Saturday, December 4, 2021

Germs, Math, and Videos - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it's a clear and cold morning. Earlier this week we had our first real accumulation of snow. That snow covering will make it easier for me to drag our Christmas tree to the house later this morning. My daughters are excited to help decorate the Christmas tree this weekend. I hope that you have something that you're equally excited to do this weekend. 

Every once in a while a blog post that I published months or even years ago is resurfaced by someone who then shares it on social media. That's evident when you look at this week's list of the most popular posts. The post about math problems was published in July but was one of this week's most popular posts. The whole list is included below. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Germ Science Investigation - A Game About Stopping the Spread of COVID-19
2. Three Updated Google Docs Features
3. Five Helpful PowerPoint Features You Might Be Overlooking
4. Three Places to Find Fun and Interesting Math Problems
5. My Big List of Tools for a Variety of Classroom Video Projects
6. Two Easy Ways to Make Your Own Mobile App
7. Scan Documents and QR Codes With Your Chromebook

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This post originally appeared on If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image captured by Richard Byrne.

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.