Just found this blog for Science and Math teachers which focuses on free resources!!!
Archive for November, 2008
I was chatting with my cousin at a family gathering today and asking her questions about the Physics class she’s currently taking (she’s a 9th grade student). She mentioned on homework assignment that got me all excited!!!
I read recently in the book Einstein’s Refrigerator, a story about the Citigroup Center building in Manhattan (the building pictured to the right with a triangular roof). The book, compiled by Steve Silverman, is a collection of believe-it-or-not stories “from the flip side of history.”
My mom recently showed me the website below. So cool! I’m just disappointed the website doesn’t have any teacher resources…but it’s great nonetheless!
Check it out —> http://www.engineeryourlife.com
So I observed David McKinney, an 8th Grade Science teacher at Isaac Newton Middle School, today. It was really exciting to see all his energy — even if he admitted part of his energy high was due to having observers in the room! He did the following activity with his class and it was so fun to watch, never mind that the kids could see evolution (a change in frequency of a species) in action.
Based on Sir Charles Darwin’s research in the Galapagos Islands, the kids were challenged to see which finch beaks (modeled with tweezers, clothespins, toothpicks, and spoons) were most effective in eating which foods (rice, sunflower seeds, marshmallows, and marbles). At first, the kids had a plate representing an island since Darwin found there were entirely different species of finches on the islands in comparison to the mainland. Each student made a prediction as to which “beak” would be the most effective. Then they emptied a bag of food onto the plates (each bag had an assortment of the “foods” listed above). They were given 10 seconds with each “beak” to see how many pieces of food they could collect in a cup: NO SCOOPING WITH THE CUP ALLOWED! Results were recorded in a chart and organized by the type of food.
The second half of the activity was based on the first. Half of the groups were given a bag of rice and the other half a bag of marbles since their respective islands had a drought of the other food. Kids predicted which beak would be most effective in this case. Each beak had 10 seconds to prove itself and the data was recorded.
McKinney ran out of time at the end of class, but they had a short discussion about why certain beaks were advantageous given the indigenous food supply. It seemed empowering for the kids to participate in an experimental activity similar to the acclaimed scientist Darwin that it is associated with!
Two atoms were walking across a road when one of them said, “I think I lost an electron!” “Really!” the other replied, “Are you sure?” “Yes, I ‘m absolutely positive!”
A classmate and I were mulling over pendulums on the train ride last night and couldn’t come to any conclusion. We were discussing how mass as a variable effects two pendulums. Initially, my response was that a more massive pendulum would rise to a higher point once released (if two pendulums of differing masses were released from the same height) because it has greater PE, but then we got confused because it also takes more energy to keep it swinging. So then it also made sense for both pendulums to reach the same height and have the same period with every oscillation.
Since we couldn’t come to any conclusion, I went home and played around with some homemade pendulums. I constructed one with some gift wrapping ribbon and one fork and another with gift ribbon and five forks. Attached is a slide show and commentary of what I found. I pretty much observed both phenomena of the two forks at same heights with same periods as well as two forks with same periods but different heights. Then I coupled the two pendulums just for kicks.
My husband Keith got home from work as I was curled up nearly under the sink in the bathroom trying to take pictures. Oh, Physics!
I’ve been thinking about how to decorate my classroom…I’ve had tons of ideas run through my mind, but one has stuck. I want to create a wall of pictures of places I’ve been related to science (or just cool places I’ve been!!!). Eventually, students and other teachers could add their pictures and we’d have a whole story board of science around the world! Here are some of my vacation ideas:
CERN — the world’s largest particle accelerator in Geneva, Switzerland, June 2007
Kennedy Space Center — NASA base in Cape Canaveral, FL, June 2005
London Eye — large ferris-wheel type attraction ran on hydraulic power, March and April 2007
Mt. Washington — super awesome mountain to be hiked and conquered! July 2006
I was thinking the other day about how I could possibly create bigger units for the year to add some current events to my class and make it applicable to my students. One thought is to have a Space unit, which could cover mechanics and electricity & magnetism. I still need to think of a unit to cover waves, modern physics, and whatever other material I might want to cover.
The idea of literacy is central to the Teachers College ideology, so I have been looking out for ways in which to implement that in my future classroom. A usual favorite is current events picked by myself and/or my students. Another option (adapted from Sephali Ray at Patrick Henry Middle School, NYC) would be to have students read science fiction. I would assign a middle school level book for my high school physics students and use book discussions to stimulate thinking about scientific ethical issues. Hopefully it would lead towards some scientific literacy!!
I’m just using this blog to keep track of my thoughts while I am preparing to become a science teacher. In the future I hope to use it to journal my experience as a first year teacher and beyond!