I Forgot Day is August 12. Did you ever wonder why don't we use all our brain cells and what do we do with the ones we don't use? Find out from Hannah Iaccarino, a graduate student in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT and a researcher at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.
Smithsonian Science Education Center
Teacher-geared site outlines steps for innovative science instruction
Pros: "Good Thinking" videos addressing student misconceptions and education best practices are absolute gems; watch and learn.
Cons: Educators with whom the site's vision resonates will still need to do a lot of legwork; concrete details such as samples or time lines are notably missing.
Bottom Line: Use the SSEC's site as a stop on your changing-science-instruction path; just be prepared to reach out to them for constructive details.
From the sudden flash of light, the power of the thunder, and the fear of what it might bring, we have always been fascinated and awed by the phenomenon of lightning during a thunderstorm. Lightning Safety is important. Check out this resource that takes readers through the evolution of lightning detection technology. Learn about Alexander Popov's device that used radio waves, and how that lead to the advanced detection equipment of today. Also see how the images from the new GOES weather satellite's Geostationary Lightning Mapper can help meteorologists map and predict storm paths in the future.
Design Squad Global
Fun engineering problems encourage classroom competition, innovation
Pros: Highly interactive multimedia resources drive home the skills and processes of engineering and design.
Cons: Episodes and games use Adobe Flash and will not work on iOS devices; accessibility features have some limitations.
Bottom Line: Design Squad Global makes learning STEAM concepts fun through hands-on activities and easy-to-understand scientific explanations.
Celebrate International Yoga Day on the 21st with this gallery of images demonstrating classic yoga positions. With the 3D Toad technology, each pose can be enlarged, rotated, and examined from multiple angles.
Solve problems, puzzles, brain teasers while creating wacky machines
Pros: Full-featured puzzle game offers ample opportunities for building conceptual knowledge.
Cons: Teachers will need to build the bridge from fun to actual learning.
Bottom Line: Hands-on problem-solving leads to great fun and independent learning with the right curricular wraparound to connect what kids are doing with what they need to know.
This site features 11 amazing nature photographs answering questions like Do bees like caffeine? Are spiders omnivores? What does it feel like to be left out when you want to join a group? Habitat Network, a citizen science project from Cornell University, collects data by asking individuals across the country to draw maps and take pictures of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens. It also offers a link to tips for taking beautiful landscape photos and step-by-step instructions to upload photos.
Bring code to life with circuits, robots, Minecraft, and more
Pros: Great connection between code and hardware, easily switch from block- to text-based commands.
[Puzzle App Teaches Coding & Challenges Learners]
Cons: Must buy peripherals/hardware for most uses; core subject teachers may find it hard to integrate.
Bottom Line: Once you purchase the hardware, MakeCode opens doors to an incredible diversity of coding applications.
June is Hot Air Balloon Day. Ever wonder why and how hot air balloons float? This resource from the NOVA Web site offers a series of interactive activities that help you understand the science of hot air balloons. Look into the rising and sinking of air, the impact of air temperature on hot air balloons, and even take a virtual hot air balloon journey across the globe.
Smithsonian Learning Lab
Discover, create, remix, and share Smithsonian resources
Pros: Inviting interface, powerful tools, and the ability to curate, annotate, and share over 1 million Smithsonian resources.
Cons: There simply isn't enough time to search through all the available resources.
Bottom Line: This thoughtfully crafted, open-ended curation and creation tool has a place in most classrooms.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.