Holiday gifts for geeks like me

December 1, 2009

Got a geek in your life who’s aching for something cool?  Here are a few ideas: Giant Microbes are always a hit.  Many  years ago, my housemate gave me the common cold.  I eventually gave it to my boyfriend (now my ex).  No word yet on whether he’s recovered.  At least I didn’t give him […]

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Chemical apple pie

November 28, 2009

A tip of the apron to Elnore Grow for this one: CHEMICAL APPLE PIE  (No apples but tastes like Apple Pie) Yield 1 pie Ingredients 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie ( I buy this already done) 2 cups water 1 1/2 cups white sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar […]

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Cheat sheets and blogs for science teachers

November 4, 2009

A couple links that look very helpful. 100 excellent blogs for science teachers (which includes yours truly!) Includes a bunch of teacher blogs (which seems like a great way to get some online mentorship if you’re all alone), and subject-area blogs (like physics or biology).  A very useful list. 100 cheat sheets for K12 teachers […]

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Science activities for Halloween!

October 27, 2009

With halloween fast approaching, it’s time to take advantage of a frivolous holiday to do some fun science stuff. No post about Halloween would be complete without a reference to the Grossology site. Scroll down for  “lab activities”:  This gets high marks from one teacher who says, “It has the simpliest of the slimey things, […]

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Science, art, and Bay Area culture

October 12, 2009

One of the things that I miss most about the Bay Area is the intensive culture of geekery and delightful playfulness that goes with the unabashed celebration of membership in the pocket protector set.  I invited Alan Rorie — an artist and a scientist at the Exploratorium (who happens to hold my old job) — […]

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Free science posters!

September 28, 2009

If you’re looking to beautify your classroom, here are some links to some free science posters. No guarantees as to quality, but these links should be a helpful start!

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If a boy pees on the floor and there’s nobody there to see it

September 26, 2009

We see the darndest questions on teacher listservs. It seems that, at one school, there was a mystery to be solved. The boys’ urinals were often surrounded by a puddle of “liquid.” Were the urinals weeping water? Or were the boys purposely urinating on the floor (as the janitor believed)? And, most importantly, how can […]

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The inner life of the cell

September 24, 2009

I was recently reminded of this wonderful visualization of the processes inside the cell.  As a physicist, I found this quite powerful in imagining this mysterious (and usually, to me, boring) microscopic world.  It was created by a Harvard professor in conjunction with a scientific animation company.  Here’s the video: In my art and science […]

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Science zine-a-thon contest

September 24, 2009

Create your own science zine, win a prize! This could be a really fun activity for a class.  An 8-page booklet from a single 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper… that says something real about science!  There are prizes in several age categories, and they have some simple instructions and templates for making them.  […]

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A couple of beautiful things – Science and images

September 10, 2009

I’m in a scientific visualization seminar now, so I’ll probably be sharing some beautiful things with some regularity. There is something very satisfying about complex geometrical objects.  I think my brain feels this sigh of relief at such orderly intricacies.  So, I love these images created by computer algorithm, basically tweaking parameters to get surprising […]

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Enriching the intellectual life of teachers

August 27, 2009

This post is based on ideas from a presentation by Rachel Scherr of the University of Maryland and Seattle Pacific University. Teachers, Rachel says, are disenfranchised.  Just as students who have no voice in what and how they learn in the classroom, professional development is often inflicted upon teachers who have no voice in the […]

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Engineers Make Art: Visualizing Fluid Flow

August 20, 2009

Our most famous fluids tend to be transparent — air and water, for example.  This makes it hard for us to imagine how fluids are moving as members of the general public, but also poses an interesting problem for budding engineers.  They need to know how to make fluids do what they want them to […]

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Frank Oppenheimer and the world he built (Blogging from the AAPT)

July 29, 2009

This morning’s plenary was by KC Cole on her new book Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens: Frank Oppenheimer and the world he made up . As anyone who knows one whit about me recognizes, this talk about Frank Oppenheimer and his creation of the Exploratorium was deeply significant to me.  I was a postdoc under Paul […]

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Hands on Science Sunday: Feeling pressured?

May 31, 2009

Here’s today’s science classroom activity.  We’re surrounded by the crushing weight of layers of atmosphere above us, but we don’t feel it.  Why?  Our perception is tuned to differences, not absolutes.  If we were in a completely pink world, we would notice anything that wasn’t pink, but (I’m pretty sure) after a few minutes, we […]

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Science resources for bilingual elementary classrooms

March 12, 2009

If you’re not a subscriber to Pat’s Picks for STEM Educators (run by the physics & astronomy librarian at Cornell), you may want to take a look. She posts great lists of useful resources (recent lists include public TV programs on science, national lab education programs, lesson plans for biology teachers, and TappedIn communities for […]

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Worst food of 2009

February 21, 2009

I’ve been meaning to post this tidbit from Yahoo News for a while.  You want a jaw-dropper?  Read this! The Worst Food of 2009 Baskin Robbins Large Chocolate Oreo Shake 2,600 calories 135 g fat (59 g saturated fat, 2.5 g trans fats) 263 g sugars 1,700 mg sodium We didn’t think anything could be […]

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Exchange of scientific ideas

December 17, 2008

I just read this lovely discussion of how a more open scientific culture (think open-access science) could improve the collective memory of science. This was on the Back Page of APS News (subscribers only) and here is the author Michael Nielsen’s blog post about the topic too, with some additional information. His basic premise is […]

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Ask a science education question

December 2, 2008

I just found out about a neat free service for science educators.  It’s mostly for those in Colorado, but those outside Colorado are welcome to use it as well.  It’s a free email servicer for teachers to ask questions directly of a science education expert, who will go out and find the answer for you.  […]

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The Last Straw (teaching science with soda straws!)

December 1, 2008

Despite my better judgment, I invite TI staff educator Eric Muller to do one more set of activities on my Teaching Tips podcast —several things you can do with soda straws.  Listen to the episode – The Last Straw. Holding Charge activity (PDF) More of Eric Muller’s activities

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Myth: Dang. Looks like Gingko doesn’t work.

November 25, 2008

Just got this from Bob Park’s What’s New column. Looks like Gingko has failed a double-blind study to see if it really improves memory. I’ve been taking it for a while, in hopes that it would defuzz my neuronal connections (I’m not that old, but my memory took a real hit ever since I was […]

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