Sunday, January 16, 2022

Questions From My Daughters - What Are Freckles?

Last night one of my daughters asked, "what are freckles?" I did my best to explain that freckles are spots of melanin in our skin. Of course, I then had to try to explain to my five-year-old what melanin is. She then asked why she has freckles and one of her classmates doesn't. That was an answer I couldn't give beyond, "everyone's bodies are a little different." This all led to her trying to count the freckles on my arm. 

After my freckle discussion with my daughter, I turned to my favorite source of kid-friendly science explanations, SciShow Kids. There I found Why Do I Have Freckles? which does a good job of explaining what freckles are, what makes them appear, and why some people don't have any and why some people have lots of them. Should you find yourself trying to explain freckles to children, Why Do I Have Freckles? is a good resource to consult as is the SciShow video Why Do We Get Freckles?


Applications for Education
Besides answering the question of "what are freckles?" both of these videos could be good for introducing some biology concepts to older students. At just three minutes long, both videos are a good length for making online lessons in tools like EDpuzzle or Vialogues.  

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Good Resources for Remote Math & Science Lessons

PhET is a great resource that I've shared a bunch of times over the years. Recently, I was looking through the site when I noticed that its activity search tool now includes a filter for remote activities. Through this search tool you can locate lesson plans designed for remote instruction and learning. You can combine the remote search filter with any of the other subject, level, and language search filters. Watch this short video to see how it works. 



More About PhET
In the following video I demonstrate how to include PhET's science and math simulations in your Google Site. Those of you who watch the video will also notice that the simulations can also be shared via a direct Google Classroom integration.


Dozens of the PhET simulations are available to insert into PowerPoint presentations through the use of PhET's free PowerPoint Add-in. With the Add-in installed you can browse the available simulations and insert them into your slides. The simulations work in your slide just as they do on the PhET website.

Cold, Chrome, and Games - The Week in Review

Good morning from Maine where it is a crisp -7F as I write this. Fortunately, some warm weather is on the way. Today will probably be a day for a lot of games of Memory being played and some LEGO creations being made today. Tomorrow it will be up to 10F when we head out to ski. We'll drink some hot chocolate as during our ski day. I hope that you have some fun things planned for your weekend as well. 

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Read Aloud in Chrome
2. The Science of Winter Olympics Sports
3. About Primary Sources
4. Read Aloud in Edge and Other Immersive Reader Uses
5. ReadWriteThink Interactives Now Work Without Flash!
6. A New Smithsonian Learning Lab Tool for History and Art Teachers
7. How to Create Your Own Educational Games With TinyTap - Getting Started

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This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. 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.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Create an Alphabet Book on ReadWriteThink

This week Larry Ferlazzo shared the exciting news that ReadWriteThink relaunched all of their popular interactive student writing templates. The templates now work without Flash. One of my favorite templates that has been relaunched by RWT is the Alphabet Organizer template. 

Alphabet Organizer is a great little tool from Read Write Think that students can use to create alphabet charts and books. The idea behind Alphabet Organizer is to help students make visual connections between letters of the alphabet and the first letter of common words. In this short video I demonstrate how to use this tool.

Anesthesia and Tonsils

One of my daughters had a tonsillectomy this week. Prior to the surgery we talked with her about what was going to happen that day and why she was going to get so much ice cream afterwards. She's too young to really understand the science of how anesthesia works, but she did understand the idea of tonsils and why they were being removed. The preparation for tonsillectomy day reminded me of a TED-Ed lesson and a SciShow Kids lesson that I shared years ago. 

How Does Anesthesia Work? is a TED-Ed lesson that provides a five minute overview of the history of anesthesia and painkillers used during surgeries. The second half of the video explains the basics of the physiology of how anesthesia works. The lesson is appropriate for high school students taking an anatomy and physiology course.



Meet Your Tonsils! is a SciShow Kids lesson that explains what tonsils are, what they do, and how a doctor checks them. It's a lesson that is appropriate for elementary school students.