April 24, 2009
Visit EL at NCTM
We're here in Washington, D.C. at this year's NCTM conference. Come by our booth #1015 in the Washington Convention Center for a demo of Gizmos or to let us know how you are using Gizmos in your classroom. Many of our sales team, professional development staff and curriculum writers are there, eager to talk to you. Mention this posting and receive a free Gizmos water bottle!
April 16, 2009
Gizmo demo movies - elementary science - done!
It's been a long time coming, but at long last, every elementary science Gizmo has a demo movie! (That's 40 of them, if you're keeping score at home.)
The "movies" are short (about 2 minutes each) and have a simple "how-to" approach. They show how to use the basic features in the Gizmo. If students are brand-new to a Gizmo, the demo movie would be a nice brief introduction to it.
The movies feature a voice-over, so be sure audio is turned on before watching. (In a lab setting, you probably either want to project it for the whole class to watch and listen to, or have students use headphones.)
To see a demo movie, click on the "demo" icon at the bottom left corner of the Gizmo, in the purple bar, as shown below.
(Note: Demo movies will only appear in elementary-level Gizmos - the ones with the purple bar on the left side.)
Tip: To find the 40 elementary science Gizmos, either click "Browse Gizmos" and browse through the grade 3-5 science offerings, or just type "elementary science" (without the quotes) in the search field.
Enjoy! We hope these are useful for both teachers and students.
By the way, the elementary math Gizmo demo movies will now slowly start appearing also! We hope to have all 40 of them complete by the end of 2009.
April 15, 2009
Gizmos are finalists for Three AEP awards
We are pleased to announce that we have been named a finalist in three categories for the 2009 Association of Educational Publishers Awards. Gizmos are finalists for K-5 Science Curriculum, 6-8 Science Curriculum, and most notably for the Golden Lamp, AEP's highest award.
The Association of Educational Publishers' (AEP) Awards program recognizes excellence in educational products and education marketing. ExploreLearning has won three previous awards from AEP. This year's winners will be announced on June 12, 2009.
See the complete list of finalists: http://aepweb.org/awards/finalists.htm
April 07, 2009
Expert's Corner: Kite Power
Raman Pfaff is a senior architect for ExploreLearning. He holds a doctorate from Michigan State University in nuclear physics, and spent time as a professor of physics and education before co-founding ExploreLearning.
When I was a child, I lived on a farm in Michigan. One of the things I most loved was going out to our "big hill" to fly a kite. I was fascinated with trying to design a kite that could climb rapidly, perform acrobatic maneuvers, or be very stable so it would lift my kite camera into the sky.
While I have little time for flying kites as an adult, I started thinking more about them as I was reading about Earth Day. About 500 million people across the planet will take part in Earth Day events this month to bring awareness to the environmental challenges we face as a society. Producing enough energy for our society is difficult without trading off affordability and protection of the natural world. Research and field tests are starting to show that kites could be part of the solution - they are inexpensive and have little environmental impact.
A number of groups are currently working on generating power by flying kites. One method that is currently being tested is called pumping. Using this approach the kite is flown about 800 meters above the ground where the wind is stronger and steadier than it is near the surface. The tension in the kite 'string' turns a generator on the ground as the wind pulls the kite away. After the kite moves away a certain distance, the angle of the kite face is changed so that it can be reeled in using less energy than was generated on its way out. The result is that each in-out cycle generates more power than it consumes. Repeat the process continuously and you have a clean renewable power source.
One group used a similar method with a single 10 square meter kite to produce 10 kilowatts of power, which is enough to power ten family homes!
Enjoy Earth Day and if it's windy, go fly a kite. Back in your science classrooms, you can explore the energy used by many household appliances and understand how that relates to consumer costs and environmental impact with our Household Energy Usage. Or, explore how energy can get converted from one form to another in the Energy Conversions Gizmo.
April 06, 2009
New Science Curriculum Materials - Just What We Need!
We've already gotten some great feedback on our new science curriculum materials, and Kay Mcleod, a teacher at North Buncombe High School, in North Carolina, has written to us to share some of her thoughts on the new lesson materials:
Look out for more of the new materials coming throughout the year.