Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dead Stuff: The Secret Ingredient In Our Food Chain

Here's a terrific video on "the brown food chain." Watch it and learn how pond scum and animal poop contribute enormous amounts of energy to our ecosystems.

Learn more by viewing the complete TED Ed lesson by John C. Moore.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

One Million (and One) Digits of Pi

The team at Numberphile printed one million decimal places of Pi onto a piece of paper. Can you guess how long it stretched? Or which digit appeared most often? Watch this video to learn the answers to these questions and more.

Once you've seen the video, check out the related TED Ed lesson.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Manic Monday - Part-Part-Whole Flip Cards

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
It's been a while since I've created anything for my math class, but after spending two days at the NCTM regional conference in Richmond, I was inspired to make some new resources. Today I'm sharing two sets of flip cards for working on subitizing, part-part-whole, missing addend problems, and basic facts.

Each set contains 55 cards covering addition facts from 0+0 through 9+9. You can access all 100 facts by using the Commutative property and covering a different part of the flip card. Here's what the packet and cards look like.

Once you print these back-to-back and cut along the dotted lines, you can select which part of the card you wish to "hide." Here's what a finished card looks like.

These flip card sets can be used to meet the following Common Core Standards for Math.
  • K.OA.5.  Fluently add and subtract within 5.
  • 1.OA.3.  Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract. Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known. (Commutative property of addition.) To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12. (Associative property of addition.)
  • 1.OA.4.  Understand subtraction as an unknown-addend problem. For example, subtract 10 – 8 by finding the number that makes 10 when added to 8.
  • 1.OA.5.  Relate counting to addition and subtraction (e.g., by counting on 2 to add 2).
  • 1.OA.6. Add and subtract within 20, demonstrating fluency for addition and subtraction within 10. Use strategies such as counting on; making ten (e.g., 8 + 6 = 8 + 2 + 4 = 10 + 4 = 14); decomposing a number leading to a ten (e.g., 13 – 4 = 13 – 3 – 1 = 10 – 1 = 9); using the relationship between addition and subtraction (e.g., knowing that 8 + 4 = 12, one knows 12 – 8 = 4); and creating equivalent but easier or known sums (e.g., adding 6 + 7 by creating the known equivalent 6 + 6 + 1 = 12 + 1 = 13).
  • 2.OA.2.  Fluently add and subtract within 20 using mental strategies. By end of Grade 2, know from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers.

I hope you get a chance to use these cards in your home or classroom. Please let me know if you try them and how you like them! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Binoculars for Young Citizen Scientists

Between September-November (2014) the Cornell Lab of Ornithology will be awarding a classroom set of binoculars to approximately 6 schools where educators have made outstanding efforts to engage their students in citizen science.

Begin by putting your citizen science actions on the Action Map within the Citizen Science category.  The folks at Cornell will look through submissions monthly and select a handful to submit a formal application.

You can get more information about this at:
Binoculars for Young Citizen Scientists

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Should We Eat Bugs?

Here's how this TEDEd lesson by Emma Bryce opens.
"What's tasty, abundant and high in protein? Bugs! Although less common outside the tropics, entomophagy, the practice of eating bugs, was once extremely widespread throughout cultures. You may feel icky about munching on insects, but they feed about 2 billion people each day (Mmm, fried tarantulas). They also hold promise for food security and the environment. Emma Bryce makes a compelling case for dining on bugs."

For more information, check out these resources.
I've eaten crickets (chocolate covered, so a bit of crunch and salt with sweet) and silkworms. I'm not much more adventurous than that, but maybe I should be. Imagine debating this topic in your science class!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Minecraft and Math

What happens when you combine math and Minecraft? Apparently, quite a lot.

In the webinar Mathcraft: How to Use Minecraft to Teach Common Core Math (53 minutes), third grade teacher Jim Pike demonstrates Mathcraft, a Common Core Math curriculum he developed that is centered around the popular video game Minecraft.

How much did Jim’s curriculum impact student learning? Jim's Mathcraft curriculum helped increase the math performance of his class from 18% correct at the beginning of the year to 84% correct at the end-of-year. Two areas in particular that saw immediate improvements were area and perimeter and multiplication.

This is a pretty interesting approach. The webinar does a great job explaining the activities. Do take some time to check it out.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Free Mini-Course on Polar Bears and Climate Change

The New Media Consortium is sponsoring a free mini-course on polar bears and climate change. Here is some information about the course.

Polar Bears in a Changing Climate
Polar Bears International will engage teachers through innovative STEMx educational activities and lessons designed to communicate concepts of global warming and its impact on keystone species. This mini-course will use integrative technologies to explore the relationship between polar bears and their dependency on sea ice. Teachers will learn to use STEMx education content and real–world application to bring climate change and polar bears into the classroom and inspire actions related to sustainability and environmental stewardship. Teachers will also learn how to take students into the field by connecting them to field biologists and researchers, analyzing data collected by field researchers, and introducing students to innovative technology and engineering tools used to study polar bears. Through the lessons, activities, and resources included in this mini–course, teachers will help students learn how their daily actions impact polar bears and their sea ice habitat. The polar bears are closer than you think.

Here's what participants will take away from this self-paced course.

  • Understand polar bears and their habitat. Basic information on polar bears will be presented, including physical characteristics, food sources, reproduction cycle and offspring, behaviors, and threats. Participants will join the Tundra Connections Academy Google+ community for communication and collaborative opportunities with fellow participants.
  • Understand the primary causes of climate change and the resulting effects. Information regarding the impact of CO2 emissions, greenhouse gases, and other variables that affect the climate will be included in this module. An understanding of environmental sustainability options and clean energy alternatives will complete the unit.
  • Gain an understanding of the Polar Bear Tracker and related data analysis. Teachers will learn how to “take students into the field” by connecting them to field biologists and researchers, analyzing data collected by field researchers, and introducing the use of innovative technology and engineering tools used to study polar bears. The importance of the relationship between polar bears and sea ice will be highlighted.
  • Capstone. Taking action is an important part of empowering students to make positive change in our world. Environmental sustainability and conservation opportunities will be the focal points of this final Quest, and action plans related to these topics will be developed by participants. Included in this module is Project Polar Bear, which is an exemplary unit that promotes the creation of sustainable action plans for environmental conservation.

Today is the last day for enrollment, so if you're interested follow the link below.