Flower

Hitching a Ride: Biological Relationships in the Natural World

While breezing through National Geographic‘s online magazine a few weeks ago I came across a remarkable photograph that had been taken off the coast of New South Wales, Australia: a seal riding on the back of a humpback whale. Scientists say this event is indeed rare, but not unheard of.  It’s not clear whether this was an example of a special biological relationship between the seal and whale or if the seal was just joy riding. This got me to thinking about other biological relationships that occur quite often in nature, such as the one between the oxpecker and the African buffalo, or the common relationships between insects and plants.

eLibrary can assist ecology and biology educators in teaching students the world of these complex relationships with specific resources in the fields of biology and ecology.

In ecology, the interaction and relationship between two different species is called symbiosis. Within symbiosis, there are three major types of relationships: mutualism, commensalism, and parasitism.

These relationships can occur not only between species in the animal world but also in the plant and microbial worlds. Anyone who has seen the bright orange or yellow plant-like covering on some rocks are probably looking at lichen, a symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus. And relationships can also exist between biological kingdoms such as between plant and animal (for example, the flower and the bee). It might also surprise your students to learn that we humans, as well as other animals, have symbiotic relationships with microorganisms within our own bodies.

In the case of the relationship between the red-billed oxpecker and the African buffalo, this is considered a mutualistic relationship (sometimes called cleaning symbiosis) where each benefits from the other’s existence and behavior. The oxpecker will perch somewhere on the buffalo and feed on ticks (parasites) and other insects that have taken up residence and pester them. In this way, both mutually benefit from each other: the oxpeckers get a hardy meal and the ungulates are happily rid of the annoying parasites.

You can learn more about the other types of symbiosis (commensalism and parasitism), and other animal and biological relationships in eLibrary. We have a wealth of biological and ecological resources to assist you in helping your students explore the world of symbiosis and biological relationships. We have Research Topics on Symbiosis, Community Ecology, Biomes and Ecosystems, Population Ecology, as well as the broader subjects of Biology and Ecology that can enrich your instruction.

CultureGrams Provinces Edition Scavenger Hunt

CultureGrams Provinces Edition

And now for the final installment in our series of fun scavenger hunts to help students learn more about the resources available to them in CultureGrams. The first hunt was designed to familiarize users with the World Edition. Then we created a hunt for the Kids Edition and another for the States Edition. Now, last but not least, we have this Provinces Edition scavenger hunt. By working through these twenty questions, either in groups or individually, students will not only learn more about the provinces and territories of Canada, but also about the Provinces Edition of CultureGrams and the variety of content it offers. When students have completed the scavenger hunt, they will be much better prepared to do their own research in CultureGrams, whether to prepare a presentation, create a poster, or write an essay.

CultureGrams Provinces Edition Map

Provinces Edition Scavenger Hunt

*The information in parentheses after each item indicates where the answer can be found.

  1. How many total province and territories are there in Canada? (edition landing page)
  2. What are the three oceans that border Canada? (Canada Political or Physical Map)
  3. What is the name of the northernmost island of Canada? (Canada Physical Map)
  4. What are three ways to navigate to a specific province/territory report from the Provinces Edition landing page? (Provinces Edition landing page)
  5. What is Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump? (Alberta Landing Page)
  6. Quebec is the world’s largest producer of what? (Quebec Resources and Industries)
  7. What is a “potlatch”? (Yukon First Nations)
  8. What unfortunate event happened in the capital of Newfoundland in 1892? (Newfoundland and Labrador Time Line)
  9. Why is salmon farming an environmental issue in British Columbia? (British Colombia Environmental Issues)
  10. After the War of 1812, many immigrants moved to Nova Scotia. Where were most of them from? (Nova Scotia Responsible Government)
  11. Where is “Canada’s Chocolate Town” and how did it get that name? (New Brunswick Cultural Notes)
  12. What are the average seasonal high and low temperatures (Centigrade) in Nunavut in winter? (Nunavut Climate)
  13. What are some key issues facing the government of the Northwest Territories? (Northwest Territories Government)
  14. List a famous baseball, basketball, and hockey team that make Ontario their home (link to Major League Sports Teams from Provinces Edition landing page)
  15. Name three animals found on the provincial coat of arms for Manitoba. (Manitoba Official Emblems)
  16. What is a “saskatoon” that is used to make Saskatoon Pie in Saskatchewan? (Saskatchewan Recipes)
  17. What province/territory has the highest percentage of high school graduates age 15+ (Graphs and Tables)
  18. How far is it from Kensington in Prince Edward Island to Pelly Crossing in Yukon? (Distance Calculator can be accessed from any province/territory landing page)
  19. What is the motto for Prince Edward Island and what does it mean? (Prince Edward Island landing page)
  20. Which province or territory would you most want to visit and why?

To find the correct answers, check in the comments area. And be sure to let us know how the scavenger hunt works for your classes.

Fact Sheet: U.S. Teens, Politics, and Information Literacy

This is the latest in a series of posts on teaching controversial political issues to students. The previous post in this series discussed how educators can choose controversial political issues ethically.

In December 2016, the Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research polled 13- to 17-year-old U.S. teenagers on politics and government, civic engagement, and information literacy. Here is an overview of the results:

Politics and government. Overall, teenagers have a pessimistic view of U.S. politics and government. About 8 in 10 believe the nation is divided on important values. Many teenagers find little commonality with those who are different from them, such as people who live in other geographical areas and people in other political parties. Additionally, a majority of teenagers have negative views on the system and functioning of government, including how political leaders are chosen and the ability of government to solve problems. Despite teenagers’ pessimistic views, over half believe that the American dream still exists, and most have positive or neutral views on the future of the country.

Civic engagement. Teenagers have a high level of civic engagement. In fact, almost 9 in 10 teenagers have taken part in at least one civic activity, the most popular being volunteering and raising money for a cause. Fewer teenagers are involved politically, perhaps unsurprisingly given their age and their views on politics and government. A majority have never expressed their political beliefs online, and a whopping 88 percent have never participated in a protest, march, or demonstration (though this may have changed some given the high number of protests, marches, and demonstrations in recent months).

Information literacy. A majority of teenagers reported learning about information literacy skills in school, but a sizable number of teenagers said they have not. One-third had never discussed how to evaluate the trustworthiness of online content. Some 40 percent never discussed the value of evaluating evidence used to support opinions. And 42 percent never discussed how to find varying social and political viewpoints online.

There are some lessons to be learned from this poll. First, civic engagement is high among teenagers, but this fails to translate into political participation. Educators should focus on teaching students how they can be a part of the political system and effect change. Second, teenagers believe that they have little in common with those who are different from them. Educators can help break down barriers and close this empathy gap by exposing students to different people, ideas, and viewpoints. And third, too few students are learning the necessary information literacy skills, especially as they relate to cyberspace. With the spread of fake news, educators should prioritize strengthening information literacy skills for the digital age.

Stay tuned for more posts in this series on teaching controversial political issues to students.

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SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.

It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, an off-the-books celebration of all things pirate. The idea was hatched in 1995 when friends John Baur and Mark Summers (aka Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy) began, inexplicably, to insult each other in pirate lingo while playing racquetball. So, in honor and in the spirit of this incredibly important holiday, eLibrary presents …

Six stream-of-consciousness Research Topics vaguely related to International Talk Like a Pirate Day:

Piracy in the Caribbean: This is what we all think of when we think of pirates–eyepatches, peg-legs, fighting with swords. We tend to think of pirates as happy-go-lucky adventurers, but their short careers were often filled with brutality.

Piracy in the Caribbean RT

Piracy in the Caribbean Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Piracy in Somalia: At the other end of the timescale is modern-day piracy in which gangs hijack cargo ships off the coast of Somalia and hold them for ransom. The hijackings fell off in 2013 due to security actions by vessel owners and increased naval patrols. (The Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips portrays such an incident.)

Piracy in Somalia RT

Piracy in Somalia Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Parrots: OK, let’s lighten things up a bit. What can I say? Beautiful parrots that would make Long John Silver proud.

Parrots RT

Parrots Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Treasure Island: This is the book that provided pretty much all of the stereotypes we know about pirates.

Treasure Island RT

Treasure Island Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Barbary Wars: Back in the day, the Barbary states (current day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya) demanded American merchant ships pay tribute or be attacked by “Barbary pirates.” Then Thomas Jefferson became president, and he was having none of it. He (and successor James Madison) used military force to end the practice. (For a famous incident in the Barbary Wars, see this post from last year: Stephen Decatur Burns the USS Philadelphia.)

Barbary Wars RT

Barbary Wars Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Linguistics: Well, I said vaguely related, and it is Talk Like a Pirate Day …

Linguistics RT

Linguistics Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

While this has been a lighthearted post, we are serious about providing content for your classroom, and the information above gives you an idea of the breadth of information–history, modern issues, science, literature–contained in our collection of more than 11,000 Research Topics. You can see how a trip to eLibrary could bolster classwork, assignments, and discussions on just about any topic with introductory and in-depth material.

And, arrrrren’t you glad I made it through this without a bit of cheesy pirate talk?

New Micronesia Interviews on CultureGrams

Images by: Karyn Sorenson [via CultureGrams Gallery]

Here at CultureGrams, we are continuously adding a variety of new and interesting content to our product. We most recently added two new interviews from The Federated States of Micronesia.

CultureGrams features a collection of over 400 interviews that reflect the experiences and perspectives of people from around the world. Be sure to keep an eye out for more new interviews coming this year!

Here are two excerpts from our newest CultureGrams interviews:

Wilika, age 17 from Chuuk, Micronesia

“Since I grew up here on my island, I love to eat local food made from what we grow on my island. One of my favorites is mashed taro, which looks like mashed potatoes except it is more reddish in color. Mashed taro is one of the main common dishes for people on my island, especially the older people. These are still the favorite for many people from my island who live in Guam, Hawaii, and the United States mainland. They always ask their family to bring these when they travel.”

 

Henry, age 50 from Weno, Micronesia

“There is a great difference for me as opposed to how my parents grew up on this island. The ways of life are completely different. The culture is slowly changing and there is greater mobility, as many people leave their homes and relocate to the city center, where they can find better employment opportunities, education, and health care. The way of life has slowly evolved, and some cultural traditions are breaking down. For example, the extended family, which was once highly regarded, is drifting apart as immediate families adopt more Western living styles. There is also more cultural integration as we pick up elements from the cultures we come into contact with.”

 

Find more interviews from countries all over the world in the CultureGrams Interviews gallery!

Don’t have CultureGrams? Request a free trial.

Find Primary Sources in ProQuest’s Guided Research Resources

Educators need to prepare students with information literacy and learning skills for college and the global marketplace. Common Core State Standards address this need through an emphasis on students’ ability to read and understand informational text. Standards require students to learn how to analyze text, make inferences, cite evidence, interpret vocabulary, and determine authoritative sources.

As students learn how to analyze sources, primary sources are key tools to help them learn to ask questions, think critically, and draw conclusions based on evidence.

ProQuest’s suite of Guided Research resources is your solution to prepare students to think critically with a wealth of primary and secondary sources.

ProQuest Research Companion

 

Start with ProQuest Research Companion to access 80+ short videos, nine learning modules, and assessment quizzes to teach students everything they need to know to be information literate and ready to research. For a lesson on primary sources, use this short video on primary and secondary sources.


 CultureGrams

CultureGrams Interview

Interview transcript of Hawa from Djibouti.
Image via CultureGrams.

CultureGrams is a primary source product with editions (World, States, Kids, and Provinces) that offer profiles of countries, U.S. states, and Canadian provinces. CultureGrams editors recruit native or long-term residents of the target culture to serve as writers and/or reviewers for each report, ensuring all reports are first-hand accounts and therefore primary sources. Also see supplementary features that provide more primary source material through photos, videos, interviews, statistics, and recipes.


 eLibrary

platform shoes

Video clip from 1973 chronicles the fashion “craze” of the platform shoe
and warns of the shoe’s dangers to feet and legs.
Source: MPI Video via ProQuest eLibrary

Besides a treasure trove of secondary sources and editor-created Research Topics, eLibrary offers collections of primary sources. A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) present a mixture of textual and visual primary source documents. MPI Videos provide insights into topics as diverse as world affairs, fashion, sports, and the arts from various periods in the twentieth century. And the Getty Historical Image collection highlights hundreds of iconic images from the twentieth century.


SIRS Issues Researcher

Primary sources can be narrowed in the results list. Image via ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher.

SIRS Issues Researcher is the premier source for background and analysis of nearly 350 Leading Issues. Analysis and background include primary sources. Start with the SIRS Common Core Guide: Understanding Primary Sources, the step-by-step activity guide to help students analyze primary sources. Every search result can be narrowed by primary sources to find historical documents, speeches, editorial cartoons, and more.


 SIRS Discoverer

In the News, a monthly editorial cartoon feature in Spotlight of the Month Image via ProQuest SIRS Discoverer.

As an online reference source for elementary and middle school, SIRS Discoverer offers primary and secondary sources at a lower reading level than SIRS Issues Researcher, its sister product. Each document is hand-selected at an appropriate Lexile level for its target audience. Access historical primary source maps, graphs, and images in the graphics tab of any search. Find engaging editorial cartoons in the activities section, through search, and via the Spotlight of the Month.

Contact us for more information on how these Guided Research resources can fill your primary source needs or sign up for one of our free monthly webinars.

Geography Trivia: Chester A. Arthur and the Prime Meridian

Chester A. Arthur

Chester A. Arthur Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

These days, the average person takes for granted how easy it is to get from one place to another. Most of us don’t even need maps when traveling. We have GPS technology in our cars and GPS Apps on our phones that tell us which direction to go and where to turn and when we will arrive at our destination. Our phones even change the time for us when we enter in to a new time zone. But, this was not always the case.

The prime meridian is a great circle drawn on maps and globes of the Earth that passes through the North and South Poles, separating the globe into two hemispheres: East and West. This prime meridian passes through Greenwich, England. Governments, however, did not always agree that the Greenwich meridian was the prime meridian, making navigation and time standardization very difficult. Sea navigation, as well as the astronomical charting of stars, usually remained a matter of local, national or sometimes even religious preference. Maps could be based on longitude east or west of St. Petersburg, Rome, Jerusalem, Paris, the Canary Islands or Washington D.C. Needless to say, all of these prime meridians led to a massive amount of international confusion. Although latitude (North and South) had always been measured from the Equator, there was no equivalent point from which to measure longitude.

The beginning of the 19th Century saw calls for unification and the adoption of one common meridian. But the problem was not one of geographical location alone; it was also linked to the measurement of time. To standardize one, would require the standardization of the other.

The Prime Meridian

The Prime Meridian Photo via NASA [Public Domain]

By the 1870s, with the increasing use of rail transportation, there was intense pressure both to establish a prime meridian for worldwide navigation purposes and to unify local times for railway timetables. Great Britain had already solved this problem by using the Greenwich Meridian to standardize its time zones. In the United States, the problem with time standardization was more complicated, with one railroad timetable showing over 100 local times varying by more than 3 hours. President Chester A. Arthur decided he had had enough. He called for an International Meridian Conference, which was held in Washington D.C. in October 1884, to determine a prime meridian for international use. Specifically, the Conference was to hammer out the choice of “a meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world.”

Delegates from 25 countries attended the Conference. The Conference established that the meridian passing through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich would be the Earth’s prime meridian, and all longitude would be calculated both east and west from it up to 180 degrees. The Conference also established Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as a standard for astronomy and the setting of time zones.

Standing on the Greenwich Meridian

One Can Stand in Both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres Astride the Greenwich Meridian [Photo via Wikimedia Commons] (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This semester, there are two good reasons for Geography teachers to tell students about the 1884 International Meridian Conference: 1. It is a very interesting topic, and. 2. How often do Geography teachers get to mention Chester A. Arthur in class? Teachers can have their students use eLibrary to find out more about the Prime Meridian and other Geography-related topics.

If you do not have a subscription to ProQuest products, you can get a free trial here.

Trivia Time:

  • In addition to sporting some very flashy sideburns, by all accounts, Chester A. Arthur’s presidency was a popular and successful one. In fact, after Arthur’s death in 1885, Mark Twain wrote of him: “It would be hard indeed to better President Arthur’s Administration.” The New York World also wrote of Arthur’s time in office: “No duty was neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation.”
  • The prime meridian also sets Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC never changes for daylight savings time. Just as the prime meridian is the standard for longitude, UTC is the standard for time. All countries and regions measure their time zones according to UTC.
  • The vote to select Greenwich at the 1884 Conference passed 22 to 1, with San Domingo (Dominican Republic) voting against and both France and Brazil abstaining.

CultureGrams — New Kids Country: Montserrat

The CultureGrams editors are excited to announce a new Kids edition country report!

Flag of Montserrat, via CultureGrams

The new Montserrat report includes detailed information on the history, culture, language, food, and daily life of this country.

Here are some interesting Did You Knows about Montserrat:

  • Montserrat is one of the smallest island nations in the world. It covers just 39 square miles (101 square kilometers).
  • Goat water is the national dish of Montserrat. It is a goat meat stew cooked in a metal or tin pot over a wood fire and often served at weddings, funerals, and other special events.
  • The highest point on the island is the dome of the Soufrière Hills volcano. The volcano began erupting in 1995 and went on to destroy the southern half of the island, blanketing it in ash and making it uninhabitable.
  • English is the official language of Montserrat because the island was settled by Irish colonists in the 1600s.

Read about life as a kid in Montserrat, holiday celebrations, and the eruption of the Soufrière Hills volcano, all in this colorful new report.

Town Hall Meetings: Direct Democracy in Action

Last week, my colleague Kim Carpenter and I attended a town hall meeting in our city to listen to Congressman Ted Deutch speak about issues that mattered to us on both a local and national scale.

Rep. Ted Deutch Town Hall Meeting

August 31, 2017: Town Hall Meeting with Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-21) at the Mae Volen Senior Center, Boca Raton, FL (Credit: Amy Shaw)

Town hall meetings have a long-standing tradition in America. The earliest recorded town hall meeting occurred in 1633 in Dorchester, Massachusetts. A form of direct democracy, town hall meetings give constituents the chance to speak openly and directly to elected officials and political candidates about issues that matter to them and their community. And, elected officials use this informal public assembly as an opportunity to gauge how their constituents feel about issues and policies.

While they are called town hall meetings, these meetings are not only held in town halls, but also in a variety of other locations, such as schools, libraries, and municipal buildings. In recent years, many politicians have begun experimenting with digital town hall meetings, as well.

The town hall we attended was held at the Mae Volen Senior Center in Boca Raton, Florida. The room was packed with several hundred people who raised many issues, including concerns about climate change, the Dream Act, President Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military and the need for research money for childhood cancer.  Rep. Deutch thanked the attendees for allowing him to hear first-hand what mattered to them and promised to take those concerns back to Washington.

Photo of Kimberly Carpenter and Amy Shaw with Rep. Ted Deutch

ProQuest editors Kimberly Carpenter (left) and Amy Shaw (right) enjoy meeting Rep. Ted Deutch after a town hall meeting (Credit: Kimberly Carpenter)

South Florida Congressman

Congressman Ted Deutch (D) represents the 22nd district of South Florida, which includes Palm Beach and Broward County. He is currently serving his fifth term in the 115th Congress and he’s also a member of the U.S. House of Representatives on the Judiciary, Foreign Affairs, and Ethics Committees. His priorities include environmental health, economic growth, and honor and dignity for veterans, among many others.

For more information about Ted Deutch, visit his website and learn all about his legislation, services, and student resources.

Bipartisan Efforts

In an increasingly politically polarized America, it was refreshing to hear Representative Deutch mention several bipartisan efforts in recent years, including the Climate Solutions Caucus, which he co-chairs with Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R-FL). The purpose of this caucus is to find solutions to sea level rise and the effects of climate change. Membership of this caucus consists of equal representation by Republicans and Democrats.

Developing Civic-Minded Students

How to Prepare for a Town Hall Meeting

Infographic: 6 Tips on How to Prepare for a Town Hall Meeting (Credit: Amy Shaw and Kimberly Carpenter)

As students are the next generation of citizens and voters, teachers should consider engaging them in the political process by having them attend a town hall meeting in their community or participate in a mock town hall meeting. To get your students started, print out our Infographic with tips on how to prepare for a town hall meeting.

Teachers can also direct students to eLibrary’s Research Topic pages on civics issues. A good starting point that showcases many of eLibrary’s civics Research Topics pages is ProQuest Research Topic Guide: Civics (U.S.).  SIRS Issues Researcher also includes Leading Issues on Government Ethics in addition to issues currently being discussed in town hall meetings (e.g., climate change, heroin abuse, and minimum wage). Below, we have also included links to town hall resources and lesson plans.

Town Hall Resources

Call to Action: Use to find and call your Congressional representative.

Find Your Representative: This site from the U.S. House of Representatives matches your ZIP code to your congressional district, with links to your member’s website and contact page.

Town Hall Project: Identifies Congressional town halls nationwide.

United States Senate Directory: provides information about former and current senators.

Lesson Plans

Town Hall Meeting: Drama-Based Instruction

Lesson Plan: Civic Engagement and Ways for Students to Get Involved

Our Town: Teaching Alternative Energy Sources and Decision-Making Through a Town Hall Meeting

Takeaways

  • All the personal stories that people shared with the crowd and how Ted Deutch responded with compassion and understanding for each one. Individuals were directed to staff members who would specifically help them find answers.
  • The age range of people attending. From elementary school students who recited the pledge, college students who lined up to ask questions to retired veterans who publicly asked for help with nursing home care.

Tweet Us!

Have your students participated in a town hall meeting? Let us know in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest!

6 Reasons Why Editorial Cartoons Are an Essential Teaching Tool

“One strong editorial cartoon is worth a hundred solemn editorials.”
—William Zinsser, On Writing Well

daily-paper-464015_1920

CC0 Public Domain, via Pixabay

My seventh-grade social studies teacher gave extra credit to students who brought in editorial cartoons for class discussions. Luckily for me, stacks of newspapers were common in my house. My father was a printing-press operator and a newspaper addict. We got three newspapers daily and sometimes more when my father couldn’t resist a newsstand. So I got a lot of extra credit that year.

Editorial cartoons are all that I remember from that class. My newspaper monopoly aside, I remember being captivated by grown-up cartoons and wanted to understand them, which is how I became interested in current events and issues. I still get excited when I see editorial cartoons. An astute cartoon is an oasis in a wit-starved world.

To accompany our Editorial Cartoons Curriculum Guide, here are six reasons why editorial cartoons are an enduring curriculum essential.

Why do you think editorial cartoons are an essential teaching tool?

Share your thoughts with us on Twitter #ProQuest or in the comments below.

ProQuest editors are continually adding editorial cartoons to ProQuest SIRS Issues Researcher. Don’t have it? Request a trial.