Teaching Ideas: NASA, Space, Planets, and Moons #coffeechugPLN

NASA Haughton-Mars Project: program aimed at developing new technologies, strategies, humans factors experience, and field-based operational know-how key to planning the future exploration of the Moon, Mars and other planets by robots and humans.

Ask a Scientist: Living on Other Planets http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/bio99/bio99206.htm

Venus Project (useful in colonizing other planets)

comprehensive plan for social reclamation in which human beings, technology, and nature will be able to coexist in a long-term, sustainable state of dynamic equilibrium.

Hubble Space Telescope http://hubblesite.org/

We Cannot Colonize the Planets (reasons why) http://spl.haxial.net/universe/colonizing-galaxy/

Space Elevators (no need for rockets) http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2000/ast07sep_1.htm

British National space Centre http://www.bnsc.gov.uk/default.aspx?nid=3191

China National Space Agency http://www.cnsa.gov.cn/main_e.asp

Danish National Space Center http://spacecenter.dk/

Indian Space Research Organization http://www.isro.org/

Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency http://www.jaxa.jp/index_e.html

Norwegian Space Centre http://www.spacecentre.no/

Space Agencies and Organizations http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/astroweb/agency.html

Space Weather Network (conditions on the Sun and in the solar wind, magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere that can influence the performance and reliability of space-borne and ground-based technological systems and can endanger human life or health)

Project X (two flights into space in two weeks) http://www.projectx.com/

Planetary Probes History http://www.faqs.org/faqs/space/probe/

Lyot Project (identifying biologically active planets and finding ones that are possibly inhabitable) http://lyot.org/background/

Exploration of Other Planets

         Pioneer Venus Project http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/planetary/pioneer_venus.html

         Colonizing Other Planets: Millennial Project http://www.jmooneyham.com/millp.html

         The Grand Survey of Mars: 1996-2019 A.D. (EXCEPTIONAL SITE!! educational programs from K-12, news on all the probes) http://tes.asu.edu/newsurveyormenu.html 

Astronaut Geology Tools (photos and descriptions) http://www.hq.nasa.gov/alsj/tools/Welcome.html

Collecting Moon Rocks During the Apollo Program (tools and photos)

Space Related Resources (EXCELLENT SITE! many related topics) http://www.space.gc.ca/asc/eng/educators/resources/highschool.asp

Space Station Photo Gallery http://www.pbs.org/spacestation/gallery.htm

Astronaut Photography of Earth http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/

Astronaut & Space Travel Memorabilia for Salehttp://www.novaspace.com/AUTO/rfts.more.html

Space Radio Stations (communicate with astronauts) http://www.hobbyspace.com/Radio/

The Space Show (live broadcast talk radio about space) http://www.live365.com/stations/dlivingston?site=dlivingston

Physics and Astronomy Fun and Jokes http://www.physlink.com/Fun/Index.cfm

Drake Equation (estimating the number of civilizations capable of communication that are in the Milky Way Galaxy) http://www.airynothing.com/smackerels/DrakeEquation.html

Space Music (with podcasts) http://spacemusic.libsyn.com/

Space Art on the Web http://www.spaceart.org/

Space Art in Children’s Books http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/~jsisson/john.htm

Space ArtGalleries Around the World http://www.engelen.com/links/spaceart.html

NASA Space Art (galleries showing art from all the different projects http://vesuvius.jsc.nasa.gov/er/seh/spaceart.html

Space Food (EXCEPTIONAL SITE!!  see videos on food for long term space travel) http://spaceflight.nasa.gov/living/spacefood/

Clothing on Other Planets (surprise!) http://www.goma.demon.co.uk/space/clothes.html

Visiting Other Planets (teacher lesson plan) http://www.bcps.org/offices/lis/models/space/

Psychological Preparations and Problems of Space Travel http://www.redcolony.com/art.php?id=0408300

Psychos in Space (staying sane) http://whyfiles.org/124space_station/4.html

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6 Key Ideas To Harnessing Our Power As Educators

Yesterday was the deadline for the Iowa Teacher of the Year application. I finally submitted my 20 page dissertation covering a variety of questions and a resume. This process felt overwhelming at first, but turned out to be one of the most powerful experiences I have been part of in a long time.

It was not powerful because I had to toot my own horn, but it was powerful because of the collaboration and learning that took place. I was forced to really sit and think about what is really at the core of myself as a teacher. Going through this process I realized that I have constantly added more and more to my plate and collective toolbox as a teacher and have not stopped to really ask the question, “Why?”

Here are the key takeaways from the process

  • What is really at your core?

 Trying to craft answers to some heavy loaded questions on this application forced me to rewrite my answers four times. The transformation of first version to the fourth revision was not only inspirational, but a process that allowed me to find myself. I had to really strip away so many layers to analyze why I teach and what I hold dear to my heart. I think in this fast paced society we lose connection with what is the foundation of ourselves. We need to stop every once in a while and remember what we hold dear to our heart and then reconfigure our journey.

  • We forget what we are good at!

Working solo on my application would not have been the best way to go about this process. Connecting and working with some dynamic people helped remind me of what I do well. Having conversations about education and talking about various projects and lessons helped to remind myself that I do some things really well. This is a key moment. Teachers need to find a group they trust and take time to talk about what we do well. It is vital that we are reminded of these things from time to time because we can get wrapped up in so many other things and lose sight of our abilities.

  • Power of collaboration

This ties in with the answer above, but if teachers are not collaborating and holding deep discussions about education, then we are missing out on a vital part of the education landscape. Teachers need to craft time to have dialogue about education. Through this process I was engaged in some highly motivating and powerful conversations. Talking with other teachers who bring something completely different from myself was the key. We all brought in different perspectives and engaged us in several discussions that pushed my thinking. Often times teachers will connect in person and end up complaining. This is a waste of time. Teachers need to connect and hold conversations that drive them to new ways of thinking.

  • Working with people different from self

 I brought in teachers who have skills far superior than my own and in fields where I struggle. This was the most essential key to this process. You don’t want to sit around a table with like minded individuals. You need variety and perspective different from your own. This allows for a more fulfilling dialogue that drives everyone. By doing this and creating this community of diversity the other key points above fall into place. In order to challenge yourself you have to branch out and meet with people different from your own mindset.

  • Our natural skills are not always seen by self

This one is similar to a previous point. What I want to stress here is that we all do amazing things. Most of us do some really powerful things and don’t even realize we do these things. Have conversations and talking about our teaching brings out these essential skills. Working through these questions I was exposed to things that I do that I never considered. I ignored these items because it just happens naturally and therefore I don’t give them any thought. This is a great thing. We all naturally do some powerful things in our classroom. We must remind ourselves of these things because it is important for us to realize what we do so well and naturally.

  • Separate critique and feedback from personal feeling

This is most vital. I had to make it clear for them to hammer my thoughts and ideas. We need to have tough skin. We live in an environment where so many people take critique and feedback personally. You cannot do this. We have to understand when someone offers critique, feedback, or suggestions it is given to make you better, not to knock you down. I think that so many of us get feedback or a suggestion and instantly become angry because we think we are not doing something right. Just like our students, we have to rewire our thinking. It is time that we get back to the notion and learning is a journey. We do, we revise, and we improve. It is time to separate feedback from the personal level. Working through this I had to remind my fellow companions to hammer away. I don’t take it personal. I want to learn. I want to improve. In the end, we all learned and improved. It was amazing!

I will be sharing out my answers in bits to hopefully engage in some dialogue. From this experience I will be crafting a self reflection course for educators so teachers can go through the process I just went through. It was a powerful experience that really helped me gain a vision to where I am and where I want to be. 

At this point I already feel like a winner. This process moved me and helped me grow as an educator. Even if nothing develops from my application I will be satisfied with the journey that I travelled to get this application complete. I really think every teacher should undergo this process which is why I will be creating a self paced course to do just that.

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    auditory point of view websites for students

    A few useful sites to give students a different perspective from an auditory point of view:
    Aural History (cool excerpts, recorded interviews / speeches, audio segments from movies, etc.)
    Science Radio (radio stations from around the world)
    Free Old Time Radio Shows (the serials are fun to listen to. Great sound effects and acting.)
    Live Radio Stations of the World (fabulous site!! even has police scanners!)
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    Using Technology in Junior High Math: Learning with cell phones and iPads and computers OH MY!

    My wife is a junior high algebra and pre algebra teacher for Pleasant Valley Junior High. She does not like to give herself credit for the hard work and time she devotes to teaching math. She forms great relationships with the students and with that foundation kids come to class everyday ready to learn math…..even the ones that don’t like math.

    One of her goals this year has been to work on shifting to Common Core and more importantly to engage students with the concepts. After a great presentation and keynote speaker yesterday during our professional development day with George Couros and doing some presenting myself I could not help but think that I was missing something. It finally hit me that my wife has been doing some great and amazing things with technology in her math class. I often think that math is such a tough content area to connect with students and to make relevant. Most junior high students don’t think big picture and don’t hear why this or that is important to their lives.

    I asked my wife to share with me some of her recent lessons. I hope you find them useful and if you have suggestions or perhaps even other great ideas to share that would be wonderful. 

    As teachers we are all “Idea Bandits” where we search, read, and research ideas and then tweak them to make them our own. These ideas originated from me throwing out some questions of help on my PLN as well as her looking online for ideas. 

    Idea #1: Students create videos for to help them review

    My wife used Wallwisher which is now Padlet(new and improved) with her students. For a review for a test over concepts she gave each student a question to prepare and explain how to solve. She gave each of them a hard copy of all the problems first so they could see what the problem looked like before they watched the video.

    To record students they kept things simple to start. They used good old whiteboards and used the camera option to record. They spread out in hallways and classrooms to record. Anytime you try something new you always test the waters, reflect, and make changes. There are apps that can help make this even better like Screenchomp which she plans on using next. This is one app worth having if you have the opportunity for iPads in your school. If you don’t have iPads there are other ways to do this very project using Flip videos for example. I will be adding how to screencast without iPads(my school does not have iPads at the middle school) over on my classroom tools wiki page as well as tutorials on how to use these apps and tools(will be posted within a week).

    After they recorded their screencast and explanations the students then uploaded them to Padlet where all students could see all the problems. This way students could go and access the video they needed. There was no wasting time by having to sit through problems they already knew how to do. They could just go to where they needed help. Really, this is a whole flipped classroom and crowdsourcing project that benefits everyone.

    Here is a link to the final results of her review assignment. The students really liked this project. The kids did say that sometimes the videos took a while to load. I think if using at home it would be faster as most schools internet is slow anyways

    I will be posting her next cool math idea soon. It is titled Texting Olympics. Stay tuned.

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    Teaching ideas & Discussion Starters: Sitting, TV, and Mental Disorders

    Here are three more ideas that I have gathered from the internet and gifted education friends. Enjoy and remember all previous project and teaching ideas can be found on this blog here.

    If you have any good ideas that should be shared please let me know. I will be sure to give you credit and all that jazz.

    As always, thanks to Otto from Canada for these ideas.

    1. Why sitting is a dangerous health threat
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    Teaching Ideas: Problem Solving

    Kind of cool puzzles as challenges for students.
    Use these as takeoff points for other learning:
    Good for teaching problem solving. Don’t just give these to students. Take a step back and determine what the student needs to approach the problem.
    Possibly approach the problem in reverse if possible.e.g. writing equations backwards based on word descriptions
    For example: A number is four times larger than that number added to 7
    x= 4(x+7)
    Don’t just do the puzzles but discuss HOW TO solve them – the elements to consider, analyzing options, looking at the puzzle from various perspectives, comparing them to real-life situations,
    Do an expanded set of drawings/sketches to show the problem and possibly find a “rear view” solution.
    Also consider the social and interactive aspects of this kind of problem-solving.
    What other discussions that can come from the exercises? e.g. how does somebody make these?
    Create your own – with written explanations on how to solve them.
    Thanks again Otto Schmidt

    Accent on Skills Consulting

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    Tinkerers and Inspirational People

    These are truly inspiring and thought provoking:
    Logan Laplante


    Aaron Schwartz
    Tesla Movie
    Open-Minded Scientists
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    Teaching Ideas: Free Heat

    It never ceases to amaze me how creative and resourceful people are. Here are some examples for you and your students to discuss and possibly make for personal use. Perhaps they could come up with other ideas once inspired by the simplicity of the ones shown. Thanks again for Otto S. for sharing.
    Free heat for Many Purposes
    Plastic Panels with air channels
    Down drainpipes on Eavestrough system Heats Air
    How to Make a Heat Exchanger
    Endless Hot water – small wood burning stove with coil
    Solar Water Heater
    Cheap Home Heating (uses old fluorescent tubes)
    Aluminum cans used for free heat
    Cheap and Easy Passive Window Heat Generator
    Passive Solar Water Heater (uses black piping)
    Low Cost Water Heater (plastic soda bottles)
    Free Logs for Fireplaces (shredded paper and wood shavings)
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    LOVE THIS! Pixar 22 Rules of Storytelling

    This post information comes from the site: http://aerogrammestudio.com/2013/03/07/pixars-22-rules-of-storytelling/

    I am trying to wrap my around making this a writing project. Bianca Hewes, where are you to help me craft this into a project?

    These rules were originally tweeted by Emma Coates, Pixar’s Story Artist. Number 9 on the list – When you’re stuck, make a list of what wouldn’t happen next – is a great one and can apply to writers in all genres.

    1. You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
    2. You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be very different.
    3. Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
    4. Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
    5. Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
    6. What is your character good at, comfortable with? Throw the polar opposite at them. Challenge them. How do they deal?
    7. Come up with your ending before you figure out your middle. Seriously. Endings are hard, get yours working up front.
    8. Finish your story, let go even if it’s not perfect. In an ideal world you have both, but move on. Do better next time.
    9. When you’re stuck, make a list of what WOULDN’T happen next. Lots of times the material to get you unstuck will show up.
    10. Pull apart the stories you like. What you like in them is a part of you; you’ve got to recognize it before you can use it.
    11. Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.
    12. Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th – get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.
    13. Give your characters opinions. Passive/malleable might seem likable to you as you write, but it’s poison to the audience.
    14. Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.
    15. If you were your character, in this situation, how would you feel? Honesty lends credibility to unbelievable situations.
    16. What are the stakes? Give us reason to root for the character. What happens if they don’t succeed? Stack the odds against.
    17. No work is ever wasted. If it’s not working, let go and move on – it’ll come back around to be useful later.
    18. You have to know yourself: the difference between doing your best & fussing. Story is testing, not refining.
    19. Coincidences to get characters into trouble are great; coincidences to get them out of it are cheating.
    20. Exercise: take the building blocks of a movie you dislike. How d’you rearrange them into what you DO like?
    21. You gotta identify with your situation/characters, can’t just write ‘cool’. What would make YOU act that way?
    22. What’s the essence of your story? Most economical telling of it? If you know that, you can build out from there.
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    Classroom Project Ideas #5: Novel Study of Food

     Many children, and adults too, just can’t keep control of their eating habits, body weight and shape. Part of that is caused by the fact that they are rarely empowered with the skills of self-discipline that help them do what they should be doing. They don’t know enough about how the body works and how food works in the body. They trust others to tell them what to do and when to do it – the “puppet syndrome”. Let’s empower them!

    Start this study with a shocking activity.
    a) Tell students that they have to write what their parents should do with their body when they die and what parents should say to others about them. Make it REAL. “You will die very shortly.”
    b) Students take their written work to the parents and have them sign it to indicate they read it. Get parent input too. What else would the parents say or add or change in the original perception?
    c) Students create a list of all the stupid things they did in their lives that brought about their death.
    d) What might they do differently if there was even a slight hope of being given a second chance?
    e) Post a big chart on the wall. Student names down one side. List of changes to make in order to preserve life across the top. (having it out in the open can create a hopefully positive peer pressure. Either they do it or they don’t but all can see.)
    f) Each day, have students put a small check mark in one of the boxes to indicate they did that particular thing. (honesty should be emphasized. Who is fooling whom when it gets right down to it?)
    g) At the end of each day, have students get into a circle and have each tell the group what they are grateful for in respect to their lives and bodies e.g. I’m grateful that I could breathe easily today.
    h) At some point in the study, organize activist groups on different food issues.
    Food Cravings Engineered by the Industry
    What Generates Cravings?
    Food Addiction
    Michael Moss Book audio Interview (don’t miss this!! about 20 minutes)
    Vegetarians and Becoming One
    Do we really need to eat anything? Breatharians
    Foods that Offer Everything Our Bodies Need. Sprouts?
    Food Eating Contests. Should this be allowed?
    What is food science?
    Additives: What we don’t see or feel in food
    Long Term Effects of Additives on the Body
    Secrets of Advertising Food to the Masses
    How to Improve Self-Discipline
    Here a few more resources to go with the food related package

    Are you addicted to bad food?

    How to Fight Food Cravings (video)

    Why we crave sugary foods and not fruits and veggies

    All about food addiction

    Food Marketing and Childhood Obesity

    Ethics of Online Advertising to Young Children

    Ethics of Advertising to Children (excellent debate topics in this)


    Creepy Children in Vintage Food Ads (don’t miss this. Very interesting!!)

    Santa and Coke (one of the best ad campaigns ever)

    Thanks Otto Schmidt for sharing these resources.

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