Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Learn About Physics Through the Circus

In 2010 PBS aired a short series called Circus. Circus was a documentary about the Big Apple Circus. The show took viewers behind the scenes of a traveling circus production. All six of the episodes are currently available to watch online. Today, through a Tweet by Danny Nicholson I learned that the Circus website offers some short circus-based physics lessons.

Circus Physics is a series of eight short videos. Each of the videos features a circus act that demonstrates a basic principle of physics. Each video clip is accompanied by text and image explanations. I've embedded the Newton's Laws of Motion video below.


A couple of weeks ago I shared Rhyme N' Learn's Don't Let Pi Make You Cry math rap video. This week they released another math rap video. The new video reminds students about the process for solving long equations. The video explains PEMDAS (parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction). The video can be viewed on YouTube and if you really like it you can buy a copy of Rhyme N' Learn's CD.

And this PEMDAS song is definitely not a rap, but is certainly catchy.

Chronicles of the American Revolution

Liberty, The American Revolution is a feature on PBS.org. There are a couple of resources in this feature that are worth noting. First, and probably the most useful, is The Chronicle of Revolution. The Chronicle of Revolution provides a timeline of events that contributed to the start of the American Revolution. Students can read newspaper accounts as they go through the chronicles. Within each newspaper account are links to further reading about important people and places mentioned in the articles.

The second item of interest in Liberty, The American Revolution is the Road to Revolution game. The game isn't really a game, it's more like a quiz with some graphics added to it. The game is designed to quiz students on the information in The Chronicle of Revolution.

Applications for Education
The Chronicle of Revolution and the Road to Revolution are best suited to use with middle school students or possibly older elementary school students. Neither resource will replace your textbooks, but they certainly make good supplements to them.

Please click here for seven more resources for teaching about the American Revolution.

The New Boston - Great Videos for Learning Computer Science and More

The New Boston is an educational website and YouTube channel that I recently discovered while reviewing the EduPort Android app. The purpose of The New Boston is to share instructional videos and tutorials in the areas of computer science, computer programming, mathematics, science, robotics, and much more. Think of The New Boston as Khan Academy for computer science. For students who are interested in programming, The New Boston offers an active discussion forum in which they can ask questions.

One of the channels within The New Boston that jumped out at me is the Android app development series which contains 200 instructional videos.

Here's a sample from The New Boston.

Applications for Education
The New Boston could be a great resource for students who want to learn programming on their own. The New Boston could also be a great source of supplemental materials for the courses that you teach.

Video Project Idea - Get to Know Your School

One of the challenges of large schools, especially large high schools, is getting to know the people in the building and what is happening in the building. I was thinking about this over the weekend when I got the idea for a student video project. The idea is this, have students create "this is our school" videos that can be displayed on your school's website.

Here are some video project ideas:
  • Profiles of teachers. Expand the profile beyond, "what do you teach?" and focus on the teacher's interests, hobbies, or "secret talents."
  • Profiles of students.
  • Profiles of lesser-known extracurricular clubs.
  • Profiles of secretaries, custodial staff, cafeteria staff. Don't forget, they're very important in keeping a school running smoothly. 
Here are some free tools for creating videos:
  • WeVideo is a collaborative online video creation tool. In the video editor you can upload your own media clips or use stock media clips to produce your video. The video editor provides tools for trimming the length of display and or sound of each element you add to your video project. What makes WeVideo collaborative is that you can invite other people to create and edit with you. WeVideo offers four different user plans.
  • Myna is a free web-based audio track mixer created by Aviary. Using Myna you can mix together up to ten tracks to create your own audio files. The sounds you mix can come from the Myna library, your vocal recordings made with Myna's recorder, or audio tracks that you upload to your Myna account. 
  • Roc, which is similar to Aviary's Myna audio editor, is a cloud-based tool for mixing sounds. Completed Roc projects can be downloaded for use in podcasts, videos, and other multimedia projects. Roc can also be integrated into your Google Apps account through the Google Apps Marketplace.
  • You might want to arrange a series of videos about your school. Perhaps linking them together in sequence in a choose-your-own adventure style. If so, check out this post for directions on how to do that.