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September 30, 2008

New Prime Number Discovered

Big news in the math world!

Mathematicians at UCLA have discovered a new prime number, and it has over 13 million digits! It took a network of 75 computers to crank this number out. Prime numbers include numbers such as 2, 3, 7 and 29 that are divisible by only two whole positive numbers: themselves and the number one.

The newly discovered prime number is a special type known as a Mersenne prime number, named after Marin Mersenne, a 17th-century French mathematician. Mersenne prime numbers can be expressed as 2P-1, or two to the power of "P" minus one. P is itself a prime number. For the new prime, P is 43,112,609.

Read all about it here:

One of our resident math experts, Dan Moriarty, reminds us of this related numerical fact: Every whole number can be factored into a product of prime numbers. To study factoring numbers into primes, check out this Gizmo: Finding Factors with Area Models

Posted by Julia Given at 04:53 PM in Math (Real World) | Permalink

September 25, 2008

New from ExploreLearning: Online Gizmo Training!

Are you interested in increasing your knowledge and skill using ExploreLearning Gizmos? Do you want to learn to use Gizmos in your own environment, with an affordable individual cost? Sign up for one of our new three-week online initial training courses. Anyone with an active subscription to ExploreLearning.com can purchase a seat in this new course, which will feature both guided and independent learning opportunities. The first session begins on October 6th and the second begins on November 3rd. Contact sales@explorelearning.com for more information or to sign up.

Posted by Julia Given at 11:23 AM in Training and Professional Development | Permalink

September 15, 2008

Elementary Math Gizmos -- Not just for elementary students

After a long effort, the development team at EL is proud to announce the launch of our new line of Elementary Math Gizmos. Twenty-five new Gizmos are available now.

These Gizmos were designed from the ground up, featuring vibrant colors and large, easy-to-use controls. Curriculum materials include worksheets (available in Word for easy customizing), answer keys, vocabulary sheets, and helpful teacher guides. Keep in mind that while these materials were developed with the elementary student in mind, they are completely appropriate for older students with a little modification.

We had some fun along the way. Fling clowns from a cannon at the circus, count critters, hop around as a frog eating flies, or rate movies. You can even spin the big wheel to see how often you win a prize.

So check out the newest Gizmos, and enjoy!

Posted by Raman at 10:48 AM in Site Announcements | Permalink

Site Changes

We've made some changes to the home page of ExploreLearning.com which may result in display issues. If you are getting what appears to be a "whacky" looking front page on the site, the easiest way to fix this is by way of a "force refresh."

Most of you are already familiar with the refresh/reload button on your browser, but this alone often reloads the page based on what is stored in your browser's cache. The force refresh does just what its name implies, it forces the browser to go and get a new copy from our server.

For information on how to do a force refresh on every browser and operating system, please refer to this Wikipedia page.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 10:34 AM in Site Status/Known Issues | Permalink

September 09, 2008

Attend an "Introduction to ExploreLearning Gizmos" Webinar This Fall

If you are new to ExploreLearning, or are taking a free trial, learn more about the power of Gizmos by attending a one-hour webinar.

This fall we have a number of sessions, running until the end of the year.  You can sign up for the forthcoming webinars by clicking on one of the links below:

Monday, September 15, 2008, 3:00-4:00 pm Eastern time:         

Monday, September 29, 2008, 7.00-8.00pm Eastern time:

For more information on our webinars, please contact support@explorelearning.com.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 04:09 PM in Training and Professional Development | Permalink

September 08, 2008

High Energy Rap

The Large Hadron Collider is about to get cranked up. It will look at how the universe formed by analyzing particle collisions.

Scientists say the collider is finally ready for an attempt to circulate a beam of protons the whole way around the 17-mile tunnel. The test, which takes place Wednesday, is a major step toward seeing if the the immense experiment will provide new information about the way the universe works.

Scientists are excited about the new research tool, but even more people have gotten excited over a rap video that was created by a woman who worked as a student researcher at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University. That is where I earned my Ph.D., but as I recall...I didn't do much rap back then. I don't think I'll be starting now :)

Click here for the story of the rap video.
Click here for the YouTube page (full size video).
Click here to learn more about the Large Hadron Collider.

Posted by Raman at 01:42 PM in Fun/Humor, Science (Real World) | Permalink

September 05, 2008

3 Ways to Fix Science Education, 1 Way to Vote

In the most recent issue of Popular Mechanics Mythbuster Adam Savage provided three ways to help fix science education in this country.

...teachers are so dedicated, but they have difficulty teaching for the standardized tests they're given with the budgets they're not given. It’s one reason the U.S. is falling behind other countries in science: By 2010, Asia will have 90 percent of the world's Ph.D. scientists and engineers. We're not teachers, but our show has taught us a lot about how to get people interested in science. Here are three humble suggestions that might help reinvigorate American science education.

He goes on to list these items, 1) Let students get their hands dirty, 2) Spend more money on science, and 3) Celebrate mistakes.

Keep COSI pinOne great place for those three things is at local science museum. When I lived in the midwest I would occasionally help out at COSI Science Museum in Toledo. It was always great to see kids learning a wealth of science in a true hands-on fashion. Unfortunately, COSI had to close its doors to the public at the end of 2007.

They are currently trying to get a levy passed in Toledo (Lucas County) this November so that the museum can be reopened. A number of people have been working nonstop for the past year in this effort. If you live in the area I hope you will help out and Keep COSI going.

Posted by Raman at 01:29 PM in Edu/Tech | Permalink