Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snakes!

In the words of Indiana Jones, "snakes! I hate snakes!" I don't actually hate snakes, but they do make me a bit nervous. Fortunately, I live in a cold climate that has few snakes and no native venomous snakes. The question of why venomous snakes live in warm climates is the focus of this video from Veritasium. The answer is much more complicated than I anticipated.


Applications for Education
Why Do Venomous Snakes Live In Warm Climates? could be the jumping-off point for lessons on biodiversity and adaptation to climate. The video also provides a great example of how statistics don't always tell the full story.

The 2014 Google Science Fair Is Open - Project Ideas for Students

The 2014 Google Science Fair is now open. This annual event asks thirteen to eighteen year old students to carry out a test or experiment on a subject they’re passionate about, and submit their projects online. To help students develop project ideas the Google Science Fair website offers an idea springboard. The idea springboard asks students to complete the phrases "I love," "I'm good at," and "I want to explore." From the students' responses to these questions the idea springboard generates a collection of videos and websites that could spark project ideas in their minds.

Applications for Education
The Google Science Fair website includes a section for teachers in which you will find lesson plans addressing the topics of how science changes the world and what good science looks like. These lesson plans are designed to guide students in the processes of inquiry and experiment design.

Click here to find complete details about entering the Google Science Fair.

OpenEd Releases an iPad App for Finding and Sharing Educational Videos and Games

OpenEd.io is a free service that launched in October of 2013 for the purpose of offering a huge catalog of educational videos, games, and assessments. One of the services OpenEd.io offers is the option for teachers to create courses and collections of resources to share with their students. This week OpenEd released a free iPad app for teachers and students.

Teachers can use the free iPad app to locate videos, games, and assessments. Teachers can search for materials according to standard, content area, grade level, and material type.

Students can use the free OpenEd iPad app to log into the courses that they are members of and view the materials that their teachers have shared with them.

Applications for Education
The OpenEd iPad app is a great complement to everything else that OpenEd offers. As a registered OpenEd user (registration is free and takes less than thirty seconds to complete) you can create courses and playlists of videos and other materials that you find in the OpenEd directory. You can align your courses and playlists to standards. Adding assessments to your courses could be a good way to provide your students with some self-study / self-quiz materials to review before coming into your classroom.

The Science of Kissing

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day so this is a good time to take a look at the science of kissing. The following video from It's Okay To Be Smart (produced by PBS Digital Studios) explains why humans kiss, the history of symbols associated with kissing, and some cultural views of kissing. When I saw this video I immediately thought of my friend Jeni who teaches high school health.


H/T to Brain Pickings.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Video - How to Create Placemarks and Layers On Google Maps Engine Lite

Last week I published a set of screenshots containing directions for creating placemarks, polygons, and layers on Google Maps Engine Lite. Since that post was published I have received a few requests for a screencast of the process. The screencast video below provides an overview of the process of creating placemarks, layers, and polygons on Google Maps Engine Lite.



Here are a few good uses of maps with multiple layers.
  • Multiple layers could be used for showing data differences on a year over year or month over month basis. 
  • You could display the same data with different base layers for comparison. 
  • Students working collaboratively on a map can be responsible for editing their own layers on the same map. 
  • If you’re using Google Maps Engine Lite to have students create literature trips (look here for inspiration), they can create a different layer for each chapter of a book. 
  • Students mapping the history of an event like the U.S. Civil War could create a different layer for each year of the war.
Google Maps Engine Lite supports importing and mapping data via spreadsheets. This was previously possible if you used a Google Spreadsheet Gadget like Map-A-List, but the native support in Google Maps Engine Lite makes this easier than ever. As long as your spreadsheet meets the following minimum standards, you will be able to have the data mapped for you. 
  • Your spreadsheet should have three columns. 
    •  Names of places. 
    • Location (City and State or postal code or latitude and longitude coordinates). 
    • Description (information you want displayed within the placemark).