50 Minutes

Metric Measurements, Magnitudes, and Mathematics Matter in the Science of Scale

Dr. Thomas O’Brien

Scale was identified as a critical “big idea” long before the AAAS Benchmarks (1996), and the NRC’s NSES (1996), Framework (2012), and NGSS (2013). Participants will engage in exploring “powers of ten” from macroscopic metric models, the “too sweet” science of soft drinks, a toilet paper timeline for evolution, and textbook lies of not-to-scale Earth-Moon and “far out” solar system science illustrations. These examples will explain how scale is a “forest for the trees” crosscutting concept for three-dimensional science learning. Participants will be challenged to apply and elaborate the lessons learned across every unit they teach and to evaluate the “size” of student impact in terms of their enhanced appreciation for the awesome scope of science.

FOR OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE: If possible, please collect the following materials: a meter stick, a magnifying lens, table salt, a meter-long section of toilet paper, and 4–6 spherical sports balls (e.g., a ping pong or golf ball, a racquetball or tennis ball, a baseball, a softball, a soccer or volleyball, and a basketball).