Archive for October, 2008


Unit 3 is another very comprehensive unit. You’ll be investigating spatial patterns found in the hydrosphere and biosphere. The goal of the unit is to have a basic understanding of what creates patterns of vegetation, animals and soils. These patterns are certainly related patterns of climate, particularly temperature and precipitation.

World Biomes will be a rather significant component of Unit 3. To aid in organizing your notes, create a “biome characteristics matrix”.  I’ve created a sample and filled in a few of the cells to give you an idea of what to enter.

The first column is the list of biomes in your online textbook. Column two is the climate most associated with the biome following by typical soils in column three. Column four contains the typical vegetation found in the biome. Column five is reserved for distinguishing characteristics. Use this cell to enter features that make this biome unique.

Create your own and fill in the cells as you read through your online textbook.

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Google Calendar

I’ve been using Google Calendar (GCal) to manage my academic and personal life for several years. Having a calendar online and always accessible from any Internet-connected computer is a real convenience. With GCal you can create specific calendars for the various aspects of your life, I have one for each course I teach, one for my professional consulting work, and one for my personal life. All calendars are color coded and viewable within a neatly organized window. Calendars can be synced to many desktop applications and even calendar apps on your cell phone. Calendars can be kept private or shared.

I’ve added a GCal calendar widget to your D2L course portal. I have it set to “Agenda” view but you can also view by “Week” or “Month” by clicking on their tabs. At the bottom of the widget is a button to add the course calendar as one of your personal Google calendar. It will automatically update as I add or revise course activities.

Here’s a few links about Google Calendar:

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Maps courtesy of www.theodora.com/maps used with permission

Maps courtesy of http://www.theodora.com/maps used with permission

There is a lot of material to cover for the second unit test as it covers global climates. One way to synthesize your notes on global climate is to create a climate information matrix (linked here). Each column to the right of the list of climates refers to controls over climate. These are:

Global Wind and Pressure Belts

Air Masses

Cyclones (meaning polar front (midlatitude) and arctic front cyclones)

Topography (e.g. leeward or windward influence)

Ocean Currents (cold or warm current influence)

Other (unique characteristics to remember)

Check it out, I hope it helps. A set of notes for the climates can be found here.

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Dusan Jankovic

Photo credit: Dusan Jankovic

I’m a firm believer in the use of Web apps like Google docs.They are appealing because your data is stored online and thus accessible from any computer connected to the Internet. Having you data “in the cloud” as they say, makes it accessible if you are working in your dorm or apartment, the library, or in the Brewhaus. Some, like Google Docs, can make a copy of your data on your personal computer for offline access and then automatically sync any changes once you go back online.

The blog “ReadWriteWeb” has compiled their top 10 list of Web apps for college students. I use and endorse most of them. Check them out.

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