The Bones - A Virtual Lab

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The Bones - A Virtual Lab Web Seminar , produced in collaboration with the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and the University of Texas at Austin, was held on Wednesday, October 11, 2006, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern time. The presenters were Lauri Thompson, from the University of Texas at Austin and the eSkeletons web site, and from NSDL, Robert Payo, Education and Outreach Specialist. The presentation focused on the topic of bones and eSkeletons web site, a virtual laboratory, where educators and students can explore specimens online that are otherwise hard to access in the classroom, conduct comparative studies, and manipulate specimens with the help of digital tools. Resources available at the NSDL web site were also discussed.

Thirty three (33) participants were present in addition to the presenters and the NSTA staff. Participating educators represented the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. One participant attended from Canada.

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In this presentation educators had the opportunity to learn about the eSkeletons web site, a virtual laboratory, where bones specimens can be used by teachers and students in the classroom. The presenters used the example of primate locomotion and talked about the intermembral index and how this figure is calculated. The intermembral index provides information about the primate’s locomotion category (terrestrial quadruped, aboreal quadruped, clingers/leapers, suspensory, or bipeds) and the environment where it lives. Using the eSkeletons web site, students can select different bones to measure in order to determine the primate’s locomotion category. All participants received a copy of NSTA's SciGuide on Organisms, grades 5-8.

Here are some comments provided by the participants at the end of the Web Seminar:

  • "Very cool way to learn! Great to try to push teachers to use the newest technologies -- I sometimes feel like a dinosaur with technology."
  • "I like the interactivity and participation for the listeners. Most interesting was how she used the correct terms and made it easy to understand what she was describing. I learned about the eskeleton resources and what they offer teachers and students."
  • "I got a lot out of it. it was great that I wasn't leaving home. I was able to have a home life with this sort of presentation, I could plan the check to the oven or field calls etc and not lose out, and no commute!"
  • "I like the use of data most and the ability to get them by measuring on the web. That the length of fore arms and hind legs says something about the living environment of animals. Never thought about that before."

Thanks to the participants and the presenters for the learning opportunity, the interactions, and a job well done!

Web Seminar: Bones - A Virtual Lab - Resources


See a recorded version of the Web Seminar.

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