Teacher's Guide for ODYSSEYTM Warming up to Iceland
Format:Think Tank (Discussion Starters to Use Before Reading the Magazine):
"Iceland: One 'Hekla' of an Island," pg. 6
"The Mystery Triangles (Brain Strain)," pg. 11
- Born of volcanic eruptions, Iceland offers an above-the-water glimpse of tectonic plate movements along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. A sidebar (pg. 9) tells how a new island named Surtsey emerged from the ocean in 1963.
- Cause / Effect, Vocabulary
"Jules Verne's Tale of Iceland," pg. 12
- Either solve a mathematical puzzle handed down from ancient Icelandic philosophers or live your life on a lonely iceberg with only a giant for company. Good luck!
- Problem Solving, Lateral Thinking
"Iceland's in Hot Water . . . So Why Is Everyone Smiling?", pg. 14
- The science fiction adventure Journey to the Center of the Earth melds vivid imaginings with geological science. The epic tale begins in Iceland, but where does it end?
- Literary History, Creative Thinking
"Decoding Iceland's DNA," pg. 20
- Iceland is the perfect place to harness geothermal energy, and local projects have made the best of the nation's opportunities. Sidebars and illustrations define terms, explain processes, map geothermal areas, and probe future developments.
- Vocabulary, Applications
"Horsing Around in Iceland," pg. 24
- Scientists at deCODE Genetics, Inc., are using the unique hereditary history of Icelanders to research the relationship between genes and disease. Critics call the project unethical. An accompanying activity (pg. 23) presents a "Who's Who" puzzle about an Icelandic family reunion.
- Ethical Analysis, Inductive Reasoning
"The J_kulhlaup," pg. 26
- Since the Vikings first brought horses to Iceland in the ninth century, no others have been imported, making Icelandic horses the world's most purely bred equines. The horses' adaptations to Icelandic climate and conditions make them unique living treasures.
- Case Study Analysis: Artificial Selection
"Vikings: Bloodthirsty Thugs or Thrifty Traders?" pg. 30
- When glaciers flow over active volcanoes, massive floods propel boulders, huge chunks of ice, and tons of volcanic ash across Iceland's plains. A sidebar (pg. 28) defines ordinary glacial speeds in comparative terms. Another (pg. 29) examines the effect of global warming on glacial activity.
- Vocabulary, Cause / Effect
"What's Up? (Planet Watch and Backyard Observations)," pg. 34
- Evidence reveals that the Vikings were skilled craftsmen, artisans, shipbuilders, and farmers, as well as adventurous merchants. An archaeological site in Newfoundland provides clues to daily life in a Viking community. A sidebar (pg. 33) describes the Viking alphabet.
- Vocabulary, Inferences from Data
"Stopping Mother Nature," pg. 40
- May offers a glimpse of Vega, Deneb, and Altair - the stars of the Summer Triangle. The constellation Leo, the Lion, appears below the Big Dipper. Venus is nearly impossible to spot this month, but Saturn and Jupiter can be seen in a predawn pairing on May 31.
- Following Directions, Observation
"Kitchen Volcanoes (Activity)," pg. 44
- With heroic effort, the residents of Heimaey Island saved their town and harbor from destruction. Using fire hoses, dredging boats, and U.S. Navy pumping gear, workers sprayed flowing lava with cooling water. An accompanying article (pg. 43) describes Iceland's role in the effort to return a trained killer whale to the wild.
- Cause / Effect, Applications
- The best science experiments are the ones you can eat. Icing and cracker crumbs show how intrusive volcanism shapes surface crust, while puddings simulate lava in a viscosity experiment.
- Experimental Design, Data Collection and Analysis
Classroom "Syzygy": Talk, Connect, Assess
- Discuss what members of the class know or have heard about Iceland and the Vikings. Either on chart paper or on the board, organize ideas into three lists: "What We Know;" "What We Think We Know;" and "What We Would Like to Know." After reading this issue of ODYSSEYTM, revise the lists and research unanswered questions.
- Much of Iceland is both heated and powered by geothermal energy. What is it? How is it harnessed for human use? How does it compare with coal, oil, and gas for electricity production? Answer these and related questions as you read.
Pg. 14 - "Iceland's in Hot Water . . . So Why Is Everyone Smiling?" Far Out!: Moving Beyond the Magazine
pg. 30 - "Vikings: Bloodthirsty Thugs or Thrifty Traders?"
- Talk It Over:
- How does geothermal energy work? How do Icelanders use the Earth's natural heat for recreation, home heating, and electricity? What other applications are possible or desirable?
- What's the difference between a geyser and a hot spring? Discuss the sidebar on pg. 18 for these and other definitions.
- Mathematics: Calculate Iceland's per capita savings from geothermal energy. In this article, find the total dollars saved on oil imports annually. Find Iceland's population elsewhere in the issue or in an almanac. Gather comparable figures to calculate the per capita cost of oil imports into the United States. Compare the two calculations. What can you conclude from them?
- Creative Writing: Pretend you are e-mailing a friend about geothermal energy. You would like to use the diagram on pg. 16, but your e-mail program can't send pictures. Write a message that describes the drawing and explains the information it contains.
- History: Research the history of the use of geothermal energy. (Remember that people used this heat source long before machinery was invented to take advantage of it.) Organize dates, facts, descriptions, and illustrations into a time line.
- Student Assessment:
- What are the advantages of geothermal energy? What are the disadvantages? In a brief essay, compare and contrast geothermal energy with other methods of heating and generating electricity.
- Should the United States develop and use geothermal energy? Why or why not? Organize your ideas into a persuasive speech or a classroom debate.
- Talk It Over:
- How have television and movies shaped our ideas of Vikings? What programs or films can you recall? What images were portrayed in those presentations?
- How did the difficulties of life in the far north lead to advances in Viking culture? Cite examples of ways in which other cultures have advanced as a result of hardship.
- Graphic Arts: Use the Viking runes on pg. 33 to write a letter to a friend. If your letter is long enough, your friend should be able to decode it without the chart (just like solving a cryptogram). If your friend has a tough time, show him or her the chart. (Hey, if your teacher assigns homework on the Vikings, ask if you can do it in runes!)
- Computer-aided Research: Use the Web to find out about archaeological sites that have revealed information on the Vikings. Try several different search engines (e.g., Yahoo!, Northern Light, or Google) to see which best helps you narrow your search. Once you find some solid scientific sources, look for more on the Kensington Rune Stone forgery mentioned on pg. 33.
- Language Arts: A crew of Viking seafarers has taken you captive. In journal-writing style, describe your captors and their ship. Explain why you were taken aboard and how you live. Make your descriptions realistic; avoid media myths!
- Student Assessment:
- Much of what we think we know about the Vikings is false. Write an essay discrediting three or more myths. Offer evidence of truth to replace Hollywood-style fabrications.
- The Vikings are being considered for admission to the Enlightened Civilizations' Hall of Fame. You are their spokesperson. Prepare a speech to the admission committee, explaining why the Vikings deserve a place of honor, despite numerous rejections in the past.
"Your Cold, Cold Heart"Large-Group Collaborative Activity: Break the class into three groups. Make each group responsible for creating a poster map of Iceland and environs. Group 1 will map the Earth's tectonic plates in the North Atlantic region. Group 2 will map areas of geothermal and volcanic activity both above and below the ocean. Group 3 will draw a map of the Atlantic sea floor. Use modern atlases or scientific Web sites as resources.
"Cool, Clear Water"Collaborative, Whole-Class Project: Study maps of the world to find sites of geothermal activity. Find out about geothermal generating plants in these areas. On the Web, look for corporations that specialize in geothermal energy development. Make a bulletin board display showing present and possible future developments of geothermal energy worldwide.
"Baby, It's Cold Outside"Community Connection: Invite a travel agent to speak to the class about Iceland from a tourist's point of view. Afterward, break the class into teams, each charged with creating a travel brochure or video to promote Iceland as a vacation destination.
"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening"Small-Group, Extending Learning Assignment: ODYSSEYTM is taking a break for the next three months and will return in September. Plan now for your summer's skywatching. Break the class into three groups, each assigned a month: June, July, or August. Charge each group with recommending backyard observations for their month. Use star charts from the library or the Web as research tools. Recommendations can involve constellations, meteor showers, individual stars, or planets, but each week should emphasize a different kind of observation. Compile assignments into a booklet for students to use on those cool, cool evenings of summer.