Phenomenon-based learning is an educational approach that engages students in
science. It starts with a “phenomenon,” or an attention-grabbing image or video
clip that hooks students into the lesson.
Ideally, phenomena should be visually interesting and not easily understood at
first glance. Instead, phenomena should be complex ideas that get students to
ask questions and draw upon multiple areas of science to help answer them.
For example, the tortoise phenomenon is a wacky story of a giant
land tortoise that got washed across the Indian Ocean. The story can’t be fully
explained without knowing about sea surface currents, wind patterns, and
monsoon seasons. In addition, the story is good fodder for discussion about the
differences between tortoises (who generally don’t swim) and their cousins, sea
turtles, who make long migratory journeys across the oceans each year.
We use datasets from NOAA’s Science On a Sphere® (SOS) to help explore and
explain science phenomena. If you are using SOS Explorer® or SOS Explorer®
Mobile, look for datasets designated as “Available for: SOSx”.
Phenomenon-based learning also pairs well with the Next Generation Science
White, snowy areas help to reflect heat from sun away from the Earth. As the ice caps melt due to anthropogenic climate change, they reflect less heat, causing the global temperatures to rise, which causes the ice caps to melt faster…