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Monday, May 30, 2011

The Science of Hitting a Baseball or a Softball

Sport Science on ESPN.com has couple of videos that are relevant as school winds-down and kids turn their attention to Little League baseball and softball. In MLB Vision Sport Science evaluates how quickly a player has to respond to a baseball thrown ninety miles per hour. Then to answer the question, can you really keep your eyes on the ball? Sport Science attaches an eye tracking device to Nomar Garciapara.

Watch Sport Science MLB Vision below.


In Hitting a Softball Sport Science explains the scientific and mathematical differences between hitting a baseball and hitting a softball.


Applications for Education
Throughout these videos we're dealing in hundredths of a second. These videos could be used to provide some "real world" context for a lesson on decimals and or fractions.

Snag Learning Film of the Week - The Kartal

This week's Snag Learning Film of the Week is The Kartal. The Kartal, produced by Explore.org, is a short video featuring the traditional Indian instrument of the same name. The kartal (or khartal) is a small instrument created from two blocks of wood with small metal jingles attached and played with a clapping motion. Watch the video below and learn more about it here.

Watch more free documentaries

To learn more about traditional Indian music watch Explore.org's video India's Song.

What Else Should I Read This Summer?

Yesterday, I met my mother and step-father in Portland for lunch (I had meatloaf, it was delicious). Since I was in the big city, I took some time after lunch to go to Border's and browse for a new book. Like a lot of teachers, I don't have a whole lot of time to read during the school year so the summer is when I do the bulk of my book reading. Anyway this morning I spent some time thinking about what I want to read this summer and what follows is what I've come up with. I'd love to have some suggestions to add to the list. If you have any must-reads for my list, please leave a comment.

Education Books
And What Do You Mean by Learning?
Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas
(Yes, I realize that Mindstorms is "old" but I've never read it and I find Papert's work intriguing to say the least).
Teach Like a Champion
(This is a book that we've been fed excerpts of at my school this year. I want to have the whole context of the work).

History Books
Colonel Roosevelt
American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
The Tycoons: How Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J. P. Morgan Invented the American Supereconomy

Just for Fun Books
Crossing The Gates Of Alaska
A Walk Across America
No Shortage of Good Days

Considering that the books on Roosevelt and Jackson each approach 800 pages, if get through all nine of these books I'll be pretty happy with myself.

What are you reading this summer? Leave a comment and let us all know.

Boom Writer - Collaborative Publishing for Kids

Boom Writer is a service designed to encourage kids to do their best writing and share it with each other to create a small book. Boom Writer provides a "starter chapter" for a story and students continue the story by writing additional chapters. The chapters submitted (anonymously) by students are voted on and the chapters receiving the most votes make it into a book that students, teachers, and parents can choose to have published by Boom Writer.

Thanks to Kristen Swanson for sharing this cool site.

Applications for Education
Here's how Boom Writer works in schools, teachers register their classes and then their students can contribute to one project. Teachers can oversee each student's writing, comment, and edit each student's work. When all of the students have written their contributions the class reads the submissions and votes. The names of the writers aren't revealed until after the voting, thereby eliminating any "classroom politics" that could happen in the voting stage. Read a case study about using Boom Writer in schools here. Read a sample Boom Writer book here.

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