Saturday, September 3, 2022

Fun With Soda Pop - A Nice Weekend Science Experiment

SciShow Kids recently published an updated video about a "classic" science experiment. That experiment is dropping Mentos candies into a bottle of soda pop. But before doing that and explaining what happens, the video briefly explains how beverages are carbonated and why the bubbles stick to some objects better than others. If you're looking for something fun and educational to do at home with your kids this weekend, watch this video then do the experiment. I think we're going to give it a go this weekend. 

For some printed directions on how to do this experiment, take a look at this PDF from the National Council for Special Education. And for a variation on this experiment take a look at the Diet Coke and Mentos Race Car activity published by Carnegie Melon University School of Computer Science.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Free Webinar and 5 Posters to Help Students Learn to Read Like a Historian

Stanford History Education Group offers lots of great resources for history teachers. They're hosting a couple of free webinars next week including one designed to help you help your students learn to read like a historian. If you can't make it to the webinar or webinars just aren't your thing (after two+ years of virtual meeting, some of us are Zoomed-out, I get it), Stanford History Education Group has some other resources that you can use to teach students how to read like a historian. You can access all of those resources for free right here. Those resources include five classroom posters that remind students of methods they can use to read like a historian

The posters in the collection are Close Reading, Contextualization, Corroboration, Sourcing, and What is History? All the posters can be downloaded as PDFs designed for printing on 18" x 24" paper. The posters are available in English and Spanish. To download them you do need to create a free account on the Stanford History Education Group's website. 

If you'd like to print the posters in a larger format, you might consider using Block Posters which enables you to print large posters while using a standard size printer. 

My Favorite Fall Video Project

It's September and here in Maine the leaves on some of the maple trees are already starting to change color. This is my favorite time of year! And it's time that once again I share my favorite fall video project. The project is to create a time-lapse video of autumn. The outline of my time-lapse of autumn project is included below.

The idea is to take one picture every day to document the changes in the foliage as we progress through autumn from the first few orange leaves to full-blown autumn foliage colors to the drab brown we see after in the winter.

Here's how your students could create their own autumn foliage time-lapse videos.

1. Take one picture per day of the same view or of one singular tree. 
Using a cell phone is probably the best tool for this because students rarely go anywhere without one.

2. Upload the pictures to a Google Drive or OneDrive folder. 
It only takes one tap to move photos from a phone to a Google Drive folder labeled "Fall foliage." If This Then That has a recipe for doing this automatically from Android phones and from iPhones. Or simply use Google Photos and then move the photos into a folder at the end of the month. 

3. After four weeks, upload photos to Cloud Stopmotion or Stop Motion Animator and create your time-lapse. 
Cloud Stopmotion is a video editing program that works in your web browser. You can easily adjust the duration of each frame and easily add a soundtrack to your video. Click here for a video about using Cloud Stopmotion. Stop Motion Animator is another free tool for creating stop motion movies. Here's a demo of how it works. 

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Two Search Refinement Tips for Every Teacher and Student

A couple of days ago I hosted a webinar for tech coaches. In the webinar I mentioned that teaching teachers just a couple of quick search refinement tips that they can pass on to students can help them stop feeling like their students are going to the same websites over and over. To that end, I shared two search refinement tips that every teacher and student should know. These two strategies will help students get beyond the usual first couple of pages of search results. Both strategies are outlined in this short video.

In the video that is embedded below I demonstrate how to refine search results according to top-level domain and why that is helpful to students. In the video I also demonstrate how to refine a search according to filetype and why that is helpful to students. In the video you'll see how I found a great lesson plan because I used a combination of top-level domain and filetype refinement. 

Write With Emojis in Google Docs

Earlier this week Google added a new emoji option into Google Docs. The new option enables you to type @ followed by an emotion to add an emoji into a sentence in your Google Documents. For example, you can type "@smile" to generate a list of smiley emojis that you can pick from to insert into the sentence you're writing. Of course, you can also do this by simply opening the insert menu in Google Docs and then selecting the emoji option. 

In this short video I demonstrate how to add emojis into your sentences in Google Docs

Applications for Education
When I first saw Google's announcement about adding emojis into Google Docs I didn't think much of it. In fact, I thought it was kind of silly or pointless. Then I thought some more about it and realized that writing with emojis could be a fun way to create some creative writing prompts for students. You could even combine emojis with dropdown menus in Google Docs to create some little Mad Libs-like creative writing activities.

Here's a short video about how add dropdown menus into Google Docs.