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Viewing entries tagged Physics

The Naked Scientists

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 01 May 2011
in Online Resources

The Naked ScientistsTeachable Moment: Engaging podcasts on science.  I particularly like the hands on experiments in the Kitchen Science section http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/kitchenscience/ and Garage Science http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/content/kitchenscience/garage-science/

The Naked Scientists are a media-savvy group of physicians and researchers from Cambridge University who use radio, live lectures, and the Internet to strip science down to its bare essentials, and promote it to the general public. Their award winning BBC weekly radio programme, The Naked Scientists, reaches a potential audience of 6 million listeners across the east of England, and also has an international following on the web.

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The Space Shuttle

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 20 April 2011
in Videos worth watching

Space ShuttleTeachable Moment: This 14 minute documentary produced by NASA on the occasion of the 2011 retirement of the program, puts into amazing perspective the impact and scope of the shuttle program after 30 years of flights.  
It also provides a window into the process of development of novel programs... down to the detail of early models being pulled by a souped up Pontiac!
And in a stroke of brilliance, William Shatner is the narrator...

Did abstract art influence quantum physics?

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Monday, 11 April 2011
in True (or so we're told) Stories

Teachable Moment: This is a wonderful example of the power of conceptual blending and the need for scientists to nurture a wide  breadth of interests.

In the early 1920s, Niels Bohr was struggling to reimagine the structure of matter. Previous generations of physicists had thought the inner space of an atom looked like a miniature solar system with the atomic nucleus as the sun and the whirring electrons as planets in orbit. This was the classical model.

But Bohr had spent time analyzing the radiation emitted by electrons, and he realized that science needed a new metaphor. The behavior of electrons seemed to defy every conventional explanation. As Bohr said, “When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry.” Ordinary words couldn’t capture the data.

Bohr had long been fascinated by cubist paintings. As the intellectual historian Arthur Miller notes, he later filled his study with abstract still lifes and enjoyed explaining his interpretation of the art to visitors. For Bohr, the allure of cubism was that it shattered the certainty of the object. The art revealed the fissures in everything, turning the solidity of matter into a surreal blur.

Tags: Physics
Hits: 115104

Space Math @ NASA

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

Space Math at NASATeachable Moment: Most applied math problems are simply dressed up word problems but don't make the math any more interesting or engaging.  This web site teases out math problems from current events, press releases, and NASA missions.

SpaceMath@NASA introduces students to the use of mathematics in todays scientific discoveries. Through press releases and other articles, we explore how many kinds of mathematics skills come together in exploring the universe.

References: http://spacemath.gsfc.nasa.gov/

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: 14910

The Physics of Angry Birds

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 01 April 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: It is important to realize that making science "relevant" doesn't always mean solving real world problems... it can be as simple as showing how proper use of science makes games better.

The article asks the question: 

"But what about the physics? Do the birds have a constant vertical acceleration? Do they have constant horizontal velocity? Let’s find out, shall we? Oh, why would I do this? Why can’t I just play the dumb game and move on. That is not how I roll. I will analyze this, and you can’t stop me."

Follow the reference to find out.

 

References: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2010/10/physics-of-angry-birds/

Tags: Physics
Hits: 76270

Why don't planets twinkle as stars do?

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 01 April 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: This thought experiment can be used at so many levels.  At its core, it teaches basic concepts of astronomy but it also can be used to explore the properties of light and even of the concept of infinity. As the distance of the object approaches infinity, the impact of the atmosphere is stronger and stronger.

Stars twinkle. Planets shine steadily. Why?

Stars always twinkle because they’re so far away from Earth that, even through large telescopes, they appear only as pinpoints. And it’s easy for Earth’s atmosphere to disturb the pinpoint light of a star.

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Maxwell's Demon

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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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

Hits: 17862

Radiation Dose Chart

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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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...

Hits: 35871

NRICH

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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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.

SMART Exchange

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Tuesday, 15 March 2011
in Online Resources

SMART Exchange LogoFind lesson plans for the SMART boards and connect with teachers.

References: http://exchange.smarttech.com/

Hits: 36685

Khan Academy

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Tuesday, 15 March 2011
in Online Resources

Khan Academy LogoThe Khan Academy is an organization on a mission. We're a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education to anyone anywhere.

All of the the site's resources are available to anyone. It doesn't matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. The Khan Academy's materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.

References: http://www.khanacademy.org/

Hits: 20212

TOPS Science: Teach Science with Simple Things

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Saturday, 12 March 2011
in Online Resources

TOPS Science LogoTeachable Moment: Advances in technology have enabled amazing new science tools... yet its refreshing to be reminded that good science needs solid DIY skills and can be done with everyday objects.

Welcome to TOPS,the non-profit that is here to help kids everywhere do hands-on science with simple things. We offer the best science projects for parents, teachers and students that are simple to do. Our fun science activities can be done with simple things that are probably already in your home or classroom.

References: http://www.topscience.org/

Hits: 15097

Curriki

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Monday, 14 February 2011
in Online Resources

Curriki LogoCurriki is more than your average website; we're a community of educators, learners and committed education experts who are working together to create quality materials that will benefit teachers and students around the world.

Curriki is an online environment created to support the development and free distribution of world-class educational materials to anyone who needs them. Our name is a play on the combination of 'curriculum' and 'wiki' which is the technology we're using to make education universally accessible.

CK-12

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Monday, 14 February 2011
in Online Resources

CK-12CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. Using an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the "FlexBook," CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational content that will serve both as core text as well as provide an adaptive environment for learning through the FlexBook Platform™.

References: http://www.ck12.org

Hits: 12841

Edutopia

Posted by Diego Fonstad
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on Monday, 14 February 2011
in Online Resources

edutopia logoEdutopia is the tangible embodiment of the George Lucas Educational Foundation vision. Through the Edutopia.org Web site, we spread the word about ideal, interactive learning environments and enable others to adapt these successes locally. Edutopia.org contains a deep archive of continually updated best practices, from classroom tips to recommendations for districtwide change. Allied with a dedicated audience that actively contributes success stories from the field, our mission relies on input and participation from schools and communities.

Hovercraft

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Saturday, 12 February 2011
in Images that speak for themselves

Teachable Moment: Besides being a fun project, this hovercraft is a great tool for teaching friction experiments.

Howtoons cartoon about how to build a hovercraft using old CDs.

References: http://www.howtoons.com/?page_id=2505

Hits: 17330

Lessonopoly

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Online Resources

Lessonopoly LogoTeachable Moment: Lessonopoly is a great collection of lesson plans and multimedia.

Welcome to Lessonopoly! We are an open educational resource aiming to make life a little easier for busy educators like you. Lessonopoly is a free software portal developed by Silicon Valley Education Foundation. This site was created with constant input from teachers to deliver a set of effective and easy to use tools, even for teachers who do not have time to learn new technologies. Lessonopoly empowers teachers to organize activities inside and outside the classroom, create and share lesson plans, and connect to other teachers by building online communities. The Silicon Valley Education Foundation works across the boundaries of all 33 school districts in Santa Clara County to ensure public schools have the resources and expertise they need to ensure our students succeed. Take a look around and let us know what you think! E-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

References: http://lessonopoly.org/

Hits: 11235

BetterLessons.org

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Online Resources

Better Lesson LogoTeachable Moment: Great community of teachers sharing lesson plans etc. 

BetterLesson was founded by a group of teachers from Atlanta and Boston public schools to connect educators and help them create, organize, and share their curricula. We are focused on aggregating and scaling the most innovative content and practices from high-performing teachers across the country.

References: http://www.betterlesson.org/

Hits: 62306

Occam's Razor

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Friday, 11 February 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: Occam's razor has many applications but recently I used it as a coach for a First Lego League team.  The children were making increasingly complex Lego contraptions and in order to reign them in, I introduced the concept of Occam's razor which didn't dismiss their complex efforts but challenged them to think of simpler solutions.  After a while, all I had to do was simply say "is this consistent with Occam's razor" and they'd go back and find a better solution.

From Wikipedia: Occam's razor (or Ockham's razor[1]), often expressed in Latin as the lex parsimoniae, translating to law of parsimony, law of economy or law of succinctness, is a principle which generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions, when the hypotheses are equal in other respects.[2] For instance, they must both sufficiently explain available data in the first place.

References: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam's_razor

Hits: 116329