ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE

 

PURPOSE

Most high school students do not deal with more than 3 orders of magnitude well.  They can see a meter stick in most classrooms and can quote to you the approximate size of a kilometer, but they still have a great deal of difficulty in understanding the sizing from millimeters to kilometers.

Measurements less than one centimeter are difficult for students to comprehend and manipulate mathematically at most academic levels.

The difficulty increases as students are required to express and employ millimeters, micrometers, nanometers and Angstroms as needed in various Science disciplines.

This site provides:

* mathematics-based lessons that use ratios, conversions, and scientific notation to represent size values from Angstroms to centimeters,

*simple interactive classroom activities that concretely emphasize and represent microscopic size regressions,

*microscope-based lessons that enhance size comprehension by drawings, graphing, ratios and mathematical manipulation,

*a number line with microphotographs and narrative that interrelate the microuniverse to the macrouniverse,

*resources for on-line and off-line classroom support-- text, lessons, images, and animation, and

*related links.





 

 

OUR EXERCISES

Orders of magnitude in distance (chart at a glance)

Magnification by Microscope Lenses

Small Numbers & Microbes

Length Conversions

Estimating Sizes at Low Power

Determining the Size of the Field of View

Determining Area when the Field of View is Known

Understanding Magnification I

Understanding Magnification II (blood)

Which is Bigger I

Which is Bigger II

Size of a Plant Cell and its Parts

Fruit Fly Math

Bacteria Magnification

The Ear

Size of a Gas Molecule

Brownian Movement

Solution or Not (the Tyndall Effect)

Tyndall Effect Explained (ripple tank demo)

Other Order of Magnitude (/logarithmic) Scales

        Math Review

            Number Name Chart

            Decimal Delight (exercise)

            Powers & Scientific Notation Notes

            Scientific Notation (exercise)

        Earth Science Exercises

Acid - Base Neutralization 

Chemical - Physical Change Inquiry Note: this is not really an order of magnitude activity, but it goes nicely with Ph, acids, and bases.

 

 

Useful Links

THE FIRST SET OF LINKS HAS INFORMATION THAT WILL HELP BUILD LESSONS SIMILAR TO, OR IN SUPPORT OF, THE ACTIVITIES INCLUDED IN THIS SITE:

1) IN-VSEE
(http://invsee.asu.edu)
Modules that develop an overview of the scale/size material, such as “Size and Scale” and “Defining Dimensions”.

2) LINKS 2 GO, ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE
www.alcyone.com/max/physics/orders/index.html
relates size to many things  -no pictures

for the main number line www.alcyone.com/max/physics/orders/metre.html

3) NANOWORLD IMAGE GALLERY
(uq.oz.au/nanoworld)
micrograph gallery (351 images) -some scaling

4) pbrc.hawaii.edu (“www.DennisKunkel.com")
electron micrographs -some scaling

5) SCALES OF MEASUREMENT
(zebu.uoregon.edu/scales2.html)
relates orders of magnitude to many things some pictures

6) vendian.org/
digitized electron-micrographs

7) astrosun.tn.cornell.edu/courses/astro201/top_light.htm

Overview of the electromagnetic spectrum

8) http://wordwizz.com/pwrsof10.htm 

42 pictures of increasing powers of ten

 

THE NEXT SETS OF LINKS INCLUDE SITES THAT SUPPLEMENT THE PRESENTED MATERIAL EITHER BY PICTURES OR SCIENTIFIC/MATHEMATICAL INFORMATION:

GENERAL:

* Carnegie Mellon's Materials Research Science and Engineering Center mimp.mems.cmu.edu

Our sponsor for this page and valuable source of information

*Biology Resources and Links http://naturalsciences.sdsu.edu/links.html

comprehensive references and links

*Daily Science Updates http://www.sciencedaily.com

publishes a daily digest of science stories in the news

* Discovery. Discovery.com
images, magnification, adaptable lessons

* madsci.org
links to resources; archive of questions/answers; will answer posed questions

* sciencegems.com
links

* explorelearning.com
prepared lessons

*Science Resources http://www.sciencecentral.com

large directory of science resources on the web

* SciLinksNSTA www.scilinks.org
information for science and mathematics education

* National Board for Professional Teaching Standards http://www.nbpts.org

more a site for education in general and not particularly science, but much information AND links to current educational research, standards, their certification process, and current science education

*Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematics and Science Education www.enc.org

 

BIOLOGY:

* Confocal Microscopy Center (Manchester) gonzo.sci.man.ac.uk/Confocal
bio-images

* Molecular Expressions www.micro.magnet.fsu.edu
microscopic images; large gallery

* National Center for Macromolecular Imaging ncmi.bcm.tmc.edu
animation; 3 pages of links

* Virtual Cell virtualcell.com
animation, micrographs

*Patterns of Nature http://acept.la.asu.edu/PiN/rdg/readings.shtml

many articles on light, optics, microscopy (optical and SEM)

*The Embryonic Zoo http://www.ucalgary.ca/UofC/eduweb/virtualembryo/zoo.html

*LUMEN Histology Home Page http://www.meddean.luc.edu/lumen/MedEd/Histo/frames/histoframes.html

microphotographs of cells with some size comparison available

*The National Library of Medicine :Visible Human http://www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible/visible_human.html

*MEDtropolis-Virtual Body http://www.medtropolis.com/VBody.asp

Images, health related information, links

*A Tragic Film from the Microscopic World http://www.microscopy-uk.org.uk/mag/art97/mmpond.html

life cycle of a female rotifer and her offspring

*Electron Microscope http://www.unl.edu/CMRAcfem/em.htm

tour of the electron microscope

*Protist Image Data http://megasun.bch.umontreal.ca/protists/protists.html

extensive gallery of the Protista

*The Microbe Zoo http://commtechlab.msu.edu/sites/dic-me/zoo

presents the extensive habitation of microbes

*Bugs in the News! http://people.ku.edu/~jbrown/bugs.html

news in microbiology and biotechnology

*All the Virology on the WWW http://www.tulane.edu/~dmsander/garryfavweb.html

virus micrographs and information

*Binary Fission in Bacteria http://www.cellsalive.com/ecoli.htm

micrographs and text

*Metabolism Problem Set http://www.biology.arizona.edu/biochemistry/problem_sets/metabolism/metabolism.html

interactive multiple choice questions

*UPCC: Overview of Services http://www.oncolink.upenn.edu/upcc/

source of information on current cancer research

*Exploring the Human Genome Project (Genetics Education Center) http://www.kumc.edu/gec/

links to resources and lessons concerning the human genome project

*Virtual Cell http://www.life.uiuc.edu/plantbio/cell/

interactive tour of a plant cell

*CELLS Alive http://www.cellsalive.com

still pictures and movies of living cells

*Fossil Record of the Cyanobacteria http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/bacteria/cyanofr.html

3.5 billion year record of the cyanobacteria accompanied by micrographs

 

CHEMISTRY:

* www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/
Lesson: “Students will be able to differentiate between suspended particles and colloidal particles in solution.”1987/6/87.06.07x.html

NOTE: Yale does not allow you to follow a link directly to a particular lesson.  You still may follow the above link: First choose "1987"; then Science, Technology, and Society (.06); then the lesson on water quality (.07).  Browse awhile while you're there, there are "a bunch of lessons on all kinds of stuff".  CHECK MORE RECENT MATERIAL

*Acids, Bases, and pH. http://web.jjay.cuny.edu/~acarpi/NSC/7-ph.htm

scale with discussion of acids as proton donors

*Near Defect-free GaN Substrates (S. Porowski) http://nsr.mij.mrs.org/4SI/GI.3/article.pdf

Monoatomic building to prevent defects.

*Nanotechnology http://nanotech.about.com 

Broad spectrum introduction to the nanoworld; several links and associated topics

*Nanotechnology Gallery http://www.ipt.arc.nasa.gov/gallery.html 

Nanotechnology needed and developed for space missions; several images

  *Knowledge by Design http://knowledgebydesign.com/tlmc/tlmc_cg.html 

Visualization of chemical structures and atomic orbitals

*An introduction to how nanotechnology will work.

http://www.howstuffworks.com/nanotechnology.htm 

*Chemistry Classes- A to Z http://www.gomilpitas.com/homeschooling/explore/chemistryclass.htm 

Re-written chemistry text for self-teaching and teaching of introductory concepts

*WebElements: Periodic Table http://www.shef.ac.uk/chemistry/web-elements/

interactive periodic table with clickable element information

*Materials Science Center, U. of Wisconsin http://mrsec.wisc.edu/index.php

college level powers of ten presentation; educational and outreach resources

*What's new? http://www.mrs.org/whatsnew.html

updated information of nanotechnology-techniques, advances and ethics

*Brad Hein's Nanotechnology Site http://www.nanosite.net/ 

Updated information about recent nanotechnolgy information

*American Chemical Society Publications http://pubs.acs.org/journals/cmatex/index.html Abstracts of recent articles in nanotechnology

*Materials Research Science and Engineering http://www.mrsec.wise.edu/index.php

well structured source of available information in this rapidly developing field

 

 

EARTH/SPACE:

* Windows to the Universe www.windows.ucar.edu

Joint U-Mich & NASA site many pictures, links & exercises

*Richter Scale. http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF7/701.html

logarithmic scale of earthquake intensity

*What is Richter Magnitude? http://www.seismo.unr.edu/ftp/pub/louie/class/100/magnitude

explains how seismologists measure and communicate the strength of earthquakes

*Tornadoes http://www.tornadoproject.com  Good site with much information on tornadoes  - The next link is from this site and gives the size scale for tornadoes namely the Fujita Scale http://www.tornadoproject.com/fscale/fscale.htm 

*Hurricanes http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ 

Large site with much information on hurricanes and weather models -- The next link is from the FAQ's of this site relating to the size (Category 1 - 5) of hurricanes http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/tcfaqD.html#D1 

* http://www.fema.gov/kids/ Good elementary site on all kinds of disaster management.  Descriptions of hurricanes, tornadoes; information on earthquakes and volcanoes;  many pictures available; other exercises & homework help

*Ocean Planet http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/ocean_planet.html

electronic version of a Smithsonain exhibit

*National Atmospheric Deposition Project http://nadp.sws.uiuc.edu/ 

Monitors atmospheric trends, such as mercury deposition

*Grand Canyon Strata http://www.gorp.com/gcjunkies/strata2.htm

click on each layer of the virtual Grand canyon to learn about the Earth at that time

*Alaska Science Forum: Earthquakes http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/earthquakes.html 

Many references for crustal events; many links to other science topics

*Earthquake Magnitudes http://lasker.princeton.edu/ScienceProjects/curr/eqmag/eqmag.htm

5 activities about earthquakes; some powers of ten included

 

MATHEMATICS:

* Education Planet www.educationplanet.com

numerous references, resources, and links

*Ask Jeeves: Math and Science http://www.ask.com

Several sites including a large number of intermediate mathematics, specifically scientific notation, exponents, and logarithms

*American Museum of Natural History http://www.amnh.org/home/index.html

Brief overview of museum site that relates powers of ten to the natural world

*Scales of the Universe, Rose Center http://amnh.org/rose/scales.html

Same as previous link

*Scientific Notation and Orders of Magnitude http://schools.brunnet.net/fhs/staff/scinotat.htm

lessons used in general classes

*Size Matters http://www.discovery.com/stories/technology/nanotech/nanotech.html 

Nanotechnology and the battle to build smaller - several micrographs and size comparisons

 

 

PHYSICS:

*Intermediate Science Activities http://www.reachoutmichigan.org/

this site used to have warm-up style experiments/demonstrations, but now is mostly on mentoring.  The links to lessons and activities are still "under construction" (they have moved from under U-Mich.'s wing)... give them time and check back.

*The Physics Classroom http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/sound/U11L2b.html 

High school physics tutorial

*Open Directory- Physics Education http://dmoz.org/Science/Physics/Education/Lesson_Plans/

*The Soundry http://library.thinkquest.org/19537/Main.html 

Student prepared site about many aspects of sound

*Art Ludwig's Table of Contents http://www.silcom.com/~aludwig/contents.htm 

Link to sites that include “sound” information, particularly intensity

*Nanoscale Physics, Purdue University http://www.physics.purdue.edu/nanophys/ 

Uses various experimental techniques to investigate the “really, really…… small”

*Home page for Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics http://www.cpsurf.com 

Links, simulations, activities, questions and answers for beginning high school physics students



Off-Line Resources

COSMIC ZOOM. MOVIE, 8 MINUTES. ....probes the infinite magnitude of the universe and its reverse...

Morrison, Philip and Phylis Morrison. POWERS OF TEN: ABOUT THE SIZE OF THINGS IN THE UNIVERSE. VIDEO AND/OR BOOK.
(Available:
bn.com)

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC VIDEO: THE INVISIBLE WORLD.
VIDEO.
(many sources)

Powers of 10 CD (Note: the authors have not previewed this.  NOT same authors as above source.)

www.powersof10.com

"Cell Size" module from Interactive Explorations in Biology, Cell Biology, and Genetics (CD): Holt Rinehart, and Winston; Austin, TX



Acknowledgements

  The authors are grateful to Dr. Gregory S. Rohrer, Professor, Materials Science Department, Carnegie-Mellon University, Dr. Katayun Barmak, Associate Professor, Materials Science Department, Carnegie-Mellon University, and Dr. Robert M. Suter, Professor of Physics, Physics Department, Carnegie-Mellon University, for direction and support.
  The authors also acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation and Carnegie Mellon University for awarding and administering the MIMP Summer Internship for Teachers Program.

 

 

References

Alberts, Bruce et.al. Molecular Biology of the Cell, New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1983,

Dobson, Ken, John Holman and Michael Roberts. Science Spectrum. Austin, Texas: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2001.

Raven, Peter and George Johnson. Biology, Fifth Edition. Boston: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 1999.

Voldopich, Darrell and Randall Moore. Biology Laboratory Manual. St. Louis: Mosby- Year Book, Inc., 1989.

Waddell, D. Nanoworld Image Gallery. The Center for Microscopy and Microanalysis, 2000. (uq.oz.au/nanoworld)

Wilbraham, Staley, and Matta. Chemistry. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company

 

Contact Us

We would appreciate your feedback and comments.  If you have any comments or questions write us at ordofmag@mimp.mems.cmu.edu .