How Did Dinosaurs Get So Huge?

Part of why we’re so fascinated with extinct dinosaurs it’s just hard for us to believe that animals that huge actually existed. And yet, they existed! From the Jurassic to the Cretaceous Periods, creatures as tall as a five-story building were shaking the Earth.

Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios:

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How does your body know you’re full? TED-Ed

Hunger claws at your belly. It tugs at your intestines, which begin to writhe, aching to be fed. Being hungry generates a powerful and often unpleasant physical sensation that’s almost impossible to ignore. After you’ve reacted by gorging on your morning pancakes, you start to experience an opposing force: fullness. But how does your body actually know when you’re full? Hilary Coller explains. Lesson by Hilary Coller, directed by Sashko Danylenko.

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Survival of the Sneakiest

“Survival of the fittest” means that the strong succeed; or does it? The struggle for survival isn’t the only struggle that living things have to win. This comic from Evolution Berkeley takes students through the adaptations that crickets have evolved due to sexual selection. When teaching evolution, it is important to show students that natural and sexual selection are two sides of the same coin.

Click here for the rest of the comic.  

Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants – A Highlight of the STAO 2017 Conference

Science and Math teacher Joe Grabowski is one of 14 National Geographic Emerging Explorers for 2017. This group is being honored for the way its members explore new frontiers and find innovative ways to remedy some of the greatest challenges facing our planet. Continue reading


Food availability is limited in some regions of the world for many reasons, such as access to natural resources (sunlight, space, water, soil). Due to urbanization, access to fresh fruit and vegetables in urban areas is becoming more limited. How do we feed our communities and ensure food sustainably in an urban landscape?

In this inquiry-based activity, students will design and build a model of a greenhouse using mirrors and/or lenses that can be used to grow food all year. They will use their knowledge of optics to make their greenhouse more efficient (i.e., optimal temperature for plant growth).

*This activity can be used as a Course Culminating Activity as it allows students to demonstrate their proficiency in the following areas:

    Cells and Tissues (plants and plant growth)
    Chemical Reactions (pH of soil and acid-base reactions)
    Light and Optics (reflection and refraction through mirrors and lenses)
    Climate Change (influence of CO2 and temperature upon growth of plants)

How can we use optics to maximize food production?

Reflection, refraction, pH, CO2, temperature, mirrors, lenses, plant growth


This activity is part of STAO’s Connex Inquiry Resource Series

Click here to go to the complete resource