Sunday, September 4, 2022

Science Lesson - The Threat of Invasive Species

When you drive into my home state of Maine two of the first signs you'll notice are a sign to watch for moose and a sign banning the importation of firewood. The reason for the moose crossing sign is fairly self-explanatory. The reason for the ban on importing firewood may not be so obvious. Importing firewood is banned because we are trying to prevent the introduction of invasive insects. The part of the explanation of why we're concerned about invasive insects can be found in a TED-Ed lesson titled The Threat of Invasive Species.

The Threat of Invasive Species is a TED-Ed lesson that explains the problems caused when plants and animals are introduced to non-native habitats. The lesson explains how plants and animals get introduced to new environments, what happens when they are introduced to those environments, and what some governments do to try to control invasive species.



Extending the lesson:
TED-Ed lessons include a small selection of multiple choice and short answer questions. You can use the TED-Ed platform and questions as they are written or you could use another platform to develop your own flipped lesson. The following three tools make it easy to develop your own flipped lesson or simply have students record and share notes with you while watching the video lesson.

With a free EDpuzzle account you can add multiple choice, true/false, and short answer questions into videos you've made as well as videos that you find on YouTube, Vimeo, and other video sharing sites. When you add questions you can require that students must answer them in order to view each segment of the video. In this video I provide a complete overview of how to use EDpuzzle to create video lessons using videos that you find online.


ClassHook is a service that you can use to find and share video clips according to topic, subject, and standard. Within ClassHook there are features called Pause Prompts and Live Discussions. Pause Prompts are timestamped questions that you add to video clips in ClassHook. When you're showing a video to your class, the questions you've written as Pause Prompts will automatically pop-up at the timestamp you've specified. The video will stop and the question will appear full-screen in its place. You can then have a discussion with your students about the prompt.

Live Discussions builds upon Pause Prompts by incorporating an online response element for your students. When a Pause Prompt is reached you can have your students respond online as well as by speaking in class. Live Discussions generates a link and QR code for students to follow to land on a response page where they can answer the questions in the Pause Prompts. You'll be able to see their responses in your ClassHook teacher account. Watch this video to see Pause Prompts in action.

How to Include Video Feedback in Google Forms

Google Forms is a great platform for creating all kinds of simple quiz and review activities. One of the features of Google Forms that is often overlooked is the "go to section based on answer" setting. When you use that setting correctly you can send students to watch a review video when they answer a question incorrectly in your Form. In the five minute video embedded below I demonstrate how to create a Google Form that prompts students to watch review videos when they answer questions incorrectly.


Another method for prompting students to watch a video when they answer incorrectly is to put a video link in the feedback portion of a graded Google Forms quiz. The downside to that method is that students have to wait until they have completed the entire quiz before they can get the links to the videos. A video tutorial on that process is embedded below.

A Quick and Easy Way to Distribute Contact Info During an Open House

I have an open house night coming up later this week. Thinking about that reminded me of the following that I wrote six years ago about using QR codes at open house night. The concept is the same now as it was then. The tools that I recommend for making QR codes have changed a bit. 

At back-to-school night parents usually end up with collection of papers that they may or may not be saved for reference throughout the school year. Use QR codes to put the odds in your favor of the information in those papers being saved. I figure that if parents and or students scan and save information on their mobile devices, they are far more likely to retain it that way than if I gave them pieces of paper. So create QR codes and paste them on the door to your classroom or on a bulletin board in your room.

QR Code Monkey is a free QR code generator that I've used to create custom QR codes for Google Forms. I can also be used to create custom QR codes to distribute contact information. In this short video I demonstrate how to use QR Code Monkey and a couple of my other favorite QR code generators.