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Radar -> Sputnik -> Serendipity -> GPS

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 12 January 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment:This TED video discusses the invention of the GPS as a perfect example of open innovative systems where "chance favors the connected mind".  I also like it because it provides a good example of how innovation can be as simple as merely the inversion of our thinking... in this case, one group of scientists had discovered how to track a moving object in space from a fixed point on the ground... and another one pushed them to think about tracking a moving object on the ground from a fixed point in space.

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The NXT Classroom

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Tuesday, 11 January 2011
in Online Resources

Teachable Moment: This is the best one-stop place to find amazing resources for teaching using Mindstorms NXT. 

The NXT Classroom; a community dedicated to supporting teachers who are using the LEGO Mindstorm System in their classroom.

References: http://www.thenxtclassroom.com/

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WKRP: Venus Explains the Atom

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Videos worth watching

WKRP in Cincinnati: Venus Explains the AtomTeachable Moment: Interesting approach... perhaps interpersonal conflicts are an easier way of teaching the atom than magnetic forces!

Only on TV, could a teacher find a teachable moment in a locked storage room with a gang member. And of course, if you're going to challenge a gang member to anything, it might as well be explaining to them how an atom works!

Tags: Physics
Hits: 43989

Schrodinger's Cat

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: Frankly, quantum entanglement is a pretty complex idea... but if anything's going to start cracking your brain open to it, this is a pretty good start.

In 1935, Schrodinger wrote a paper about the state of Quantum Physics wherein he posited the following:

"One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts"

Tags: Physics
Hits: 15369

Stand and Deliver: Finger math

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Videos worth watching

Stand and Deliver: Finger MathTeachable Moment: What can you say?  I'd never seen this before and it's a pretty cool way of teaching multiplication by 9s!

Great video from Stand and Deliver

 

Tags: Math
Hits: 11106

Rule of Thumb... for gauging distances

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: What I like about this is how practical it is as a tool while simultaneously teaching ratios and entry level trigonometry.

Your arm is about ten times longer than the distance between your eyes. That fact, together with a bit of applied trigonometry, can be used to estimate distances between you and any object of approximately known size.

Imagine, for example, that you're standing on the side of a hill, trying to decide how far it is to the top of a low hill on the other side of the valley. Just below the hilltop is a barn, which you feel reasonably sure is about 100 feet wide on the side facing you.

Tags: Math
Hits: 66115