In previous posts here, here and here I’ve mentioned different resources that can be useful in helping students understand scale. Joseph Kerski, ESRI’s Education Curriculum Development Manager, recently posted to one of the GIS in higher ed listserves about some new web-based tools for teaching students about scale.
One of the websites, Scale of the Universe (created by Primaxstudio.com), features an interactive graphic that enables users to toggle a slider bar to zoom out from quantum to galactic scales while viewing where a variety of objects and measurements (quarks, bacteria, ostrich eggs, Redwood Trees, Marathon distance, planets, a light year) fall along that spectrum.Min Mid
The other site, Cell Size and Scale (from the Genetics Science Learning Center at the University of Utah), uses the same slider bar device but starts with a 1 square millimeter cell size, a coffee bean and 12 pt Times font and then zooms in – passing an X chromosome, Baker’s yeast, hemoglobin and glucose on the way – until it eventually reaches the size of a carbon atom.
Joseph also shared a link to a movie he created, entitled “Why Scale Matters,” that illustrates concepts related to scale in geography: