mystery The answer to the clues may be found at the bottom of this column.    Teachers and Parents: Enter to win an entire set of Dawn’s nature books of one title for your home or classroom. It's fun and easy!
Just read the clues below. They describe an aspect of nature—a plant, animal, mineral, habitat, or natural process.
When you're ready to make your guess about who or what I am, click ENTER NOW.
Who Am I?
spacerglass1 Clue 1:  I'm a member of the "dog family."
glass1 Clue 2:  I live throughout North America in deserts, prairies, forests, and even in towns and cities.
glass1 Clue 3:  You might hear me howling at night to communicate with my pack.
glass1 Clue 4:  Don't let me trick you—I am NOT a wolf.
Do you think you know who I am? ENTER NOW.
Entries should be submitted no later than noon on Friday.
If you guessed correctly, you’re automatically entered into the monthly drawing for a set of nature books from Dawn Publications.
A contest winner will be announced at the end of September.
Throughout the school year, clues for a new Who Am I are posted no later than Sunday night, so you can use them with your class on Monday morning.Good luck!
The answer to last week's mystery was: SEASHELLS Although Inside Outside Nature blog is changing it's focus, this weekly "Who Am I?" will remain the same! Teachers, click here to get ideas about how to use the contest with your students.  

Fire and Ice

While most of us were celebrating Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah on Thursday, an icy comet named ISON was making history as it swept about 730,00 miles over the sun’s fiery surface—that’s close!

Comet_020613-617x416Comets are like giant “dirty snowballs” of frozen gases, rock and dust that can be several miles in diameter. When they get near the sun, they warm up and spew some of the gas and dirt.


It is this burning off of dust and gas that reflects sunlight and gives the comet its radiance as it passes by the sun, creating a tail that can stretch for thousands of miles.

Most comets are in the outer part of our solar system. When they get close enough for us to see, scientists study them for clues about how our solar system formed.


INSIDE: Make a Comet

comet_smHave your students build a physical model of a comet using common items following the directions on this pdf.

This lesson, from Dark Skies, Bright Kids, can be adapted for all ages.

For younger students or limited time/space, the instructor can build a single comet to show everyone else.


OUTSIDE: See for Yourself

CometChallenge your students to get up early to spot ISON.

The Goddard Space Flight Center reports, “Skygazers can plan on seeing the comet come Dec 1. “It would be low in the sky early in the morning,” Young said. “Each day it will go higher in the sky and be visible earlier in the morning, closer to midnight. By the 17th it will be up or around the Big Dipper and should be visible closer to midnight.”

The BBC advices, “Binoculars are probably the best way to locate the comet at the start of December but take care to make sure the sun is below the horizon when sweeping around. NEVER observe the sun through any form of optical instrument. Permanent blindness can result.”



Most comets are in the outer part of our solar system. When they get close enough for us to see, scientists study them for clues about how our solar system formed. Discover more about the formation of the Universe in Born with a Bang by Jennifer Morgan. It’s the first in a trilogy! Book 2 is From Lava to Life and Book 3 is Mammals Who Morph.









Apollo 14 Astronaut Edgar Mitchell endorsed these books, “When returning from the Moon, I experienced directly and emotionally the personal connection to the Universe described by Jennifer Morgan.”