What is Kevlar and how is it used? See Richard Engel discuss an invention that has saved many soldiers' lives. He tells the story of lab work done in 1965 by DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek that unexpectedly produced Kevlar, a lightweight fiber five times stronger than steel used in bulletproof vests.
Title: Mystery Science
Summary: Big questions, kids' curiosity drive thoughtful science curriculum
Pros: Kids engage in inquiry as they puzzle through scientific phenomena.
Cons: Teachers may need to tweak the units to allow for more discussion and class participation.
Bottom Line: Powerful science units that capitalize on elementary students’ natural curiosity.
Ever wonder what happens when water interacts in space? We take gravity for granted. Watch Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield soak a wash cloth with water, and then wring it out in space. What happens here will amaze even the most scientific thinkers.
Title: Google CS First
Summary: Middle school CS platform offers stellar resources, organizing tools
Pros: Fantastic lesson plans, turnkey resources, and club-organization tools make it easy to build a great CS program with little work or prior experience.
Cons: Lessons still rely heavily on watching a video and replicating procedures rather than exploring, plus some tricky setup is required.
Bottom Line: If your middle school doesn't have a CS program, now you do! It's really that easy, and available content will only grow as time goes on.
This interactive site, created by an amateur who has studied astronomy for thirty years, provides a great explanation of the vernal (spring) equinox which is celebrated on March 20th. Links to definitions, planet wheels and other sky viewing tools.
Learn about the conservation of energy with this learning activity from the PhET Interactive Simulations project at the University of Colorado Boulder. Students can build tracks, ramps, and jumps for a skater and view the kinetic energy, potential energy and friction as they move. They can also take the skater to different planets or even to outer space to investigate with the effects of gravity on these physical phenomena. With this highly engaging sim, students not only explore the conservation of mechanical energy concept using kinetic and gravitational potential energy, but have fun in the process.
Feeling achy? Runny nose? Feeling achy? Runny nose? Learn the multiple causes of colds and the flu and how to avoid them. Also, get to know the symptoms of colds and the flu and how to tell them apart. Thankfully, this resource also dispenses some advice on how to treat these maladies and a short quiz to test your knowledge.
As stewards of the Earth’s trees, it’s helpful for us to know about the growth processes of trees, their role in the forest world, and how we humans can improve their quality. In this interactive activity adapted from the National Arbor Day Foundation, explore the intricate life of a tree. Begin with the protective bark on the outside, and then explore deep inside each layer to find out how the structure of each part affects its overall function in the tree. Then, by "reading" the tree's rings, learn how climate and other natural events affect a tree's growth.
Billions and billions of galaxies populate the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope has unmasked many of them in two of the clearest, most distant views ever obtained, called the Hubble Deep Fields. One view peers northward; the other southward. Scientists have used mathematics to unlock many galactic secrets hidden in these two views. In this activity, students use sample statistics based on actual HDF data to unravel some cosmic mysteries. Complete with interactive animations and data log sheets for eager learners and data collectors, this cosmic exercise will engage all types of learners
In this game, students create the right conditions to grow a plant, gathering resources and providing protection from threats. The game challenges students to think critically as they balance their resources and assess their environment in order to maintain their plant's health.
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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.