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Viewing entries tagged Biology

Mechanical gears found in living creature

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Monday, 16 September 2013
in Images that speak for themselves

insectgearmov

Teachable Moment: This is a great example of inadvertent biomimicry... we didn't even know that insects had already evolved a gear system long before we did!

insect-leg-gears-1Scientists in the United Kingdom have discovered an insect that uses a gear mechanism to jump.  They hypothesize that the mechanical advantage from the gear system enables them to jump quickly with

References:      Popular Mechanics web site  http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/the-first-gear-discovered-in-nature-15916433?click=pm_latest

How Stuff Works

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Saturday, 13 October 2012
in Online Resources

howstuffworksTeachable Moment: Many answers are a bit simplified but generally a great little web site to explore.

Reference: http://www.howstuffworks.com/

Hits: 117737

Global Resources Stock Check

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 30 September 2012
in Images that speak for themselves

global resources stock checkTeachable Moment: Most of us have a very narrow understanding of which resources we use are non-renewable.  This highly informative graphic illustrates the range of non-renewable resources and helps initiate a discussion about prioirities.

Reference: http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120618-global-resources-stock-check

Hits: 57465

Science Friday

Posted by 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/

Hits: 29620

Map of Life

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Saturday, 09 June 2012
in Images that speak for themselves

Teachable Moment: Crowdsourced data gathering through a shared visualization engine provides one of the most elegant and powerful ways I've ever seen to track and underscore the importance of biodiversity.

 

References:http://www.mappinglife.org/

By bringing together all types of information about species distributions, providing model-based integration, and providing a system for users to build upon our knowledge, the Map of Life project hopes to support our community in understanding and saving the world's biodiversity. The result will ultimately be a knowledge-base and platform for species distribution map development, along with a set of tools for querying, accessing, downloading and summarizing them.

Hits: 17008

MIT +K12

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Saturday, 09 June 2012
in Online Resources

Teachable Moment: Sometimes the best person to teach a challenging concept is someone who has recently learned it and wants to share their own excitment of the discovery. I can't wait to see this video library grow.

 

MIT has launched an initiative encouraging its students to produce short videos teaching basic concepts in science and engineering. The videos — aimed at younger students, in grades from kindergarten through high school — will be accessible through a dedicated MIT website and YouTube channel. A subset of the videos will also be available on Khan Academy, a popular not-for-profit educational site founded by an MIT alumnus.

References: http://k12videos.mit.edu/

Hits: 21679

Science Buddies

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 09 February 2012
in Online Resources

Teachable Moment: Great resource for ideas for science projects.

Science Buddies mission is to help students from all walks of life to build their literacy in science and technology so they can become productive and engaged citizens in the 21st century. We have created personalized learning tools, over 15,000 pages of scientist-developed subject matter (including experiments based on the latest academic research), and an online community of science professionals who volunteer to advise students. We also provide resources to support parents and teachers as they guide students doing hands-on science projects. Representing much more than a website, Science Buddies quickly and efficiently matches students with the information that will hold their interest and answer their questions. We provide a bridge between scientists and students, giving students access to current scientific research and simultaneously giving scientists a way to reach out to young people interested in their fields.

References: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/

The "Dance your PhD Contest" 2010

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Tuesday, 13 September 2011
in Videos worth watching

Teachable Moment: Thesis defense?  How about a Thesis dance!  I don't know what surprises me more... that someone came up with this idea, that multiple people submitted... or that there are some real gems in here!

 

Hits: 11250

Information is Beautiful

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 19 August 2011
in Online Resources

Teachable Moment: Brilliant examples of representing complex data in stunning visual ways.  This web site is a trove of ideas for students looking to best present their data in innovative ways.

I’m David McCandless, a London-based author, writer and designer. I’ve written for The Guardian, Wired and others. I’m into anything strange and interesting.

Hits: 24289

Science of Cooking: Food Science, Recipes & Projects | Exploratorium

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 17 August 2011
in Online Resources

Science of CookingTeachable Moment: Everyone likes to cook but few understand the science behind it.  This web site provides engaging examples with simple clear explanations.

Discover how a pinch of curiosity can improve your cooking! Explore recipes, activities, and Webcasts that will enhance your understanding of the science behind food and cooking.

References: http://www.exploratorium.edu/cooking/index.html

Hits: 23871

Everyday Mysteries: Fun science facts from the Library of Congress

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Tuesday, 09 August 2011
in Online Resources

Teachable Moment: Great little collection of fun science questions....

Did you ever wonder why a camel has a hump? If you can really tell the weather by listening to the chirp of a cricket? Or why our joints make popping sounds? These questions deal with everyday phenomena that we often take for granted, but each can be explained scientifically.

Hits: 27721

Cricket Chirps: Nature's Thermometer

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Tuesday, 09 August 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: I'm not sure what I like more about this idea: the practical nature of it or the fact that the correlation between temperature and cricket chirp rate was documented by one of the inventors of the radio telephone.

From Farmer's Almanac:

Did you know that you can tell the temperature by counting the chirps of a cricket? It's true! Here's the formula:

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Fahrenheit, count number of chirps in 14 seconds then add 40 to get temperature.

Example: 30 chirps + 40 = 70° F

To convert cricket chirps to degrees Celsius, count number of chirps in 25 seconds, divide by 3, then add 4 to get temperature.

Example: 48 chirps /(divided by) 3 + 4 = 20° C

Tags: Biology
Hits: 29481

School of Ants

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Tuesday, 09 August 2011
in Online Resources

School of AntsTeachable Moment: I love the concept of "citizen scientist" projects because they help demystify science and make it more engaging to all.  I look forward to seeing how this project develops.

The School of Ants project is a citizen-scientist driven study of the ants that live in urban areas, particularly around homes and schools. Collection kits are available to anyone interested in participating. Teachers, students, parents, kids, junior-scientists, senior citizens and enthusiasts of all stripes are involved in collecting ants in schoolyards and backyards using a standardized protocol so that we can make detailed maps of the wildlife that lives just outside our doorsteps. The maps that we create with these data are telling us quite a lot about native and introduced ants in cities, not just here in North Carolina, but across the United States and, as this project grows, about the ants of the world!

References: http://schoolofants.org/

Tags: Biology
Hits: 21826

Quicker'n a Wink

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 08 May 2011
in Videos worth watching

Quick Stuff!Teachable Moment: MIT's "Doc" Edgerton pioneered slow motion photography through the use of strobe lights and innovative cameras.  It's amazing that this short, Oscar winning, 50+ year old documentary can still engage viewers into understanding physical properties of the world around them.

 

Protein Synthesis - An Epic on the Cellular Level

Posted by Mathai Mammen
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on Friday, 29 April 2011
in Videos worth watching

Teachable Moment: Memorable illustration of protein synthesis, acted out.

Directed in 1971 by Robert Alan Weiss for the Department of Chemistry of Stanford University and imprinted with the "free love" aura of the period, this short film continues to be shown in biology class today. It has since spawn a series of similar funny attempts at vulgarizing protein synthesis. Narrated by Paul Berg, 1980 Nobel prize for Chemistry.

Hits: 20964

Emperor of All Maladies: Visual Timeline

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 20 April 2011
in Images that speak for themselves

Teachable Moment: The Emperor of All Maladies has been awarded the 2011 Non Fiction Pulitzer prize for it's engaging story of the search for a cure for cancer.  This visual timeline neatly synthesizes key points in the book highlighting both cultural and scientific milestones.

Takes a bit to load...patience...

Hits: 44731

National Science Digital Library

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 07 April 2011
in Online Resources

NSDL LogoThe National Science Digital Library (NSDL) is a national network of digital envirionments dedicated to advancing science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teaching and learning for all learners, in both formal and informal settings. NSDL is the locus of activity for the National STEM Distributed Learning program.

NSDL receives the majority of its funding through the generous support of NSF's Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE), Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR).

NSDL advances teaching and learning by providing:

Hits: 14905

Inner Life of a Cell - Biovisions Harvard University

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 01 April 2011
in Videos worth watching

biovisions logoTeachable Moment: Beautiful visualization of the inner workings of a cell.

Research in the biological sciences often depends on the development of new ways of visualizing important processes and molecules. Indeed, the very act of observing and recording data lies at the foundation of all the natural sciences. The same holds true for the teaching and communication of scientific ideas; to see is to begin to understand. The continuing quest for new and more powerful ways to communicate ideas in biology is the focus of BioVisions at Harvard University.

Tags: Biology
Hits: 46771

Turtles all the way down

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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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

Hits: 29998

The Story of Bottled Water

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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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.