Monthly Archives: August 2014

YouTube Science Channels of the Day

I subscribe to a number of cool science channels on YouTube. If you’re a fan of science, you’ve probably already discovered these on your own, but if you’re just beginning your scientific journey of discovery, then you should check out some of the following channels. They are all entertaining, educational, scientifically accurate, and generally fun. I use them in my class routinely because the curators of these channels are soooooo much more talented at inventing and creating engaging content to explain science.

I’ll post a few of these recommendations here from time to time as I work through my own subscriptions and as I unearth channels that are new to me. But enough of my rambling. Here are my recommended YouTube Science Channels of the Day:

Smarter Every Day: Destin is a science guy who simply tries to get smarter every day, which I think is a pretty laudable goal. He’s also got a presence on Tumblr, and of course he’s on Twitter as well. If you want to get smarter every day – even just a little bit – you should check it out.

Veritasium: Derek Muller is the master behind this great channel, and to quote the information straight from the homepage, “Veritasium is a science video blog featuring experiments, expert interviews, cool demos, and discussions with the public about everything science.” He’s also quite active on Twitter. Follow Derek to discover more of the truth in science!

Welcome to the new school year!

It’s time to get started on what should be an exciting, innovative, engaging year for myself and all the students in my classes. We’ve got a brand new MYP model to unpack, new course content, and – the thing I’m personally most excited about this school year – figuring out how to take full advantage of the latest invention from the good people at the GooglePlex in Mountain View, California: Google Classroom.

Before we can dig into our new 8th grade class, we need to establish a road map of where we are, where we’re going, and how we’re going to get there. The syllabus below is the first step on that journey. Please download and save it to your computer, read it thoroughly, and get in touch with me with any questions you have about it.

Want to be a Google Ninja? Then Read This…

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 11.08.30 AMMrs Courtney Park, IST Librarian and Media Specialist extraordinaire, shared this document with me yesterday, and I’ve already put it on the bulletin boards in my classrooms. If you are a student (or anyone doing online research for that matter), this is a great resource. Check it out, download it, study it, and use it. If you’re one of my students, know that this will make navigating our Google Classroom experience much, much easier, more efficient, and hopefully highly effective for learning. In other words, you can become a Google Ninja!

Click here for the full infographic.

“Everything is Connected to Everything Else”

That’s a paraphrasing of Barry Commoner’s timeless quote about ecology, and it could serve as the theme for our entire ESS course. It also nicely summarizes the systems approach to science, in which we focus on how things work together rather than just the individual parts. Delving into the various news stories that get classified as ‘environmental issues’ requires an understanding of human nature as well as the functional processes of our planetary systems. Exploring one without the other just doesn’t make sense – it’s like having black but no white.

ESS Topic 2 – The Ecosystem covers the essentials of ecology: the structure and function of ecosystems and biomes around the world, the living and non-living characteristics of those systems, and measurements of those characteristics. Understanding how natural systems work enables us to put humans’ impact on those systems in perspective. Ecology provides us with a reference point, a baseline of knowledge, by which we can evaluate what’s happening in our world. Some of the most important internal assessments (IAs) we carry out in ESS will focus on one of the components of ecosystem science.

“Chapter 3 – The Ecosystem” in the ESS Course Companion corresponds with the material in Topic 2. It’s a long chapter, so read it thoroughly more than once.