Thursday, October 7, 2010

Foldables

Okay.  I know they can be childish but here is a "choose your own adventure" foldable that can be turned into something really fun for class.  THE KIDS LOVED IT!  I used it to make four different food chains.  The students had to label each trophic level and then combine all of them into one big food web for a summative assignment. This was previously posted on Neatorama. I hope Jason Shiga posts more informational videos soon!  Check out his comic for sale on Amazon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Under Pressure!

So we're back at school and for many of us it can be a little hectic.  I am determined to save a little money this year and bring my lunch, snacks, and beverages from home.  Plus, I gained a lot of weight, eating the prepared lunches our school provides.
  I brought a can of soda to work yesterday and accidentally left it in the car.  It was only in the car from 6:30 until about 10:30am.  Here is what happened!

  This would make a great real world example for students, when demonstrating Charles' and Gay-Lussac's law.  It might also work in health class.. why we don't leave children or pets in the car, even for a little while.

A great animation for Charles' and Gay-Lussac's Law (http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/aglussac.html)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Conclusion to "Climategate"

CNN has posted a story on the conclusion of "Climategate", the assertion that climatologists in 1999 manipulated their findings.  The assertion came just before world leaders met to discuss climate change at the United Nations meeting in Coppenhagen this past December.  Read more of the story at CNN.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Much of our daily lives involves the use of plastics.  We use it, dispose of it, and never think of it again.  If it escapes the landfill or never makes it there, where does it go?  One of the lessons I truly want to get across to my students is that of connectedness.  We are not seperate from the world around us.  We have a place and an impact.

In the Pacific Ocean there is a floating pile of trash, approximately twice the size of Texas.  If you'd like to know more watch this video by Chris Jordan.



Here is a wonderful video made by Ramin Bahrani called Plastic Bag.  The video anthropomorphizes a plastic bag and takes us on a trip with the bag en route to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.




It is quite easy to buy and use reusable cotton bags for your groceries.   They are being sold more and more.  A product that is a little harder to find is the reusable bag for produce (by EcoBag.com).  Here is the kind my partner and  I found and use.  We prefer the see through ones.  It helps the cashier see what's in them. Enjoy.

Roger Ebert's Journal

      I just found Roger Ebert's Journal online and have been reading and reading for hours. It is wonderfully written and covers topics ranging from movies to politics. I must admit I found it because of the most recent hype over Ebert's statement that video games were not art.
     One of Ebert's best posts was on the textbook revisions in Texas. The comments only make his blog better!  What truly makes me keep reading Roger Ebert's Journal are the viewpoints of his many educated followers.  They defend and support their opinions and Ebert is not shy or lax in responding back.
     Heartfelt responses are also par for the course.  Read the following comment by  Van Badman in response to "How do they get to be that way"

"Oh, Roger,
It's so easy to read the articles about the hatemongers and despair.
When I read your writing, though, I'm reminded that the world I live in is one of hope, and goodness, and responsibility and conscience.
So I don't give in to despair. I read your pieces and I gain some more strength, like all your readers do, to fight the hate, word by word, and step a little further forward.
xx Van"

Thank you Roger Ebert for such a wonderful blog.  You've got a follower!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mary Juana

I generally teach the "At-Risk" students and have for my long and lusterous 3 years in public education.  Many of my students at both the inner-city school and my new rich kid school get into trouble by bringing marijuana to school.  Many inevitably get kicked out of school or put into an alternative school for months on end and are absent from the learning environment.  When did kids get so stupid?  Why bring it to school?  I guess they are selling it or smoking it in bathrooms.  Of course who could blame them when they are asked to fill out worksheet after worksheet by some of their more brain dead teachers.  We'll avoid the discussion about legalizing marijuana or whether or not it is a gateway drug and just look at some funny videos instead.

How do you know if your kid is a shaman?

Do Glass Pipes, Incense Prove Teens Are Practicing Shamanism?

A newbie pot smoker.. just watch it.

Masturbation Blindness

An article posted on the Scientific American website (Bering in Mind:Jesse Bering) explains why we masturbate and how that makes us different from other primates.  While I recall learning in my ecology courses that other mammals masturbate, Bering does a good job of explaining that we are different because of how often we masturbate. Evolutionarily it makes sense,

                                                      

" The advantage to the male could be that the younger sperm are more acceptable to the female and/or are better able to reach a secure position in the female tract. "

                         
I think the important message from the article is that you will not go blind from masturbation and that it is completely natural.  The article goes more in depth, if you are interested in reading it, on the differences between humans and other primates, the psychology behind masturbation, and historical views on masturbation. - bonobo photo from www.rotten.com

Oil Eating Bacteria

Oil eating microbes are getting a lot of attention in the news. They are being toted as the eco-friendly and easy way to clean up residue in the gulf. They would need some help though, in the way of phosphorus and nitrogen, to get them to flourish. Would these microbes not then deplete the oxygen levels in the gulf where the water is being fertilized? We already have a dead zone due to agricultural run-off from the Mississippi River. Would this exacerbate the problem?



We are already seeing wildlife flee the oil laden areas.



Are the naturally occuring bacteria already at work? Is this (see below) because of fertilizer run-off? What would happen if we fertilized the area more... less oxygen? If the fish are already leaving, should we just clean it up with microbes anyway?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hypnotoad says "Watch Futurama!"

What can I say, I love Futurama!  My students knew I loved it so much they started a count down for me.  They're second installment of the new season is tonight.  Here is the hypnotoad with a special broadcast announcement.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Evolution, Sex, and Education

I love teaching biological sciences because you get to teach all the fun and controversial stuff (sex, drugs, evolution, and just plain awesomeness)!  Isabella Rossellini has a wonderful series that explains the sexual reproduction of animals, Green Porno.  Let me just tell you, IT IS AWESOME!  I am going through them now to see which ones might pass the mustard at my conservative school.  It is priceless... Here is a clip on how bees mate.

Some more on Colony Collapse Disorder : BEES

60 minutes videos






Haagen dazs Loves Honey Bees

The best website EVER!
-http://www.helpthehoneybees.com/#crisisfields

Honey Bees Affected by Cell Phones

London, England (CNN) -- A new study has suggested that cell phone radiation may be contributing to declines in bee populations in some areas of the world.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dress Codes

     I've worked in a school where this video rings truer than not, but some schools can take dress codes too far.  My former kids told me they would bring weapons one way or another, dress code didn't matter.  If anything it makes the teachers feel better.  What do you think?


It's raining OIL!?!?

There are more and more videos, comments, and blogs reporting on oil being rained down from the skies in Louisiana.  It makes sense that oil could evaporate and end up precipitating, especially after it's been emulsified.  Or, is this just a hoax, run-off, or worse... real!  Take a look for yourself.  I'd love to know more and discuss the possibilities of "oil precipitation" in the classroom.  It wouldn't be a difficult lab.



If it is run-off and you would like to know more about preventing contamination of our waterways and drinking water, follow this link to an article on the subject by Scientific American.

Paparazzi

Okay... I know this has been around the web for a while and the 6th grader, Greyson Chance, has made it onto the Ellen DeGeneres Show for singing Paparazzi by Lady Gaga.  What I failed to notice was the girls' reactions in the background at his school.  They look completely brain dead and unimpressed until it finally dawns on them what song he is actually singing.  I could be misreading their expressions.  Maybe they are just awkward. Teens make for a tough crowd!  Take a look in this video.



On another GAGA note. Check out this awesome acapella rendition of Bad Romance!

http://music.todaysbigthing.com/2010/05/06

Geometry Quiz

Here is a sample geometry question and response from the folks at Say No to Crack. It cracks me up when students try to answer questions in this way (see below).. it shows creativity and initiative. As I tell my kiddos, "never leave an answer blank!"

Monday, June 28, 2010

School Board + Sex Ed = WOW!

Thanks to Today's Big Thing

Budget Cuts for CTE

Many states are cutting their budgets drastically. It seems the first thing to be cut from most school budgets are CTE (Career Technology Education) programs and funding. In my experience, CTE courses are what get kids excited about school and teach children to apply what they've learned in core content courses. I'm sure Senator Huppenthal of Arizona had to make some tough choices when cutting the CTE budget. If you have to cut expenditures, what do you cut?
What I do love about this next clip is that a student, who clearly learned something in his CTE courses, is applying what he's learned in interviewing Senator Huppenthal. I love teaching kids who both impress and stump you with what they've learned. I'm just glad I'm not video taped when I get stumped. Of course, the senator could have handled this differently... what do you think?

Science ROCKS!

      Check out this chemistry video by http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Houston PRIDE!

     My partner and I are about to go to Pride Houston to celebrate our community.  The Honorary Community Grand Marshal will be Houston's mayor Annise Parker.  Come to think of it.  Should the GLBT community get a month of celebration in schools as well (see last post)?  I know I would be either fired or given a lower post if my school new I was gay or if I even mentioned starting a club or celebrating Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered students and their (our) culture.