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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Now You Can Customize Background Images and Themes in Google Forms - Here's How

Google Forms is great tool for creating and distributing all kinds of surveys and quizzes. Now you can customize the look of your Google Forms beyond the default theme choices that Google has offered for years. You can now use your images as backgrounds and headers on Google Forms. You now have more choices in your font selections too.

To customize your Google Forms click the "change theme" button while viewing a Form in the edit mode. After clicking "change theme" you can choose a new theme and customize it by selecting the "customize" button that appears just below the theme's name. See my screenshots below for visual directions.

Click image to view full size.

Click image to view full size. 

TenMarks Adds New Free Features for Teachers

TenMarks is a service that offers an online mathematics program designed to supplement your in-classroom mathematics instruction. The service allows you to choose from a selection of more than 20,000 practice problems to assign to your students through your TenMarks online classroom. TenMarks has added some new free features for the 2014-2015 school year.

The TenMarks teacher dashboard has been updated to provide easier access to your students' performance data. From the dashboard you can view whole class summaries and individual student summaries. You can generate reports about specific standards and assignments while also viewing the amount of time a student spent on a particular assignment.

Middle school and high school teachers will be happy to note that TenMarks has expanded the content available for Algebra, Algebra II, and Geometry.

If you haven't seen or heard of TenMarks before today, watch the short video below for an overview of its core features.

The Physics of Cycling, Running, and Swimming

One of the things that I did this summer to improve myself was commit to getting on my bike more often and for longer distances. While I was on one of my rides last week I was reminded of a the Open University's series The Science Behind the Bike. As I watched one of those clips I noticed a related video on YouTube. That related video was The Physics of Cycling produced by Physics World. Physics World also produced The Physics of Running and The Physics of Swimming.


Applications for Education
All three of the Physics World videos mentioned above include discussions of the physics of the equipment in the sport and the physiology of the sport. After showing one or all of the videos to your students, challenge them to design a better piece of equipment to improve speed in a sport. Or in a physical education class have them test out techniques for improved speed and record the times to compare each technique used.

What Gives a Dollar Its Value? - Lessons on Currency

What Gives a Dollar Bill Its Value? is a nice TED-Ed lesson on the influence of the United States Federal Reserve banks on the value of currency. The lesson includes a short piece about the correlation between inflation and the overall health of the U.S. economy. The lesson is probably best suited to high school students who already have a basic understanding of how the value of currency is determined.


What Is Money? from The Atlantic's series on economics is a good complementary video to What Gives a Dollar Bill Its Value? What Is Money? uses the fun scenario of trying to deposit a banana into a bank to explain the basic purpose and function of money. The video is embedded below.

Why Are Your Eyes That Color? Two Short Lessons

Why Are Your Eyes That Color? is a new video from Brain Stuff. The video isn't an explanation of genetic traits (that is mentioned briefly) as it is an explanation of what actually gives your eyes a particular pigment.


The following TED-Ed lesson provides a good complement to the Brain Stuff video above. In How Mendel's Pea Plants Helped Us Understand Genetics, students receive a crash course in heredity, genotypes, and punnett squares through the story of Mendel and his study of peas. The video is embedded below. The full lesson with questions is available here.

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