Monday, January 28, 2008

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How long do birds live? How many offspring do they have?

Hi! Recently I was asked questions on birds. The answer got truncated by the program handling the answer. I decided to re-create the answer here, thus, this post.

I am very excited to get your question. One reason is that my nephew is very interested in birds and we often watch them and talk about them. My mother, too, likes birds. My parents have a bird feeder and also go bird-watching. They are in their eighties. I think the birds help keep them young!

I imagine that the number of times a bird reproduces depends on the type of bird (chicken or robin, for example)and on the particular bird (Just like you like one kind of ice cream and your friend likes another, different birds might reproduce different numbers of times based on preference. Similarly, numbers of offspring and longevity vary among bird families and bird individuals just like they do among human families and individuals. The oldest woman I know is 115 years old, for example. The life span is now 160 for people. Some people die before reaching that age, because of accident or disease. The same kind of thing happens to birds: some live longer than others, some have more offspring than others. But, there are other answers...
I think I can help you find some answers.

Here is a diagram of a "typical" bird life cycle. Click here.

There is a bird expert (, ask for the, "bird expert.") at the Franklin Park Zoo ( and you can see some of "Bird World" too.

The National Zoo offers bird facts
where you can find lots of information. The bald eagle, for example can live 48 years in captivity at zoos (less in the wild). It has two or three eggs a year and typically mates in the spring, but may mate more often.

Teaching printables can be found at:

Another part of the answer addressed the fact that women and men can both be scientists and the student (a girl) asking the question was encouraged to go on in science.

There is a bird game already posted. I'll put a link here: Click!

Well, I haven't recreated the entire answer, but I repeated the work that was lost as well as I could recall it at present.

Edited on 10-20-09:
See comments below for more information. Here is a quote from one of them showing a sample of the kind of information you can find there on many birds:





Laysan Albatross


White-crowned Sparrow


Arctic Tern


House Sparrow


Great Frigatebird


Warbling Vireo


Source for the information on the albatross, tern, and frigatebird shown above: Accessed 10-20-09. Notes: Copyright ® 1988 by Paul R. Ehrlich, David S. Dobkin, and Darryl Wheye,
from The Birder's Handbook (which covers birds of North America), note the date of the statistics (which are now 21 years old), the website data is limited to campus(Stanford) birds (in California) [Thanks to D. Wheye for these added clarifications in the above, "Notes."]

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Dell Computers provide great computing capabilities. Check out their new products.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Diamonds and science?

The Diamond Necklace is a story that brings to mind an important action we can take: Understanding invasive species.

While speaking of the legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, one of the founders (Together with his partner, Vaux) of landscape architecture designed an emerald necklace.

Read the story and find out about these jewels.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Want to write?

Here's a source for grants. Anyone with information on this source, please add to comments and give us feedback on your experience.

Science: K-6, Same Lessons, Many Reading Levels

Has anyone tried these lesson plans and can comment?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sometimes it is fun to start science with a story.

The Tortoise and the Hares run from Sydney to Melbourne
ia a story you will treasure.

Now, let's link it to science and use it as an example of how you could develop a science fair project.

The story has a literature side and a sports side. You might be a literary or sports fan, but, you have to do science. How can you use your interests to your benefit? Can you think of some possible ways?

Does the story help you think up a "do-able" experiment?

Here are some hints:
control vs experimental
rules for animal experiments
speed of different animals
aerobic exercise and blood oxygen content
blood oxygen in people of all ages
sports medicine
exercise and health
when being slow wins, health=wise
drawings, photos, charts
Add your own brainstorm and then write an experimental design. Post any questions.

(c)2008 J. S. Shipman. All rights reserved

Visualizing DNA

Deoxyribonucleic acid = DNA= the hereditary chemical in living things

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sauerkraut Science (Post under development)

Sauerkraut Science
What has sauerkraut got to do with science?
Here is a lesson about picking a science fair topic.

(Not doing science fair ? Just want a good read? Read the link at the end of this post.)

Pick something you are interested in or that you can afford to use. Then, look for the science related to that item. Okay, we've selected sauerkraut, just to prove that almost any topic can become a subject of science study.

Brainstorm: What about sauerkraut has to do with science? What does your topic have to do with science?

Do a Literature Search:
Here's a sampling of literature found on sauerkraut. Do a search on your own topic.
  • Books
  1. Chemical Activities (Teacher's Addition) Christie L. Borgford and Lee R. Summerlin. ISBN13:97808412163 ISBN10:0841214166 paper. 244 pages.
  2. Traditionally Fermented Foods
  • Newspapers and Magazines
  • Journals
  1. Food Chemistry: Changes in biogenic amine concentrations during sauerkraut storage. Volume 69, Issue 3, 15 May 2000, Pages 309-314
    doi:10.1016/S0308-8146(99)00273-3 How to Cite or Link Using DOI (Opens New Window)
    Copyright © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
  2. Leuconostoc sp. strains:
  • Internet
  1. Fermented Foods
  2. Lactic Acid Bacteria
  3. Microbiology
  4. Create Sauerkraut (commercial kit)
  5. Create sauerkraut (the old-fashioned way)
  6. (commercial site)
  7. DNA Fingerprinting in Sauerkraut?
Define a problem: "Do different amounts of salt affect the final product," or, "Do spices change the ability of the cabbage to be fermented?"

Brainstorm again:

Select a question from among your brainstormed ideas:

Write an experimental design:
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods (future tense)
  • Blank data table
  • Literature Cited
Set up the Experiment

Perform the Experiment

Collect Data

Analyze Data

Think about the Experiment and Future Experiments it suggests

Write a Laboratory Report:
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods (Past Tense)
  • Results
  • Discussion and Conclusions
  • Literature Cited
Write a Reflection
  • What did you do well?
  • What did you learn?
  • Do you have something to publish?
  • Do you have ideas for another experiment?
  • What can you do to improve your science fair experience next time?

Here's a wintertime story on sauerkraut that you might enjoy:

(c)2007, 2008 J. S. Shipman

Secure and reliable access, control, and management capabilities across network and computing infrastructures

Pragma Systems is one of the American companies providing secure and reliable access, control, and management capabilities across network and computing infrastructures. Located in Austin, Texas and easily accessible by web, Pragma Systems is representative of the kind of secure environment desired on the web: SSH Telnet

What are they a model for? If you have many people accessing your network, you need a "server" that can handle that traffic. The server has to be affordable. You might want to customize the login so that it is specific to your network group.

Recently we talked about gathering data and evaluating it. These are standard tasks in science. You can use these science skills to gather and evaluate network and computer information, too. Try it and see. What can you find out about the state-of-the-art technology related to secure and reliable network access? How about control and management capabilities?

There's technology vocabulary to learn, too. Do you know what a server is? How about a network? What is a network? When a subject area has a special language, that language is called a "jargon." Many areas of science have their own jargons. Look at the following text from a small part of a Pragma Systems advertisement:
"Ability to run, manage, and control any 16bit, 32bit, DOS character or console mode program, including,, vi, emacs, pmon, net, ftp, lynx, perl and shells imported from Unix"

Do you see any jargon? Are there words that you don't know? Have you looked up the words? Here are some examples of words found in advertising that at the time of publishing were not all in the dictionary.

How can you learn more? Does advertising play a role in learning about new technologies? What about bias? Do you need to worry about bias in advertising? State-of-the-art technology often means the manufacturers are doing a lot of educating about their products. Still, you need to use higher order thinking skills and evaluate the data that you gather.

Remember what an herbarium is...

You might remember previous posts on herbaria. Here is a link that you might enjoy that can expand your knowledge of plant families while you learn more about herbaria and international cooperation.

Here is a virtual herbarium of European plants.

Can you find similar plants near where you live? Can you draw pictures of them? In today's electronic age, perhaps you would like to take digital photos. Enjoy the diversity of living things. Contemplate their unity in how they share biochemical mechanisms, like DNA.

Action Science

Have you thought of scientists in action? Here's a link to show that action:

Science Teacher Training On-line

Science Teacher Classes

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Web Guides for Teachers Link to try and comment ...

Science Teaching Scholarships

Here's a Science Fair Guide you might find useful:

A Public Library Resource on Science Fairs:

Remember that scientists use art and writing. They are imaginative. They also pay attention to detail. Some important words for science fair (among other words) are:













Do you know what these words mean?

Do you know why they are important?

(c)2007 J. S. Shipman

Happy New Year!

May we be blessed with world peace and great science.