Tag Archives: Science

June is Great Outdoors month

Gene Stratton-Porter Arbor, Rome City, IN. Photo courtesy of Nicole Treesh

Before you head outdoors, come into the Library and check out our resources for outdoor recreation, outdoor research, and outdoor careers. We have suggestions for all ages and interests:

  • Outdoor activities for kids in Fort Wayne City
  • Guides to Indiana State Parks, and National Parks
  • Wildlife and woodlot management
  • River, lakes, and wetlands ecology

Did you know that public parks are the sites of many, and various, research projects? Check out our showcase of articles, including studies of glaciers, slime molds, predator-prey ecology, erosion control, pest control, human behavior, health effects of outdoor recreation, and more.

You can access data from national parks by visiting the websites of the National Park Service. For photographs and other non-text artifacts, use https://museum.nps.gov For texts (research reports, teaching resources, maps, etc.) use the NPS Library website – it is clunky but has links out to all the parks.

A great new resource is the Open Parks Network. When complete, this database will link all the National Parks digitized collections; currently, representation is mostly from the southeast. Users can search in this one place to find collections of interest, rather than going to multiple websites. For example: Civil War maps from Fort Sumter, moths of Congaree National Park, political memorabilia from the Jimmy Carter National Historic site. Also linked are research reports by national parks staff.

Remember, our databases can be accessed 24/7/365 so you can take your reading with you to the beach, woods, or Indiana State Parks.

Books can be checked out when the library is open. Our summer semester hours are:

  • Mondays-Thursdays 7:45 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.
  • Fridays 7:45 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

See you on the trails!

Pepper, an elderly Cairn Terrier, enjoys the River Greenway. Photo by Ann Spinney.

Keeping up with Science

What advances can we expect from science in 2019? Science magazine online has published predictions for research and policy news in the coming year. Science is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and is a great resource for research at all levels. (Thank you, Professor Christine Barlow, for introducing me to it!)

I did not keep up with research in my field during the past year, despite getting AAAS science news headlines delivered to my email every Friday. (Headlines alone don’t stick in my brain.) So I ran a search from the Science magazine home page:


Once I entered my term in the Search box (anthropology), the next screen allowed me to set date limits (1 Jan 2018 to 1 Jan 2019). Not all of the articles are open access but I can at least read the abstracts. What new research in your field are you excited about?


New Agriculture Books

A Botanist’s Vocabulary: 1300 Terms Explained and Illustrated. By Susan K. Pell and Bobbi Angell.

View in IvyCat

This book has been added to our non-circulating Reference collection, in support of our Agriculture program. “A Botanist’s Vocabulary gives gardeners and naturalists a better understanding of what they see and a way to categorize and organize the natural world in which they are so intimately involved. Through concise definitions and detailed black and white illustrations, it defines 1300 words commonly used by botanists, naturalists, and gardeners to describe plants.” (publisher)

Native Plants of the Midwest: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best 500 Species for the Garden. By Allen Branhagen.

View in IvyCat

Branhagen is a regional expert and director of horticulture at Powell Gardens, Kansas City, MO; the book comes encrusted with encomiums from plant scientists throughout the Midwest. “Features the best native plants in the heartland and offers clear and concise guidance on how to use them in the garden. Plant profiles for more than 500 species of trees, shrubs, vines, perennials, ground covers, bulbs, and annuals contain the common and botanical names, growing information, tips on using the plant in a landscape, and advice on related plants. You’ll learn how to select the right plant and how to design with native plants. Helpful lists of plants for specific purposes are shared throughout. This comprehensive book is for native plant enthusiasts and home gardeners” (publisher)

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes. By Dan Egan.

View in IvyCat

This book is a model for science reporting. It won the J. Anthony Lukas Award, the Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment, Special Merit Citation and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. It is relevant to both our Agriculture and Environmental safety programs. Egan draws on interviews with residents, scientists, government officials, and historical documents; the notes and bibliography cover 23 pages.

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come … In an age when dire problems like the Flint water crisis or the California drought bring ever more attention to the indispensability of safe, clean, easily available water, The Death and the Life of the Great Lakes is a powerful paean to what is arguably our most precious resource, an urgent examination of what threatens it and a convincing call to arms about the relatively simple things we need to do to protect it.” (publisher)


Teaching STEM

STEM Lesson Essentials, Grades 3-8: Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

51UXAvjUGTL._SX393_BO1,204,203,200_By Jo Anne Vasquez, Cary Sneider and Michael Comer
Call Number: LB1585.3 .V38 2013
View in IvyCat

Want to know how to implement authentic STEM teaching and learning into your classroom? STEM Lesson Essentials provides all the tools and strategies you’ll need to design integrated, interdisciplinary STEM lessons and units that are relevant and exciting to your students. With clear definitions of both STEM and STEM literacy, the authors argue that STEM in itself is not a curriculum, but rather a way of organizing and delivering instruction by weaving the four disciplines together in intentional ways. Rather than adding two new subjects to the curriculum, the engineering and technology practices can instead be blended into existing math and science lessons in ways that engage students and help them master 21st century skills.

Engineering in Elementary STEM Education: Curriculum Design, Instruction, Learning, and Assessment

9780807776711By Christine M. Cunningham
Call Number: LB1585.3 .C86 2018
View in IvyCat

Bolstered by new standards and new initiatives to promote STEM education, engineering is making its way into the school curriculum. This comprehensive introduction will help elementary educators integrate engineering into their classroom, school, or district in age-appropriate, inclusive, and engaging ways. Building on the work of a Museum of Science team that has spent 15 years developing elementary engineering curricula, this book outlines how engineering can be integrated into a broader STEM curriculum, details its pedagogical benefits to students, and includes classroom examples to help educators tailor instruction to engage diverse students.

New Children’s Books for January

I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein; Scott Magoon (Illustrator)

I Have a Balloon by Ariel Bernstein; Scott Magoon (Illustrator)Owl has a red balloon. Monkey does not. “That red balloon matches my shiny red tie,” says Monkey. “I’d look fancy walking to school with a shiny red balloon. The only thing I’ve ever wanted, since right now, is a shiny, big red balloon. It would make me SO HAPPY!” But Owl does not want to give it to him. So Monkey tries to find something that Owl wants: a teddy bear, a robot, a picture of TEN balloons. Owl does not want any of these things. But then, Monkey offers him…a sock! Hmmmmm…Owl is intrigued. Will he trade his shiny red balloon with Monkey? Hint: this is not a book about sharing.

Birds by Bridget Heos; David Clark (Illustrator)

Birds by Bridget Heos; David Clark (Illustrator)

What animals compose music, decorate their homes, weave, and even give gifts? BIRDS! While they may eat bugs and lay eggs, we actually have a lot in common with these winged creatures. From their parenting to their homemaking, their fishing to their dancing, birds do have lots in common with people–though with fascinating twists all their own. Factual and funny–and featuring a dynamic mix of photographs and cartoon illustrations–Just Like Us! Birds will charm even the most reluctant nonfiction readers.

Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman; Zacharia OHora (Illustrator)

Read the Book, Lemmings! by Ame Dyckman; Zachariah OHora (Illustrator)

The team behind the New York Times bestselling Wolfie the Bunny and Horrible Bear! is back with with new Arctic characters in this hilarious learning-to-read adventure! Aboard the S.S. Cliff, First Mate Foxy reads an interesting fact: “Lemmings don’t jump off cliffs.” But Foxy can’t get the lemmings on the Cliff to read his book, too. They’re too busy jumping off. After a chilly third rescue, exasperated Foxy and grumbly polar bear Captain PB realize their naughty nautical crew isn’t being stubborn: The lemmings (Jumper, Me Too, and Ditto) can’t read. And until Foxy patiently teaches his lemmings to read the book, he can’t return to reading it, either!

I Want That Nut! by Madeline Valentine


A nutty and clever buddy story that celebrates cooperation, perfect for fans of Duck and Goose. Meet Mouse and Chipmunk, two young rodents who want the same thing–a big, beautiful nut! But who deserves it more? After all, Chipmunk and the Nut read together and lie in the grass and stare at the clouds. Chipmunk wants that nut! And Mouse and the Nut play tic-tac-toe and have a dance party together. Mouse also wants that nut!   But then Squirrel comes along and claims the Nut for his own. What’s a rodent to do?

Robinson by Peter Sís


A boy who loves adventure. A mysterious solo journey. A remote island wilderness. Cast away in this beautiful dreamlike story and discover what surprises await. Peter Sís blends a true story from his childhood with the fictional adventure of Robinson Crusoe to create a magical picture book filled with heart and imagination that readers will want to return to again and again.

Welcome to Fall Semester at Ivy Tech Northeast!

Over the summer we made some changes to our library website in order to serve you better

Let us know what you think!

From our homepage, when you click on the Articles link in the left navigation panel, you will now find the databases grouped by subject.

We have maintained the A-Z List which is alphabetical by title.

Instructors: We have changed a few of our database subscriptions, so please check on the resources available for your assignments. We encourage the use of Guides to point students to appropriate resources, whether databases, websites, or whatever. A Librarian will be delighted to set one up for your courses and sections. These can be linked to your IvyLearn course site too.

Requesting library instruction for your class is quicker and easier. Use the Schedule Instruction link on the left navigation panel and fill out the form, which is so self-explanatory that faculty are already using it. (A detailed mailing on this new system is being distributed.)

Students: Reserving the study rooms is now Self-Service! Use the Reserve Rooms link on the left navigation panel of the Library Home page. You can do this remotely on any device, or come in and use the kiosk at the front desk where our friendly staff will show you how.

Everyone: Check out our new Apps for College guide, which has collected the best mobile device apps especially useful to students and teachers.

Come on in and peruse our book display this month, which relates to the solar eclipse. You can check these books out, along with #1 NY Times Bestseller, Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by the always-entertaining Neil de Grasse Tyson in our Baker & Taylor collection.

It’s not necessary to memorize all the numbers he throws around to understand the principles he explains. You will feel smarter just carrying this around!

New books we have received:

Behold the Dreamers “A compulsively readable debut novel about marriage, immigration, class, race, and the trapdoors in the American Dream—the unforgettable story of a young Cameroonian couple making a new life in New York just as the Great Recession upends the economy”
New York Times Bestseller – Winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award – Longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award – An ALA Notable Book

Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children’s Literature as an Adult “An irresistible, nostalgic, insightful—and totally original—ramble through classic children’s literature from Vanity Fair contributing editor (and father) Bruce Handy.”

The Driver “From the creator of the TV show Bones comes a ‘riveting, smart and funny’ (Harlan Coben) debut thriller. ‘Everything a great thriller should be—always smart, often funny, and relentlessly exciting. I loved every page.’ (Scott Turow)”

Coming soon:

The Burning Girl “A bracing, hypnotic coming-of-age story about the bond of best friends, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Emperor’s Children.”

Stay with Me “This celebrated, unforgettable first novel, shortlisted for the prestigious Bailey’s Prize and set in Nigeria, gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage—and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.”

You can place holds on these books if they are not available using your IvyTech library account.

Best wishes to everyone for a successful semester!

Go Fly a Kite!

four kites flying in blue sky with clouds

April is National Kite Month and is a great time of the year to fly them. The American Kitefliers Association has many resources from directories of clubs to instruction videos. Kites are not just toys – kite making and flying can get very scientific and is a fun way to explore math, applied physics, earth science, art, and different cultures.
Kites have been used in scientific experiments like Ben Franklin’s test for electricity in lightning. Kites were used in warfare for observation as late as the second world war; in ancient times they could be flown over fortifications to test how thick walls were, by using triangulation. The classic kite shape of two triangles that share a base has many interesting mathematical properties, and can be convex or nonconvex.
Kites to be flown are not always kite-shaped, however; there are tubular sock and drogue shapes. Constructing a kite also involves tying special knots in the strings, and flying one uses the same technologies and techniques as operating a sail boat. Kites are being tested as a source of energy, as used in kite surfing, snowkiting, and kite sledding. Fighting with kites is an ancient sport taken quite seriously in parts of Asia, described in the acclaimed novel The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (adapted as a movie).
Many kites are made to be beautiful above all. Ancient kites were made of silk, paper, and bamboo. Today, people make them out of Tyvek® and nylon fabric too.
In some places kites are part of religious ceremonies: in India, they are flown on the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti; in Mexico, fire kites called “little witches” are set off at night around Hallowe’en; in Guatemala, kites are flown above graves to free ancestor spirits on the Day of the Dead; in Japan, kites are released to exorcise evil spirits.
To find more information on the many aspects of kites, search in our databases using – ironically – the subject heading Kites (toys) to filter out resources concerned with the bird species called kite. (Sources: Freeman, C. (2010). Hands on geometry. Waco, TX: Prufrock Press. Rowlands, J. (1989). One-hour kites. New York: St. Martin’s Press. Silvester, H.(2008).  Into the wind: the art of the kite. New York: Abrams.)

New – ScienceDirect from Elsevier

Do you need articles from scholarly, peer-reviewed journals? Do you need the latest and best research from the fields of health and life sciences, physical sciences, or social and behavioral sciences?

If so, then ScienceDirect is the place to go. ScienceDirect is a new Library database that publishes academic journals produced by Elsevier, one of the most prestigious academic publishers in the world.

ScienceDirect carries the world’s best research, including articles that are not yet available in print, and going back to 1995, from almost 1,200 journals.

Where did we come from? : science fiction and space exploration.

By Library Clerk David Winn

In the past month, there have been two events which, although completely unrelated, seem to occupy the same realm of public consciousness. On February 27th, we lost Leonard Nimoy at age 83, the actor most famously known as Mr. Spock, the eminently logical lieutenant commander of the USS Enterprise in the sci-fi series Star Trek.  Nimoy’s

Leonard Nimoy in Star Trek

performance became a crucial part of defining the iconic crew who instilled a set of values in a generation of fans as William Shatner spoke the credo ”to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.” These words seem wholly appropriate as NASA’s probe Dawn approaches the dwarf planet Ceres, a large body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter that has been photographed from afar but never properly explored or analyzed beyond what space telescopes and mathematics allow.Even as fans mourn Nimoy’s passing and celebrate his life, missions like this prove that mankind is more eager than ever to exercise their own inclinations to explore new worlds, in ways that may have been seen as relegated to the realm of science fiction only decades ago.

Decades is sometimes a necessary term when talking about space exploration. Due to the amount of planning, the exorbitant amount of funding, and the logistics of allowing craft to travel millions of miles, the time between conceptualization of a mission and realization of its objective can be a long stretch. This particular mission that would eventually allow Dawn to reach Ceres saw its start in 1996, did not achieve funding until 2004, and is just now reaching Ceres in 2015, although its initial objective the asteroid Vesta was reached in mid-2011. Now that Dawn has reached Ceres, it will still take roughly a month for it to achieve a place in the dwarf planet’s orbit suitable for transmitting back data to the scientists stationed on Earth. Space science is not a realm of instant gratification. Those on the outside may need to temper their expectations as to what this type of mission may discover, even though to NASA scientists it has the possibility to be immensely exciting.

The hope is not to find the gleaming spires of crystalline palaces amidst the dwarf planet’s crags, or the broken apart remnants of an alien civilization’s spaceships jutting from the ice cap. What is of immense interest is the possibility of liquid water, one of the crucial elements to life on our planet and a hint that abiogenesis could occur elsewhere in our solar system, even if it was relegated to the simplest of life forms.In the case of Dawn’s mission, one of the primary objectives is not to search for remnants of possible unicellular organisms such as with the Curiosity rover on Mars, but rather to help determine more information about how bodies like Ceres and Vesta form. Carol Raymond, Dawn’s deputy principal investigator recently told CBS news, “We know that Ceres retained a lot of volatiles and its shape is consistent with a differentiation into a rocky core and an ice mantle,” and then added, “It’s inevitable that that ice would have existed as an ocean at some time in the past.”She also refers to Ceres and Vesta as “fossils,” and this is accurate in the way that NASA’s scientists will be trying to forensically understand what happened in the past on a geological time scale that dwarfs that of paleontologists studying the fossils of biological organisms.

If that’s not immediately gripping, there is a bit of genuine mystery to pique your curiosity. Photos of Ceres from far away show two bright spots that appear almost reflective in nature and can be downright eerie given Ceres’ total isolation in the blackness of space. This yet unidentified geographical feature could be an example of cryovolcanism, a process that results in ice volcanoes that spew compounds of water and methane instead of molten rock. A slightly more mundane explanation is simply that a small portion of the icy core has broken through to the surface, hence the bright, reflective spot on an otherwise rocky façade. Whatever the reason, these are types of questions that can’t be answered with telescopes from Earth or mathematics calculations of what could hypothetically be expected to happen on a body such as Ceres. With our limited ability to transport human beings to other worlds, missions like this are currently our best option for getting a first-hand look at alien worlds and evidence of how they actually came to be.

Before I leave you today, I’d like to return to the image of those two bright spots on Ceres, two bright eyes staring back like the glowing tapetum lucidum of a lion caught by the flash of a camera. This is more than just a new, memorable image from space. This is the man on the moon, the face we’ve seen for centuries before we brought a man up to meet him. This is the face on Mars, or the countless other strange shapes that humans have tried to ascribe meaning to as we sift through new photographs from these distant worlds. This phenomena is a type of pareidolia, the human inclination to find order and recognizable patterns where there is none, especially in the case of anthropomorphizing things. This can be attributed to an evolutionary need for self-preservation; if your mind is accustomed to finding the face of a predator amongst the jungle foliage, then you might have a leg up when there actually is a predator skulking there.  In some ways, I don’t think much has changed. As we gaze upon these alien worlds, we look for the little pieces of relatable humanity. It helps keep us grounded as we ponder the enormity of the unexplored universe that awaits us.Then again, maybe these worlds are not so foreign after all. Perhaps it is our inexorable connection with all of the cosmos that spurs us forward to each new discovery.

As we look forward to what can be learned from observing Ceres, ponder for just a moment the words of Carl Sagan from Cosmos: A Personal Voyage: “Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can. Because the cosmos is also within us. We’re made of star-stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.”

Working on Mars voyages of scientific discovery with the Mars exploration rovers / William J. Clancey

Online Books Collection

Geologists in the field climb hills and hang onto craggy outcrops; they put their fingers in sand and scratch, smell, and even taste rocks. Beginning in 2004, however, a team of geologists and other planetary scientists did field science in a dark room in Pasadena, exploring Mars from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) by means of the remotely operated Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). Clustered around monitors, living on Mars time, painstakingly plotting each movement of the rovers and their tools, sensors, and cameras, these scientists reported that they felt as if they were on Mars themselves, doing field science. The MER created a virtual experience of being on Mars. In this book, William Clancey examines how the MER has changed the nature of planetary field science. Drawing on his extensive observations of scientists in the field and at the JPL, Clancey investigates how the design of the rover mission enables field science on Mars,explaining how the scientists and rover engineers manipulate the vehicle and why the programmable tools and analytic instruments work so well for them. He shows how the scientists felt not as if they were issuing commands to a machine but rather as if they were working on the red planet, riding together in the rover on a voyage of discovery. (From B&N)