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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Turbulence Explained - #BigMetalBird

Big Metal Bird is a series of videos about aviation and the aviation industry. The videos were produced by United Airlines and some of the episodes are clearly done for marketing purposes, but the episode about air turbulence is useful to anyone who is nervous about flying or is just curious about what causes turbulence. By watching the video embedded below viewers can learn what causes four types of turbulence and how airline pilots and ground crews work to avoid turbulent air.


Here are two related resources that you might find useful for helping students learn how airplanes fly:

How Things Fly features an interactive module in which students design their own airplanes. The activity starts with a simple and slow airplane that students have to modify until it reaches a target speed and altitude. As students modify the wings, fuselage, and engines of their airplanes they are given instant feedback on the effects of those modifications. In some cases the feedback includes the airplane crashing and the students having to start over again.

The Minute Physics video How Do Airplanes Fly? explains the roles of wings, propellers, turbines, and wind currents in making a plane fly.


H/T to The Points Guy for the Big Metal Bird videos. 

Mapping Local Art - A Google Maps and Earth Activity

Winslow Homer [Public domain]
 via Wikimedia Commons.
Whenever I conduct workshops on Google Maps and Google Earth I always point out that there are uses for those tools beyond the realm of geography and history. A recent, popular, example of this is found in the Google Arts & Culture Institute's Street View imagery of museums.

While the Google Arts & Culture Institute is great for viewing existing imagery on maps made by others, it still leaves a lot of art, artifacts, and interesting landmarks to be mapped. That's where your students can take over.

By using Google's My Maps tools or the desktop version of Google Earth, students can map the locations of where a piece of local art is housed, where it was created, and the places that inspired the artist. Each placemark on a student's map could include a picture of the artwork, a picture of the artist, and or a video about the art and artist. To provide a complete picture a student can include text and links to more information about the art and artist.

Students can use the Google Street View app (available for Android and iOS) to capture 360 degree photospheres of local landmarks, sculptures made by local artists, or the places that inspired local artists. The photospheres that students create can be saved privately or they can publish their photospheres to Google Maps.