Amongst the natural beauty of Alaska the Aurora Borealis stands out as maybe the most breathtaking sight a musher can experience along the Iditarod trail. One can be mesmerized by the brilliance of the Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis is a very engaging topic for students to study. My students enjoyed learning about this fascinating subject and using technology to present their data.
This activity will give your students the opportunity to imagine they are scientists. They will make observations, collect data, and find evidence to prove their hypotheses. My class uses Google Classroom; therefore, all of their materials (pictures, videos, readings, worksheets) will be sent to them via the Classroom. All of the materials are attached at the bottom of this post. The activity is split into tasks for the students to complete in groups. The students start out by strictly viewing some pictures of the Aurora Borealis. As they are viewing the pictures, they will make a couple of prediction statements about where and when they think this is taking place. The groups will move on to the next task in which they will view a short video clip taken by Iditarod volunteer, Jansen Cardy. Students will make some more prediction statements as they view the video clip, such as, what makes this experience occur? Before moving on to collecting evidence, students will make a hypothesis about the Aurora Borealis (What do you think is occurring in the pictures and video and how does it occur?).
After observing and making predictions, the students will now prove or deny their predictions. Attached to their assignment is a reading article about the Aurora Borealis. The students will gather evidence supporting their predictions. This data will be recorded on the data chart. Whether the student prediction was spot on or way off, they are going to find specific evidence giving them the correct information. The class will have a discussion on their findings and results of their predictions.
The next task is for the students to share their data. Students will use the free technology tool called PowToon. PowToon allows students to create animated videos and presentations. It is free, fun, and very easy to use. My students enjoy using PowToon as an alternative for creating presentations. After presenting the PowToon to the class, the students will share the link with our class YouTube page and Twitter. This allows students to continue to view the presentations at home and share with their families. The final task is to write a statement proving or denying their original hypothesis.