A Digital PLN Story #etmooc

Hang Out

How do you build a PLN? Take a risk. Be JoLLE: Join, Lurk, Learn, Extend.

In 2011 Denise Krebs and I began an adventure, and I am forever grateful for the friends and support that have been shared back and forth since then, and continues even now.

Here’s our story, approved by Denise, my friend, because @cogdog asked for stories of positive connections:

Two Connected Learners #etmooc from Sheri Edwards on Vimeo.

And that’s what happens when you JOin Twitter (or #ETMOOC), Lurk around awhile, Learn a few things and spaces and tricks, and the Extend yourself into conversations and projects.

Think: What do you hope to do in the next year?

Antarctica 4

How do the organisms survive, and how do the scientists study them?

I the previous post, Jeff Bowman explains how in the petals of the Frost Flower, life can survive in the Arctic ( Science Article and Diigo Notes — sign in) and in the Antarctic (Science Article and Diigo Notes ).
But how do the bacteria live in what is now a much more salty habitat?

Let’s think about how these small, microscopic creatures live by first learning about diffusion and osmosis.


“the process that causes a liquid (especially water) to pass through the wall of a living cell”

“to spread out : to move freely throughout a large area” [from high concentration (lots) to less concentration (little)]

Video Explanation

These microscopic creatures must adapt their osmotic process to this new saltier environment, and Jeff and Shelley must create an environment that keeps this “osmotic” balance.

When Jeff and Shelley want to study these frost flowers and the creatures within them, they must allow them to melt in very salty water: “If you take these bacteria from their salty environment and place them in fresh water they will suddenly take in a lot of water and pop!…The bacteria might be living at a salinity of 150 ppt (parts per thousand), about five times the salinity of the ocean.  The melted ice might have a salinity of only 10 ppt.  So to keep the cells in sea ice from lysing (a fancy word for bursting) we have to melt the ice into water that is very, very salty.”

1. What is one part of the life of these microscopic organisms?
2. What do Jeff and Shelley need to do to study them after collecting them from the sea-ice?
3. Why is this important again?



Antarctica 3

How does something live in this very cold area?

Jeff Bowman explains how in the petals of the Frost Flower, life can survive in the Arctic ( Science Article and Diigo Notes — sign in) and in the Antarctic (Science Article and Diigo Notes ).

Open the notes, and see how the text connects to this summary:

Seawater turns to ice at -1.8° C
The ice has two parts: fresh ice crystals and salty liquid water
The ice crystals make the structure of the flower.
With more cold, more crystals form with less liquid.
Anything in the ice that isn’t water is forced out into the liquid.
The salt, the organisms, and anything else moves into the liquid.
The organisms must be able to live in this very salty liquid (called brine)– pockets of life in Frost Flowers on sea-ice.

1. Can you draw a series of pictures with labels to show this?
2. What is this important?  Take a look at Antarctic Wildlife to infer why.

Next post: How do the organisms survive, and how do the scientists study them?

Antarctica News 2

Antarctic News 2

Look at the frost flower sample taken by the Jeff Bowman team in Antarctica here. One possible life form is the bacteria, polarbacter. What do they look like?

Image source: Gosink, Woese and Staley. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 1998 48:223-235.









How about algae?








And sea-ice diatoms?












Answer: And why are these creatures, some of whom are phytoplankton, important?
Antarctica Wildlife

Phytoplankton Info NOAA



Antarctica News 1

We are fortunate to have the inside scoop on a Jeff Bowman’s research expedition to Antarctica.

What does Antarctica look like? What lives there? Look at these from National Geographic:



Doesn’t this look like a desert ice fern?

Frost flowers? Take a look at these frost flowers from the Arctic and now look at the frost flower sample taken by the Jeff Bowman team in Antarctica here. In 2009, Jeff collected samples from the Arctic (image).

Is there life in these “petals?” What do you think?

SMILES from Summer

What events and people brought smiles to you this summer?

Think about your summer days: walking around town in blistering heat or pouring rain with friends; splashing through the waves to the dock; catching the biggest trout; screaming through Tremors Roller Coaster; helping Gramma and hearing her stories.

Make a list. Use active words (walking, splashing, catching, etc.).

Share your list with a partner; you may be reminded of more to add while you share. Revise your list for more action words– what else could you change or add to create a mind movie for your reader?

Write the word ‘smile’ vertically on your paper (your journal would be a great place for this). You can write the letters slightly indented, in case you need to add words before the letter. Look at your list. How can you fit five of those smiling events to include the letters, SMILE? Which would you include? Star them. Now, what else would clarify the event? Add details (5Ws: Who What When Where Why). Remember to change the names to protect the innocent and guilty. 🙂






Use the letters to write a poem of the events or people that brought you joy this summer.  Here’s mine:

Summer swimming and splashing in cool lake waters and stomping in the simmering sand

while walking Pooka and Munching on peanut butter and celery with family for fun at the beach;

watching Interesting movies like Avatar and Star Trek when the rain pounds the pavement outside;

Listening to stories and laughing together with grandkids;

Everyone hugs, happy to gather together again.

Take your time — be an author. What can you remember about writing elaboration strategies? Try these: add details and strong verbs. Include alliteration (examples: stomping in the simmering sand; pounds the pavement). Share with a partner for help.

When your poem is ready, go to our Google Form. Enter the S M I L E of your summer joys. When everyone has shared their poem, the survey summary will show everyone’s SMILE anonymously. What similarities and differences do you notice? Who can create a class poem?

Think about the writing skills we practiced/reviewed already:

  • Write about what you know
  • Prewrite and brainstorm
  • Peer feedback
  • Predraft
  • Revise
  • Vivid Verbs
  • Nifty Nouns
  • Details (5Ws)
  • Alliteration
  • Poetry

Think about what we learned about each other. What was similar or different?

What did you learn?  What did you like? What else could be improved next time to make the project better?

Welcome to our always asking, What Else? classroom.