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All About Science

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library_225.jpgEach April, School Library Month honors the key role school libraries play in enriching students’ educational development. This year’s theme emphasizes all the ways “Communities matter @ your library.” Libraries are vital parts of schools and communities, helping millions of people every day by promoting free learning for all. National Library Week, April 14-20, shares this message and celebrates the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians.

Promote the importance of literacy and encourage your students to visit a library using this collection of resources based on award-winning books. Get a free special issue of SB&F's Best Books of 2012 and check out our tool, SB&F Recommended Books for the Science Classroom. Find more reading recommendations in the discussions about science ebooks and get suggestions on ways to partner with your school's librarians.


Going to 2013 NSTA?

Posted by SThurston Apr 3, 2013

NSTA 2013 San Antonio National Conference logo

AAAS/Science NetLinks will be in San Antonio next week exhibiting at 2013 National Science Teacher Association Conference. Will you be there too?

Be sure to stop by the Science NetLinks booth ( #1200) and say, "Hi." We'll have lots of great information and give-aways, including an ipad, a set of this year's award-winning science books, and other fun stuff.

You're also invited to our workshop on Saturday. Come learn about our lessons, interactives, podcasts, videos, science news and apps, all free to use in your classroom. The workshop is Saturday, April 13th, 2-3:30 p.m. It will be held in Room 8A of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

We hope to see you there!


Students creating and using QR codes to present/ share projects and content in Forensic Science.   

A Wow teaching moment!

Did you ever have one of those days when you leave school feeling so excited and energized because a lesson you presented went really well and you feel you really reached 100% of your students with the content you presented.


Let me tell a you about a great lesson...  In Forensics students were grouped and presented with a crime case.  They had to research and present their case using QR codes that contained  their completed presentation.

The following method was used to create QR codes:

1. Students had to use either Google  doc, site, form or presentation to record their information since the school has a Google Education account and all students and staff have assigned Google school accounts.

2. A rubric was given to students that allowed them to follow guidelines and to answer specific questions surrounding their assigned case.

2. Placing their information on Google allows students to generate a URL web address.

3. They then placed the URL web address on goo.gl.  This shortens the URL.

4. Then this shortened URL is pasted in a new tab and .qr is added to the end of it.

5. This generates a QR code for your document that pops up on the screen.

6. Copy the QR code, save it and print it out.

As part of rubric given students had to also embed a short video in their presentation.  And for the high flyers that finished before everyone I had them create a lesson using the Educreation  Application along with their google work.  The Educreations Application generates its own URL web address so these students were able to create a QR code from Educreations  instead of a Google application.

I had students laminate their QR codes and I collaborated with our school librarian.  We decided to post students QR codes around the library as we set up a crime scene in the library.  She also put on display several forensic related books to peak students interest and get them to read.

Students had fun using QR Reader Apps they downloaded for free on their smartphones  or iPads to view the work of their peers.  Fun all around!

Be great!



bloodpressure_225.jpgHelp students to make good decisions about their well-being during National Public Health Week, April 1-7. Organized by the American Public Health Association, this campaign is designed to raise awareness and educate the public, government, and practitioners about public health issues. This year’s theme, "Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money" focuses on the value of prevention and measures people can take to help improve their health.

Talk to your class about the importance of health and wellness with these collections of related resources: Health Literacy and Exercise and Nutrition. These materials can also be used to celebrate World Health Day, which falls during the same week, on April 7th. The focus this year is on high blood pressure. Teach your students about the risks associated with hypertension and how to prevent it using the easy-to-read High Blood Pressure: The Science Inside.

Need more ideas? This Health Care collection has additional resources from all our Thinkfinity partners.

During a recent ‘Walk-Through’ at our school, Charles Carroll Middle School, New Carrollton,

Screen Shot 2013-03-17 at 6.31.49 PM.png

Maryland, we were visited by teams of teachers from Maryland, Apple Executives and Technology Specialists from the D.C. Metro area. The event hosted by the Prince Georges County Public School Title I Department's TEDL (Transforming Education through Digital Learning) Initiative, provided the opportunity for those interested in seeing how schools with 1:1 iPads were implementing their programs. Questions came in the form of, “How are your students producing learning?”  In my Science Teacher mind, I saw a food web. Right?!? The image to the right depicts how we used our iPads last year and the one below shows how we now use iPads.


This is our second year of implementation with 1:1 iPads and the ways we use them have taken on so many changes. Our students have grown from consumers using the iPads to research, write reports, use apps like iCell to learn about cells, observed Khan Academy videos

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to assist with math algorithms and the calculator to solve them, using ShowMe and ScreenChomp to annotate given assignments to using Twitter to send messages to other students, FaceTime

to teach other students in like courses, Educreations to post videos accessible to anyone, StoryKit to write books about current topics, Blogs to communicate ideas or pose questions, Prezi to make presentations just to mention a few.


We have evolved into producers this year, so answering the visitors’ questions was as simple as having them scan a QR Code of students’ assignments. At the time, my students were using an iBook I created for my students to use during our unit on Human Biology and Health. The visitors talked with the students and in turn, the students showed them what they were working on at the time which happened to be the digestive system.  The students were annotating an image of the digestive system as an outline for a book they were making using StoryKit. Their story was titled, “What Happens to a ______________.” and the students had to write a story in StoryKit that included the digestion of what ever the food source was they chose.

The "Culture of Learning" has changed in our school. Teachers are facilitators, assisting students with learning instead of lecturing students. Students are producing their learning digitally and posting it so others can gain access and learn from them. It is exciting to watch them search for further information, then dig further to understand their findings. Even more exciting is when they share and assist other students so they gain a better understanding of concepts and connections to the real-world.

As I talked with all the professionals that visited my classroom that day, I realized that we were a very unique school. Our first year was a year of exploring, learning how to utilize the 1:1 iPads and media we were so fortunate to have. Our second year marked a


new era that brought the pedagogy needed to implement educational instruction

with the iPads. The new era was brought about by our participation as a VILS (Verizon Innovative Learning School) and the professional development coupled with the resources we gained. Using the iPads for the sake of just “using” them is useless when providing good instruction. Incorporating instructional goals with instructional strategies based on our teaching philosophy has brought about a change school-wide. We, the VILS teachers, have reached out to our colleagues to provide professional development on ways to use the resources from Thinkfinity to promote learning as well as strategies to use with the iPads.

What is next for year three? I can only imagine the possibilities!

a. joy long

citylights_225.jpgLittle differences can make a big change. Wherever you are on Saturday, March 23, at 8:30 p.m. (local time) turn off your lights for Earth Hour 2013! This international event, organized by the World Wildlife Fund, urges individuals, businesses, and governments to turn their lights off for one hour to unite against climate change. The hope is to create a proactive, rolling blackout around the globe.

Inspire your students to participate and discuss ways to make a difference beyond those 60 minutes. This collection of resources focuses on energy conservation and global climate change. Students will learn about light pollution, urban greening, the lifespan of human-made products, and the differences between renewable and nonrenewable energy sources.

Check out Thinkfinity's Energy Management collection for more ways to help your class become good environmental citizens.

Art programs in schools are often the first to get cut when budgets are tight. Some advocates believe that arts enhance learning in all areas, including math and science. Do you think changing STEM to STEAM will help students’ academic performance in school? What about beyond the classroom?


This week's ScienceLive Chat guests, Daniel Levitin and Keith Oatley, study the relationship between arts and intelligence.


While this live chat may be taking place after students have left for the day, you can submit questions early and an archive podcast and transcript of the show will be available on the show page.


ScienceLive Chat starts at 3pm EST on Thursday, March 14th on this page.




Science NetLinks and AAAS have a number of resources that focus on STEM and art including:


Discover how sound travels—not just through air, but through liquids and solids, too.

A hands-on experiment using paper chromatography to demonstrate color separation.

Explore how bees communicate and see if your class can reenact these dances.

Hear how researchers have developed mathematical algorithms to fill in holes, scratches, and creases in damaged masterpieces.

A neurobiologist explains why Mona Lisa’s famous smile changes depending on where you look.

Learn how studies suggest that music classes can benefit children not only culturally, but intellectually as well.

Take a virtual tour of the cave’s extraordinary Paleolithic art.

“Some of science's most remarkable statements aren't made in words.” This is a collection of unusual or striking images from Science, including the International Science & Engineering Visualization Challenges.


March is Music in our Schools Month! Visit Thinkfinity’s “Orchestrating Success" collection for suggestions on how to bring music into your class.


Wondering how can the STEM movement converge with the Arts? Join the discussion for resources and add your voice to the conversation. How are you integrating technology into your art education? Need ideas for science projects that your artsy kids will like? Here are ideas from ARTSEDGE.


For more science posts and discussions, join the All About Science group.


National Wildlife Week 2013

Posted by SIngraffea Mar 12, 2013

tree_225.jpgSponsored by the National Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Week encourages kids to learn about the wide array of fascinating wildlife in our world. Your class can work on "Branching Out for Wildlife"—celebrating trees and their importance to wildlife and people, March 18-24, using this collection of related resources.

Follow the story of researchers studying redwoods or learn how these old growth forests formed interdependent relationship with birds. Did you know that deforestation can lead to droughts hundreds of miles away? Or that walnut trees release an aspirin-like compound when under stress? Wondering what type of tree that is near your house or school? There is an app for that!

Need more suggestions? Join the Thinkfinity discussions on citizen science opportunities, ways to encourage kids to learn from nature, and which live webcams you can follow when you can't get outside.


Women's History Month 2013

Posted by SIngraffea Feb 28, 2013

sallyride_225.jpgWomen are amazing inventors, explorers, and problem-solvers. Did you know that windshield wipers, Kevlar, and the first solar-powered devices were all created by women? The world's first computer programmer was Ada Lovelace and Marie Curie was the first person to receive two Nobel Prizes.

Celebrate the scientific work of remarkable women and inspire your class with this collection of Science NetLinks and AAAS resources. Students will discover how female scientists have shaped history and hear from young women currently working in STEM fields. From nanotechnology and engineering to green science and ecology, women are at forefront of science and technology.

We want to know: How Are You Encouraging Girls to Love Science? Join the discussion at Thinkfinity and check out their Women's History Month collection.


Gravity Launch: The App

Posted by kirstin Feb 27, 2013

http://sciencenetlinks.com/media/filer_thumbnails/2013/02/08/gravlaunchicon225.jpg__225x1000_q85.jpgScience NetLinks is excited to report that the Gravity Launch app is now available for download for the iPad and Android-based tablets. Inspired by the popular pc-based interactive, this is the first app to be developed by the Science NetLinks team.


The app places you in the role of a space pilot. After successfully launching a rocket from earth and subsequently landing it on the moon, you'll be able to play games of varying difficulty that require you to overcome the force of gravity in order to dock with one or more space stations. Players use on-screen dials to control their launch point and the amount of thrust they need to complete each task.


The app includes a set of games for two-player, head-to-head races and for free play, as well as the ability to customize colors. It also has the capacity for multiple users to set up individual accounts on the same device.


Science NetLinks has created an educational tool to help you get started using the Gravity Launch app. The app could also be used with the Science NetLinks lesson (grades 3-5) and afterschool activity (grades 5-7) that were prepared for the pc-based version of the Gravity Launch game.


Gravity Launch was originally designed as part of the kids' online science club, Kinetic City.


Download the app today and let us know what you think. Safe flying!

Over the past past few days I have met with educators, technologists and scientists who are trying to make science relevant to students and the public through innovative, state of the art, interactive, smart technology and current science education. This is the way of the future and attending the AAAS conference this past weekend made me realize it more than ever.  As I always like to say... innovation is here and getting better, we either embrace it and show  kids the future of it or fall behind and let the kids pass us on their own.. And they will. 

We can no longer stay in our ivory impractical towers.  I found out this weekend at the conference that based on a Leopoldo network study 90% of educators  want to make learning relevant but studies show that  closer to  40% spend less than 1 hour per month on outside engagement  - speaking to scientists, experts, attending conferences, seminars, innovative professional development keeping them abreast of current technologies, issues and pedagogy and enrichment they can bring back to the classroom. 


Leaders and the public would be wise to embrace innovative technology and the teachers using it to bring inquiry and true relevance into the classroom where kids are eager and excited to learn because learning no longer feels like a chore and everyone  is capable giving the proper opportunities.


Let me leave you with this.... Did you ever have to memorize the planets in order? ....my, very, educated, mother, just, served, nine, pies. ( but no longer Pluto)  well, who cares?...

But did you ever learn why Venus is the distance it is from the Earth and use technological tools that will bring relevance to this in relation to gravity, distance and elliptical orbit?  This is what the student will remember into adulthood. 


I am so thankful I was given the opportunity to attend the AAAS conference in Boston from 2/14 to 2/17.  I was even able to bring my teenage daughter to many events thanks to the kindness of Suzanne Thurston.  It is wonderful to see all the minds,  young and old and somewhere in between,  being stimulated.  I think we both left with an even greater appreciation for science, and for that I thank you AAAS, Verizon and Suburu. 


~ Alexia Forhan







AAAS Conference Boston 2013

Posted by annac84 Feb 19, 2013

First and foremost, I would like to thank AAAS, Verizon, Subaru and Suzanne Thurston for the opportunity for my colleagues and I to attend the AAAS Conference from Feb 14- Feb 17th at the Hynes Convention Center and Sheraton Hotel.  I like, Alexia really needed a day to digest all of the information I had gathered over the last 4 days.  I had the the pleasure of being invited as a guest to the 2013 AAAS / Subaru Science Books and Films Prize for Excellence in Science Books.  It was a great experience to hear from the authors, especially Temple Grandin's author Sy Montgomery.  She spoke of appreciating the unique mind, and her speech was very inspiring.  This experience has really allowed me to grow as an educator.  Not only were the sessions that I attended relevant and current in their research, I was able to meet some extraordinary people:  authors, teachers, scientists, professors, etc.  Amazing!


The first session I attended was called "Watching Atoms Move from Structures to Dynamics to Mesoscale Processes."  The ulimate goal for imaging processes and this presentation was quanitifying atomic movement.  The idea of watching atomic motions as they occur during structural changes has been referred to as the "Making the Molecular Movie" Experiment.  With the development of femtosecond electron pulses which show single shot structures, the audience was able to view several movies of atomic movement.  Being a Chemistry teacher, I found this absolutely fascinating.  By understanding how atoms behave, or being able to quantify their movement, scientists can observe biomolecules in fluids, which may provide insight in the future as to how a pathogen attacks a cell.  In this presentation a new imaging capability called the DTEM, dynamic transmission electron microscope was also, discussed.


Another session that I felt was really interesting was called "Tiny, but Mighty:  Neutrinos and the New Frontier of Science."  I was blown away that the director of Fermilab was present and a speaker at the conference.  She discussed the role of neutrinos and the role they had in the evolution of the early universe.  There are three types of neutrinos, and neutrinos were noticed from beta decay.  Neutrinos are the 2nd abundant particle in the universe, with no charge, and in the beginning believed to be massless (now not true).  Neutrinos have mass, but it is such a small non-zero mass, that quantum mechanics could allow them to morph into another kind and back again, called "neutrino oscillations."  The session went on to discuss how neutrinos may help scientists answer questions about the origin of the universe.  Could they hold the key to why we exist?  Why does the universe exist and why is it matter dominated?  I found this session extremely interesting, and was impressed with Sam Zeller's presentation.


Another session that was incredible was the "Toxicological Impact of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill on Human and WildLife Health."  Again, being a Chemistry teacher, I was excited to go to this session because it is a topic that I discuss with my students in class when we cover Density.  The BP Oil Spill occurred on April 20, 2010 in which methane gas from the Macondo wellhead leaked up onto the drillrig and exploded, killing 11 people and starting the largest incident of ocean toxicology in the world.  250,000 gallons of oil each day leaked into the ocean, totaling over 205 million gallons in 3 months before it was capped.  In this session, the effect of using chemical dispersants was discussed, and how this may have caused damage to offshore/inshore wildlife habitats.  Pictures were shared of many long term effects:  coral bleaching, reduction in dissolved oxygen content, photosynthesis inhibition, etc.  One study discussed the effect of crude oil and dispersed oil on sheephead minnows.  There was a reduction of reproduction, and during the summer of 2010, a hypoxic zone measured 20,000 km2.  Greg Mayer discussed the effects of the Gulf Killifish:  low survival rate, less interested in mating/feeding from exposure to oil.  Scientists used PCR to view mitochondrial DNA damage and nuclear DNA damage.  John Pierce Wise discussed his offshore toxicology study of Bryde and Sperm whales.  Whales were chosen because it was believed that the population of the Alaskan killer whale was expected to be completely lost after the Exon Valdez Oil Spill.  Scientists assessed the exposure of th whales by taking biopsies of whale skin for metal analyses.  They were able to determine toxicity, and DNA damage in cells from biopsies.  Scientists posted daily blogs reporting their work.  You can view this here:  http://www.usm.maine.edu/toxicology/overview


Specifically, traces of chromium and nickel levels were looked at because oil is known to have these metals present.  The data presented suggests that high levels of chromium and nickel were in both sperm whales and oil related materials suggesting the toxic effects in offshore waters.  This session was fascinating, and I am excited to share this research with my students in my classroom.  For many students, "it is out of sight, out of mind," but for scientists, its the aftermath of biological effects that we know can cause more harm than the original event.


In addition to the sessions, I took home so many useful ideas/demos from the exhibit hall.  One demo had students stepping on a paper cup, and then stepping on a wooden board that was placed on top of 150 paper cups.  The idea was to assist students in understand the formula for pressure (pressure=Force/Area).  By increasing the area that the cups were spread out on, the cups could hold your weight.  This was really neat, and I will definitely do this demo in the future with my students.


Another experience, I will never forget is when I met a Japanese scientist from RIKEN laboratory (a team of scientists across Japan and China), where the 113th element was discovered.  The 113th element was created by fusing together zinc and bismuth atoms.  When I asked if the element had been named yet, the scientist laughed and said that the lab has submitted several names, but there is no name yet.  He said he hoped that it would be named after a country or famous scientist.  I can't wait to find out what they end up naming lucky number 113!  You can view this article here:  http://www.rikenresearch.riken.jp


Attached I have included some photos of my experience at the AAAS Conference.  It was an unbelivable opportunity, and I have taken so many useful ideas, demos, research, and experiences with me!


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