Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One of my most memorable elementary school science lessons included all of us creating working circuits with multiple switches to illuminate light bulbs. Our power source was 120 volt standard outlet. I don't think that would be allowed in most classrooms today, but our teacher, Mrs. Carlson, was young and fearless. I was reminded of that lesson this morning when I watched SciShow Kids' new video about the power of circuits. The video provides students with clear visuals and explanations of how a circuit works including the function of a switch. The video then demonstrates creating a circuit with a battery, small switch, and a light bulb.

Not all electricity is distributed in the same way. Some is distributed through direct currents like batteries in a flashlight and some is distributed through alternating currents which is what you find in the power lines running through your neighborhood. The following from Derek Owens explains the differences between direct current and alternating current.

An interesting TED-Ed lesson on The Science of Static Electricity.

Brain Stuff has a video that offers a good explanation of why we hear a buzzing sound coming from fluorescent lights found in many schools and office buildings. The video is embedded below.

Minute Physics offers a short video explaining how modern light bulbs work and how light bulb design has changed over the last 100+ years.The video also includes explanations of the different types of modern light bulbs and their applications. The video is embedded below.

Hydro to Home is an interactive story of hydro-electric power from raindrops to homes. The story walks visitors through each step of the process of generating hydro-electric power and delivering to consumers' homes. The story is narrated and along the way there are interactive images that visitors can click on to learn even more information about hydro-electric power.

The Blobz Guide to Electric Circuits is a neat series of interactive animations designed to help students of elementary and middle school age learn how electric circuits work. There are five sections to the series. Each sections builds upon the lessons of the previous section. The series starts with the basics of what makes a circuit complete and concludes with diagramming and building circuits. Each section in the series has a few short lessons and is followed by an animated interactive activity to which students can apply what they have just learned.

The History of Macy's Thanksgiving Parade

History offers the following short video about the history of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The Next News Network also offers a nice, concise summary of the history of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Emojis and More Special Characters in Blogger

This isn't groundbreaking, but you can now use emojis in Blogger. About a week or two ago a new icon appeared in the "compose" mode in Blogger. That icon represents the special characters that you can insert into your Blogger blog posts. Those special characters include emojis. They also include more practical things like arrows, math symbols, and special characters needed for properly writing a variety of languages.

You can search for special characters by name, by drawing a symbol, or you can just browse through the galleries.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Analyzing Word Choice in a Presidential Statement

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on this day in 1963. Later in the same day Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as President of the United States. President Johnson took the oath of office on Air Force One. When the plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base he gave a short statement. His speech card is today's featured document in the National Archives' daily document series.

One of the interesting things on President Johnson's speech card is the freehand editing that was done to it. I would have students look at the speech card and analyze why President Johnson edited out things like "every American" and replaced it with "all people." When looked at in light of the Cold War that choice and some of his other editing choices are significant.

An audio recording of President Johnson's statement can be heard here on the LBJ Library website.

See Larry Ferlazzo's blog for a long list of more resources about the assassination of JFK.

Create Narrated Map Tours on a Chromebook

On Sunday and Monday I shared a couple of videos about making narrated Google Earth tours. Unfortunately, Google Earth doesn't work on a Chromebook. So if you want your students to create narrated map tours, the best thing to do is to have them map a series of placemarks in Google's My Maps tool then record a screencast in which they talk about the places on their maps.

You can learn how to use Google's My Maps tools by watching the video embedded below.

A couple of good options for recording a screencast on a Chromebook are Nimbus Screenshot and Capture Cast.