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Diego Fonstad

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Turtles all the way down

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 31 March 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: What do we really know and how solid is the foundation of that knowledge?  That's the fundamental question of all science and, as Hawking so brilliantly realized, the turtle story makes this question tangible and fun to think about.

In Stephen Hawking's 1988 book A Brief History of Time, he starts with the following story:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: "What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise." The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, "What is the tortoise standing on?" "You're very clever, young man, very clever", said the old lady. "But it's turtles all the way down!"

References: Hawking, Stephen (1988). A Brief History of Time. Bantam Books. ISBN 978-0553053401.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turtles_all_the_way_down#cite_note-0

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www.terravert.org

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 30 March 2011
in Online Resources

TerraVert LogoTerraVert is a non-profit online service designed for K-5 teachers and children to enhance their learning experience in energy renewal concepts.

References: http://www.terravert.org

Hits: 14077

Infinite Monkey Theorem

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 30 March 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: This wonderful thought experiment is a great way of exploring probabilities as they apply to multiple random events.  The mere fact that it has infused its way into popular culture is a testament to its ability to engage thinkers.

The infinite monkey theorem, originally posited by Emile Borel, states that a monkey pressing keys at random on a keyboard for an infinite amount of time would eventually type a finite text.

The probability of typing that text is straight forward:

Tags: Math

Maxwell's Demon

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 29 March 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: First, let's admit...it's a cool name... so cool, that rock bands chose it to have geek "cred."
But it's also a fascinating thought experiment that challenges a "law" of thermodynamics.

In 1867, James Clerk Maxwell pictured two chambers, A and B, each filled with gas at the same temperature and with a door between them. Theorists later had a demon open the door (without doing any work) to let the fastest-moving molecules pass from A into B, and the slowest from B to A. Over time, the speed of the atoms (and therefore the temperature) increases in B — a violation of the second law of thermodynamics.

References: http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/news/26939
http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/magazine/15-06/st_best
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maxwell%27s_demon

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The Story of Bottled Water

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 29 March 2011
in Videos worth watching

Teachable Moment: How do you explain the impact that drinking bottled water has on our world... charts and statistics make people's eyes glaze over... this straight-forward, hard-hitting cartoon makes an otherwise challenging problem, easy to understand.

Radiation Dose Chart

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 28 March 2011
in Images that speak for themselves

radiation-dose-chartTeachable Moment: This is a great image that explains radiation dosages through wonderful visuals.

Radiation Chart...

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Cube Root Trick

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 22 March 2011
in Images that speak for themselves

Cartoon explains trick for quickly calculating cube roots.

References: http://spikedmath.com/400.html

Tags: Math
Hits: 68714

Wolfram Mathworld: Recreational Mathematics

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 21 March 2011
in Online Resources

Wolfram MathWorldTeachable Moment: Wolfram MathWorld is encyclopedic in it's content but the Recreational Mathematics has a number of fun little nuggets to try out on students. 

MathWorldTM is the web's most extensive mathematical resource, provided as a free service to the world's mathematics and internet communities as part of a commitment to education and educational outreach by Wolfram Research, makers of Mathematica.

Tags: Math
Hits: 14005

NRICH

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 21 March 2011
in Online Resources

Nrich LogoTeachable Moment: Treasure trove of resources for teaching math including STEM topics

ABOUT NRICH

The NRICH Project aims to enrich the mathematical experiences of all learners. To support this aim, members of the NRICH team work in a wide range of capacities, including providing professional development for teachers wishing to embed rich mathematical tasks into everyday classroom practice. More information on many of our other recent activities can be found on our news pages.

Computer Science Unplugged

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 21 March 2011
in Online Resources

Teachable Moment: This web site is full of great exercises that makes basic concepts of computer science accessible to everyone... without a computer!

CS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.

The activities introduce students to underlying concepts such as binary numbers, algorithms and data compression, separated from the distractions and technical details we usually see with computers.