Extra Credit

Check this page for information about how you can earn extra credit in Mr. Dawson's science courses. The amount of extra credit given for each assignment will depend on the quality of the work. More extra credit will be given when students post their work online using a wiki or blog (when appropriate). However, use of a wiki or blog is not always required for all extra credit.

Make a Video?

String Theory in 2 Minutes or Less
Produce a video that explains "String Theory" in 2 minutes or less and submit it to this contest! Entries are due by midnight, March 16, 2007, so not much time is left! The video must be uploaded through the Discover.com website.
Start with the following resources:
The Elegant Universe - A PBS/NOVA documentary about String Theory that features Brian Greene, one of today's most prominent string theorists.
http://www.iscap.columbia.edu/ - Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics (ISCAP) at Columbia University, where Brian Greene works.
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/physics/fac-bios/Greene/faculty.html - Biography and bibliography for Brian Greene.
http://www.nuclecu.unam.mx/~alberto/physics/string.html - Great links, but last updated in 2004.
http://www.theory.caltech.edu/people/jhs/strings/ - Intro to String Theory hosted at Caltech, Mr. D's alma mater.
Note that String Theory is sometimes referred to as Superstring Theory.


Create a podcast about a topic covered in class, or a topic that you're interested in that relates to our class. Detailed instructions for creating a podcast can be found at the podcast wiki. The amount of points awarded will be based on the podcast rubric posted on the podcast wiki. Your podcast must be posted online in order to receive credit.


Earn extra credit by expanding this class wikispace in a useful way. Maybe take a unit from class and turn it into a wiki. I'm very open to suggestions on this one.


Earn extra credit by starting (or enhancing) your own blog and writing entries about what you learned and what you did in class. Connect the blog to the class wiki in order to share it with others and receive credit. The best (and most highly recommended) place to make a blog for school use is http://learnerblogs.org. You can also try www.blogger.com or http://wordpress.com.

Current Events

Search online for a recent article related to science, preferably the type of science covered in your class (Astronomy or Environmental Earth Science). The article should have been published within the last 2 months. Write a 200+ word summary of the article that highlights the 5 Ws: Who, What, When, Where, Why (and, of course, How). Also discuss the importance or usefulness of this information for yourself or the general public. Finally, explain why you chose this article. For full credit, post a link to the article along with your summary (and your name) on the Current Events wiki or preferably, on your blog. For partial credit, you can submit the article and your summary on paper. Perfect spelling and grammar is a must!

Web Links

Post good, subject-specific web links to the "Links" wiki (see menu on the left of this page). Please post your link under the correct subject (Astronomy, Environmental Earth Science, etc.). To earn extra credit you must use the same format shown in my examples (Astronomy Notes and the BHS Planetarium). Properly cite each link and include a brief explanation of the website it takes you to. Also explain why you're recommending the website. Only post links that meet the criteria of the Web-Site Evaluation assignment. Perfect spelling and grammar is a must! The amount of extra credit will depend on the quality of your citation, summary, and the website itself. You can also post the link and your review/explanation on a blog.

Review a Book

How To Write a Book Review - external image octet-stream.png BookReviewGuide06.doc
Sample Book Reviews - external image octet-stream.png SampleBookReviewsKrakatoa06.doc
Choose a science book of your liking, read it, then review it. The final version of your book review must be posted online, either on a blog or wiki, in order to receive extra credit points. I recommend finishing your review well before the end of a term and having someone edit it before you post it online for the world to see. Please use the book review guide above to help with your writing. Read through the sample book reviews provided above for further guidance, and/or search for additional book reviews online. These samples will give you a really good idea of what I'm looking for. If you pick a book that's too short (less than 100 pages), you probably won't have enough to say. If you're book is too long (over 300-400 pages), you may not have enough time to finish it. Your book review should be at least 500 words long (the sample reviews above are 750, 500, and 600 words, respectively). Don't count by hand! In Microsoft Word, go to "Tools" and "Word Count" and it will do the work for you!

Record a Video

Record an entire educational television program or movie on to a VHS videotape (or better yet, a DVD). Before doing so, make sure the creators of the program allow it to be recorded and viewed in school (most PBS specials, like NOVA, allow you to use a copy in class for up to one year). The final copy should not include commercials. The video must have educational value and must be related to science, preferably the type of science covered in your class (Astronomy or Environmental Earth Science). Check your notes, your textbook, or the course syllabus for topic ideas. Label the tape (or DVD) with your name, the title of the program, TV station, length of recording, and date of recording. Along with the recording you must submit an assignment for students to do either during or after the program. The assignment can be a worksheet, quiz, or anything else. The more creative, the better, but the assignment should be based directly on the main ideas and most important information presented in the video. In other words, don't ask about small details, like the color of the shoes worn by the narrator! The assignment should be something your classmates can clearly understand, without it being too simple. To earn credit, the assignment must be typed, and preferably submitted electronically rather than on paper. Please submit an answer key if appropriate. Perfect spelling and grammar is a must! More points will be given for longer or more "authoritative" programs, such as NOVA or Scientific American. The channels with the best programs are PBS, the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel (TLC), the Travel Channel, Animal Planet, National Geographic, and the Science Channel. For television schedules, check a TV Guide or go online to http://www.discovery.com/tvlistings/daymulti.jsp?through=dcom|topnav|tvscheds or http://www.wgbh.org/schedules/daytv.