A few random cool things for the class or the curious

by Stephanie Chasteen on September 17, 2009

Want a benchtop SEM scan of your fingernail? This is too cool — a company called ASPEX will take an SEM scan of any object that you send them and pst it online.  You can certainly find some intriguing stuff lying around your home or office to scan and send to them!  Or how about having your students send in a few interesting things?  Here’s the link to past scans. They say:

You could send us a stray crumb from the bottom of your purse, a piece of lipstick, some leftover sushi…anything you’d like to see a picture of under a powerful microscope.

If you want to have something scanned, send in this form to ASPEX Corporation/ Free Sample Submissions/ 175 Sheffield Dr./ Delmont, PA 15626. The images and report will be posted on our website here in about two weeks.  Samples won’t be returned!

Here’s a list of 25 ways to use Twitter in the college classroom. Some were creative and interesting and gave some fodder for thought.

Select a topic relevant to what is being learned in class, then track it to see what news stories or conversations are revolving around that topic. Another way to use the tracking method is to track a word or phrase to see how it is being used by others. This is a great way to learn the nuances of words and phrases.

They mention using Twitter for conferences, which is something that I do avidly (and really the only time that I use Twitter a lot), though I’m not completely clear on how that’s used in a classroom.

Whether professor or student, whether attending or having to stay behind, anyone interested in following the activities and thoughts going on at professional conferences can stay connected through Twitter. Conference attendees can also participate in BackChatter, a Twitter game that draws those attending a conference into becoming interactive participants.

And here is a list of the top 25 movies for physics geeks. (What is up with the number 25??).  Of course you can also check out Insultingly Stupid Movie Physics for fun stuff to show in class.

Lastly, your school can win $3000 for creating an public service announcement about household pests. This is part of the National Pest Management Association’s non-profit activities.  Below is information:

PestWorldForKids.org, an educational children’s Web site developed by the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), today announced a national competition for students (grades 4 through 8) to win $3,000 for one lucky school’s science department. The contest challenges teachers and their students to create educational Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that highlight the health and property risks posed by household pests such as rodents, ants, termites, cockroaches, stinging insects and ticks.

“Insects are incredibly interesting and fun to learn about in the classroom,” says Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. “It’s when they come indoors – into our homes and schools – that they become pests. We are excited to offer students the chance to learn about pests, while at the same time using their creativity to explore an important educational topic.”

We invite students in grades 4 through 8 to use their biology and entomology knowledge, as well as their creativity, to create educational public service announcements (PSAs) that discuss the health and property risks posed by household pests.   Additional information, including sample PSAs and lesson plans for creating PSAs, are available at www.PestWorldForKids.org.

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