ViralEd showcases excellent educational animations on YouTube

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There is little doubt video is both the present and future of self paced learning, and this week I was contacted by an Australian teacher Chris Burgess who is taking this concept to new heights by creating his own animated high quality educational content at ViralEd. 

It is great to see innovative teachers who can speak the language of modern day teachers and students, and I commend him for this.  His animations and instruction are excellent.

I first and foremost highly recommend checking out ViralEd and subscribing as I know he is working on loads of great new content as we speak.

Below is a sample of the great content he is producing.  If you read on after the video I asked Chris to supply some background about ViralEd.  

So great stuff Chris, keep up the good work and don't forget to subscribe to his channel.

(The content below was written by Chris.) 

About ViralEd
We are a newly formed YouTube channel that creates both enjoyable and easy to understand animated videos that cover a variety of subjects. Unlike most channels our videos we are unique, being made up of teachers, we understand what is needed in the videos, meaning all videos are relevant. As a teacher, we found that videos to support content being taught were hard to come by and therefore this channel was created.
Channel Link:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGtdKQw0oZK1u5szxXr9MEA

Check out the videos at our channel the link is provided above. If you like the videos hit the like button, leave a comment on something you think can be improved or subscribe so you don’t miss out on any videos in the future.

Target Audience
If you’re a teacher, pre-service teacher or just someone who loves learning new things this channel is perfect for you. These videos will assist you in your classroom as a visual aid to back up the content being taught. This will therefore assist students in gaining a greater understanding. ‘

Future Aspirations
We currently produce 1 video a week, covering Science and Health and Physical Education topics. As the channel grows in popularity we have planned to cover a wider range of topics and work to producing more frequent videos. We are also working towards providing lesson plans that accompany the videos.

Teach students how to read a weather map

I came across this great resource for students and teachers that puts all things meteorological into a very easy to understand process full of great diagrams and simple language.

Your students will find it much easier to understand what all those squiggly lines mean next time they tune into the nightly news and have a greater insight into the maths and science behind the weather.

Check it out here

Lessons to learn from landing on the moon

Today is the anniversary of the 1969 moon landing, one of mankind's greatest achievements.  It is a little disappointing to think nearly fifty years on we would have done a little more in space but I am hopeful that today's students will take us even further in the future if we share the great accomplishments of the past.

Race to the moon is a good resource for students to gain an understanding of the space race in the sixties and places all of the key events in a simple to follow timeline.  Students can learn about the crew and technology that took us to the moon including the Saturn V rocket which to this day is still the most powerful and fastest 'thing' we have ever created.

Liftoff into Space is a lesson plan that explores the space race and space exploration as a whole.

Finally, what the space race can teach us about collaboration is a useful article for older students to explore the unity and understanding of many required to achieve a common goal.  It could lead into a great activity exploring the collaboration required to send a person to Mars

Climate Change Scavenger Hunt task for students

Purpose : At the end of this ‘scavenger hunt on climate’ students will be able to learn about the vocabulary of climate and science behind it.  It is aimed at students from years 4 to 9.

This scavenger hunt introduces to students information and basics about the Climate, its various zones and factors affecting the climate.  There are 24 scavenger hunt cards with colorful pictures. 

It’s a great tool to explore vocabulary around Climate.

This lesson was submitted by Piyush Bhakar - If you wish to sell us your lesson plans take a look here.

 Instructions -

1.  Download the free lesson plan here.

2. Print the given all 24 cards on a card stock or any other good paper and cut them along the black line.

 3. Get the print of Climate Scavenger Hunt questions pages and each student should be given this copy.

 4. Place Climate Scavenger Hunt cards around the classroom. For example you can place it on chair, on table, on benches, behind the classroom doors, besides the computer or wherever you like.

 5. Students have to search the cards in a classroom in order to find out the answers of the questions. Students can complete this exercise in a group with classmate or alone.

Getting started with Wolfram Alpha in the classroom

Wolfram Alpha is a search engine for statistics and facts.  It is linked to thousands of databases and is an excellent tool for analyzing and comparing data and statistics on virtually any field of interest... Literally anything.

The video below will explain the potential and how it differs from Google, which is a completely different search engine which becomes apparent after some use.

Wolfram Alpha have always understood the potential of using their tool in the classroom and have created an education portal made up of courses and resources for teachers and students.

The resources are more geared to the maths science area and would not be of great interest to junior primary teachers but the product is constantly evolving and works on every platform.

The education portal can be found here.  IF you have been using Wolfram Alpha in creative ways with your students we would love to hear about it in our comments section below.


Choosing the right USB microscope for your classroom

Transient

Bring your science lessons to life with a USB Microscope and discover what exists in our world which can’t be seen to the naked eye. 

USB microscopes are an excellent resource that every classroom should have for the following reasons

  • They make science real.  Students will be amazed at what exists on our skin and our environment.  It will literally change their perspective of how they view our world.
  • They allow students and teachers to use a high quality scientific tool that can be shared on interactive whiteboards, computers and mobile devices. No longer are they a single user experience.
  • The cost of these devices is now too good to pass up on.  You can spend $30 or $3,000 depending on your needs and budget but even the cheapest of USB microscopes offers great teaching and learning opportunities.

Today we are going to look at three different models that hopefully will fit your budget and meet your teaching needs.

Please note that buying any digital microscope can become a little misleading and confusing at times with some ridiculous claims about zoom capacity and other specifications.  Stick to the basics and do your homework online if you are unsure.

Be aware that the optical zoom is a true enlargement using the lenses of the device.  A digital zoom is a just a computerised enlargement.  Always refer to the optical zoom as your guide.

Celestron 44302 Deluxe Handheld Digital Microsocope – A Great Starting point.

The Celestron 44302 is a great starting point for either a student or, teacher and more importantly an excellent option to buy in bulk for a classroom.

It will definitely offer you an instant plug and play solution and the software is simple enough for students to master in a few minutes.  The build quality is good and it can take a little abuse.

The optics give good pictures. The included software is basic, but works well on Windows and Mac. The biggest barrier to making good use of this item is thinking of it as a traditional microscope as it can be used as a portable device by removing it from the stand, which is generally how most people will use it.

The focus and lighting features can be a little touchy at times and occasionally there it just too much glare for my linking, and it is at this point you realise you are using a $50 microscope.

Your students will love trawling the playground to discover new items to explore on the Celestron.

All in all though this is a great introduction to USB microscopes for teachers and students.  It offers good image quality for the price and you can feel confident it will be still working in a few years’ time if you treat it with a little respect.

 

AmScope 10x-20x-30x-60x Advanced All Metal Full Glass Optics Student Binocular Stereo Microscope with Incident (Top) and Transmitted (Bottom) Lights

In stepping up to the Am scope you are getting a genuine glass optical microscope that offers up to 60x optical zoom and for under $300.

You are getting a premium piece of equipment for a secondary science lab or a tool primary teachers might want to use to really enhance something students have been looking at on their lower specced microscopes such as the Celestron.

It offers excellent image quality and is very well built.  Be aware that this unit is a static microscope and would not recommend moving it around too much unlike the celestron listed above.

This microscope exceeded my expectations greatly and it would be fair to compare it with the university standard microscopes I have used many years ago at a fraction of the cost and twice the ability thanks to the USB connectivity and software supplied..

The unit comes assembled. There is a second pair of higher power top lenses supplied, but the lower power ones that come pre-installed are perfect.  The bottom lens changes between 1 and 3 power.  You will find this unit to be very precise for the vast majority of use.

Pros:
- Wide objective makes it fairly easy to find your target
- Interchangeable stage plates are great for when you need contrast (or don't) to see your specimen well
- Binocular-style eyepieces make it easy to adjust when switching viewers

Cons:
- Rough focus can be a little hard to achieve with a specimen already on the stage.  Ensure you have a good grip on this thing or it may end in tears.

AmScope 3.5X-90X Simul-Focal Trinocular Articulating Microscope + 5M USB Camera

This is a professional piece of equipment coming in at under $1000 dollars.  It offers a super wide field of vision and excellent image quality which is far superior to anything else in this price bracket.

I’ll be honest and state that I have never used this unit but I worked with a metallurgist who raved about the clarity of vision and ultra-precise measuring tools which are included in the software.  For a professional laboratory piece of equipment under $1000 this would be worth investigating.

 

Christmas Energy Science Lesson

Transient

Energy is required for all activities.  Santa and his reindeer require energy too.  This fun worksheet will allow students to think about kinetic and potential energy while thinking about everyone’s favorite December topic – Christmas.  Students are given different scenarios and are able to consider the key concepts of kinetic energy or something in motion versus potential energy where action could occur if there was a force applied.  Let’s hop aboard Santa’s sleigh ride and travel around the world. 

Click here to download the complete lesson plan for free

Science Lesson: Making Slime

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Time Required:  45 – 60 mins for process, pus you can allow time for research and findings.

Age groups:  Prep to year 9.. Obviously you will need some more time and assistance with the younger and possibly older kids.

Learning Intentions:  To understand what a Polymer is and how chemical reactions can change the state of certain ingredients.

 Click here to download this entire lesson plan and resources as a PDF.

Intro: We are going to make slime, any ideas how we can do it? What ingredients do you think we’ll need?

Show video on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emlW5Jh-AHc&feature=relmfu  

Go through step by step instructions of how to make the slime (Paper based instructions included below - Make sure Logistics are good)

ü  Students then create the slime and put it in a bag to take home and show.

Answer the following questions once slime is made.

1.      What happened to the slime when you added the borax powder?

2.      How could we make the slime better, what variations could be offer?

Science Elements:

Now for the SCIENCE part.... This POLYMER is unique because it has qualities of both a solid and a liquid. It can take the shape of its containers like a liquid does, yet you can hold it in your hand and pick it up like a solid. As you might know, solid molecules are tight together, liquid molecules spread out and break apart (drops) POLYMER molecules CHAIN themselves together (they can stretch and bend like chains) and that makes them special. Jell-O, rubber bands, plastic soda bottles, sneaker soles, even gum are all forms of polymers. The polymer you made should be kept in a sealed plastic bag when you aren't playing with it. Also, be sure to keep it away from young kids or pets who might think it’s food. Have fun!

Recap: What is a polymer? Both a solid and a liquid. Molecules which are tiny little molecules chain together which makes an item hold its shape and then can be altered.

What are some other examples of polymers?

Extension Activity

Who can stretch their slime the longest contest?

Who find and display a practical use for it.

Click here to download this entire lesson plan and resources as a PDF.