Thursday, May 3, 2018

Glue vs. tape - A TED-Ed Science Lesson

The back windshield in my truck is currently being held in place by some clear packaging tape. There's a big crack in it and my local glass shop can't fix it until Tuesday. Tape was my "fix" because super glue would not only make a mess, but that mess could end up dripping onto the paint where it would never come off. I'm telling you all this as a means to introduce a new TED-Ed lesson titled Which Is Stronger: Tape or Glue?

In Which Is Stronger: Tape or Glue? viewers learn how glue stays in liquid form while in a bottle or tube, what creates the bond that glue makes between two surfaces, what makes some glues stronger than others, and when tape is a better choice than using glue (see story about my windshield).

Applications for Education
As soon as I saw the title of this TED-Ed lesson I thought that it could be the basis for some classroom experiments. Before showing the video I would ask students to write hypotheses on whether tape or glue would be the better choice for bonding various objects. Then they could test their hypotheses using non-toxic glues and tapes. Another approach would be to simply ask students why water weakens the bond of objects that are taped together.

The Science of Spring!

Here in Maine it finally has felt like spring for the entire week. We've had hot and sunny days as well as warm and rainy days. In other words, lawns are starting to look green. This is a great time to share a new SciShow Kids video that covers a handful of topics related to the science of spring.

The Science of Spring explains to students why birds sing more in the spring, why it rains a lot in the spring, what makes plants grow, and why bugs begin to hatch in the spring.

The video is a bit too long for my liking, but it is broken up into four clear sections so you could use just a section of the fifteen minute video in your classroom.

On a related note, I recently held a webinar all about blending technology into outdoor lessons. If you missed it, you can get the recording right here

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Economics of Seinfeld - Lessons Based on Seinfeld Clips

The Economics of Seinfeld is a neat concept for teaching economics lessons developed by economics professors from Eastern Illinois University and Baker University. The Economics of Seinfeld is a catalog of clips (sometimes entire episodes) from the hit sitcom Seinfeld that demonstrate various economics concepts. There are seven pages of clips that you can browse through. Alternatively, and more practically, you can search for clips by entering an economics term like "demand," "supply," and "substitute goods."

If you plan to use The Economics of Seinfeld, you should know that it doesn't host all of the video clips. In some cases you're just directed you to episodes and time-frames within episodes to find clips. You'll have to find the episodes on Hulu or acquire a copy of Seinfeld on DVD to use the clips in your classroom.

300+ Printable Comic Templates

Make Beliefs Comix is a great multilingual comic strip creation service that I've featured many times in the past. One of the features of Make Beliefs Comix that I like is the collection of printable comic strip templates. These printable templates are in addition to the online Make Beliefs Comix creation tool. The templates are divided into dozens of thematic categories including history, holidays, and civil rights. There is even a category of templates titled Emotions which is designed to help students express how they are feeling through comic characters.

Applications for Education
The printable templates from Make Beliefs Comix could be excellent resources to use as creative writing prompts. You could have students start a simple story by using the templates then expand the story into a longer narrative.

Only Five Openings Left

Over the years I have been fortunate to visit hundreds of schools to help teachers use technology to create better learning experiences for their students. Sometimes that means helping people get up to speed on G Suite for Education. But I also do a lot of work with teachers on topics related to coding, media production, and digital portfolios. I'll be doing all of those things at many schools and conferences over the next few months. I'd love to put your school or conference on my summer calendar too.

As of this morning I have five openings left in my summer calendar. I have one opening in late June and two each in July and August. Booking me is an easy process. Just send me an email at richardbyrne (at) to get the process rolling. Or fill out the form on this page also contains a list of some of my popular workshop topics.

As always, a huge thank you to all of you who have helped to support me and Free Technology for Teachers. Whether you've brought me to your school for a week of workshops or just shared a post with your friends, you've helped keep this blog rolling. Thank you!