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A Free STEM Resource : A Must For Media Centers and Science Departments

The Siemens STEM Academy would like to share another great  “ STEM Web Catch”.  Enjoy this review of The Encyclopedia Of Life. It is a resource that should be known by every science teacher and available in every media center. Before reading, be sure to sign up for  upcoming  Siemens STEM Academy blog posts in order to discover other great STEM treasures.  Don't miss out... make sure you give us a  follow on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad and share with others! As always, thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Academy!  Now... read on and encourage your students to explore what is a growing and quite remarkable resource. It really provides an  amazing exploration into biodiversity and  life on the planet Earth. – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech) 

Imagine a database filled with all the Earth’s living organisms! A site that allows students to search by common or scientific name, shows a text  and graphic  illustration of specific classification, provides  pictures,  and displays interactive maps of distribution. In fact, complete detailed physical and behavioral descriptions are included, along with habitats, distribution,  trophic strategies, conservation status, usefulness and associations. EOL known as The Encyclopedia of Life is an unprecedented global partnership between the scientific community and the general public. The goals of the organization is to make  freely available an online reference and database of all 1.9 million species currently known to science and stay current by capturing information on newly discovered and formally described species. The EOL steering committee consists of  senior advisors from Harvard University, Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum of Chicago, the Marine Biological Conservatory at Woods Hole, the Biodiversity Heritage Libary Consortium, Missouri Botanical Gardens, MacArthur and Sloan Foundations, and other amazing content providers worldwide. There is an excellent page to discover all of its awesome resources.  The site has even been featured  in this TED Video by site  founder E. O. Wilson of Harvard University. EOL is well on its way of reaching the 1.9 million species listing.

EOL has  also provides an exciting education site for teachers and students and teacher resource area in order to explore biodiversity. Some activites include having middle and high school students upload pictures of their area floral fauna and upload images and video to the EOL Flickr Photo Pool. EOL  runs regular image contests, so you can use the contest as extra motivation for your class. Perhaps you may wish to introduce elementary and middle school students to the  Podcast of Life: lively, you-are-there audio segments showcasing science in action. You can download and view engaging  podcasts while also exploring some exciting apps that encompass field guides, games, and simulations.  There are opportunities for EOL content and images to be used for  class projects giving your students the opportunity to remix and innovate and make their own collections following proper guidelines. How about these very cool Google Earth Tours? Elementary and middle school students may wish to Dive into Marine Biology with WhyReef. This child centered learning experience was developed by EOL cornerstone institution,  The Field Museum in Chicago, in conjunction with the social networking site WhyVille. WhyReef is a virtual coral reef stocked with species that are linked to content on EOL. You may wish to have students find out about classification and taxonomy by exploring species’ “family trees” using the classification browser located in the upper right  hand side of every EOL species page. You cal also encourage your students to explore primary biodiversity literature and illustrations from the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) that are linked to the species pages.  EOL is an awesome project with even bigger possibilities for today’s twenty-first century learners, and it’s free!

Take some time to investigate and possibly implement EOL as part of your school year STEM planning! Please continue to join the Siemens STEM Academy as we continue to discuss other ways you can promote STEM and 21st century technology and learning in the classroom. Don't miss out on future posts and resources dedicated to STEM education. Now is a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad. You may even wish to share this post with others via a quick email or even a tweet! Have a wonderful week and be ready for that next post filled with more amazing STEM opportunities – Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Posted on July 29, 2012 by Michael Gorman

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Meet the Contributors

Mike Gorman

Mike is an advocate for transforming education and bringing 21st Century Skills to classrooms. He was awarded Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and honored as a Microsoft 365 Global Education Hero.
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Lance Rougeux

Lance has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was recently highlighted in The Emergency Teacher, a book about urban teaching.
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Kyle Schutt

Kyle has worked with educators throughout the country to help them better understand how technology and digital media can be used to support instruction, motivate students, and increase passion for learning.
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