Saturday, December 4, 2021

Two Options for Automatically Removing Choices from Google Forms

Earlier this week a reader of my newsletter sent me a question looking for a way to limit the number of times that an answer choice could be used on a Google Form. My first suggestion was to try the Google Forms add-on called Choice Eliminator 2

Choice Eliminator 2 is a Google Forms add-on that I've used for years to limit the number of times that an answer choice can be used on a Google Form. When the limit is reached, the answer choice stops appearing on the form. For example, if I create a multiple choice question like "what's your first choice of winter carnival activity?" and then give four answer choices, I can then use Choice Eliminator 2 to only allow answer choice "A" to be chosen three times before it disappears from the form. In fact, that's exactly what I demonstrate in the second half of this video

Choice Removal is another Google Forms add-on that will remove answer choices from a Google Form as they get used up. The difference between Choice Removal and Choice Eliminator 2 is that Choice Removal doesn't allow you to specify how many times an answer choice can be used. Instead, Choice Removal simply removes an answer choice as soon as it has been used one time. 

In this video I demonstrate how both Choice Eliminator 2 and Choice Removal work. 

Friday, December 3, 2021

Why the Moon Seems Brighter in Winter

We had our first coating of snow this week. (It's unusual to go this late into fall without having a snowfall). As I was putting my daughters to bed last night my oldest asked why it was so bright outside. My short answer was that the snow reflected the street lights and the moon light. That's just a small part of the reason why the moon seems brighter in the winter. 

Why the Full Moon is Better in Winter explains how the combination of the position of the moon relative to Earth and snow on the ground make the moon appear brighter in the winter than in the summer. Take a look at the video as embedded below.  

View What's Behind a Website With Mouse X-Ray Goggles

Mozilla used to offer a great little tool called X-Ray Goggles that let you view and modify the code behind any webpage. Unfortunately, they shut it down a couple of years ago and since then I've been recommending that people simply use Chrome's inspect tool to view the code behind a webpage. In fact, I even included that in my weekly newsletter this week. This week I discovered that offers its own X-Ray Goggles tool for viewing and modifying the code behind a page.'s X-Ray Goggles tool lets you see the code behind any web page and change that code to display anything that you want in place of the original text and images. After you have made the changes you can publish a local copy of the web page. In this short video I provide a demonstration of how's X-Ray Goggles tool works. 

Applications for Education's X-Ray Goggles provides a good way for students to see how the code of a webpage works.

As I mentioned in the video, you could use X-Ray Goggles to alter an article on the web to make it a satire story. Then print the page and give it to your students to try to identify the satire elements of the story.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

A Science Lesson for Winter Application

Winter temperatures have arrived in Maine. There's a light coating of snow on the ground. And my daughters and I are excited about the start of ski season! While we like all of these things about winter, there is one thing we don't like. That thing is dealing with cracked, chapped, and dry lips. During the winter I go through lip balm like a kid goes through Halloween candy. Perhaps you and your kids have the same problem in the winter.

What causes chapped lips? What can you do to prevent your lips from chapping, besides using lip balm? The answers to those questions and more are found in this Brain Stuff video titled What Causes Chapped Lips? The video is embedded below.

Applications for Education
I appreciate videos like this one because they address questions that many students are naturally curious about. This video can be brought into part of a larger health lesson on the importance of hydration.

What You Should Know About Pings and Traceroutes

As I wrote in my recent weekly newsletter, using the ping command on your computer is an easy way to check if a website is down or if the problem is with your computer. Using the ping command in the command prompt window on your computer might seem like something only computer science teachers and students should do, but the reality is that any teacher or student can benefit from knowing how to do it because it provides a quick and reliable way to determine whether or not a website is down. 

Here's a demonstration of how to conduct a ping on a Mac and here's a demo of how to do it on a Windows computer.  

A traceroute shows you all of the traffic hops (connections) between your computer and a destination (often a website, but not always). This information can be useful in determining where the connection between your computer and a destination breaks down. In other words, it's a simple network diagnostics tool. Running a traceroute is also an interesting way for students to see where in the world traffic is going to and coming from. Run a few traceroutes with your students and see if they're surprised by what they see. Here's a demo of how to run a traceroute on a Mac and here's how it's done on a Windows computer.