The Field Botany class is underway and the vegetation is rolling in despite floods and hail. There are 20 student participating on 20 different blogs. Right now we have almost 700 posts in the mother blog. Amazing to see all this great work and to be able to keep it instead of having it stuck in paper notebooks which only a few people ever saw and no one in the public could use. This early days for the site but in the end the intrepid biology duo of Jill Reid and Dianne Jennings will worked with their students to create a site that local residents can use to identify plants in our James River Park System. The nice thing about this setup is it can be used as is or modified to support a variety of other scenarios pretty readily. It has already inspired a sister project that will be documenting mortality and local cemeteries with Susan Bodnar-Deren (who just finished the first round of theOnline Course Development Initiative). Plugins Used On The Mother Blog/Set Up NS Cloner – Site Copier – This was handy for setup. In this case we wanted student sites to have the categories, pages, themes, and plugins already activated. This plugin let me do that easily from a blank template site. The free version doesn’t […]
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 […]
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
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.
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 […]
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?
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://youtube.com/v/YVYLhDTv3eM” 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).
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
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