B.C. Science Probe 4
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Unit A: Weather

Unit B: Light and Sound

Unit C: Habitats and Communities

General Links

B.C. First Nations

Links to all things Aboriginal within B.C.

B.C. Métis Association

Contact information for various Métis organizations in B.C.

Association of B.C. Friendship Centres

Links to Aboriginal news, entrepreneurs, organizations, and government agencies.

B.C. Education Aboriginal Education Contacts

Aboriginal Program Consultant contact information for all B.C. School Districts, which can help access Elders, resource people and other community leaders.


Unit A: Weather

General Unit Links

Weather: Canada Specific Tools

University collection of links dealing with Canada's weather, including regionally listed forecasts, climate information, satellite photos, and more.

Environment Canada's Weather Resources

Environment Canada: Weather Topics

Overviews and FAQs of issues regarding Canada's weather


Chapter 1

Section 1.1: What Is Weather

Encyclopedia of Atmospheric Environment

Comprehensive overview of atmospheric issues, written in both technical format for educators, as well as student-friendly format.


Section 1.2: Observing and Measuring the Weather

Weather Tools

Activity site for students to create their own weather observation tools such as a rain gauge, a barometer, a wind scale tool, etc.

Arctic Diary

Read about a Canadian research group working on the Arctic sea ice at the northern most tip of Canada.


Section 1.4: Measuring Precipitation

Snow Measurement Challenges

Describes methods and challenges of measuring snowfall.

What is a Storm?

Understanding the definition of and the formative processes of a storm.

Weather Misconceptions

Children's misconceptions about weather.


Section 1.5: Measuring Cloud Cover

Cloud Cover

A meteorologist explains the systems used to describe cloud cover.

Understanding Your Forecast

Brief descriptions of the terms used in weather forecasts issued by Environment Canada. Note the section on clouds.


Section 1.6: Measuring Wind


instructions for making an anemometer to measure wind speed.

History of Weather Vanes

A brief history of weather vanes.


Section 1.7: Measuring Air Pressure


How they work, with a link to aneroid barometers, too.


Section 1.8: Finding Weather Information

Environment Canada's Weather Office

A map based weather forecasting tool, with many other tools such as satellite photos, etc.

Canadian Meteorology Services

A brief history of the C.M.S.

Chapter 2

Section 2.1: Weather and the Seasons

Helpful science explanation of our summer/winter patterns

Reasons for Seasons

Good teacher related link with discussion topics and activities.


Section 2.2: The Effect of Mountains and Oceans on Our Climate

Mountains, Whitecaps Change Weather Models

Great real-world examples of the subject matter discussed in this Section

Mountains and Rainfall

A short paragraph with a diagram of how mountains affect rainfall


Section 2.3: Weather Patterns in Different Places

Canadian Climate Averages

Climate normals and extremes across Canada, compiled and calculated over the past twenty years by Environment Canada.

Canada's Climate Activity

Graphing the variations over time of precipitation and temperature for Canada's different regions


Section 2.4: Conduct an Investigation: Heating Water and Land

Surface Temperature Distribution

In geophysical terms, the explanation behind why water heats slower, and cools down slower than land.

Section 2.5: Using Air Pressure to Predict Weather

EdHeads Weather Glossary

Weather related terms and their meanings

How Air Pressure Signals Weather Changes

Information about air pressure and weather, and how they affect one another.


Section 2.6: Using Clouds to Predict Weather

Cloud Chart

Photos of different types of clouds, and the type of weather conditions they predict.

Cloud Watching: More About Clouds

The three main types of clouds and the other types that result when they combine.


Tech.CONNECT: Weather Satellites

Weather In Motion

Satellite pictures of the weather that you can watch.

Chapter 3

Section 3.1: Weather Affects Non-Living Things

Rocks, Minerals and Erosion

A list of helpful links to activities and audiovisual materials.  

How Rocks and Minerals are Formed

Good descriptions of how rocks are formed and how erosion plays a big part of that cycle.

Written for kids, but packed with clear, concise information, and even a demonstration or two.


Section 3.2: Seasonal Weather Affects Living Things

How Animals Migrate

Encyclopedia article with fascinating facts about migratory instincts and habits.

Arctic Plants and Animals

The strategies animals will use to survive the harsh winter conditions in the Arctic


Section 3.3: Winter Weather Affects British Columbians

Weather and climate in B.C.

Discusses the regional climate zones of B.C.


Section 3.3: Extreme Weather Events Affect Living and Non-Living Things

About Storms

Stormsurf has definitions of terms and descriptions of different types of storms

Earth Observatory

Many articles about the Atmosphere; See the link for "DAAC study: Dropping in on a Hurricane"

Severe Storms

This is a comprehensive guide to severe weather conditions and types of storms, including photos and explanations.


ScienceWORKS: The UV Index: A Canadian Success Story

Angus Fergusson Biography

Angus Fergusson: The Canadian who started the Children's UV Index Sun Awareness Program.


Unit B: Light and Sound

General Unit Links


Links where you can learn about sound and light by using the Search Nova box. Simply type in what you are interested in within the topics of Light and Sound and check out what is available. Sound, video, and text are available.

General Unit Teacher Information

An excellent site for self-study of all branches of science for elementary teachers. Thorough, well illustrated, concise and well indexed.

Light Unit for Grade 4

A collection of similar and alternative activities for working with light for grade 4 students.


Chapter 4

Section 4.1: What Is Light?

There are many sources of light.

Illustrated examples of light sources and more.

The Lighting Library

A universe of links to detailed light information.


Section 4.2: Natural Light

Natural Light

A tutorial on how natural light changes what we see.

Sunlight and Moonlight

Explanation about the natural light we get from the Sun and the Moon and has an activity for students.

Awesome SCIENCE: Creatures That Glow!


Information on living things that produce light. It is very complete and has more photos of the animals found in this feature.


Section 4.3: Artificial Light

The light bulb book

All you ever wanted to know about light bulbs.

Artificial Light in Ancient Rome

The history of lamps using Roman examples.

Candles: history

A good explanation of the history of candlelight as well as other links to candle information


A history and explanation of fireworks.

Neon lighting and how it works

Description of how neon lighting is made and how the colours are produced.

Tech.CONNECT: Edulight-A Canadian Invention

Why Trade Matters

More information about the Edulight on the International Trade Canada on Glenergy Inc. under the heading "Success Stories" for the full article.

Chapter 5

Light Appears to Travel in Straight Lines.

An excellent and concise tutorial on the properties of light used in this chapter with clear diagrams and a separate page for each property.


Section 5.1: Light Travels in a Straight Line

Light Travels in a Straight Line

Excellent photographs of light rays traveling in straight lines.

Ray Optics

A good example of the Try This Activity, as well as a demonstration of an interactive angle of reflection.


Section 5.2: Light Behaves in Different Ways in Different Materials

Transparent, Translucent or Opaque-Art Explorations

Scroll past the exhibit by Daniel Buren, to the Art Explorations section to find the integration of art and light science introduced, with great explanations of how these properties can be explored using paint.


Section 5.3: Reflected Light

Reflected Light

An interactive example of mirror reflection where you can move the ray to show how the angle of incidence changes.

What is Reflected Light?

This site has several diagrams of light being reflected with clear captions.


Section 5.4: Refraction


This is a great applet (animated diagram) that allows you to vary the angle of the light hitting water and seeing two things-how the angle of refraction changes and how the object is magnified as seen in the pencil in the water photo in the Try This Activity.

What is Refraction?

Easy to understand site, with diagrams, that explains refraction.


Section 5.5: Light Can be Separated into Colours

Making Permanent Rainbows

How to make a permanent rainbow maker using clear nail polish, a tub of water and black construction paper.

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Clear definitions and diagrams of various parts of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Chapter 6

What is a Sound Wave?

Great description of what makes up a sound wave


Section 6.1: What is Sound?

What is sound?

A good description of the definition of sound plus other topics.


Section 6.2: Sound is Caused by Vibrations

Kids Science News Network-Sound

Full description of sound, presented in a kid-friendly manner.

Vocal Cords in Action

An animation of actual human vocal cords opening and closing during speech.


Section 6.3: Detecting Sound Vibrations

Animation of the Ear

Click on any of the different parts of this illustrated ear to see full descriptions of that interactive learning experience.

Detecting Sound Vibrations

How humans detect sound vibrations.

Amazing Animal Senses

This site is a general description of animals and their senses.

Chapter 7

The Nature of a Sound Wave

Several properties of sound are explained clearly in this site.


Section 7.1: Sound Waves

Sound Waves

Good descriptions and visuals of sound waves as well as diagrams illustrating loudness and pitch.


Section 7.2: Loudness

Sound Intensity

A very complete definition of loudness is contained in this site.

Sensing Sound Loudness

How humans sense loud sounds.


Section 7.3: Pitch


A brief description of pitch, with illustrations.

Doppler Effect

This site allows you to look at an animation of the Doppler effect which is experienced in the Try This Activity-Spinning Penny.


Section 7.4: What Sounds do Animals Hear?

Richardson's Ground Squirrel and Ultrasonic Sound

This is an article about how these animals warn each other of danger.

What Sounds Do Animals Hear?

This site lists many other animals in addition to those listed in the student book and their range of hearing.


Section 7.5: Conduct an Investigation: What Materials Can Sound Travel Through?

Sound Transmission

This site has a clear description of why sound travels fastest in solids plus a table of various substances and how fast through these solids sound travels.


Section 7.6: Transmitting Sound

Sound Transmission

Same site as in Section 7.5


Section 7.7: Reflecting Sounds


Interesting animation of an echo. The text can be read by the computer if necessary or desired.


Section 7.8: Absorbing Sounds

Anechoic Chamber at UBC

This article describes a use of a room that has been designed so there are no echoes or ambient noise. It is used to accurately measure how much sound an object produces.

Unit C: Habitats and Communities

Chapter 8

Section 8.1: What Habitats Provide

Creature Features

Visual guide to animals and their habitats. Select an animal or a habitat to learn more about it.


Section 8.2: Different Habitats have Different Features

Home/Habitat Theme Park

An excellent, interactive site, focused on learning about different animals and their habitats.


Section 8.3: Conduct an Investigation: What Is the Best Habitat for Mealworms?

Mealworms and Darkling Beetles

More information on the mealworm and what it becomes later in its lifecycle


Section 8.4: What Are Adaptations?

Create a Creature

Fun idea for an activity, to create your own animal, and describe its habitat and how it has adapted to that habitat.


Section 8.5: Structural Adaptations

Desert Animal Survival

How many animals adapt to cope with extreme conditions of their habitat.

Amazing Animal Adaptations

A list of animals and their adaptations which help them thrive in their habitats


Section 8.6: Behavioural Adaptations

Structural and Behavioral Adaptations

A very nicely laid-out site; see in particular the "additional resources" section

Adaptation Activity

Reptile adaptations

Adaptations of Mammals to Arid Australian Environments

There's an entire section of this paper which gives great examples of behavioural adaptations.


Section 8.7: Responses That Help Plants Adapt

Plant Adaptations

A good overview with examples of plants adapting to their environments, but the language may be a bit too advanced for the grade 4 level

Plant Adaptation PDFs Up-Close

Lots of examples and amazing photos of different species of plants and their adaptations, from Smith College Botanic Garden


Section 8.8: What Lives Here?

The Big Blue Bus: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

This is a kid-friendly site that is a Hinterland Who's Who of fish and birds that live in or near fresh and salt water habitats.

Chapter 9

Ecosystems and the Food Chain

This is a very informative site from Marietta College which breaks down all the aspects of the food chain into sections


Section 9.1: Populations and Communities


A collection of lessons and activities related to habitat, ecosystems and ecology


Section 9.2: How Plants and Animals Get Food

Herbivores and Carnivores

Click on the blue terms in this webpage to learn more about each of the three types of consumers, and how they keep a fine balance of food sources in their habitat.

Activity:Recyclers to the Rescue

A great hands on demonstration of recycling in action, which also serves as a hands-on review of the terms discussed in this section.


Section 9.3: Food Chains

Food Webs: The Balance of Nature

This resource is another take on the food chain, which encompasses the idea of energy use, and how the balance of nature is kept in equilibrium.

Food Chain Game

Explore the woodland habitat, learning about the animals and plants and sorting them according to where they fit on their food chain.


Section 9.4: Changes in Food Chains

Climate Change Unravels Food Chain

This article from January 2005 reveals just how the food chain can break down due to climatic changes.

Reintroduction of Grey Wolves Balances Food Chain

How we can help restore balance in the food chain.a positive environmental change.


Section 9.5: Food Webs are Made of Food Chains

Food Chains vs. Food Webs

A simple yet great description of the difference between the two, with examples provided.

Chapter 10

Section 10.1: Human Actions Affect Habitats

Hinterland Who's Who

Discover Your Place in Your Habitat: a guideline for activities with your students to maximize awareness of the biomes in which they live, and which they share with other species.


Section 10.2: The Effects of Changes in Habitats

Endangered Species Fact-Sheet

You can click on any animal in this Endangered species list to find a fact sheet about that species, including information on its habitat, current population and behaviour.

Endangered and Threatened Species

Good starting point for looking at names of red and blue listed species. In this case of the

Columbia Basin. The "mammals" page includes art of the species

Nonpoint Source Pollution

This site is the Mid Vancouver Island Habitat Enhancement Society; it has a good explanation of nonpoint source pollution, examples of groundwater models, and shows student involvement in a Streamkeepers program.

Eco Indicators

Certain species are monitored to assess the health of ecosystems. This site describes "the state of the environment for particular issues in a scientifically concise and easily understood manner." (Quote from the homepage itself) Shellfish, trumpeter swans, osprey eggs are a few examples.


Section 10.3: Conservation


A site about creating a patchwork of naturally landscaped yards throughout BC. See the Ambassadors page for ideas about how Naturescape may be working in your community

native plants of BC

This is the Native plants society of BC. The list of nurseries may be a good resource for the habitat project at the end of the unit.

salmon river restoration

This Web site is part of the Salmon River Watershed Roundtable. It has an excellent slide show of before and after shots of the restoration work.


Tech.CONNECT: Jackets from Pop Bottles

pop bottle fleece

This site gives good basic information about the use of recycled pop bottles.

making fleece

This site explains the process in a more detailed way than in the tech connect.


Section 10.4: Personal Choices Affect Habitats

EarthCARE Canada

EarthCARE provides guidance for school boards on protecting the planet and providing environmental stewardship. This site has a small list of stories that have an environmental theme, and some graded lesson plans available in PDF

Home Energy Tips

A good section on increasing the energy efficiency of your home.


Interesting articles, based on the idea of alternatives to landfills- zero waste. This site has won 2 awards, and offers links to two interactive websites on climate change.


Section 10.5: Traditional Aboriginal Cultures and Habitats

First Nations Environmental Network

Topics and Issues about conservation from a First Nations' Point of View, and how they approach environmental matters

Unit C: Making Connections: Help a Habitat

Blue School Program

Program and information about becoming a "Blue school" one that cares about oceans.

Oceans Day

Information from the Canadian Wildlife Federation, about Ocean's Day on June 8. Suggestions for class activities.

Energy Detectives

Students are trained through a BC hydro presentation to become energy detectives. They then find ways to make their schools more energy efficient.

School Landscape

This site is the Toyota Evergreen Learning Grounds and is in the interest of " Transforming the outdoor landscape of Canada's schools"