Saturday, July 30, 2016

Stacked Ball Drop - A Physics Lesson

The Physics Girl is a great YouTube channel that recently appeared as a suggestion while I was browsing the ASAP Science channel. The Physics Girl is Dianna Cowern who produces short physics lessons for students of all ages. Stacked Ball Drop is one of the videos that caught my attention while I was browsing her channel.

In the Stacked Ball Drop Dianna shows viewers that when one ball is placed on top of another and then dropped the ball on top bounces higher than it would if it was dropped alone. Dianna then goes on to explain the physics that is involved in a single ball bouncing as well the physics of two or more balls stacked on top of each other being dropped and bounced. That explanation transitions to how the concepts in the stacked ball dropped are analogous to the formation of super novas.


Applications for Education
This video demonstrates an excellent science lesson for students. After watching the video or a portion of the video you could have students write predictions for what they think will happen if they stack more balls and or use balls of different sizes and densities. Then let them go out and conduct the experiment and record their results.

To create a flipped lesson based on this video try using Vizia, VideoNot.es, or EDPuzzle.

Three Good Ways to Use Word Clouds With Students

Last week's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week featured two good tools for creating custom word clouds. Throughout the week people have Tweeted suggestions about how to use word clouds with students. Here are three word cloud activities suggested by folks on Twitter.

1. SMS World Geography suggested the following:


2.Megan Hartigan shared that she used word clouds to show students how their understanding of mathematics vocabulary grew from September to June.


3. Jen Wagner chimed-in to remind me of her site Guess the Wordle. On Guess the Wordle Jen has posted a collection of word clouds that students look at and then guess what they are about. For example, on Guess the Wordle there is a set of word clouds featuring words that describe states in the United States. Based on the clues in the word cloud students have to guess which state the word cloud is about.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Why Are Olympic Records Always Broken? - And Other Olympics Resources

The 2016 Summer Olympic Games are just one week away now. From archery to rowing to track and field, over the course of the games many world and Olympic records will be broken. That raises the question, why are records almost always broken? ASAP Science tackled that question just before the 2014 Winter Olympics and the answers to the question also apply to summer events. The answers are explained in the video embedded below.


For more resources to help students learn about the Summer Olympic Games take a look at the CBC Kids Olympics page. There you will find games and word puzzles about a variety of sports including archery, soccer, swimming, and weight lifting.

Larry Ferlazzo has assembled a substantial list of resources for learning about the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Larry started that list nearly a year ago. His list includes resources for learning about the Paralympics.

How Does a Canyon Become Grand? - And Other Lessons on the Shaping of North America

Earlier this month TED-Ed published a new lesson about how the physical geography of North America has changed over time. The lesson, titled How North America Got Its Shape, includes brief explanations of the roles of shifting tectonic plates, erosion, and volcanic activity in shaping North America. The lesson includes the Grand Canyon as an example the shaping of North America.

The PBS Digital Studios channel, It's Okay To Be Smart, offers a more in-depth look at the shaping of the Grand Canyon. That video is embedded below.


Applications for Education
Both of these videos could be nice introductory lessons for middle school or high school students. You could use them in your classroom or use them as part of a flipped lesson by building questions into the videos through a tool like Vizia or EDpuzzle.

Some Google Docs Add-ons Now Work on Android Devices

Since their launch Add-ons have provided users with a variety of additional features in Google Documents. Until yesterday, those Add-ons only worked when you were using the browser version of Google Documents. Now there is a selection of Google Docs Add-ons that work in the Android version of Google Docs. Of that collection the ones that are of interest to teachers and students are Easy Bib, Teacher Aide, and Google Classroom.

Applications for Education
If you or your students regularly use Android devices to work on documents, the new selection of Add-ons for Android could be helpful to you. The selection of Android-ready Add-ons is limited at this time. Hopefully, in the near future we'll see more Add-ons available in the Android version of Google Documents.