Three key ingredients are needed for a hurricane to form: warm sea surface water that’s at least about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.5 C), a thick layer of moisture extending from the sea surface to roughly 20,000 feet and minimal vertical wind shear so the thunderstorm can grow vertically without interruption.
These prime conditions are often found in the tropical waters off the west coast of Africa.
Hurricanes can also form in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, but the ones that start close to Africa have thousands of miles of warm water ahead that they can draw energy from as they travel. That energy can help them grow into powerful hurricanes.
Wind currents set most tropical storms on a course westward from Africa toward the Caribbean, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Some drift northward into the midlatitudes, where the prevailing winds shift from west to east and cause them to curve back out into the Atlantic.
Others encounter cooler ocean temperatures that rob them of fuel, or high wind shear that breaks them apart. That’s why tropical cyclones rarely hit northern states or Europe, though it does happen.
Time of season also influences hurricane paths
Early in the season, in June and July, sea surface temperatures are still warming and atmospheric wind shear slowly decreases across the open Atlantic. Most early-season hurricanes develop in a small area of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico where prime conditions begin early.
They typically form close to land, so coastal residents don’t have much time to prepare, but these storms also don’t have ideal conditions to gain strength. Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as Central America, are more likely to see hurricane strikes early in the season, as the trade winds favor an east-to-west motion.
As surface waters gain heat over the summer, hurricane frequency and severity begin to increase, especially into the peak hurricane months of August through October.
Toward the end of the season, trade winds begin to shift from west to east, ocean temperatures start to fall, and cold fronts can help divert storms away from the western Gulf and push them toward the Florida Panhandle.
Shape of the seafloor matters for destructiveness
The shape of the seafloor can also play a role in how destructive hurricanes become.
Hurricane strength is currently measured solely on a storm’s maximum sustained wind speeds. But hurricanes also displace ocean water, creating a surge of high water that their winds push toward shore ahead of the storm.
This storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane, accounting for about 49% of all direct fatalities between 1963 and 2012. Hurricane Katrina (2005) is a prime example: An estimated 1,500 people lost their lives when Katrina hit New Orleans, many of them in the storm surge flooding.
If the continental shelf where the hurricane hits is shallow and slopes gently, it generally produces a greater storm surge than a steeper shelf.
As a result, a major hurricane hitting the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast – which has a very wide and shallow continental shelf – may produce a 20-foot storm surge. However, the same hurricane might produce only a 10-foot storm surge along the Atlantic coastline, where the continental shelf drops off very quickly.
It found that New Orleans had about a 40% chance each year of a tropical storm strike. The chances rose for Miami and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, both at 48%. San Juan, Puerto Rico, which has seen some devastating storms in recent years, was at 42%.
Hurricanes, which have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour, were also more frequent in the three U.S. locations. Miami and Cape Hatteras were found to have a 16% chance of a direct hit by a hurricane in any given year, and New Orleans’ chance was estimated at 12%.
Each of these locations is vulnerable to a hurricane because of its location, but also its shape. North Carolina and Florida “stick out like a sore thumb” and are often grazed by hurricanes that curve up the east coast of the U.S.
Climate change changes the risk
As sea surface temperatures rise with the warming of the planet, more areas outside of these usual hurricane regions may see more tropical storms.
During the first six years of that period, 1972-77, the Atlantic averaged four direct hits per year. Of those, 75% were in the usual hurricane-prone areas, such as the Southern United States, the Caribbean and Central America. Six storms made landfall elsewhere, including New England, Canada and the Azores.
By 2014-19, the Atlantic averaged 7.6 direct hits per year. While the U.S. took the majority of those hits, Europe has been showing a steady increase in cyclones making landfall. Major hurricanes – those with sustained wind speeds of 111 miles per hour and above – are also more common than they were in the 1970s and ‘80s.
While southern coastal locations of the United States may be the most vulnerable to tropical cyclone impacts, it is important to understand that a devastating cyclone can hit anywhere along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting another busy season in 2021, though it is not expected to be as extreme as 2020’s record 30 named storms. Even if an area hasn’t experienced a hurricane in several years, residents are advised to prepare for the season as if their area will take a hit – just in case.
Get past the headlines with a closer look at issues in Savannah and Coastal Georgia.
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Welcome to John Carr Outdoors! Please visit the blog and follow. The follow button can be found at the bottom of the page. If you are seeing this on Facebook, click the link to visit the blog to see all of the photos. Soapstone Lake With the weatherman’s promise of sunshine, I drove to the […]
The threat of our house being burned has been reduced that is unless the wind shifts. The promise of rain today now won’t happen until Thursday. Chris found some graphics on how bad the air is in my area. This first graphic shows how far spread the smoke is. It goes out over the pacific […]
How about having coffee in my favourite forest this week? This is a pine forest a few minutes from my house. If you take a closer look at the ground it gives a great promise of a delicious harvest of lingonberries and blueberries in a couple months. I love foraging in the forest. This is a […]
Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure.
The case of the lizards, with their “removable” tails, is well known. These small vertebrates are capable of re-creating nerve cells, like other lizards, and regenerating this limb. The strategy of shedding the tail is common to escape predators, but what about much larger reptiles, such as the American alligator?
So far, it was not well documented if this crocodilian, one of the largest in the American continent, could have this ability to recover its enormous tail. A team from Arizona State University and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, both in the United States, shows for the first time that the youngest specimens, caught in the wild, had recovered their tail up to 18% of the full length of their body, although they were morphologically different from the original sections.
To analyze the structure of the regenerated limbs, the scientists performed MRIs and X-rays combined with anatomical and tissue organization studies. The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the new tails lacked skeletal muscle – unlike other lizards – and formed complex structures with a central skeleton composed of cartilage and surrounded by fibrous connective tissue intertwined with blood vessels and nerves.
“What makes the alligator interesting, apart from its size, is that the re-growing tail shows signs of regeneration and wound healing within the same structure,” explains Cindy Xu, lead author and researcher at the American university.
This overproduction of connective tissue was similar to wound healing or fibrosis in mammals, the scientists found. “We were surprised to discover scar-like connective tissue rather than skeletal muscle in the regenerated crocodile tail,” Xu adds.
The partial limb growth of these crocodiles does share similarities with the regenerated tails of New Zalanda tuataras and the regenerated limbs of adult Xenopus frogs, which have a cartilaginous endoskeleton surrounded by connective tissue without skeletal muscle.
What does regeneration contribute?
The study confirms that between the different species of reptiles and other animals, the regenerative capacity varies, and can be costly. In the case of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), scientists believe that regenerating their tails can give them a functional advantage when living in murky aquatic habitats.
This finding provides more information on how reptiles are the only amniotes – a group of animals with backbones among which humans are found – to maintain the ability to recover their lost limbs. “The ancestors of alligators, dinosaurs and birds separated about 250 million years ago. The study shows that the alligators have retained the cellular machinery to regenerate complex tails while the birds have lost that capacity ”, emphasizes Kenro Kusumi, co-principal author, and professor and director of the School of Life Sciences of the University of the State of Arizona . So at what point in evolution was this ability lost? So far, scientists have found no evidence of fossils of dinosaurs, whose lineage led to modern birds, with regenerated tails.
Furthermore, understanding how different animals can regenerate tissues could help develop medical therapies, according to the researchers. The team hopes that these findings will uncover new therapeutic approaches to repair injuries and treat diseases such as arthritis
Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure. The case of the lizards, with […]
I’m not alone in this, right? As a water lover — yes, we exist — I’m always chasing what food critic Jeffrey Steingarten refers to in his 1997 book, The Man Who Ate Everything: “that pure, clear, ethereal Alpine spring of our imaginations.” I picture moon water to be my ethereal Alpine spring: glacially cold and crisp; satisfyingly thirst-quenching; achingly crystalline.
Sadly, I may never know the joys of sipping on a refreshing glass of lunar liquid. The water isn’t hidden away in small ice-cold grottos tucked below the moon’s surface, like I was hoping. Instead, these water molecules are spread so far away from each other that they don’t even technically form a liquid. “To be clear, this is not puddles of water, but instead water molecules that are so spread apart that they do not form ice or liquid water,” Casey I. Honniball, the lead author of the study published in Nature Astronomy, said in a phone press briefing. A NASA press release stated that the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what was detected on the moon.
It will take scientists a long time to figure out how to gather up and mash together enough of those molecules to fill up the first Lunar Water™ bottle. (I think that’s how it’ll work, anyway.) Until then, here’s everything we know about the liquid that we really should be calling Moon Juice.
How exactly do we know that the moon is wet?
Scientists have suspected that there’s been water on the moon for a while now — they just didn’t know what kind: H2O (the stuff we drink) and hydroxyl (the stuff you find in drain cleaner). Big difference — and something you probably want to know before you take a swig.
That’s where NASA’s flying observatory, SOFIA, came in. (Yes, it took a womxn!). SOFIA, aka Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, is a modified Boeing that NASA uses as an observational aircraft. It allowed the scientists to study the moon’s surface in more detail — using a six micron wavelength, versus the puny three micron wavelength they’d been relying on before. This confirmed that the chemical signature of much of what’s on the surface of the moon is, indeed, the good ol’ H2O, said Honniball.
Even better? That water is cold. Another study confirmed that ice covers more of the moon than we once thought. It’s not just sticking at the moon’s poles, but scattered in shadowed pockets across the moon’s surface.
Where does the moon water come from?
Okay, so we now know the moon is a WAPlanet. But how? “The water that we observed has two potential sources,” Honniball explained during the press briefing. “It could be either from the solar wind or micrometeorites.” In other words, solar wind could be blowing hydrogen to the moon, where it reacts with oxygen in the soil. It’s also possible that the micrometeorites themselves contain water molecules (always smart to travel with extra on hand) that they transfer to the moon upon arrival.
The existence of this water is very impressive: Honniball went on to say that the sunlit surface of the moon should be inhospitable to the water molecules, but that glass beads created by the micrometeorite impact may trap the molecules on the surface.
Why is moon water such a big deal?
Because we’re trying to set foot on Mars — and the moon is our layover, baby! “With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and the next man on the moon in 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence by the end of the decade. At the moon, we will prepare for human exploration of Mars,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, during the press briefing. If we’re going to be spending extended amounts of time in space, having water at our destination would be incredibly useful.
“Water is extremely critical for deep space exploration. It’s a resource of direct value for our astronauts,” Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, said during the briefing. The hope would be that this water could serve many purposes. One day we might find a way for visiting astronauts to drink it, of course. But it could also potentially be used for fuel or to create oxygen.
All that matters because it would mean future space travellers wouldn’t have to lug so much water along with them, Bleacher said. “It’s far easier to travel when you don’t have to carry everything with you that you might need for the entire trip,” he said.
When can we drink moon water?
Unclear. “One of the things we don’t know yet is whether the water detected by SOFIA on the sunlit surface is accessible for use as a resource,” said Hertz. Right now, they don’t know how much water is there or where exactly it exists, but they’re starting by exploring the Clavius crater on the moon’s surface, which is one of the largest craters we can see from earth.
“At this location, the data reveal a water concentration of about 100 to 400 parts per million. That’s roughly the equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water within a cubic meter of volume of lunar soil,” Honniball said. But SOFIA only sensed the very surface, so it’s possible there could be more.
All that to say: It’s way too soon to speculate about when the first person will be sipping on moon water. But if someone is drinking it, it’s likely going to be an astronaut and not an influencer at Erewhon.
So… I probably shouldn’t buy that “moon water” I’m seeing on ebay?
The Moon Water you’re seeing might be the crystal-charged stuff, and if that’s what you’re looking for, more power to you. But no, we’re a long way out from seeing actual moon water taking its place next to Dirty Lemon and Blk. If you see anyone claiming to sell the stuff, you are officially in a suspicious corner of the internet. Put away your credit card and X out of the window.
Okay, okay — but please tell me I’ll one day drink moon water?
I know. I want to sip on that sweet, sweet moon juice, too. But even if scientists figured out how to turn the stuff that’s on the moon into drinkable water and bring it back to Earth, whether or not anyone is allowed to sell the stuff is up for debate.
NASA, along with eight other spacefaring nations, signed something called The Artemis Accords. The agreement confirms that the space agencies are committed to peaceful exploration; it also provides some legal frameworks around how moon research should be conducted. But according to CNET, Russia and China didn’t sign the Accords, and the agreement also doesn’t “explicitly prohibit the commercialisation of water and other material mined on the moon.”
So… maybe, someday, you’ll be able to quench your thirst using the nectar of Luna for a significant chunk of change, but I’m not holding my breath.
Mirel ZamanRefinery 29 UKWed, 28 October 2020, 7:52 am GMT When I heard that water was recently discovered on the surface of the moon, I’m not going to lie: My first thought was, I bet it tastes great. I’m not alone in this, right? As a water lover — yes, we exist — I’m always chasing what food critic […]
Maps of the day: Worst case climate scenario via eats shoots ‘n leaves
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] was created in established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization [WMO] to evaluate the impacts of global warming triggered by the rise of greenhouse gases.
To assess likely impacts, the IPCC uses scenarios based on Representative Concentration Pathways [RCPs], RCP8.5 as the worst case alternative, leading to a global temperature rise of 2.6 to 4.8 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
While the RCP 8.5 scenario remains controversial, the fact remains that it could be worse, given that we still don’t understand the complex feedback loops arising from interactions of a complex of systems we are only beginning to discern – as with the spiking methane emissions triggered by polar warming.
From today’s Guardian comes word of a stunning find off the Siberian coast:
Scientists have found evidence that frozen methane deposits in the Arctic Ocean – known as the “sleeping giants of the carbon cycle” – have started to be released over a large area of the continental slope off the East Siberian coast, the Guardian can reveal.
High levels of the potent greenhouse gas have been detected down to a depth of 350 metres in the Laptev Sea near Russia, prompting concern among researchers that a new climate feedback loop may have been triggered that could accelerate the pace of global heating.
The slope sediments in the Arctic contain a huge quantity of frozen methane and other gases – known as hydrates. Methane has a warming effect 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide over 20 years. The United States Geological Survey has previously listed Arctic hydrate destabilisation as one of four most serious scenarios for abrupt climate change.
The report concludes on an ominous note:
Temperatures in Siberia were 5C higher than average from January to June this year, an anomaly that was made at least 600 times more likely by human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and methane. Last winter’s sea ice melted unusually early. This winter’s freeze has yet to begin, already a later start than at any time on record.
From the 14 October edition of the Washington Post, published before today’s news, comes another startling fact:
The worldwide number of methane hot spots has soared 32 percent so far this year despite the economic slowdown, according to satellite imagery analyzed by a private data firm.
Comparing the first eight months of 2019 to the same period in 2020, the Paris-based firm Kayrros said methane leaks from oil and gas industry hot spots climbed even higher in Algeria, Russia and Turkmenistan, growing by more than 40 percent. The largest contributors to rising methane releases were the United States, Russia, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Iran and Iraq, Kayrros said.
There is more than three times as much carbon frozen in permafrost as in all of the forests on the planet, including the Amazon, scientists say.
So why worry about methane?
From a 14 October Deutsche Welle interview with Stanford University Environmental Sciences professor Rob Jackson:
“Well, since industrial activity began, methane has contributed about a quarter of all the warming that we’ve seen and it’s far more potent, molecule for molecule or kilogram for kilogram than carbon dioxide is on a 20-year time frame. It’s 80 or 90 times more potent. And even over a century, it’s about 30 times more potent than carbon dioxide. So CO2 is still the dominant greenhouse gas we look at. But methane is second and provides a lot of opportunities to make a difference right now because it’s so powerful.”
Another significant source of methane is fracking, the hydraulic fracturing of shale deposits to extract oil and natural gas [i.e., methane].
A 2015 report by Robert W. Howarth of Cronell University’s Department of Ecology and Environmental Biology made this observation:
We concluded that 3.8% [±2.2%] of the total lifetime production of methane from a conventional gas well is emitted into the atmosphere, considering the full life cycle from well to final consumer.11 The data available for estimating emissions from shale gas were more scarce and more poorly documented at that time, but we estimated that the full life cycle emissions of shale gas were ∼1.5-fold higher than that of conventional natural gas, or 5.8% [±2.2%].
The rising numbers of refugees streaming into Europe and the U.S. have given rise to virulent racist and ultra-nationalist movements headed by headed by authoritarians who seize of immigrants as scapegoats for seething resentments fueled by rising economic inequality caused by the plague of neoliberalism.
A May report, Future of the human climate niche, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and written by an international, interdisciplinary academic team reveals that many regions already accounting for large numbers of refugees will bear the brunt of climate change.
Consider this map from their report:
The accompanying text:
Projected geographical shift of the human temperature niche. [Top] Geographical position of the human temperature niche projected on the current situation [A] and the RCP8.5 projected 2070 climate [B]. Those maps represent relative human distributions [summed to unity] for the imaginary situation that humans would be distributed over temperatures following the stylized double Gaussian model fitted to the modern data [the blue dashed curve in Fig. 2A]. [C] Difference between the maps, visualizing potential source [orange] and sink [green] areas for the coming decades if humans were to be relocated in a way that would maintain this historically stable distribution with respect to temperature. The dashed line in A and B indicates the 5% percentile of the probability distribution.
While RCP8.5 remains controversial, in light of the rapid rise in methane emissions from the warming poles and and still-unknown by inevitable synergetic feedback loops and failure of governments to take action, we suspect the reality may prove even worse.
By A.J. Juliani This summer as many schools went from going back to school in-person, to virtual, to some mix in-between a lot of teachers were faced with a new reality: Teaching kids in your classroom at school and at home…at the same time. This Hybrid A/B Model of schooling (also goes by many other […]
This Hybrid A/B Model of schooling (also goes by many other names) has a camera on in the classroom for students to watch at home, while students rotate days A/B of being in-person or at-home.
Technology plays a big role in making this happen, and it needs to all work in the classroom and at home for each student in order to pull it off.
Let’s just say that all the technology does work, in that case, the question I’ve been working with teachers on over the summer in PD and training has been: How do I structure the learning experience so kids at home and in-class are both learning?
Below I share four different models that I have seen work and that teachers are using around the country (and world) in Hybrid A/B learning.
This is a long post so feel free to jump around as needed. I share videos, templates, and resources on these structures in my Online Learning Master Course, but this 3000-word article should give you enough information to get started!
1. The STEPS Model (I do, We do, You do with a twist)
This is (by far) the most traditional model of teaching that can work in an A/B Hybrid environment. I usually start my training with this model to show how you can make the jump to teaching hybrid without changing too much as a teacher. Remember, we are all at different stages of the continuum, and in many content-heavy subjects, this model works well to get the students into a consistent flow of what the class will look like (whether they are in-school or watching at-home).
You can do this with small groups or large groups, but for the sake of our interpretation, let’s just say you have half the class in front of you in the classroom and the other half at home. You start by setting up the class for the lesson and doing some review of the previous day’s lesson.
An important part of retrieval practice is having the students pull out their responses from yesterday’s lesson instead of providing a review for them. This is also a good time to have students doing some practice or review problems or questions while you take attendance and complete the other beginning of class procedures.
When done well, students will expect to come into class either in-person or virtually with an idea of what the first 5-10 minutes will look like every day. This also helps teachers see whether or not students are grasping the knowledge/skills/topics that were covered in the previous lesson.
T: Teach – Explicit Model and Guide of New Concepts or Skills
The next stage is direct or explicit instruction of a new concept, skill, or continuation from the previous lesson. This is the “I do” part of the lesson where the teacher explains and shares examples of what to look for, how to do something, and why it matters in the overall context of the subject.
There is little interaction in the “T” part of the lesson with students in class and at home focused on understanding what the teacher is explaining and listening/watching. However, using a tool like Peardeck or Nearpod can allow students to respond to prompts and questions easily throughout the lesson.
Note: This does not have to be the teacher talking the entire time. Bring in videos, manipulatives, pictures, models, and anything else to help guide the student’s attention and interaction with the content. It also does not need to be a long, drawn-out, part of the lesson.
E: Engage – Practice with Feedback
Here is where teacher-led practice comes into the lesson. The “We do” part of the lesson engages students in practicing the skill being taught in the lesson. A few ways you can do this in hybrid situations:
Have students in class partner-up with a student at home. Students in class on their device and students at home on their device. This is a perfect use of a breakout room (in Zoom) and as a teacher, you don’t have to worry about monitoring the breakout rooms as they are happening in front of you.
Students could be doing the practice individually or with groups using online collaborative tools such as Google Docs, Slides, Jamboard, Padlet, etc.
Have students go through this process in-class and at-home with various students sharing on the in-class or virtual whiteboard.
P: Practice Activity – Extended Practice of New Skill
The “You do” portion of the lesson has students practicing the new skill or engaging in the content by themselves. Here is a perfect time to have the cameras off at-home and have students engage away from the device.
Or you can have them continue to use technology and share what they are doing/learning in your learning management system (Google Classroom, Seesaw, Canvas, Schoology etc).
My favorite part of this practice piece of the lesson is the ability for the teacher to work with an individual student or small group who may need some additional help or who could use a challenge.
S: Show You Know – Share Your Questions
At the end of the lesson, you can bring all the students back together on the live-stream (or have them do this individually depending on your circumstances) and end the classroom in a similar fashion to how you started it. Have students showing what they know and understand by answering questions, asking questions, and checking their own (and each other’s work).
The goal here is for the teacher and students to have a formative understanding of their needs and where to go next (what to tweak etc) in the following lesson.
Notice that in the STEPS Model the students are NOT staring at a live-stream the entire time. In fact, the only time they are needed to be on the live-stream asynchronously is during the “I do” teaching/modeling mini-lesson part of the class. You have options for each of the other parts of the lesson on how to structure the learning experience.
2. The Station-Rotation Model
The Station-Rotation Model is one of the most commonly used blended/hybrid learning structures, used successfully by teachers all around the world pre-pandemic. You may have done this yourself with various forms of media and centers in your classroom.
Now, with half the students at home and half the students in your classroom, the station rotation model still works but has to be adjusted accordingly.
The basics are simple to understand: Each lesson has various learning stations that the students work through during the class period.
The easiest way to begin is to have two stations.
Station #1: Instruction with the teacher.
Station #2: Online activity or assignment.
The teacher begins the class by explaining each station, then gets half the class (either the in-person group or at-home group) to start Station #2. The teacher then takes the rest of the class to Station #1 for half the class period, before switching and taking the other half of the class through Station #1.
While that is the easiest way to begin, going into three stations may be the best option for station-rotation lessons long-term.
The class period is broken up into three distinct sections. For Hybrid A/B learning I would have all of the students at home be in one group (Group 1) while breaking up the students in-class into two separate groups (Group 2 and Group 3). However, if your situation is such that you have at home hybrid students and full-time virtual students that group may have to be split in two.
The Teacher-led Station is what you will be leading (three separate times) throughout the class period.
The Online Station is personalized practice, research, and exploration, or multimedia lessons that students can access on their own using digital tools and spaces.
The Offline Station can be used for some off-screen activities, getting students engaged in reading or other activities that they do not have to be ‘Logged on’ to complete.
The key to the station-rotation model is to set clear time expectations at the beginning of the class and to keep them throughout the period. It also takes some serious planning. Don’t be alarmed if the first time (or 2, 3 etc) students and you take some getting used to this model!
3. The Flipped Model (with needs-based grouping)
As I walk through these steps to “flip” your instruction and set up a working model of differentiation in your Hybrid A/B class, keep in mind a few things.
First, realize that this can work in any subject area. In order for it to work successfully, a teacher must come up with clear objectives on what students need to know, and how they will demonstrate that knowledge. You’ll also have to be able to teach the main concept through video, and students will need a way to access that video at home (or at the beginning of the class period).
Second, don’t spend too much time thinking about the resources you use to make the video. Often teachers get stuck in the technical side of things instead of just making it and getting better with production over time. This happened to me for a long time before realizing that it didn’t have to be fancy.
Third, make sure you use this strategy to find out what your students know and what they are missing, then get them to a place where they can demonstrate that understanding. When you pre-assess students, the goal is not to see “who did the homework” but instead how your instruction can meet students where they are at in their current level of understanding.
Getting Started Flipping Your Instruction
Here are 10 steps (some longer than others) to get this model working with your class:
Teachers identify a particular concept or skill to focus their instruction (often dictated by your curriculum).
Teachers create a short video screencast (using Screen-cast-o-matic.com) walking students through the concept, explaining the reasoning and steps, providing examples of the skill in action.
Teachers edit and upload the video to Youtube or Vimeo.
Students watch the video the night/day before class and take notes or answer some quick comprehension questions.
When students arrive at class the following day, the teacher hands out (or gives digitally) a short 5 question pre-assessment based on the video and instruction from the night before.
Students answer the questions to the best of their abilities and then score a partner’s (or self-score their own assessment).
Students end up in three groups based on the pre-assessment score.
Score a 0-1 and you are in Tier A.
Score a 2-3 and you are in Tier B.
Score a 4-5 and you are in Tier C.
The goal for all students is to end up in Tier C by the end of class.
The first third of class:
Tier A sits down and re-watches the video from the night before with a teacher-created handout with new questions.
The teacher gets Tier B into groups (or partners) to work on refining some of the skills and concepts together. They can use the video as a guide and call on the teacher to help during their group work.
Tier C is given a higher-level application challenge.
The second third of class:
Teacher heads over to Tier A after the video is complete to answer any questions they might have on the concept and give the entire group some questions to answer. Then they answer questions individually. They move onto Tier B.
Tier B takes another short formative assessment (individually) to show their understanding after the group work on the concept. Those that score a 4-5 move onto Tier C.
Tier C continues to work on the challenge or completes it and begins to help new students coming into their group.
Last third of class:
Tier B students work in partners or groups and take the next formative assessment when they are ready. Teacher floats between Tier B and Tier C helping and challenging as seen fit.
Tier C students finish the challenge and work to create a challenge for the following class (or next year’s class).
Tier B students are helped by classmates and teacher to move to Tier C before the end of the class.
First, you start with some type of work at home or at the beginning of class. Then you assess quickly on base knowledge of that concept. The pre-assessment separates your class into three tiers of understanding. The goal is to move students through tiers and provide different levels of support. With all students landing at the final tier for a challenging activity by the end of class.
The trick to making this successful is to embed choices into the activities during class. Allow students to pick partners and groups. Give students multiple types of questions to answer and activities to complete. Give the second-tier options on how they are assessed before moving to the final tier. Provide the final tier with options and choice to challenge their understanding and move past the application to a higher level of thinking.
I would personally start with a concept or skill that some students typically master quicker than others. In this case, you’ll have experienced the frustration of having students at all different levels of understanding, and know that there has to be a better way to go about instructing the entire class.
Start small with a short video, and quick activities at each of the levels. This way, when you move into bigger units of study, students will be familiar with the process and expectations. It’s amazing to watch the negative “snowball” effect of students falling behind stop immediately. In this model, there is no “falling too far behind” because students are all expected to reach a certain level of mastery by the end of the class.
4. The Choice Board Model
This is a self-paced option for the Hybrid A/B learning environment. The Choice Board allows for various levels of learning to take place and gives students choices in how they access information as well as demonstrate their understanding.
Here is a quick example of what a Choice Board might look like via Kasey Bell:
Here are the steps you can go through to create a Choice Board in your content area:
Identify a unit/concept or skill and what you want students to know/do/make in order to demonstrate their understanding/proficiency.
Create or choose an assessment/performance task that allows students to demonstrate mastery.
List various instructional methods, resources, and strategies to prepare students for the assessment/performance task.
Choose four-six instructional methods to turn into choice-board activities. Each activity should be a similar length in time and cover common material. Here is where you can add different types of technology or hands-on experiences to the learning process.
Create a workflow for the students to follow. Have notes and formative checks as part of the choice-board design process. Allow for reflection during each activity when planning how long students will complete the activity.
Introduce the different choices to students and describe what the goals of the activity are (as well as the assessment this is leading up to).
Let students pick activities based on their interests/needs.
As the teacher, a few of the activities/options might need more guidance than others. Make sure you aren’t just “managing” this activity, but instead truly acting as a guide and expert learner when the opportunity is available.
Once the choice-board activities are complete, put students into small groups to “jigsaw” their reflection. Bring students from different activities together to reflect on their learning experience and share (this can be written, audio, or video reflections – think Flipgrid).
Listen to reflections and check the formative pieces for each activity to see if students are prepared for the assessment. If not, feel free to go through one more activity together as a class or talk about any topics/concepts they did not understand during the activity.
Give the assessment/performance task.
BONUS OPTION: Make your assessment into a choice-board with multiple performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate an understanding of the content and skills.
As you can see, the process takes more time on the front end from the teacher, but you’ll know that students are prepared for a performance task by going through this activity.
When I began using technology in the classroom, these activities also turned into online experiences that could be done at any time. My ultimate goal as a teacher was to see my students succeeding and demonstrating their understanding of concepts and skills at a high level. The simple act of “giving students choice” changed how my students viewed our assessments, and how they prepared for assessments.
Planning, managing, and teaching in a Hybrid A/B environment can be difficult, but hopefully, these structures can give some options when thinking about how to get students engaged in the learning process. I would love if you shared in the comments some structures you are using in Hybrid learning!
Walking along the riverbanks, lake sides, and pond shores across the world are empty open shells that were once the shield of protection to many freshwater bivalves, also known as freshwater mussels. I, personally, have even seen shells mixed into “river rock” on playgrounds. When I was a child, I even cut my foot on one hiding in the tiny pebbles of my parks swing set. I never thought much about them. When we would go to the lake to fish or swim, I would collect them like I was a mermaid princess collecting pearls. I would take them home and keep them in my fish tank, which helped my fish live for years. My beta fish named “fish” lived over 6 years because of his little friends (or a parent who lied… time will never know). How little did I know that twenty years later I would be doing the exact same thing. This time instead of a mermaid princess, I get to act in a scientific and ecological manner.
Worldwide some conservations and ecological organizations estimate upwards to 1,000 species of freshwater mussels and other organizations claim its more like 900 different species. North America houses a known 300 different freshwater mussel species. The US Fish and Wildlife Services claims the North America has the highest diversity in freshwater mussel species in the world. There are many hot spots for mussels in the US including but not limited to the Mid-West and the Appalachian Mountains. It is estimated that over 70% of the endanger freshwater mussels are found in these two areas. Tennessee by itself historically housed 129 of the nation’s freshwater mussel species. Now with in Tennessee, it is estimated to house only 40 species.
Pre-European Colonization (don’t get me started on that mess) times are in my opinion the most ecologically balanced times in North America. Natives understood the balance between nature and humans. The first uses of mussels in the now US, was by these Natives and was probably food based. Archaeologist and anthropologist have found multiple sites of discarded shells on the banks of rivers around tribal sites. They probably were not a primary food source for the tribes, but the evidence does point to a culinary use. Later, (when Europe sent a bunch of “Karenz” over) there was significant uptick in trade for the shells.
During colonization and Pre-Modern day (prior to 1970s), freshwater mussels were harvested from riverbanks by the masses not for food or trade but for buttons. Yes, buttons. The “clammers” would use boats and drag the river bottoms looking for mussel beds. They would then shell the poor creature, sand down the roughness, and punch holes through out the shell. These punch outs would then be polished and punched for buttonholes. This type of harvested lasted longer than it should have unfortunately. It wasn’t until the 1900, this type of industry slow due to massive die off of the natural mussel beds.
So, what is so fascinating about freshwater mussels? Conservationist around the world are trying to save the species we have left. They act as a natural water filtration system as well as food for fish and castration. They are what is called a “niche” species. So basically, without them we won’t have freshwater ecosystems. They have a rough outer shell that is semi curved on both sides. The shell open for them to eat, breath, mate, and move (yes, they move). Inside is the organs and soft tissue. If you ever open one, it kind of looks like an oyster but smaller.
Freshwater mussels can live in almost any collection of freshwaters from pond and stream all the way to lakes and major rivers. Each species has its preferred depth and habitat. Also, the majority of freshwater mussel need fish to act as a host when mating. Some will even use their soft tissue disguised as a fish or prey to lure in the host fish. These may seem like simple creatures on the surface but they in fact are surprisingly in genius.
While we try to restore, what a boat load of people destroyed, there are still massive problems in their ecosystem that threatens the survival of the species. During the decades between 1930s to 1970s and even later there were over 80,000 dams built in the US, in an effort to use hydro power and control water flows and regulate flood waters. As well as dams the US dug canals and channels to divert water flows. There are over 18,000 canals in the US to this date. Both cause problems for the freshwater mussel by many factors. The waters become deeper in areas that were shallow before which can cause less area the mussels can survive in. It stops or impinges on the migration of the host fish species, causing reproduction to dwindle.
Newer problems like pollution is not only affecting the host and phytoplankton that they feed on but the mussels themselves. There are multiple studies showing the biological affects of heavy metals, chemical and other man made pollutants. These contaminations cause lower body mass, lowered behavioral movement, and lowered overall survivability for the individual. It’s like if you have to live in your neighbors trash dump. You can’t find food. You can’t find love. And you won’t survive long periods of time.
Lastly, invasive species are also causing a threat to the native freshwater mussels. Many species will come in on boats from other areas and take advantage of the new area. Other mussels, like the Zebra Mussel of Russia, leach off others for nutrients and other sustainable substances. There are new policies of how to maintain and care for the boats traveling in different waters, in order to slow the progression of the spread. However, it will take a lot of help from us as humans to undo our mistake.
Protecting endangered species should be a priority for conservationists. A creature like the freshwater mussel is overlook so many times. It is important to know how vital they are to the ecosystem and how not to cause them more harm. Things you can do to help the protect these creatures is 1. To vote in all elections. Do your research! 2. Cut down on plastic usage. Many plastics and industries run off contaminate the water. 3. Spread your knowledge! A lot of people don’t see freshwater mussels as creatures that need protection or that they even exist and why they are important.
Adsorption of oil with hair is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.
What this means is that hair allows oil to coat, hence effectively absorbing it. And given the surface area, cheap costs, and renewability of hair, this is a great solution.
Hair clippings are a low-tech, yet remarkably effective method to tidy up oil spills In fact, a San Francisco-based environmental non-profit organisation, Matter of Trust, has collected donations of thousands of pounds of human hair to clean up after the thousands of oil spills that happen each year.
Oil spills are an example of the havoc humanity often wreaks on the environment. In the last thirty odd years, the issue of oil spills and their effects has become a much talked about topic (And for all the wrong reasons).
So, how does an oil spill happen?
Oil spills happens when liquid petroleum is released into the environment by vehicle, vessel or pipeline.
It happens on a large scale and is mostly seen in water bodies. We’re not talking about a few litres here and there. We’re talking about millions of litres of oil spilling into the ocean.
Take the case of the M/T Haven Tanker Oil Spill. This devastating event watched approximately 45 million litres of oil fall into the ocean. Not only is this a significant loss, but the damages inflicted upon the environment have long lasting consequences.
And this is just one oil spill out of the many. Hundreds of oil spills take place every year. The news of many which don’t even reach us. Crude oil can be released by tankers on land. In water bodies, the spill occurs due to drilling rigs, offshore oil platforms and wells.
While the sources of oil spills are many, the solutions are limited.
Oil floats on water and prevents sunlight to pass through it. The shiny substance that you see sometimes on top layer of water is nothing but oil which makes it difficult for plants and sea animals to survive.
Underwater plants die. Oil weighs down the wings of birds that can no longer fly easily. It contaminates food, water and destroys the entire ecosystem.
Unfortunately, cleaning up of oil spill is no easy task. Various factors need to be considered before carrying out operations. Some of them being amount of oil spilled, temperature of water, type of beaches and many more.
Currently methods used involve skimmers, dispersants an bio degradant technology. But is there a better way?
The answer lies in your hair.
Have you ever noticed how your hair becomes greasy when you don’t wash it for a while? Why does this happen? It happens because hair is adsorbent.
Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.
What this means is that hair allows oil to coat, hence effectively absorbing it. And given the surface area, cheap costs, and renewability of hair, this is a great solution.
Hair can also be washed repeatedly and this does not damage its ability to absorb oil. The average person takes around 150 haircuts in their lifetime. Hair is low-cost, easily available and a great alternative to chemical treatments.
This idea was the brainchild of Phil McCrory, a former hairdresser from Alabama and it has the potential to change the environment completely.
One of the most important takeaways from this, is how simple solutions can be used to bring around large change. I hope this encourages each one of you to try learning new things. Because, the solution of the biggest global problems lie in the simplest, most unassuming of places. And it might even be your barber’s floor.
Hair clippings are a low-tech, yet remarkably effective method to tidy up oil spills In fact, a San Francisco-based environmental non-profit organisation, Matter of Trust, has collected donations of thousands of pounds of human hair to […]