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Diego Fonstad

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Interactive exploration of human microbiome

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Saturday, 16 June 2012
in Images that speak for themselves

microbiomTeachable Moment: Scientists are only now beginning to understand the extent of the importance of the microbiome in our lives.  New research suggests that the bugs in our stomach can even impact our mood. This interactive graphic is a great road map of where the microbiom exists in our bodies.

According to Scientific American: "The body contains 10 times more bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms than human cells. Most of these species are harmless—although they can still cause illness if they wind up in the wrong place. In addition, researchers are beginning to learn exactly how some microbial species in the body help digestion and contribute to regulation of appetite and the immune system."

Tags: Untagged
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NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO)

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 15 June 2012
in Images that speak for themselves

Teachable Moment: With new telescopes like Kepler and Hubble capturing stunning images of objects innumerable light years away, it is surprising to realize how little we knew about our closest neightbor: The Moon.  NASA's LOA using the Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter (LOLA) has captured stunning images of the moon and significantly enhanced our understanding of it's surface.

 

Tags: Astronomy
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Science Friday

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 14 June 2012
in Online Resources

scifriTeachable Moment: NPR's Science Friday is a great show exploring math and science and their web site is a wonderfully rich resource not only for listening to older episodes but also for finding engaging videos and teacher tools.

Science Friday is a weekly science talk show, broadcast live over public radio stations nationwide from 2-4pm Eastern time as part of NPR's 'Talk of the Nation' programming. Each week, we focus on science topics that are in the news and try to bring an educated, balanced discussion to bear on the scientific issues at hand. Panels of expert guests join Science Friday's host, Ira Flatow, a veteran science journalist, to discuss science - and to take questions from listeners during the call-in portion of the program.

Reference: http://www.sciencefriday.com/

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Measuring the Universe

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 14 June 2012
in Videos worth watching

measure the universe250Teachable Moment: This brilliant little video made by the Royal Observatory in Greenwich covers the concepts of parallax, doppler and red-shift and shows how they are all used together to measure the universe.

 

 

 

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Cracking the egg sprinkler mystery

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 13 June 2012
in Videos worth watching

Teachable Moment: This video illustrates how asking "why" can lead to novel discoveries even around phenomena many others have already observed.

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Thomas Edison's To Do List

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 13 June 2012
in Images that speak for themselves

 

Teachable Moment:  Edison's wonderfully eclectic task list is a reminder that we can risk stifling creativity and innovation if we insist people focus on one task at a time.  Of course, the challenge then becomes competing those tasks.

Reference: http://edison.rutgers.edu/NamesSearch/SingleDoc.php3?DocId=NA021AAF

Tags: Engineering
Hits: 14292

Visual proof of Area of a Circle

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 13 June 2012
in Videos worth watching

 Teachable Moment: Simple little visual proof of the formula for the area of a circle. 

 

Tags: Math
Hits: 11118

Trick for teaching basic trigonometry

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Monday, 11 June 2012
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: Nice simple and straight forward trick to remember 

From the Blog:

"During my middle-school teaching days I noticed that often kids would arrive in my 8th-grade class with a half knowledge of sine, cosine, tangent. There were two major problems they often had in solving for unknown sides in a right triangle using trig:

1. They couldn't visually distinguish opposite side vs. adjacent side. Many middle-schoolers I taught had a poor consistency (if any) with recognizing what "opposite" and "adjacent" meant in a diagram; it was just too abstract for them, even though I tried to explain how to look for the sides "across" the triangle, etc.

2. They couldn't figure out whether to use sine, cosine, or tangent in a given situation.

Follow the link below to read more. 

Reference: http://untilnextstop.blogspot.com/2011/02/trick-for-teaching-basic-trig.html

Tags: Math
Hits: 110160

EngineerGuy.com

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 10 June 2012
in Online Resources


Teachable Moment:
Great videos that explain advanced engineering concepts in everyday devices. I especially like the tear down videos.

Make called Bill a "brilliant science-and-technology documentarian", whose "videos should be held up as models of how to present complex technical information visually" Wired called them "dazzling." Scientific American's blog called him a "smart, easygoing everyman with a firm understanding of the science." You can see 10 of his best videos below. He takes apart an LCD monitor, demonstrates how fiber optic cables work, rips up a hard drive, explains the wonder of a quartz wrist watch, solves the mystery of black boxes, blows up a light bulb filament, reveals how amazing a pop can tab truely is, shows why a cell phone looks like it does, and explains why you always seem to be in the slowest line.

Reference: http://www.engineerguy.com/

Tags: Engineering
Hits: 29392

Mudd Math Fun Facts

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 10 June 2012
in Online Resources

Teachable Moment: Nice little collection of math facts curated by a Harvey Mudd math professor...

I developed Math Fun Facts in 1994 as a warm-up activity for the calculus courses I taught as a graduate student at Harvard. Calculus was the final math course that most of my students would take, and I worried that they would emerge from college with the mistaken notion that all of mathematics was "just more calculus". Most college students never see the interesting stuff that motivates mathematicians to study the subject.

So, I began to tell them "Fun Facts"---daily mathematical tidbits from all areas of mathematics (not just calculus), meant to arouse their curiosity and fascination with the subject. Fun Facts give students a glimpse that mathematics is full of interesting ideas, patterns, and new modes of thinking.

The student reaction to Fun Facts was highly positive. Once I started, I couldn't stop---students would clamor for them if I forgot to give one. They stopped me after class to discuss them, began to create their own, and were motivated to take other math courses because of the Fun Facts they learned.

I got the idea from something that one of my college professors (John Jones) did; he once wrote an interesting infinite series on the board and called it a "fun fact". I thought to myself: why not do something like this everyday and include brief fun facts from all areas of mathematics? I told myself that if I became a professor someday, I would try it...

So here, on this site, is an archive of many of the Fun Facts that my colleagues and I have collected. I launched this site on July 20, 1999 so that others might use it as a resource and repository of ideas, and it continues to grow. I hope you enjoy this site... do feel free to visit often!

Reference: http://www.math.hmc.edu/funfacts/about.shtml

Tags: Math
Hits: 22959