Archive for January, 2009|Monthly archive page

Teens and Dieting

Today in class we started a discussion about teenagers and dieting. There were many opinions heard, but I’m sure there are many other things left unsaid.

There are many angles to be explored on this topic. Things such as Body Mass Index (BMI), obesity, health benefits and risks of certain diets, eating disorders in teenagers, peer pressure, media glamorization of people with unhealthy eating habits, etc…

If these issues and our discussion interested you, I encourage you to go out and do some research on your own. Look at several sites about one of the issues above, make up your mind what your thoughts are on that issue and post to the blog. Links to the articles that influenced your thinking are strongly encouraged.

For example:

Here’s a link to an article detailing the NCAA’s ruling that 7th and 8th graders are to be considered “Prospective Atheletes” which prevents coaches from recruiting them to their University. This came up in the discussion about whether teenagers should be focusing on weightlifting, strength training, etc in preparation for high school, college, and professional athletics. In recent years, coaches had started recruiting kids as young as 12 and 13 since there were rule preventing them from recruiting at camps once they started high school.


Here is a link to a page with several great articles on Food and Fitness written for Teens.  If you read an article from this page, please provide a short summary (30 to 50 words) and your analysis (50 to 100 words) of the article plus a link to the actual article page.

Kids Health Food and Fitness


3rd World Farmer

No, I haven’t decided that I’m teaching Social Studies 🙂 In my “research” (yes, that means time sitting around randomly searching the web for interesting things) I came across a few games/simulations that relate to your studies in Mr. Garman’s class. This is one of them. In 3rd World Farmer your job is to choose crops to plant and harvest each year to try and survive as a farming family in a 3rd world country. Along the way you will have to make decisions about sending your children off to school, increasing their knowledge, but decreasing your ability to farm your land. You may also have to make the choice of spending your hard earned money to purchase medicine for sick family members, or forcing them to continue working without seeking medical treatment. The game brings up many different aspects of life in 3rd world countries. I’d love to see your thoughts about the game, and its’ depiction of life and the struggle to survive for these families.

3rd World Farmer

Working with Skin Surface Data

Yesterday in class we completed an activity that allowed us to estimate the surface area of the skin of the average middle school student. The data from that lab is available here:

Today we are going to take that data and graph it in Excel to see if there is a relationship between height and skin surface area. We will be using several different features of Excel, some of which involve math you have not yet learned, but you should be able to understand the implications of the math, if not the math itself.

By the end of class, you will have completed the following tasks:

  • Created and Printed a Scatterplot of the data from yesterday’s lab
  • Drawn a line of best fit (trendline) for the data
  • Titled and labeled your graph
  • Included the Formula and Regression (R²) line for your data on the printed graph
  • Completed the questions related to the graph for your lab report
  • Posted the estimates for Surface Area for two famous people to my blog, include the mathematical formula used to calculate their Surface Area.

To begin:

  1. Ctrl+Click the link above to open the Google Spreadsheet of our data from yesterday in a new tab.
  2. Go to Start > All Programs > Microsoft Office > Microsoft Office Excel 2003
  3. In the Google Spreadsheet, highlight the cells that contain data (not the column headings)
  4. Right click on the highlighted data and select copy (or hit ctrl+C while the data is highlighted)
  5. In Excel, select the A1 cell, right click and Paste the data (or hit ctrl+v with A1 selected)
  6. If your first row of data is off from the rest of the data, retype the values into the correct column.

Our data should now be imported into Excel.

To create a scatterplot of the data:

  1. Highlight the data (if it is not already highlighted)
  2. Click the Insert menu at the top of the program window
  3. Select Chart from the menu
  4. Select the X Y (scatter) type, and the first Chart Sub-Type
  5. Click Next, twice
  6. In Step 3 of the Chart Wizard, title your chart and axes as follows:
    1. Chart Title: “Your Name”‘s Relationship of Height to Skin Surface Area Graph, replace “Your Name” with your name J
    2. (X) axis Title: Height in cm
    3. (Y) axis Title: Skin Surface Area (cm squared)
  7. Click Next
  8. Create the chart As a New Sheet in Excel

To draw a line of best fit (trendline):

  1. Right click on a data point in your new chart.
  2. Select “Add Trendline…”
  3. Select the Linear Trend type
  4. Under the Options Tab:
    1. Click Display Equation on Chart
    2. Click Display R-squared value on chart
  5. Move the text box with the Equation and the R-squared value into an empty area of your chart.

Save Your Graph to Your Folder on the Server

Print Your Graph

Complete questions 1 through 3 on Skin Surface Area Analysis Questions Sheet. Question 3 involves you finding the surface area for 2 other famous people. When you have completed Question number 3, post a comment to my blog with the celebrities’ names, heights in cm, and skin surface area.

Once your comment is posted, complete questions 4 and 5 of the Analysis Sheet.

How would school change…

msi-wind…if you had access to a laptop all day, every day? We started this discussion in class on Thursday, but here is your chance to voice your ideas. What would be different? What would have to be different? What struggles and benefits do you see to this system? What would the typical class period look like with access to a laptop?
Although this discussion is not much different than our previous one of an iPod Touch for every student, I think there will be some interesting differences from responses there.

Knee and Hip Surgeries

Tuesday and Wednesday in class we discussed Total Knee Replacement. Many hundreds of thousands of American’s undergo these procedures each year. Students had lots of questions about how the surgery was performed, why titanium was used for replacement, and, of course, the gory specifics of the surgery. You’ve gotta love middle school! has four modules that go through a simulation of a knee and hip replacement that are fantastic. We went through a couple of these in class, but I’m providing the links to all four in case some of your are interested in one we did not get to today. Feel free to share these with family members or if you have a family member who has undergone this surgery show them the simulation and see how they feel it compares to their experience. Just a word of warning, the “real surgery photos” may not be for the faint of heart or the weak stomached.

Knee Replacement and Choose the Prosthesis Activities

Hip Replacement

Hip Resurfacing

Be sure to check out the “other resources” listed on the main page of each activity. These include videos of actual people discussing the circumstances of their replacement surgeries, profiles of major figures in the history of joint replacement, and information for patients from the Zimmer corporation (a company that designs replacement joints).