Crustacean Estimation

I’m still messing around with engaging elementary students with measurement and estimation. My own kids seem pretty interested. I don’t know if that’s a good measure at all. It has been a new experience for me to see how the different ages are able to engage with the same media. It is interesting to have your own tiered test group at hand- no matter how biased. This particular structure was sparked by one of the elementary specialists commenting that the students would often guess similar weights for a lion and a cat. My idea is to present similar animals but of very different sizes. I see it going something like this. Solicit comments about what kids know. Have the students guess which one is bigger. How much bigger? I may need a child sized silhouette rather than an adult- probably a good idea to mix the gender as well. I don’t know if that opens up additional areas of confusion. This is a also where I might add a zoomed in slide that breaks things down by inches. I think it’d be important to have a scale grid on the wall for students to measure themselves against. If it had the silhouettes, on it all the better. Now we have a much larger scale. What unit of measurement do you […]

Internet Detritus #5

Audio The sounds of made by a West Indian furrow lobster – via Boing Boing Radio Berkman – Facts Are Boring – via itself This week we tear apart the difference between Truth, Fact, and Evidence, and the quiet, but irreplaceable, role of the humble factchecker in our media: Author/factchecker Jim Fingal on the Lifespan of a Fact Former GQ intern and factchecker Gillian Brassil Veteran Atlantic Monthly factchecking department head Yvonne Rolzhausen David Weinberger, author of the recent book Too Big To Know From the New Blogs Why was melamine so toxic? “Because it’s not, really. It’s not supposed to be absorbable by the human body,” Jia says. Its LD-50 (“lethal dose-50?), or the dose at which 50 percent of those exposed would die, is 3161 mg/kg in rats, an incredibly low toxicity. So why had so many children gotten sick? National Geographic’s Phenomena


Science Video Contest

This is a pretty nice little video1 explaining entropy while at the same time giving tips on how to create a good science video. It’s made by Small Mammal who makes short videos for people like NPR. And the whole thing is part of a science video contest for Ars Technica that you can submit to here. -via Boing Boing 1 There is a pre-roll Canon ad.

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Pop Culture Omnibus II

A hodgepodge of links that inspired me and rough ideas on how I’d use them in class. Wondermark1 What is it? It’s a poster that lets you build your own story by picking component pieces- think MadLibs but for story construction. What I’d do with it- This would be a really interesting culminating activity after studying a genera, author, poet or historical era. The students have to figure out the basic elements that are present in the author’s works or major people/conflicts/geography of the era. They then build a similar poster. It’d be hard to figure out which elements would be the variables and which would be consistent. Lots of thinking involved. Thinking about it, it might be a fun thing to build in Google forms using the new branching options. The Shadow2 What is it? An artist who’s envisioning a boy with a monstrous shadow. What I’d do with it- It’d be fun to depict the inner-selves of historical and literary figures as their shadows. So you’d have students analyzing the characters or historical figures and then drawing representative shadows. The key would be in how they explain what the shadow represents and how they explain the difference between the public persona and the inner-self. It could represent their hidden dark side, kind of like what I did with […]


Honda’s Musical Road

The Santa Monica ad agency RPA cut half-inch grooves into a quarter-mile stretch of Avenue K, in the exurban L.A. desert city of Lancaster. The grooves were synched in such a way that driving over them at precisely 55mph caused Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” — a.k.a. the Lone Ranger theme — to echo in the air around you. –VSL So how cool would this be for physics, science and math? Lots of concepts to explore in a simple entertaining little Youtube clip. Wonder what it’d take to make your own version? Not necessarily with a real car- maybe a remote controlled model?


Lord of the Rings – Web 2.0 Style

[kml_flashembed movie=”” width=”425″ height=”350″ wmode=”transparent” /] I saw this on Neatorama. It’s worth checking out for the mix of web 2.0 story telling twists. You’ve got chat, emoticons, a Middle Earth twist on Google Maps some texting. It’s a multimedia extension of the chat room colonization of the US concept. You’ve got lots of room to play with this concept in a variety of subjects – history and English are pretty obvious but you could use it wherever there’s an interaction of objects and create a narrative around it. It’d work in chemistry (enzymes as instigators comes to mind), science (biomes, cell interactions) and government (it’d be a fun way to look at the bill to law process- maybe as a Google Map).

Interactive Introduction to the Human Body

National Geographic has an amazing interactive look at the brain, heart, digestive system, lungs and skin. You can stimulate the brain with a variety of inputs and see what part of the brain reacts. The heart can be “put through the paces”, the digestive system fed, and the skin aged. You can even trigger an asthma attack in the lungs. Each section looks at anatomy, function, and ills. This could be the centerpiece of some great student-centered exploration in a health or science class. via BoingBoing

Periodic Table Printmaking Project

Here’s another example of art meeting science. A group of printmakers from all over the world created individual prints (using a variety of mediums) to create a periodic table. This might be a great cross-curriculum project. You could also apply this idea to math formulas and scientific/physical laws. via Neatorama

Google Earth – The Next Level

I found this KMZ file the other night. It’s really the greatest Google Earth file I’ve ever seen. It’s tracking bird flu but it’s doing it through, time, space and evolution. It creates a three dimensional representation of the changing aspects of the virus as it moves from carrier to carrier and place to place. There’s a video showing what it can do and explaining things here. The source file is over here. Why am I so impressed? Mainly because it’s a perfect representation of data visualization. It shows a completely different way to use Google Earth. Who would have thought to use a geography program to track the evolution of a virus? This kind of convergence is amazing and examples like this can lead to some amazing connections. It can also lead the way for other creators to start using this application in different ways.