Interesting Resources

General Science, Math No Comments »

This week I came across two interesting educational resources, the National Stem Centre in the UK and surprisingly, the National Security Agency (who knew?).

I was searching for solubility animations when I came across the National Stem Centre. According to their website, they house  “the UK’s largest collection of STEM and teaching resources”. The e-library is definitely the place to be on that website, where you can search their vast resources by topic, age range, type/format, publisher, or year. If interested, here is the resource I found for solubility (which is actually only a small part of this resource).

The second site was found as I was exploring creative ideas for teaching slope. One of the documents that came up in my search was a pdf from NSA website. I was surprised at the source, and so I went to their main site to see what other type of resources were available. Finding the education section was a bit tricky and wasn’t easily accessible from their main page, but I managed to find the right area. The section is titled “Concept Development Units”, and the right side bar allows you to choose elementary, middle school, or high school. Once on the correct school section, there are a variety of math topics with lesson and unit plans to explore. Here is the resource that I found which uses Geometer’s Sketchpad to help teach slope concepts.

Have a great week.

 

Can It!

Math No Comments »

One of the assignments that my grade 8 students completed is called “Can It”. Our unit mixed both cylinder and angle concepts, and the assignment touched on both.

The premise of the assignment is as follows:

“You are the owner of a food processing company. You have a new product that you want to market, and a major grocery store has agreed to sell your product. You will need to design a can and a label for your product.”

The students are then led through a series of ten different steps to complete, beginning with product ideas, then walking them through the design of the can and label, and ending with pitching the product. It is assessed with an IB Communication rubric.

I have shared it here for anyone to access.

Can It!

Have a fabulous week.

Begin the year with math.

Math No Comments »

I have three math websites to share before school begins again next week.

The first, Mr. P’s Math Page, is suggested based on the Puzzles & Games page.  Explore the other pages as you wish, but make sure to spend some time looking through the variety of puzzles and games that he has shared in this section. The other real treasure on this website is the Problem of the Month archive.

Next, visit the Number Loving Resources site. There are a multitude of games to be found here, searchable by strand, topic, or UK Key Stage Levels. When you are finished there, head over to the Number Loving Blog to find great teaching ideas.

Finally, Mr. Barton’s Maths has a slew of worthwhile resources. You can wander over to the Just for Fun or explore his blog, but I have spent the most time on the Teachers page. While there, be sure to look through the Teaching Resources and then wander over to the Tarsia Jigsaw Bundle.

Have a fabulous new year.

 

Instead of Magic Squares…

Math No Comments »

I was looking for some integer challenges for some of my students, and I came across Dr. Mike’s Math Games for Kids. If the advertisements don’t bother you, then you can find some interesting worksheets for math. The one that peeked my interest was the Magic Hexagon worksheet generator. Magic Hexagons work in the same way as Magic Squares, with the obvious shape change. I liked that this worksheet generator can create Magic Hexagons with positive and negative integers.

Explore the rest of his site to learn about a variety of math games, or head to his worksheet page and you will find worksheet generators for other math puzzles and mazes, as well as for standard review.

Have a great week.

Making Ends Meet

Math No Comments »

I have recently finished a budgeting activity with my grade 8 math class titled, “Making Ends Meet”. (The document is attached below.)

Each student was given a “job” with an entry level salary. The first step was for them to determine their after-tax monthly income. They then needed to determine how they were going to allocate their income to the following categories:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Transportation
  • Medical Expenses
  • Entertainment
  • Sports/Fitness
  • Clothing
  • Miscellaneous
  • Savings

Students came into class with a report that outlined the distribution of income in their budget. For the summative task they were then presented with a series of challenges and unexpected problems to consider. These were not shared with the students beforehand.

It was a time consuming task, but well worth the learning experience. My students now have a sense of the value of the dollar, the importance of getting a good job, and the reality that life is more costly then they realized.

Have a great week.

Making Ends Meet 2013

Exploring Flight

Grade 6 Science No Comments »

Today’s post will highlight a few of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s online resources, and specifically those focused on flight.

How Things Fly is a comprehensive interactive resource that reviews forces of flight, gravity and air, aerodynamics, propulsion, structures and materials, wing design and flight dynamics.

There is a Pioneers of Flight online gallery, including Military Aviation, Civilian Aviation and Rocket Pioneers.  The activity section in this gallery  includes a simulation of the US Army’s 1924 Around the World Flight, Designing an Air Racer, and helping the Lindbergh’s pack their airplane for long flights.

The Wright Brothers – The Invention of the Aerial Age explores the Wright Brothers and their first flyer, and there is also a Lecture Archive where past museum lectures are shared on Youtube. These include lectures from astronauts, pilots, and academics.

There are many more areas to explore, much more than I can highlight in a short post. Go explore.

Wishing everyone a successful school year.
Have a great week.

 

Rube Goldberg-esque

General Education, General Science, Using Tech No Comments »

Cookie or Cream?

That is the question that Oreo is currently posing to the public. As part of their most recent marketing campaign, they have enlisted engineers, “tinkerers” and roboticists from around the world to design and build machines that separate the cookie part of the oreo from the cream. They are sharing these machines in a series of four episodes. The machines are not quite as extravagant as full Rube Goldberg machines, but I think that the very nature of a machine built to pull apart two sides of a cookie must classify as, at the very least, Rube Goldberg-esque.

Check them out for yourselves.

Episode one:

Episode two:

Episode three:

Episode four:

Have a great week.

App Review – The Periodic Table Project

General Science, Using Tech No Comments »

Most science geeks like me are quite familiar with the iPad app, The Elements: A Visual Exploration. It is a stunning app, and I have not found another Periodic Table app that visually compares. However, I recently came across a Periodic Table app that peeked my interest.

The Periodic Table Project is an app that was developed by the University of Waterloo for the International Year of Chemistry in 2011.  It was a joint project between the Department of Chemistry and the Faculty of Science, where the call went out to chemistry educators worldwide to artistically interpret an element. Each piece of art was accompanied by a description from the artist, which explained its significance. As well, specific data can be found for each element in relation to high school curriculum.

It is a free app, so there is no cost to take a look. Alternately, you can check out the interactive version on the University of Waterloo website.

Have a great week.

App Review – Math Doodles and Symmetry Shuffle

Math, Using Tech No Comments »

There are two apps by Carstens Studios that I have loaded onto our school iPads.

The first app is called Math Doodles and it sells for $2.99. The user is given three challenges (a fourth is in development) that revolve around addition, logic, and algebraic thinking. In the first challenge, Sums Stacker, the user needs to manipulate values within three piles in order to reach a target sum. In the second challenge, Connect Sums, the user must select values that reach a target sum. In the third challenge, Unknown Square, the user must find the missing value in a 3-by-3 array of numbers. One of the things I love about this app (in addition to the awesome graphics) is the ability to play in a variety of number systems. The user can choose to play with values represented as dice, fingers, holes, ten frames, tally marks, binary system, Braille, number prefixes, polygons, US coins and dollars, a variety of fraction types, Roman numerals, numbers shown in  either Chinese, Arabic, Gurmukhi, Hindi, Hebrew, or Spanish, or a mixture of all of the above. There are different levels of difficulty, as well. All of these options allow the app to be used across a number of grade levels.

The second app is called Symmetry Shuffle and it sells for $1.99. The user must either rotate (turn), reflect (flip) or translate (slide) the image so that all targets have been matched. The user can select from 12 possible images to “shuffle”, and can also change the size of the “shuffle” grid. Its features are not as diverse as on the first app, but I still find it a great addition to our math apps on the iPads.

Both apps allow the user to track the number of moves they have used so that they can attempt to solve the puzzle in the fewest possible moves, which is another great feature for differentiation.

Have fun playing.

 

App Review – Interactive Telling Time

Using Tech No Comments »

Part of my role this year is to find new apps to put on the school iPads. To date, I have mostly searched for math apps. I have finalized my list of recommendations, and over time I will share them here, as well.

The first app that I will highlight is Interactive Telling Time by GiggleUp. There is a free version and a paid version ($2.99). I first installed the free version, then upgraded to the paid version and found it well worth the money.

This is a great app for kids who are learning how to tell time. There are many options for play. Users can set the time and learn how to read the time on analogue clocks. There is also a puzzle setting where users have to put the correct number on the proper place on the clock. This can be done with regular numbers or roman numerals. The “stop the clock” game allows the user to stop the clock hands from moving when they reach a specific time. In the quiz feature, the user is told a time and must choose which clock displays the correct time.

The settings menu allows for a variety of choices. Users can choose between eight different clocks to work with, each of them focusing on something a little different (roman numerals, no numbers, only the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12, or all hours). The user can also choose to work with either a 12-hour clock or a 24-hour clock. Difficulty levels also allow the user to work with various time intervals during play (1 minute, 5 minute, 15 minute, 30 minute, or 1 hour).

Overall, I feel that this app offers many options which would benefit students at various stages of learning to tell time.

Have a great week.

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