Updated November 2015

NOVA: Nature

Vivid multimedia reveals humans' impact on Earth

Subjects & skills
Skills
  • Critical Thinking

Subjects
  • Science
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
6-12
Common Sense says (See details)
Not yet reviewed
Teachers say (2 Reviews)

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NOVA's Nature module is filled with video clips, text, and multimedia tools that will draw your kids into science. Exploring how matter cycles through an ecosystem? Open your class with the gross, two-minute video "How Vultures Can Eat Rotten Meat." Your kids will be riveted. Afterward, talk about how humans might affect the carbon cycle if they give livestock medications that also affect vultures. Have your kids check out the "Population Explosion" interactive -- it isn't as fun as others but offers great representations of how a large influx of acorns could influence other populations. Students could use information from this simulation to write an explanation of how different factors affect carrying capacities in ecosystems (an NGSS Performance Expectation). Students can also examine actual photographic evidence from the "Extreme Ice Survey" and hear how scientists are using it to learn about climate change. In all, NOVA: Nature's value is in the excellent ways it showcases quality images, articles, and videos to capitalize on kids’ curiosity about their world.

Standouts:

  • How Vultures Can Eat Rotten Meat: Watch and learn how these scavengers can eat rotting animals without getting sick.
  • Photographing Climate Change: Examine photographic evidence from the Extreme Ice Survey.
  • How Water Is Reshaping the West: Read about the ways that humans have diverted water and affected the environment.
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Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
Donna M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Vista Visions Academy
Vista, CA
Bring Traditional Science Topics to Life with NOVA's Nature!

The resources on the site offer a variety of topics. The reading level of the articles is fairly high and there is nothing to support low readers with the content in the articles. However, the interactives and slide shows contain a mix of reading and video so the content in those is accessible to most students. The videos are also accessible but the full episodes are the traditional NOVA videos - close to an hour in length, which is too long for most students to maintain interest. There are video shorts available that show specific concepts, including several scientist interviews. This site does not provide curriculum or correlations to the NGSS standards. Instead, it is up to the teacher to determine what resource(s) are needed to teach the desired concepts and meet the desired standards.

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