Sunday, 30 October 2011

Nature Mapping Foundation

Welcome to the National website for theNatureMapping Program and the NatureMapping Foundation


NatureMapping provides us with an unprecedented opportunity to expand our knowledge about the natural world and translate that knowledge into the power to affect change.

Today, there is little argument that we face enormous environmental challenges including climate change and the accelerating loss of species. To address these challenges effectively requires the unbiased scientific data and analysis thatNatureMapping provides and the opportunity for the public to collect and use such data.


Thursday, 27 October 2011

The Magnifying glass: nature journal

A collaborative nature project between several mothers who are passionate about sharing the wonders of the natural world with their children through books, exploring and projects.

The Magnifying Glass

Bio Curious- biology discovery with friends

BioCurious: a hackerspace for biotech

Our mission

We believe that innovations in biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone.

We’re building a community biology lab for amateurs, inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to
experiment with friends.

BioCurious is…

a complete working laboratory and technical library
for entrepreneurs to cheaply access
equipment, materials, and co-working space
a training center for biotechniques, with an emphasis on safety
a meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists,
activists, and students

About « BioCurious


Discovery learning nature boxes

iscovery Boxes for the Classroom

Enhance your life science curriculum with a Discovery Box. Discovery Boxes are an interactive resource to be used as a whole class or in a science station. Teachers are welcome to share the box with other classes. Curriculum, aligned with TEKS for grades 1-5, is included and teaches ecological concepts. Discovery Boxes include specimen and/or models to be used in the activities.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Center: Education: School Programs: Discovery Boxes

G is for Guided Discovery

Good article on guided discovery, read full article

What is discovery learning – and guided discovery, in particular?

Hands On Discovery Lab

Hands-On Discovery Lab
Take the mess out of hands-on science investigations! Build a worm farm, make a water cycle model, or fill with anything you want to explore.

Activity Guide included

A 2nd grader meets a giant millipede at the Insect Discovery Lab.

Or is this a better option to plastic gloved labs?

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Guided discovery learning

Guided discovery learning is a constructivist instructional design model that combines principles from discovery learning and sometimes radical constructivism with principles from cognitivist instructional design theory.

The role of instruction is merely to provide a suitable environment, which in software might be a microworld or simulation. Discovery learning, or instructionless learning, involves hypothesis formulation and testing (Goodyear et al. 1991, Shrager and Klahr 1986).”

The Aquarium as a teaching tool

The aquarium as a teaching tool.

excellent hands-on teaching tool in the classroom or at home?
Establishing an aquarium offers students of all ages the opportunity to learn directly through experience. Caring for the aquarium kindles a sense of responsibility, achievement, and a genuine desire to learn.

Teachers and parents are given a unique opportunity to facilitate learning to a receptive audience in a fun and interactive manner.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Criteria for design project

Main objectives:

-must involve something digital or mechanical

-8 months dedline to come up with idea and produce

-Simple ( need to maximise time polishing as apposed to complexity which uses allot of time making work.)

-Solution should be practical

-solution should be beautiful in the way it solves the problem

-uses nature as inspiration


Secondary objectives:

Learn about aquaponics

Natural education for older people

"the effectiveness of education for older people is more problematic."
Mark, O' Reilly, AATU, University of Dundee

Philosophise gained from a stone: Expanding perception

Divination is simply a way of revealing the truth.

People would come to the shaman to answer a question or situation to reveals or uncovers to their client hidden truths about themselves, or the circumstances surrounding them.

Three fundamental principles of expanded perception:


All actions begin with an intention, a desire for a specific outcome. These intentions can be conscious or subconscious. The principle of intention operates by asking a question of intent 'this is what I want to do' e.g. I want to find out what I am meant to do this month?


Trust is an ineffable quality, it is experienced in the body, not the mind. Trust takes time, and to get trust we need feedback( sometimes from others) which either directly or indirectly validates our experience. With trust our experiences and confidence in our actions increase significantly.


This is about the application and focus of intention. Attention is not 'hard-work' yet it needs consistency, to place your awareness at the interface of events or places..... ideas flows where Attention goes.

Divinatory methods:

The shamans used many diverse methods for divination, either ways seeking patterns in natural objects and events, or using techniques to directly obtain hidden knowledge.

Rock Divination:

Western River Rock American Blend

To do this the traditional practice is for the seeker looks for a rock whilst holding the question in the mind, eventually there will be a rock which stands out or 'metaphorically' shouts out "me, me!".

Trust your instincts. The more faceted and inner forms the rock has the better as more facets and patterns mean more detail and images can be seen in the rock by the reader.

The seeker should then give the rock to the shaman or practitioner and state the question. The shaman (who knows as little as possible about the questioner or the circumstances regarding the question) will gently focus on the rock and allow patterns to form within the imagination.

The shaman may ask the seeker to state the question a few times as this helps to deepen the trance state of awareness, to the place where the shapes and patterns in the rock become a 'gateway' to images, pictures, words and feelings which will start to form within the shaman's being.

Each rock face represents a different aspect of the question, and the initial response is generally "where the questioner is at this moment", and this leads to other rock faces, each rock face exposing and presenting an expanded view of the answer.

To me personally this work is awesome, mysterious and poetic, and I have found that is as if a person's life story is contained in a rock.

As the Tungus shamans of Siberia say "we are all connected, we are all one". So it is no wonder that we can discover ourselves through the natural world.

Shamanic Divination

Observe, learn and philosophise: Bio system

bowl of water cartoons, bowl of water cartoon, bowl of water picture, bowl of water pictures, bowl of water image, bowl of water images, bowl of water illustration, bowl of water illustrations

Observe and philosophise(Speculate or theorise about fundamental or serious issues).

Get enchanted with your econaut shrimp, casting its antenna in slow looping rhythms. Watch the snails cruise the glass like slient sumo wrestlers on night patrol. Zoom in on tiny creatures oozing out of the muck. They are the bottom of the food chain, the disassembers of the dead.

There's never been another world like this one. In a way, you're God! Which might bring on some curious emotions if something goes awry.
Multispecies assemblages like the TSSM are never 100% reliable. Your econaut might die mysteriously. Or you might observe signs of stress: shrimp that molt and then shrink instead of grow, or carnivory among normally vegetarian shrimp or snails. Hard questions arise.
Was it right to start this world? will you intervene, or abandon your creations to a sealed fate?
Life inside such tight ecological loops are rarely a cakewalk, and this begs some questions. Does closed-system sustainability simply emerge as you scale things up? Or is there something about the Earth and its millieu of flux on flux that we've failed to understand so far? Might our increasingly crowded planet, with a rising rate of extinctions, start resembling a laboratory microcosm? And for those with sci-fi dreams, could living on Mars be little more than desperate farming? But if ecosystems engineering makes progress, we have hope. Mark Kliss, chief of the Bioengineering Branch at NASA's Ames Research Center, envisions extraterrestrial life support systems that provide a high quality of life, with a contribution from automation. Machines and software could monitor conditions and energy inputs, nudging ecological feedback loops away from mutual parasitism and into productive symbiosis.
It's a vision our environmental movement might consider. The things that finally allows people to live in balance with nature might be technology. The force that once seemed most opposed to it.


Real life sim city in a jar

"It's like playing the real life, fresh water version of Sim City. Certainly gives you a lot to think and talk about."
Harry Brindley, makezine subscriber

Ecosystem in a jar

arcologies remain an iconic symbol of the Sim City series.
While appearing in the gaming experience as projects from the future, arcologies are very much real, the name deriving from “architecture” and “ecology”.

Monday, 24 October 2011

self contained jar biospheres- make

Table Top Biosphere

Wilderness is the ultimate encyclopedia

"Wilderness is the ultimate encyclopedia, holding answers to more questions than we have yet learned how to ask. That's the magic in you. You've got it; let it out."
...- David Brower

Since we are genetically born no different biologically and mentally than a hunting-gathering natural person, our mentality's nervous and sensory system, along with the rest of nature. is designed to learn, relate, be gratified and healed from genuine contact with natural systems and their extraordinary beauty, cooperative and recuperative powers around and within us.

However, we are different than nature. For over 99% of our lifetime, our contemporary indoor socialization separates our thinking from natural systems and their harmonic ways.

SP and PNC rationale; personal and natural system cooperative consensus environmental eco-psychology relationships

ingredients to generate life

The aim is to represent the earth and to emphasize the importance of exchange with the environment (because the fields die unless they receive enough light or temperature).

Proyecto Biósfera, muestra de arte Marca Futuro.

BiOrb unique filtration system

“The biOrb’s shape creates a more circular current. The fry mortality rate has decreased dramatically, as the current keeps them away from the surface tension and the fry also gain weight more quickly because the design of the biOrb allows them to stay suspended close to their plankton-like food.”

"it is nice to think that the biorb design is not only stylish but also serves a practical use for the growth and development of the creatures who make it their home."

biorb fish tanks are by far one of the best aquariums to keep fish in as with their
unique filtration system and the design of the biorb keeps them healthy.

Reef One biOrbs boost baby boom for seahorses

The aquarium could be used in schools to educate kids about birth of new life.

Natural space for Discovery learning

A space or vessel which holds a space for discovery and learning.

Based on the Biosfer (biosphere) porto Antico, Genoa, Italy

Genoa Tourist Attractions: Further photo of the famous Biosfera structure

dome-shaped greenhouse on the seafront is home to an ecosystem in miniature. Within the Biosfera itself is a tropical environment, complete with exotic birds, plants and colourful butterflies.

Green house in Dundee Botanic gardens:

Why does the botanic gardens not enable learning? is it the space or the way we look at it and move through it?
Feels like there is no chance to sit and look, feels like a rush. People move through museums and gardens very quickly and don't take time to stop and look and thus don't learn anything really.
Is it more about how we look at nature as a source of inspiration than what it looks like? we can get inspiration from even the simplest object such as a rock.

If we had the green house in our house would we learn from it? by seeing it on a regular basis?

Ecosphere care

Completely sealed EcoSphere contains a fully functional, self sustaining, living ecosystem. It is like having your very own miniature world at your fingertips. The EcoSpheres portray a simplistic example of our Earth's life forms & our interdependence with water.

-The temperature needs to be consistent. Sudden changes can affect the life of the system. DO NOT let the temperatures flux erratically from 15 degrees to 25 degrees C. Use a thermometer and possibly a heater.

-This chemistry is affected by algae and microorganism growth. If you allow more than this amount of algae to grow you will raise the pH of the water. This higher pH will kill the shrimp. If you are not providing enough light you can also harm the system.

-DO provide artificial light or indirect sunlight for your EcoSphere for at least 6 to 12 hours per day-Ceiling mounted fluorescent Lamps or Indirect window sunlight.

-DO NOT leave the EcoSphere in direct sunlight. It is a tiny greenhouse and direct sunlight can overheat it regardless of room temperatures.

-If you have an algae bloom (the algae grows at a rapid rate) it may be necessary to place the unit in a dark area, such as a cupboard or closet.

-DO NOT shake it, drop it, or otherwise treat it roughly. Remember it is someone's home.

Curriculum for Excellence

What is Curriculum for excellence?

Curriculum for Excellence aims to achieve a transformation in education in Scotland by providing a coherent, more flexible and enriched curriculum from 3 to 18.

Natural systems lead to self discovery

"Designed and built upon applied principles of Permaculture and Sustainability, Living in the Garden is concerned with promoting the
understanding of Diversity within natural systems and how important it can be to incorporate more diversity into our lifestyle. It provides the ideal environment for an adventure of self discovery, as well as a meeting of hearts and minds."

rather than competing for personal gain we are attempting to ‘cooperate.
instead we are engaged in practical creative activities and a free exchange of ideas, providing the environment, the space, the facilities and wherever necessary the encouragement and guidance for guests to pursue their purposes and achieve the aims.
opportunity to explore the relationship between environment, community, and personal creativity.

« Living in the Garden
Family Adventure Holidays - Tour Types

Sunday, 23 October 2011

How to learn? self discovery learning: Diana Laufenberg

Provide Space for kids to discover and create. Create for themselves. learning has to include an amount of failure because failure is instructional in the process.

What learning could look like if we let go of the idea that kids have to come to school to get the information but instead ask them what they can do with it, ask them really interesting questions, ask them to go to places, to see things for themselves, to experience the learning, to play, to enquire.

Experiential learning

Student voice

Embracing failure

"We wont get there with the standardised test and we wont get there with the culture of one right, we know how to do this better." Diana Laufenberg

Revolution in Education: Experiential Learning: Ken Robinson

"There are things we are enthralled to in Education.. one of them is the idea of Linearity...
Life is not linear its organic. We create our lives symbiotically as we explore our talents in relation to the circumstances they help to create for us. We have become obsessed with this linear narrative."
Ken Robinson

"Reconstitute our sense of ability and intelligence"

"Its about passion and what excites our spirit and our energy and if your doing the thing that you love to do, that your good at. Time takes a different course know this if your doing something that you love an hour feels like 5 minutes."

"We have to go from esentialy an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model based more on the principles of agriculture. We have to recognise that human flourishing is not a mechanical process its an organic process.
You cannot predict the outcome of human development, all you can do is like a farmer is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish."

A garden to grow people, a new type of education system

"I was that one child in class who hated to sit in a lecture and just stare at the bored and hear the teacher go non stop for 45 mins about a subject when I'd rather be rolling in the mud and learning my own way. In school even in my senior year i used to either draw out the lesson so i could visually remember what i was learning rather than textually or stand in front of the mirror and read to myself aloud and take on different charecters and instances so I could retain better."

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Research groups: Nature Nutters, forest school and BFEP

Nature Nutters:

small group for local children, aged 8 to 12, who were interested in their local environment
meeting once a month on a Saturday (during term time).

Taking part in whole heap of activities based on BFEP's current projects and other environmental issues. Their activities has enabled them to also take part in the John Muir Trust Award.

Forest Schools:

Last Child in the Woods: A Slow Forest School (Dundee)

Pilot study in 2006 by Broughty Ferry Environmental Project in Templeton woods, Middleton woods and Reres Hill.

Forest school group: Collecting materials and making camp fires

Making artwork

Example of forest schools day itinerary

Dighty Connect:

DightyConnect works with volunteers in the communities along the Dighty Burn to enable them to take part in a variety of environmental and cultural projects.

Broughty Ferry Environmental Project:

BFEP is a small community based environmental group established in 1999. We work with local groups and individuals.

BFEP is run by a local management group (LMG) with the help of a Project Worker. Predominantly funded by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Dundee City Council BFEP has undertaken a number of projects within the local community to achieve its aims, with the help of additional grants from other funding bodies including the Scottish Executive and, Awards for All and Communities Scotland.

The main aims of the project are:

  • To improve the environment of Broughty Ferry

  • To provide environmental information

  • To involve schools, community groups and youth groups in projects which will enhance the local community

Silver threads:

The overarching aim of the ‘Silvery Threads’ project was to enable local children to have hands-on opportunities to learn some of the traditional crafts and skills that were practised by people living and working close to the River Tay Estuary in the past.

the opportunity to visit "The Discovery" and learn some traditional skills on board

.... and make some lovely t-shirts.

Reed candle making and willow weaving

The project explored the historical connections between the areas' cultural heritage and its natural heritage, using locally grown and imported plant fibres, it has helped the children to develop a variety of craft skills.

Phase 0 thoughts: how interpret device?

Less about full functioning complex system and more about how children interpreted device

How will the teacher facilitates self discovery through experience:

-using certain questions

-holding the space for students to do self learning.

Maybe a guide to tell teachers how to enable students to self learn and also an open jotter for students to write lessons they have learnt themselves in the book and what each lesson means to the student.

The Eureka effect

Greek Polymath Archimedes

The Eureka effect: any sudden unexpected discovery, or the sudden realization of the solution to a problem, resulting in a eureka moment (the moment of unexpected discovery) also known as the aha phenomenon and it is similar to an epiphany(the sudden realization or comprehension of the (larger) essence or meaning of something).

Fictional Eureka moment, Doc Brown

You remember how you learnt cycling? Someone helped you support the cycle. You fumbled, fell down several times till you ‘got’ it. That was how you learnt the balance.
Known as the ‘aah’ effect or Eureka effect. You discover it and then it stays with you for life.

There are four features of problem solving resulting in the eureka effect:

  1. People reach an impasse where they are no longer moving towards a solution of the problem.
  2. People usually cannot describe the processing that allows them to solve the problem, and insight often occurs when the person is not even aware that they are thinking about the problem.
  3. The solutions to the problems are perceived as happening suddenly. Experiments where subjects were asked to solve insight based problems have found that even seconds away from a eureka moment, subjects felt just as far from a solution as at any point in the process.
  4. Creative thinking and other cognitive abilities are associated with performance on insight problems.

Some unconscious processing may take place while a person is asleep, and there are several cases of scientific discoveries coming to people in their dreams. Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz said that the ring structure of benzene came to him in a dream where a snake was eating its own tail. Studies have shown increased performance at insight problems if the subjects slept during a break between receiving the problem and solving it.
Sleep may function to restructure problems, and allow new insights to be reached.
If you have more light sleep periods through the day, does that mean more discoveries occur?

Eureka discoveries can come from what Frans Johansson calls the Medici effect.
When two divergent concepts from different disciplines or cultures are combined you create extraordinary ideas.

Whether it was a burn which you experienced as a child, or tasting of honey, or learning swimming or cycling, they stay with you for life. You do not need to relearn it. That’s not true for academics or subjects you learnt in the classroom.
Could we make all learning into a process of achieving the Eureka effect even in schools?