Friday, March 29, 2019

5 Resources for Teaching and Learning About the Science of Baseball

The Major League Baseball season started yesterday. The Yankees won, boo! The Red Sox lost, double boo! If you have students who are as excited as I am about the start of the baseball season, try to capitalize on that enthusiasm with one of the following educational resources.

Exploratorium's the Science of Baseball is a bit dated in its appearance, but it still has some nice resources that can help students understand how a bit of science and mathematics is involved in the game. The Science of Baseball includes video and audio clips of baseball players and scientists explaining how the weather affects the flight of the ball, the physics of various pitches, and reaction times to thrown and batted baseballs.

The Baseball Hall of Fame has free lessons that are aligned with the Common Core Standards for Math and English Language Arts. There are lessons for math, social studies, science, the arts, and character education.

ESPN's Sport Science has a handful of little resources about the science of baseball. One of those resources is Anatomy of a Pitch. In Anatomy of a Pitch seven pitchers from the Arizona Diamondbacks explain how they throw their signature pitches. Each explanation includes slow motion footage and the pitchers explaining the release points, finger positioning, leg uses, and rotations involved in each their pitches.

The Physics of Baseball is a PBS Learning Media lesson for students in high school. Learn about motion, energy, aerodynamics, and vibration.

Perfect Pitch is a nice little game produced by the Kennedy Center's Arts Edge. Perfect Pitch uses the backdrop of a baseball diamond to teach students about the instruments in an orchestra through a baseball game setting. The game introduces students to four eras of orchestral music and the instruments used in each. Students can create their own small orchestras and virtually play each instrument to hear how it sounds. After building an orchestra students then test their knowledge in short quizzes about the instruments and their sounds.

There's a Poem for That! - Lessons for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month. Earlier this week I shared a couple of Read Write Think poetry activities that you can use in elementary school. For those who teach middle school and high school language arts, I recommend taking a look at TED-Ed's playlist of poetry lessons.

There's a Poem for That is a series of six TED-Ed lessons featuring six famous works. In the series you will find lessons about poems from Frost, Shakespeare, Yeats, O'Keefe, Gibson, and Elhillo.

Last Weekend for Early Registration Discounts for Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp

The Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp is down to only ten seats remaining and only three days left to get the early registration discount. If you have been thinking about joining us this summer for two days of hands-on learning, now is the time to register.

Here's a list of ten things that you can learn during the Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.

1. Helping students develop better search skills.
2. Using augmented reality in education.
3. Using virtual reality in education.
4. Infusing technology into outdoor lessons.
5. Making videos with students.
6. Producing podcasts with students.
7. Interactive digital storytelling.
8. Crafting meaningful formative assessments.
9. Creating a plan to make the most of the technology you have in your school.
10. Workflow hacks to free up time to take care of yourself throughout the school year.

Here are ten fun things you do before after each workshop day:
1. Hike a stretch of the Appalachian Trail.
2. Fly fish for rainbow trout, brook trout, and brown trout in a blue-ribbon stretch of the Androscoggin River that runs through Bethel and the neighboring town of Gilead.
3. Adventure a little further north and explore the Rapid River and Pond in the River. The Pond and the River are the setting for the classic, We Took to the Woods.
4. Hit the links at the Bethel Inn & Resort, the host of this year’s Practical Ed Tech Summer Camp.
5. Try the other award-winning course in the area at the Sunday River Resort in neighboring Newry.
6. Bring your mountain bike or rent one locally to explore the new trails that connect to the Bethel Inn & Resort.
7. Taste some of the local craft beer (Maine has more breweries per capita than all over states).
8. Paddle on one of the local lakes.
9. Look for moose early in the morning or at dusk along route 16 through Grafton Notch.
10. Just chill out and watch the sunset over beautiful western Maine.

There are just three days left to register at the early bird rate.

Register today and save $50!

This Chrome Extension Helps You Tune Out Negativity on Social Media

I have long said (half jokingly) that YouTube comments are a lot like the graffiti you find on the walls of dive bar bathrooms. In other words, nothing good is found in them. There are some exceptions to that rule but they are few and far between. It seems that Google agrees with me because they recently launched through Jigsaw, one of their subsidiaries, a Chrome extension designed to hide toxic comments on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Disqus.

Tune is a Chrome extension that you can use to filter toxic comments out of YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Disqus. Once you have the extension installed you can choose which networks you want to apply Tune to. Tune will then attempt to identify toxic comments and filter them from your view. You can unhide the comments if you want to know what Tune hid for you.

I installed Tune this week and applied it to Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. It certainly filtered everything that could be considered toxic and lots of other comments that were totally benign. Fortunately, you can tune Tune to help it learn what is and isn't a toxic comment. I ended up clicking "no" on the question of "should this be hidden?" that Tune presents to you whenever you unhide a comment.

Applications for Education
Tune could be a good Chrome extension for students to use to remove negativity from the comment streams on the some of the social networks that they use. I like that Tune is quite strict about what it lets through for display. If students don't see negative comments, they can't feed the trolls on social media. 

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Where Do Baseball Fans Live? - Interactive Map

Despite the couple of games that the Mariners and Athletics played in Japan last week, Major League Baseball is calling today the opening day of the season. As a lifelong fan of the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, I am excited for the start of the season. Where do Red Sox fans live? How far does the fandom spread? And what's the disbursement of fans for the other Major League teams? Those questions can be answered by looking at SeatGeek's interactive map titled Where do MLB Fans Live?

Where do MLB Fans Live? is an interactive map that shows which teams are the most popular teams in each county in the United States. A few things found through the map were not surprising at all. For example, every county in Maine and New Hampshire the Red Sox are the most popular team. And a few things revealed in the map did surprise me. For example, growing up in Connecticut I always felt like the state was evenly divided between Yankees and Red Sox fans (with a few oddball Mets fans sprinkled in), but according to this map the state is predominantly a Red Sox state.

There are a couple of flaws with the data interpretation on SeatGeek's Where do MLB Fans Live? The data is drawn from analyzing the behavior of shoppers on SeatGeek. So it is entirely possible that a team is more popular in a county than another but the fans of that team are more active shoppers. Another flaw is that the map only shows which team is most popular in the county but doesn't show how much more popular it is than another team. So it is possible that a county could be split 49% to 51% in favor of one team. Most statisticians would not consider that difference to be significant.

Applications for Education
I'm sharing this map because I think that it could be a good tool for introducing students to the nuance of data interpretation and manipulation. The map could also be used as a model for how to represent data through maps or through infographics.

H/T to Maps Mania