberty.  Add a placemark at this location and give the placemark a name.  For example, Mrs D put a placemark on Bryant-Denny stadium in Tuscaloosa and added the name “Cam owns this place!”  Print a copy of your GoogleEarth screen showing your placemark or just record what you did on your paper.

Using the ruler tool, measure the distance of the longest runway at John F Kennedy airport in New York.  
  • State the distance in feet.  
  • State the distance in miles.

Type in the address 212 S Halsted, Chicago, IL.  Now go to Street View and look around.  
  • What business is located at this address?

Now congratulate yourself for learning how to use GoogleEarth and for earning a reward!