Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Videos for Learning About the Tour de France and the Science of Bicycling

The Tour de France begins on Saturday. What started out as a promotion to boost the sales of newspapers in France is now one of the biggest sporting events in the world (and a big business). On Tuesday I shared a couple of ideas for making virtual tours of the Tour de France. Here are some other resources for learning more about the Tour de France.

Watch this animated video to learn all about the tactics of the race, the logistics of the race, the physiology of riding in the race, and many other interesting facts about the world's most famous bicycle race.

How is the overall winner of the Tour de France determined? It's not as simple as you might think. In addition to the overall winner's Yellow Jersey there are other prizes awarded in the race. Learn all about how the race times and points are calculated by watching the following video from the Global Cycling Network.

If watching the race (broadcast on NBC Sports in the US) inspires you to get outside and ride a bike, don't forget your helmet. The Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky offers some good resources about brain injury prevention. One of those resources is a short animated video designed to teach students about the need for wearing a helmet and how to wear helmets when biking or skateboarding. In the video students learn how to pick a helmet and how to properly fit a helmet. Watch the two minute video below.

The Science Behind the Bike is a four part video series from The Open University. The series has a total running length of 33 minutes and is a complement to a larger Open Learn course called The Science Behind Wheeled Sports. The videos and the course are designed to help students understand the physics, the physiology,  and the technology that influence the outcome of cycling events.

Minute Physics offers two videos about the physics of bicycles. In How Do Bikes Stay Up? we learn how bikes stay upright, how design and weight influences balance, and why bicycles are difficult to balance in reverse.

The Counterintuitive Physics of Turning a Bike explains how we turn bicycles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

NRICH - Another Good Place to Find Math Activities

In response to yesterday's post about MathsLinks a handful of folks reminded me via email and Facebook of another good place for teachers to find mathematics resources. That place is NRICH which I initially reviewed almost eight years ago and then again five years ago. Upon revisiting NRICH today I found that it is still a great place to find math resources.

NRICH is a provider of mathematics curricula and lesson plans covering everything from basic addition through advanced algebra and geometry. NRICH has sections for teachers and sections for the students. The teacher sections contain lesson ideas and plans. Some of those plans correspond to activities students can do online while others are entirely offline activities. The student sections of NRICH are intended to be mostly self-guided. Students will find interactive games and also find some challenge activities that are not games but instead prompt students to apply their math skills to ask questions and solve problems like this one.

NRICH offers dozens of posters to download and print. Each of the posters displays a mathematics "trick" or challenge question. Teachers can download and print any of the posters in the collection. Each poster in the collection is linked to a problem page that contains notes for teachers using the posters.

How to Create a Virtual Tour of the Tour de France

The Tour de France starts on Saturday. Unlike in recent years, this year the race is almost entirely within France. The riders will only be outside of France once during the three week event. The complete course can be seen on the official Tour de France map. Unfortunately, the official map doesn't provide anything more than just the locations of the start and end points of each segment of the race. This presents a great opportunity for a Google My Maps project or Google VR Tour Creator project.

Create a Google Maps tour of the 2018 Tour de France
Students could use Google's My Maps tool to create a map with placemarks for the start and end points of each segment of the race. In addition to the town and city names have them include a handful of interesting facts about within each placemark. Students can also include pictures and videos in those placemarks. If you have never tried using Google's My Maps, watch my video below to learn how to get started.

Create a VR Tour of the 2018 Tour de France
Google's VR Tour Creator that was launched a couple of months ago is quickly becoming one of my favorite mapping tools. With the VR Tour Creator students could create a VR tour of the starting points of the segments of the Tour de France. And with the latest addition to VR Tour Creator students can add their own narration to the tours that they create. Watch my videos embedded below to learn how to get started using Google's VR Tour Creator.

A Crash Course on Independence Day

Tomorrow, July 4th, is Independence Day in the U.S.  In the video below John Green offers a short overview of the history of Independence Day and the ways in which Americans have celebrated the holiday since 1776.

As always, Green includes plenty of sarcastic comments throughout the video so if your students have trouble recognizing sarcasm then this won't be an appropriate video for them.

The Chemistry of Fireworks

Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States. Cities and towns all over the country will feature fireworks displays to celebrate the day. I'm sure that many of you will be enjoying a fireworks display tomorrow. (My kids are too young and my dogs too are too skittish to enjoy fireworks). If after watching a fireworks display, you or your children wonder how the fireworks actually work, take a look at the following videos from NPR's SkunkBear, National Geographic, and Reactions.