Classroom activities on the atmosphere

November 23, 2010

Teaching about the atmosphere?  Here are a few ideas for the classroom. Activities about the atmosphere are particularly well suited for talking about air pressure, since air pressure is essentially the weight of the atmosphere pushing down on us.  At the Exploratorium we had a couple of really great activities to get at this idea. […]

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Hands-on class activities on the cell

January 12, 2010

Looking for some activities to jazz up your class lecture on the cell and biology?  Here are a few hands-on teaching activities for middle school or high school: Here are some cool cells to look at under a microscope: Cheek cells Onion cells Thin smears of ripe versus green banana, stained lightly with iodine.  Says […]

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Discrepant events (Blogging from the AAPT)

July 28, 2009

This session is about how using discrepant (or “surprising”) events to teach physics There’s quite a bit of evidence showing that students don’t really get what we want them to get from demonstrations, but they do like them.  They get a lot more out of them if we ask them to predict the results of […]

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Books of classroom demonstrations (A Demo a Day)

February 23, 2009

Here is a very nice review (from a teacher’s listserv I’m on) about what sounds like a great book for the chemistry teacher: A good book about Chemistry for the middle school and high school:  “A Demo a Day, A Year of Chemical Demonstrations”, by Gross, Bilash and Koob.  It has “Separating Metallic Iron from […]

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Science for the holidays

December 26, 2008

A few cool things about science that relate to the holidays.  I wrote this *before* Christmas, but, oh well, better late than never? Dot Physics has a wonderful post on why Christmas tree lights stay lit even when one of them burns out, which is an unusual way for a series circuit to work.  Some […]

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Several great YouTube science videos

December 19, 2008

Here are some great gems from some really old posts over at Swans on Tea. Thanks to Rhett at DotPhysics for the technical assistance. Robots doing amazing things: Carbon dioxide is heavier than air (neat thing to try at home) Weird psychology trick (how does he do that?)

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Find that sound!

December 12, 2008

This week’s episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast actually features, well, me! Yay. It’s nice to record myself, not always other people, though the folks at the Exploratorium are so darned clever and fun, I feel it’s my mission to document every last scrap of their wisdom and energy. I’m trying… So, this time […]

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How to write assessments for students to learn how to learn

November 20, 2008

This is the last in a series of three posts on Dan Schwartz’s work on preparation for future learning, or helping students learn skills instead of rote facts so that they can apply their knowledge to new situations. All pictures in this post are courtesy of Dan Schwartz. Contrasting cases In the previous post, I […]

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Seeing motion with light

September 29, 2008

A fabulous science activity from Sebastien Martin over at the Exploratorium, via teacher Bree Barnett — visualizing kinetics with LED lights. See detailed instructions and more pictures over at that blog post.

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Air has mass (and how to prove it!)

August 26, 2008

A teacher asked for a good experiment to show 8th graders that gas has mass.  “We have used balloons in the past,” she says, “but some of the kids still don’t make the connection.” Paul Doherty replied: I like to get a big weather balloon from a surplus store , inflate it until it is […]

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How to tell if glasses are nearsighted or farsighted

August 21, 2008

A neat observation from one of the staff physicists at the Exploratorium: Here is a little game to play with farsighted and nearsighted glasses. Ask all your students who wear glasses to put them on and stand up. Walk up to each of them, look into their eyes and you will be able to tell […]

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Make your own phonograph (podcast)

August 15, 2008

TI staff educator Eric Muller explains how to make your own record player! See my previous longer post about this activity, too. Groovy Sounds activity (PDF) More of Eric Muller’s activities

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Activities for the first day of class!

August 14, 2008

The first day of class is coming up — here are some nice activities you can use on the first day, or anytime you need a warm-up activity. One teacher suggests: Look at the Nature of Science activities at the ENSI website. There are many, many fun and interesting ones to choose from and you […]

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The antislit

July 3, 2008

Sorry for the long delay in posting (not that it matters — I see my stats — most of you are off reading my old posts about how water goes around drains or whether polar bear fur is fiber optic). I’ve been on vacation back in my old haunts in the SF Bay Area, and […]

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Activity: Take it from the Top

June 20, 2008

Here’s something for the K-12 educators out there (or just those who like to play around with large chunks of wood. I mean, who doesn’t?). I just posted a new episode for my Science Teaching Tips podcast. Check out the new episode – “Take it from the Top”. Don Rathjen was a K-12 science teacher […]

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Fun and free science!

June 19, 2008

Here’s a totally cool output from my old “alma mater”: the Exploratorium Digital Library Afterschool Project. This website has fantastically simple videos on how to do a selection of cool activities that the creative folks at the Exploratorium have come up with over the years. The point of this particular website is to promote activities […]

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Scaling up Barbie!

May 16, 2008

I’ve posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast featuring one of our all-time favorite activities at the Exploratorium. Our math enthusiast Lori Lambertson helps us answer the question — what would Barbie look like if she were my height? Some of the answers may surprise you! Click this link to check it […]

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Stringing us along…

April 18, 2008

I’ve got a new podcast episode… In this episode one of the teachers in our teacher workshops showed us one of his favorite activities, using the sound of paperclips (attached at intervals on a string) to estimate the rate of free fall. It’s a really elegant little experiment! Click this link to check it out: […]

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Sound Bytes

April 6, 2008

I’ve posted a new episode to my podcast, Science Teaching Tips. I’ve always been fascinated with sound — there are a lot of neat things you can do with sound, and some little known facts. This podcast is a bit of a smattering of some of the fun things I found out about sound while […]

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Carbon Dioxide… It’s a Gas!

March 7, 2008

Hi everyone, I posted an episode to my podcast, Science Teaching Tips. Click this link to check it out: 31. Carbon dioxide – Its a gas! TI staff educator Eric Muller shows me how to carbonate my tongue. Blech! More of Eric Muller’s activities: – Stephanie

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