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Science DVDs: Grades 4-6

Elementary Grades 1-3 | Junior and Senior High Grades 7-12 | Special Science Topic DVDs

(A Three-Lesson Video)

The Nature of Energy and Work
Energy…an abstract concept on any level to be sure. But this lesson give students a concrete feel for what energy really is. They first learn about different types of energy…chemical, mechanical, radiant, and heat. They also learn how energy and work are related and how energy conversions occur. They learn that energy is something which causes work to be done; that work is done when an object is move; that energy of motion is kinetic energy and energy that is stored up is potential energy; that energy is often changed from one form to another…for example, from heat to mechanical to chemical to light and sound…and that, in some cases, matter can be changed directly into energy.

This lesson focuses on one particular type of energy, electricity, to teach important concepts: how energy is associated with charge separation and how these charges are actually pieces of the atom—negatively charged electrons. Static electricity and flowing electric currents are compared, as are conductors and insulators. Demonstrations and examples reinforce all discussions.

Electrical Circuits and Sources
In this lesson, students learn that to get electricity to do useful work for us…for example, to make it run our appliances and light our homes…we have to do two things: force its charges to move around a circuit, and make sure the charges keep coming through the circuit. They learn that circuits are closed loops, or pathways, along which charges move as they travel from a terminal on one side of the source back to the terminal on the other side the source; and that two of the most common devices that will force charges through a circuit are generators and batteries. These items, as well as and parallel and series circuits, are illustrated with demonstrations and examples. Finally, the lesson teaches the student how to calculate a simple electric bill, given cost per kilowatt hour and the consumption rate of an appliance. [color, 48 minutes] $39.95 4EL001

(A Three-Lesson Video)

Days and Nights
Relative motion...an abstract idea, but an important one to master in the study of earth science and astronomy. In this lesson, students learn that it is the spinning, or rotation, of the earth that causes the sun to appear to move across the sky, producing days and nights. Using models of the earth and sun, this lesson enables students to visualize how the earth’s rotation makes the sun appear to rise in the east, cross the sky during the day, and set in the west. They also learn why the earth is divided into 24 time zones.

In this lesson, students learn how the earth’s tilt, or inclination, produces seasons and why they are reversed in the northern and southern hemispheres; why the days get shorter in the winter and longer in the summer; and why the North Pole has six months of continuous darkness followed by six months of daylight. Demonstrations with models make clear the concepts presented.

Moon Phases and Eclipses
This lesson covers in detail how the moon revolves around the earth. Students learn about the different phases and why we never see the dark side of the moon from the earth. They also learn through demonstrations what happens in solar and lunar eclipses. [color, 26 minutes] $39.95 4EL002

(A Three-Lesson Video)

Vastness of the Universe
This lesson opens students’ eyes to the wonder and vastness of the universe. Students first learn about our galaxy, the Milky Way, and other galaxies. They come to understand just how enormously distant even the nearest neighboring galaxy is and how great are the number of stars in the galaxies. Everyday comparisons are made so that the student can relate to these mind-boggling numbers.

Tools of Discovery
This lesson introduces the tools astronomers have used to gather information about the universe. Various types of telescopes and how they work are described in detail. The importance of space probes and manned space flights in collecting date are also described. Illustrations help make discussions clear.

Methods of Discovers and Constellations
Remember how far away the stars are? Remember what a light year is? Ever wonder how astronomers know the distance to the stars? How can they be sure one star is 4 light years away and another is 10 or 100? What are constellations? In this lesson, students learn about these things. They learn that scientists have worked out methods to discover several important things about our universe—the distance to stars and their size, brightness, and temperature. They also learn that astronomers have identified and named grouping of stars called constellations. [color, 29 minutes] $39.95 4EL003

(A Three-Lesson Video)

Plant Classification
In this lesson, students learn that organization and classification of the wide diversity of plants in the world is key to studying and learning about them. They are walked through a simple problem and discover how to classify a set of leaves...how color, size, shape or other comparisons are used. They learn that scientists have organized the plant world according to the method of reproduction: plants which reproduce with seeds and those which do not. Seed-producing plants are further divided into flowering and cone-bearing groups, and each of these is discussed, as is the seedless group...ferns and the mosses. This lesson presents students with a good foundation for understanding the deeper levels of classification they will encounter later on.

Plant Processes
What are life processes...specifically, what are the life processes of plants? This video lesson begins by teaching students something of the structure and functioning of typical plant cells and their organelles. They will learn about the nucleus, cell wall, chloroplasts, vacuoles, cell membrane, and other structures. The plant processes of photosynthesis and reproduction are then presented in some detail at levels appropriate to this grade level. Students learn why plants need carbon dioxide and water as raw materials to produce food; what part cholophyll and sunlight play in the overall process;how also respire and consume energy as animals do. The lesson then compares the anatomy and the reproductive cycles of flowering plants to those of conifers and seedless plants.

Plant Responses
In this lesson, students learn that, although plants have no nervous system, they are nonetheless able to respond to stimuli in their environment and that the nature of most plant responses is hormonal. Students see what mechanisms are involved in positive and negative phototropism. They will understand why a seedling grows its root into the ground but its stem toward the sky. Other plant responses are also discussed...the coiling of tendrils around objects and the blooming of long- and short-day flowers. Students also learn that the falling leaves of autumn are a hormonal plant response to cooler weather and shorter days. [color, 25 minutes] $39.94 4EL004

(A Three-Lesson Video)

Animal Behavior
This lesson teaches students that behavior is a response to stimuli. They see that things they do in everyday life in most cases is the result of changing their reaction to certain kinds of input, that is, to training, education and other stimuli. The lesson shows that other animals may have their behavior modified through training. Students also see that some behavior is inborn or instinctive...such as birds building nests, ants and bees organizing colonies, and the various reflex reactions. This lesson provides a valuable introduction for later studies.

This lesson takes students on a tour of the invertebrates. After they learn the chief characteristics of each main group, as well as the fact that 96% of all animals on the earth are invertebrates, they are introduced to the sponges, then the jellyfish, corals and anemones. Then it’s on to the worms...flat, round and segmented. It becomes obvious that the animals are growing more complex...the earthworm even has internal organs. Next, students visit the spiny-skinned creatures…starfish, seas urchins and sand dollars. Then they visit soft-skinned animals…squids, octopi, clams, and oysters...some with shells and some without. Finally they visit the arthropoda...insects, spiders, crustaceans, millipedes and centipedes.

In this lesson, students get an overall perspective of vertebrates through discussions of specific groups. They learn why particular animals are placed in each group. To start, many students may be surprised to learn that fish make up the largest group of vertebrates. They learn something about the anatomy of fishes and how they function in an aquatic environment. Next, students see why and how amphibians can live on land or water. Then they learn about reptiles... snakes, alligators, turtles... the first group to be freed from the water by being able to lay eggs on dry land. Then they learn about birds, the first warm-blooded animals. Students see what features enable them to fly. Finally they learn about the mammals...those with hair and mammary glands. Students learn that their method of birth, care of the young and development differ greatly from that of the other vertebrates. [color, 25 minutes] $39.95 4EL005

(A Three-Lesson Video)

The Digestive System
This lesson emphasizes why the job of processing food for the body’s cells is so important. It teaches how food is processed as it travels through the alimentary canal…from the mouth through the large intestine. Graphics, which accompany the narration, make the anatomy and function of each part of the system clear. Particular emphasis is placed on how the villi of the small intestine introduce nutrients into the bloodstream for distribution throughout the body.

The Circulatory System
In this lesson, students learn how blood flows from the heart, out to the lungs to pick up oxygen and back to the heart where it is pumped throughout the body in various blood vessels. They learn the functions of and the structural differences between arteries, veins and capillaries. They learn what generates a pulse and what the two numbers associated with blood-pressure readings mean. They also learn about the liquid and solid components of blood, including plasma, blood cells, and cell fragments.

Muscles and Bones
In this lesson, students learn about differences in appearance and function between the three types of muscles…voluntary, involuntary and cardiac. They learn that muscle contraction is the result of nerve impulse stimulation and that the process involves the release of chemicals. They learn that muscular contraction occurs when filaments slide in-between and past one another. Students also learn about the skeletal system. They see that bones provide a place for the attachment of muscles which enables us to have mobility; that the skeleton gives the body shape and protects organs; and that bones are held together by ligaments and attached to muscles by tendons. They also learn about the structure of bone, how bone cells receive nourishment, and how various types of joints differ from one another. [color, 26 minutes] $39.95 4EL006

(A Three-Lesson Video)

The Five Senses
In this lesson, students learn basic anatomy and function of the five senses and the brain. They see what part the cornea, lens, iris, and retina play in the sense of sight. They learn how mechanical vibrations are detected by the ear and translated into sound in the brain; how the nerve endings in the nose are stimulated by chemicals to produce sensations of odor; and how the taste buds of the tongue function to give us the four flavors of sweet, salty, bitter and sour. They see how the sense of touch relays information on heat, cold, pressure and pain. The parts of the brain dealing with the interpretation and awareness of each sense are identified, as are the parts of a neuron.

Respiratory and Excretory Systems
This lesson traces the flow of inspired air as it enters the nasal openings and passes through the nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi into the alveoli in the lungs. The contributions of the nasal membranes, the importance of the voice box and the manner in which gases are exchanged in the alveoli are all discussed. Students learn that, since the lungs are devoid of muscle tissue, they must rely on special breathing muscles to move air in and out. This lesson also discusses how the excretory system works. Students learn that the kidneys are the chief organ of elimination. They see how millions of tiny filtering units cleanse the blood by first removing most of the liquid and impurities and then restoring most of the water to the blood. They learn that the lungs, skin and large intestine also function as organs of excretion.

The Endocrine System
This lesson first reminds students that, even in simple laboratory experiments, it is important to keep the amounts of reacting chemicals at the correct levels of concentration. This analogy is then applied to the human body which is likened to a complex chemical laboratory. Students learn that the endocrine system is the regulatory mechanism for maintaining the proper levels of substances in the body. They learn how feedback loops work to help maintain equilibrium. Seven major endocrine glands systems are discussed. [color, 26 minutes] $39.95 4EL007

(A Three-Lesson Video)

In this lesson, students gain an understanding of the magnitude of the earth’s oceans, learning to identify the major ones of the world. Students learn what types of minerals are dissolved in ocean water. They see that the ocean floor has much to offer as well...various metals, sand and gravel, minerals and petroleum. They learn the importance of the ocean as a source of seafood, kelp, and oxygen. They also learn about the dynamics of the ocean’s constantly changing bottom, which leads to the formation of islands and deep trenches, and about the dynamics of its water... waves, currents and tides.

This lesson first describes how mountains are thought to have formed. Students then learn how shifting plates, faulting earth, erupting magma from volcanoes, and the eroding effects of the weather (wind, running water and glaciers) all play an important role in changing the face of the earth through mountain formation. They learn about the formation of the four types of mountains...volcanic, domed, block, and folded. They also get a geography lesson, learning the names of some of the world’s highest peaks and where they are located.

Rivers and Lakes
In this lesson, students learn what a river is and how it is formed. They will see how deltas and estuaries are created and how rivers, like other natural creations, undergo changes as they mature. Students also learn what factors create lake basins, how lakes evolve over time, and how they are categorized by mineral content. They will see that rivers and lakes make vital contributions to our way of life. [color, 30 minutes $39.95 4EL008

(A Three-Lesson Video)

Earth’s Interior
In this lesson, students learn that landforms of the earth are not static features. Quite to the contrary, they see how the face of the earth is constantly changing. Earthquakes and volcanoes bring about rapid transformations, creating mountains and islands and moving large sections of surface, while shifting crustal plates can cause gradual, massive changes in the position of the continents. To provide a basis for understanding these phenomena, this lesson teaches the student about the interior makeup of the earth. They learn about the conditions leading up to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and the relationship of plate movements to these occurences. They learn the sequence of events: collision of shifting plates, development of faults, rupture and slippage of rock, production of tremors, and release of magma through subterranean breaks. The lesson gives the student a comprehensive understanding of how these activities are interrelated.

This lesson teaches that specific environmental factors can and do change the physical features of the earth. Known collectively as weathering effects, they are classified as physical and chemical weathering. Students see that physical weathering, primarily the result of water and wind erosion, can carve rivers, sculpt mountains, rearrange beaches, round stones and move sand dunes. They understand that expansion of water from freezing, as well as ice and snow in the form of glaciers, can also have a weathering effect. They learn how even growing plants can change the earth’s crust. Students also learn how chemicals change the composition of rock. They see how carbon dioxide reacts with water to produce an acid that dissolves limestone; how oxygen combines with iron to produce reddish soil, and how plants and human activity releases gases that form acid rain which chemically breaks down rock.

Why the Earth Moves: The Plate Tectonic Theory
In this lesson, the development of the theory of plate tectonics is outlined. Students see how the earth, with its single continent of Pangeae, is thought to have looked some 200 million years ago. They learn that the continents seem to fit together like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. They also learn what the modern theory of plate tectonics encompasses and what its implications are in regard to earthquakes and volcanoes. That is, they see how the movement of plates, as they float on the semiliquid mantle, are responsible for fault formation, tremors, rupture of rock, and volcanic activity…as well as continental drift. [color, 26 minutes] $39.95 4EL009

(A Three-Lesson Video)

Renewable and Nonrenewable Resources
In this lesson, students first learn what resources mean. They realize that essentially everything with which they come into contact with, or use in their daily life is or came from natural resources…either renewable and nonrenewable. The lesson then focuses on the resources of the earth’s atmosphere. Students see that some gases are renewable. Oxygen and carbon dioxide are recycled by animals as they carry out metabolism and photosynthesis, respectively. Nitrogen is recycled by the action of certain bacteria, some of which extract nitrogen out of the air, converting it to a form plants can use, and others which decompose dead tissues to release nitrogen back into the atmosphere. They learn that some other gases are nonrenewable because they are not replaced as they are consumed.

Land and Ocean Resources
This lesson shows that the land and the oceans provide a wide variety of resources. Students see that the soil itself constitutes an important resource...that food production is dependent on the continued existence of this layer. They learn that the land provides minerals and ores, wildlife, timber and energy in the form of wood, coal and petroleum. They learn that the world’s water supply is another critical resource...that it is a constituent of all living things and must be supplied to all life forms continuously. They learn that the oceans furnish minerals, metals, and petroleum. They also learn that the ocean is a valuable source of food and that its phytoplankton produces a great deal of the earth’s oxygen. Perhaps the most important lesson they learn is that many resources from both land and water are renewable only if they are used and conserved wisely by humans.

How People Affect Natural Resources
This lesson emphasizes that each person on the planet has an impact on the resources of the earth. Students understand that two of our most critical resources, water and air, have for years been polluted by industry, cities, and individuals. They also see what steps have been taken to reduce the flow of toxic and harmful wastes into our water supply and the release of pollutants into the atmosphere. This lesson also emphasizes the importance of everyone doing their part to protect and conserve resources. Students see that recycling is a very effective means of conserving natural resources and making nonrenewable ones last longer...and that the use of alternative energy sources such as solar, water, wind and geothermal should be further explored. [color, 25 minutes] $39.95 4EL010


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