STEM Connections
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Science, technology, engineering and math in K-12
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Choosing a Map Projection

"Cartographers at National Geographic discuss how they select an appropriate map projection for the September 2012 magazine map supplement. --World maps usually center on the land, with the Pacific Ocean divided as bookends. To show each ocean as a whole with the least distortion for our 'Beneath the Oceans' supplement map, we used a map projection called an interrupted Mollweide centered on the Pacific."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, October 19, 8:18 PM

There is no one perfect map projection that fits all circumstances and situations. Think of a situation in which this map projection would be an ideal way to represent the Earth and in another situation that same projection would give you an incredibly limited perspective.  This video provides good insight into how to choose a map projection for a cartographic project.

 

Tags: cartography, K12, geospatial, NationalGeographic, water

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"The Last of the Free Seas"

"The Last of the Free Seas" | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

"The Last of the Free Seas is the title of this fantastic map of the Great Lakes made by Boris Artzbasheff.  It was published in Fortune Magazine in July 1940."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, July 14, 5:23 PM

The inland waterways were absolutely critical to the demographic and economic development of the eastern part of the United States, especially from 1820-1940.  Before World War II, Great Lakes shipping exceeded the tonnage of U.S. Pacific Coast shipping (see hi-res map here). World War II and the beginning of the Cold War led to a consolidation of naval power for the United States and its allies, greatly expanding Pacific shipping trade and spurring fast-developing economies countries. 

 

Great Lakes shipping dramatically declined, in part because steel production has gone to lower-cost producers that were connected to the U.S. economy through the expanded trade.  Some could see irony since the steel warships created from the Great Lakes manufacturing enabled expanded Pacific and Atlantic trade that led to the decline of Great Lakes manufacturing and regional struggles in the rust belt.  Still, more than 200 million tons of cargo, mostly iron ore, coal, and grain, travel across the Great Lakes annually.

 

This deindustrialization clearly is a huge economic negative but the environmental impacts for lakeside communities has been enormous.  Industrial emissions in the watershed and shipping pollution in the lakes went down as waterfowl populations returned and more waterfront property became swimmable again.  Still this map of the environmental stress on the Great Lakes shows they are far from pristine.    

 

Tagsenvironment, historicalwater, resources, transportation, industry, economicregions, globalization.

 

PIRatE Lab's curator insight, August 8, 9:08 PM
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Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here

Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
One of the driest countries on Earth now makes more freshwater than it needs

 

Driven by necessity, Israel is learning to squeeze more out of a drop of water than any country on Earth; researchers have pioneered new techniques in drip irrigation, water treatment and desalination. “The Middle East is drying up,” says Osnat Gillor, a professor at the Zuckerberg Institute who studies the use of recycled wastewater on crops. “The only country that isn’t suffering acute water stress is Israel.” That water stress has been a major factor in the turmoil tearing apart the Middle East, but Bar-Zeev believes that Israel’s solutions can help its parched neighbors, too — and in the process, bring together old enemies in common cause.

 

Tags: drought, water, environment, Israel, technology, Middle East.


Via Seth Dixon, Jim Lerman
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Susan Grice's curator insight, February 4, 8:51 AM
GReat!
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Ivan Ius's curator insight, February 5, 5:03 PM
Geographic Concepts: Spatial Significance, Geographic Perspective
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The World's Newest (Official) Ocean

The World's Newest (Official) Ocean | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

"The Southern Ocean extends from the coast of Antarctica north to 60 degrees south latitude. The Southern Ocean is now the fourth largest of the world's five oceans (after the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Indian Ocean, but larger than the Arctic Ocean). The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) has  declared, named, and demarcated the Southern Ocean as a fifth, separate ocean."


Via Seth Dixon, Jane Ellingson, Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 6, 10:37 AM

Typically we define oceans and seas based on their borders with land as their most important characteristics.  Also, we rarely look at the bottom of the globe as the center of our global perspective.  Those are a few of the reasons why American students usually have never heard of the Southern Ocean, but Australian students see it as one of the world's main oceans.  

 

TagsOceaniaAntarctica, water, environment, physical.

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Climate Migrants

Climate Migrants | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Climate change has already displaced tens of thousands of people. If it continues unabated, it could lead to one of the largest mass human migrations in history.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 18, 10:21 AM

This StoryMap shows some key regions where migrants are fleeing some of the negative impacts of climate change, a trend that appears very likely to increase in the future.  It is also an excellent example of the ESRI's new Cascade template for creating a web app. 

 

Tags: physical, weather and climate, climate change, environment, resources, watercoastalmappingESRIStoryMap, visualization, environment depend, political ecology.

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Iceland's Glacial Melt and Geothermal Activity

Iceland's Glacial Melt and Geothermal Activity | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

Glacial melting and flooding occurs every year by the Skafta River in Iceland. As the water travels down towards the North Atlantic Ocean, incredible patterns are created on the hillsides. Rising lava, steam vents, or newly opened hot springs can all cause this rapid ice melt, leading to a sizable release of water that picks up sediment as it flows down from the glaciers.

 

Tags: geomorphology, physical, Europe, fluvial, water, landforms, images.


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Mekong Delta fights losing battle against salt water

Vietnam's rice region is facing the worst drought to date. Over half a million people have been affected, and the country could lose one million tons of its staple food.Leaders of six countries along the Mekong River met in China to discuss the relief measures.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 18, 2016 2:49 PM

Economic progress for some often entails job loss and environmental degradation for others.  As dams upstream are slowing the flow of the Mekong River, the low-lying delta that is a rich agricultural region is facing the ocean water that is moving further inland.  The once isolated and remote Mekong is experiencing some impacts of globalization. 

 

Tags: fluvial, waterVietnamagriculture, SouthEastAsia.

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Louisiana in Tough Shape

Louisiana in Tough Shape | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Unlike the many maps we have seen that show what Florida, Boston, or some other coastal location would look like with higher sea levels, the figure above compares the iconic outline of Louisiana with the present-day outline of its dry land. An important caveat is that some of the removed areas are wetlands, meaning they are not under water all the time, but those lands are not available for most human uses (aside from fishing), so this outline warrants attention.

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Seth Dixon's curator insight, August 22, 2016 12:31 PM

Last month I was in New Orleans, Louisiana and I'm so disheartened to know that thousands have their homes under water.  As stated in this article, "the boot is at best an inaccurate approximation of Louisiana’s true shape and, at worst, an irresponsible lie."  To explore the issue yourself, this gorgeous interactive map pulls together some high quality source materials on a wide range of issues to look at this environmental issues of this region in a holistic manner.

 

Tags: environmentweather and climatecoastal, water, disasters

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Live chart: Fish stocks

"The world's fish are in danger—as is everyone who depends on them."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 16, 2016 3:19 PM

Every semester I share with my students this New York Times video about the rapid rise in industrial fishing and the production of Talapia.  Even with the rise of aquaculture as a major source of seafood, the world's oceans are still depleted.  As the world's population rises, many folk cultures with their roots in small fishing villages have transformed into primarily urban societies, but these urban societies still have a strong cultural preference for seafood and consume at levels that are not sustainable.    

 

Tags: environment modifyfolk culturesconsumption, water, physical.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, July 6, 2016 1:24 AM

Impact of overfishing and ecosystem disruption on marine environments 

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Your Backyard is Bigger Than What You Can See

Your Backyard is Bigger Than What You Can See | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

“Geography is linked to the environment,” says Connie Wyatt Anderson, of Canadian Geographic Education. “In the Lake Winnipeg watershed, what you throw into the Bow River in Calgary eventually ends up in Hudson Bay.”


Via Seth Dixon
Bonnie Bracey Sutton's insight:

More than anything I love the idea of using watersheds to connect students to their location environment and to think about places that are beyond the backyard, but are connected to them.  If they see themselves as more intimately connected to these places, it can only increase their spatial awareness, geo-literacy and hopefully their commitment to protect their expanded backyard.   This is an effective way to help students 'jump scale' in a way that will still keep things relevant to their lives. 


Questions to Ponder: What watershed do you live in?  Where does your drinking water come from?  When you flush the toilet, where does it go? How are places in your watershed linked?  


Tags: Canada, environment, resources, water, environment depend, spatial, scale. 

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Digitalent's curator insight, March 16, 2016 3:29 AM

More than anything I love the idea of using watersheds to connect students to their location environment and to think about places that are beyond the backyard, but are connected to them.  If they see themselves as more intimately connected to these places, it can only increase their spatial awareness, geo-literacy and hopefully their commitment to protect their expanded backyard.   This is an effective way to help students 'jump scale' in a way that will still keep things relevant to their lives. 


Questions to Ponder: What watershed do you live in?  Where does your drinking water come from?  When you flush the toilet, where does it go? How are places in your watershed linked?  


Tags: Canada, environment, resources, water, environment depend, spatial, scale. 

Niall Conway's curator insight, March 16, 2016 1:38 PM

More than anything I love the idea of using watersheds to connect students to their location environment and to think about places that are beyond the backyard, but are connected to them.  If they see themselves as more intimately connected to these places, it can only increase their spatial awareness, geo-literacy and hopefully their commitment to protect their expanded backyard.   This is an effective way to help students 'jump scale' in a way that will still keep things relevant to their lives. 


Questions to Ponder: What watershed do you live in?  Where does your drinking water come from?  When you flush the toilet, where does it go? How are places in your watershed linked?  


Tags: Canada, environment, resources, water, environment depend, spatial, scale. 

ismokuhanen's curator insight, March 27, 2016 7:36 AM

More than anything I love the idea of using watersheds to connect students to their location environment and to think about places that are beyond the backyard, but are connected to them.  If they see themselves as more intimately connected to these places, it can only increase their spatial awareness, geo-literacy and hopefully their commitment to protect their expanded backyard.   This is an effective way to help students 'jump scale' in a way that will still keep things relevant to their lives. 


Questions to Ponder: What watershed do you live in?  Where does your drinking water come from?  When you flush the toilet, where does it go? How are places in your watershed linked?  


Tags: Canada, environment, resources, water, environment depend, spatial, scale. 

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China's Maritime Claims

ONE reason China’s spectacular rise sometimes alarms its neighbours is that it is not a status quo power. From its inland, western borders to its eastern and southern seaboard, it claims territory it does not control.

Via Seth Dixon, Jodi Esaili, Mike Busarello's Digital Storybooks
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Chris Costa's curator insight, November 25, 2015 3:06 PM

Chinese expansion into the South Sea has been a longtime coming, and China's actions in the region are both a reflection of its growing strength and a huge diplomatic headache for the US and every other nation in the region. China's construction of artificial islands allows it to claim autonomy over a larger body of water, challenging the maritime power of every other nation in South East Asia, many of whom have economies reliant on the waters China now claims as its own, some 500 miles away from the Chinese mainland. With the emergence of the Chinese economy as a global power, its ambitious leaders have made plans to transform China from a regional military force to a new superpower- one that the established order, the US included, is entirely unsure of. Which of these nations can truly challenge China's decision to make these waters it's personal pond? It would be economic and political suicide, as China is an enormous global trading power, and has the potential to crush any of these nations in a military engagement. Could Japan? Perhaps, but the Chinese have already pressed ahead with their plans, regardless of Japanese political pressure. Involvement of the US is perhaps the last thing anyone wants- particularly both the US and China- but it is perhaps the only way China will heed pressure from abroad and cease  Chinese expansion in the region. The US and China must be allies, for the sake of global prosperity, but actions like these cannot be tolerated, by either party.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 7:51 PM

One reason to care about minor islands is the 200 nautical miles off the coast for the EEZ. This would give china more water territory for drilling of oil which I believe is there in those waters. Flexing more muscle for their navy to grow. Strategically the Chinese could take over these small islands and build air strips for future which would give them a chance to reach places they wouldn't be able to before and this would be good supply transactions during war, fueling, maneuver of man power. The other small countries also would lose their independence and would have to fall under china's rule. With the building of the man made islands and the Chinese navy protecting their people while they continue to build these islands and daring anyone to try and stop them is a sign that china is trying to dominate and expand with muscle. It is their time they have the economic, and military power to do so. Of course they don't want to deal with the u.s. and their allies militarily but it doesn't benefit the u.s. either. I don't believe u.s. wants to get involved in a battle with china and their allies.

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 8:17 PM

Claiming territory it does not control, causes a lot of controversy with other country. The main problem here now is China is having a dispute with Japan about some islands. There could possibly be oil or natural resources.Japan says that the land was always theirs. China clearly likes to just put itself out there and make claims or place oil rigs wherever. This could be a big problem for them because if someone gets too offended by their actions there could end up being a war or some sort of conflict. Especially since they like to use military forces such as navy and air guarding "territory." 

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Tsunami Animation

"The largest earthquake ever recorded by instruments struck southern Chile on May 22, 1960. This 9.5 magnitude earthquake generated a tsunami that crossed the Pacific Ocean, killing as many as 2000 people in Chile and Peru, 61 people in Hilo, Hawaii, and 142 people in Japan as well as causing damage in the Marquesas Islands (Fr. Polynesia), Samoa, New Zealand, Australia, the Philippines, and in Alaska's Aleutian Islands.  To see how this tsunami compares with two recent tsunamis from Chile, please watch http://youtu.be/qoxTC3vIF1U "

 

Tags: physical, geomorphology, water, tectonics, disasters, video.


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 24, 2015 8:19 AM

In 1700, Japan was hit by a tsunami; they knew that tsunamis were caused by earthquakes, but there was no earthquake of that magnitude in Japan that could have caused it.  They called it the Orphan Tsunami, and it puzzled everyone.  Centuries later, data confirmed that a massive earthquake in the Pacific Northwest occurred in 1700 and it's tsunami traveled across the ocean much like the this computer simulation of the 1960 Chile earthquake.   

Maricarmen Husson's curator insight, September 24, 2015 9:23 PM

Tsunami ocurrido en Chile el 22 de Mayo de 1960 donde murieron 2000 personas en Chile y Perú, 61 en Hilo Hawaii, 142 en Japón causando daños en Islas Marquesas Polinesia , Samoa, Nueva Zelanda, Australia, Filipinas, Alaska's Islas Aleutianas.....enlace para ver la comparación con el Tsunamis recientes en Chile (2015)

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What the Earth would look like if all the ice melted

We learned last year that many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century.

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Water – The Essence of Life

Water – The Essence of Life | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away…

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A Remote Paradise Island Is Now a Plastic Junkyard

A Remote Paradise Island Is Now a Plastic Junkyard | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Henderson Island is isolated and uninhabited—but its beaches are still covered in garbage.  

 

Henderson Island (article or podcast) is about the most remote place you can visit without leaving the planet. It sits squarely in the middle of the South Pacific, 3,500 miles from New Zealand in one direction and another 3,500 miles from South America in the other.  Henderson should be pristine. It is uninhabited. Tourists don’t go there. There’s no one around to drop any litter. The whole place was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1988. The nearest settlement is 71 miles away, and has just 40 people on it. And yet, seafaring plastic has turned it into yet another of humanity’s scrapheaps.

 

Tags: pollution, Oceania, water, environment, sustainability, consumption.


Via Seth Dixon
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ERougeux courses's curator insight, August 2, 9:13 AM
This is terrible! If only we could create a material that replaces plastic and is eco-friendly!
Tiffany Cooper's curator insight, August 22, 3:17 PM

#GEO130

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Creating RI's Off-Shore Wind Farm

Creating RI's Off-Shore Wind Farm | STEM Connections | Scoop.it
Today, to the southeast of Block Island, there are five new structures rising from the ocean. These are the towers of the Block Island Wind Farm (BIWF), the first offshore wind energy installation in the United States. The turbines will generate 30 megawatts of energy; providing electricity to 17,000 households on Block Island and coastal Rhode Island (McCann, 2016), and replacing the diesel generators that previously powered New Shoreham. The turbines are on schedule to begin turning in November 2016 once commissioning is complete.

Via Seth Dixon, Tania Gammage, ThePlanetaryArchives/San Francisco CA
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 21, 8:19 PM

One of the overriding, major take-home points of this ESRI StoryMap, is that a project of this scale, scope, and magnitude requires geographic data across many disciplines (to see the largest off-shore wind farm in the world, click here).

 

Tags: mapping, Rhode IslandESRIStoryMap, GISresources, water, coastalenergy, environment depend.

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The Sargasso Sea

"The Sargasso Sea occupies almost two thirds of the North Atlantic Ocean. Within this sea, circling ocean currents accumulate mats of Sargassum seaweed that shelter a surprising variety of fishes, snails, crabs, and other small animals. The animal community today is much less diverse than it was in the early 1970s, when the last detailed studies were completed in this region. This study shows that animal communities in the Sargasso Sea are definitely changing. The next step is to find out why."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 6, 9:58 AM

Often, we define oceans and seas based on their borders with land as their defining characteristics (this is one reason why many don't know about the Southern Ocean as a distinct body of water or consider it an ocean). The Sargasso Sea is defined by ocean currents; it is surrounded by great currents but is itself without a strong current, making it perilous for early seafarers.  These oceanic doldrums became shrouded in superstition as stories of the fabled Bermuda Triangle spread, but the truth is all in the ocean currents.   

 

Tags: water, biogeography, environment, physical.

Ivan Ius's curator insight, January 22, 7:38 PM
Geography Concepts: Spatial Significance, Patterns and Trends, Interrelationships
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Skokomish River salmon cross the road

"Watch salmon race across the road on their way to spawn; for more footage, watch this extended version."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, December 16, 2016 9:57 AM

We often see examples of how human modifications to ecosystems or watersheds have devastatingly negative impacts.  This is a remarkable example from Washington's Olympic Peninsula that shows the resiliency of natural systems to overcome human modifications to the physical landscape.  If you study the world, you will always have something to both amaze and surprise you.   

 

Tagsfluvial, biogeography, environment, geomorphology, physicalwater, environment adapt, environment modify.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, December 17, 2016 11:45 PM

Sometimes the natural world finds ways to adapt to human environmental changes. 

Useful when studying inland water / rivers for the option study. 

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The Whale's Tail

The Whale's Tail | STEM Connections | Scoop.it

"The Ballena Marine National Park is located in Puntarenas, at the South Pacific coast of Costa Rica." 


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, June 6, 2016 3:33 PM

This National Park in Costa Rica is a delightful example of many things geographic.  Not only is the local biogeography make this a place famous for whales (ballena in Spanish), but the physical geography also resembles a whale's tail.  This feature is called a tombolo, where a spit connects an island or rock cluster to the mainland. Additionally, there is also a great community of citizen cartographers mapping out this park and the surrounding communities. 

 

Tagsbiogeography, environment, geomorphology, physicalwater, landforms.

Alexander peters's curator insight, October 24, 2016 12:23 PM
This article was about the whale and how they were repopulating and how the whale hunting was banned in the 70s. I think this article was really good because use it talked about whales.