Archive for November, 2008|Monthly archive page

Body Systems Podcast Topics

After Thanksgiving, we will be recording podcasts about systems of the human body. This year I’m using this as an introductory study in the systems of the body. The podcasts will be posted as we cover each system. Today in class we worked to generate a list of topics for the podcasts. The list is available at the wiki HERE.  Over the break, if you get the chance, take a few minutes and add to the list or listen to some of the podcasts from last year by clicking the Sunfish Podcast Project tab at the top of the page. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

1-to-1 iPod Project???

Apparently a school in Chapel Hill is attempting to get funding for the purchase of an ipod Touch for each and every student and teacher in the building. The goal of the project is to develop curricula around the use of the ipod Touch.  This is an amazing idea to me, considering the ipod Touch has more power than most school’s computers did even 5 years ago.

One of my concerns is that I’m not sure if the school has a clear direction in place for the program.  What is the need they are filling by purchasing the ipods?  Sure I can think of a dozen ways I could use them in my own classroom: audio textbook, student created videos of class concepts, harnessing the power of the Web in the classroom…but is the ipod Touch the best solution for this?  At $229 each (lowest price I’ve seen for an 8GB Touch) are the students going to get as much for the money as they would with a $299 Asus Eee PC (Company site/Wikipedia entry)?  Which are they more likely to be using in the future for computing?

What are your thoughts?  In what ways could you see using an ipod Touch in the classroom, for educational purposes? Which do you think would be better the Touch or a netbook computer?

Jason Project: Monster Storms 

Username: sunfish

Password: bulldog*1

Today in class we will be completing a simulation about hurricanes. In this simulation, the focus will be on forecasting the path of the hurricane. The Jason Project: Monster Storms is an entire unit on storms in and of itself. While we do not have time to go through all the material in class, it will be available to you through the above username and password. Anyone interested is welcome to go through and complete any activities they choose.

In class we will be using the Digital Lab, Storm Tracker. In this lab, students will learn about the driving forces behind hurricanes. Students will use data about sea temperatures, pressure, wind shear, and previous day’s distance traveled to predict the path of a hurricane. They will also have to predict the intensity of the storm and issue necessary warnings for coastal communities to be affected by the storm.

When you access the username and password lines are in the upper right of the page. Enter the username and password above for access. To get to the Storm Tracker module, look for Digital Labs in the list on the left of the page. Follow this link and Storm Tracker is the first Digital Lab available. There are four more digital labs available to try out as well. On your own, you may explore any of the missions, which each include a short video clip of actual storm field work being completed, short readings about the storms to be discussed and activities that will help you understand the science behind the storms. The amount of information available here is amazing, if you want to be an expert on storms, this is the place to start!!

If you complete any of the modules and feel they were especially interesting, comment the blog so others will know what to check out.

Weather Map Activity

Next steps for your map after you’ve finished drawing your station models.

1. Find the station reporting the highest pressure, draw a large H at this station. Find the station reporting the lowest pressure, draw a large L at this station.  From the area of Lowest pressure, you will be drawing a cold front. It should go between stations where wind switches from southwest to northwest and temperatures on one side of the line will be colder than the other. A warm front is going to be between stations where wind switches from east to southwest and temperatures increase.

2. Draw the following isobar lines on your map: 1008 mb, 1012 mb, 1016 mb, 1020 mb and 1024 mb. Label each isobar. These are lines that connect areas with the same pressure. You may have to guess at the best location for each line if there are only a few stations reporting the same pressure.

3. Draw a blob around the locations where precipitation has fallen. Shade this region light green with a colored pencil.

Observation Stations table

Station Model Key (precip, wind speed, etc)

Talk about Service!!

Laura Stockman would have no trouble being a Sunfish student. Well, except for the fact she’s only 10 years old. While I’m advocating each Sunfish student put in 8 hours of work with the community, Laura has been actively involved in service for a long time. Last December, she decided to honor the memory of her grandfather by doing one good deed a day in December leading leading up to Christmas. The results of her efforts are chronicled on her blog “Twenty-Five Days to Make a Difference.” Rather than just being a place to chronicle her journey, the Twenty-Five Days blog has become a rallying point for community service throughout the world. Take a look around and see if you get any ideas for projects you could get involved in here for your service project.

Web 2.0 in your life

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a meeting where several teacher discussed the uses of Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. The basic idea of Web 2.0 is that the Internet is moving to a more collaborative environment and user-generated content is becoming more normal. We see this all the time with sites like YouTube allowing over 3 billion video views by January of 2008. The vast majority of those videos were uploaded by general users of the site.

The question that kept popping up in my head was: which of these technologies are students using when they’re away from the classroom. I know I use this blog to keep students and parents updated, but how many students are bloggers as well? How many of my students have created communities around them through MySpace or similar social networking sites (we’ll ignore the fact that you’re supposed to be at least 14 to do that…for now). Are any of my students microblogging through Twitter, or having the news they want sent directly to them through RSS, or creating videos to post to YouTube about topics that are important to them??

The survey below is designed to give me a bit of a lens through which to view these questions. Please, select as many of the tools off the list as you are ACTUALLY using. If you aren’t using any of them, say so in the Other box. If there are tools you use which are not listed, either post a comment to this blog entry or list them in the Other box. Please take the survey only once so the data is not skewed. Again, I am looking for actual content or network creation, not “Yeah, I watch YouTube videos.”

Click Here to take the Web 2.0 survey