Product Review of The Ozone Hole
The Ozone Hole uses images, data, and videos from reliable sources such as NASA, NOAA, and the Royal British Astronomical Society to track changes in the Earth’s ozone layer due to natural and human-made factors. It was created by The Ozone Hole, Inc., a nonprofit organization that seeks to protect the Earth’s ozone layer, climate, and environment through education.
Approach the site with specific questions like “Why was the ozone hole so big in 2006?” or “What gases harm the ozone layer?” or even “What is the ozone layer?” and click Site Map to locate specifics. Click Multimedia for a collection of videos and animations for different grade levels. At the bottom of most pages is an introductory video, “The Antarctic Ozone Hole – From Discovery to Recovery, a Scientific Journey.” The Ozone Hole separates its content into sections: News, Links, Ozone Hole History, Ozone Hole 2006, Ozone Hole 2012, Montreal Protocol, and Arctic Ozone Hole. Click one of these sections at the top or refer to the Site Map. There’s also a link to The Ozone Hole’s active Facebook page that has material not found on the website.
The site’s weakness as a reference is a lack of learning activities to help younger kids digest complicated information. Without any interactivity, it’s up to you to make sense of all the info for your learners. You could have kids create graphs from the data about the progression of the ozone hole from the 1980s to today and extrapolate them to predict its condition years from now. Kids could write a story or journal entry about life without the Montreal Protocol, or make molecular models of gases that harm the ozone layer such as chlorofluorocarbons and carbon tetrachloride — there’s a list at the bottom of the Montreal Protocol page. They could also print and cut images of the ozone hole and make a flipbook to show how it’s changed over time.
The site’s content is thorough and scientific, but its poor design will turn kids off before they grasp the concepts it’s so eager to communicate. However, kids can learn how human and natural factors affect the ozone layer’s ability to protect life on Earth. Current and historical data show the progression of the ozone hole over Antarctica from the 1980s to today and its behavior month to month in any particular year. Kids can also learn about the Montreal Protocol, a landmark agreement among countries around the world to stop using gases that harm the ozone layer. There’s no interactivity here, but the information can be a jumping-off point for creative activities offline.
The Ozone Hole would benefit from some organization and a change from its long-scrolling design, but there are a few good nuggets worth the trip way, way down the page.
Overall User Consensus About the App
The Ozone Hole’s staggering amount of content combined with poor design makes navigation a challenge. It’s tough for kids to find things that are age-appropriate or that interest them.
Curriculum and Instruction
Images, video, and text do create a thorough reference for kids to learn more about the environment and international cooperation. But it’s hard to appreciate the depth here.
There’s very little support for kids. Links to reputable scientific organizations and groups provide some extensions.