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February 25, 2010

Gizmos nominated as CODiE Award Finalists in 2 Categories

For the fifth straight year, ExploreLearning Gizmos have been nominated as finalists in the annual SIIA CODiE Awards--- for Best K-12 Instructional Solution and Best Science Instructional Solution. It's a significant achievement!

Gizmos were selected from many high-caliber products as one of the best in the educational software and information industry. 327 products were nominated for education category awards and all went through an intensive review by subject matter experts, analysts, journalists, and others with deep experience in the fields.

“This is the twenty‐fifth year we have recognized excellence in the software, education and information industries through the CODiE Awards program,” noted Ken Wasch, President of SIIA. “In this economic climate, companies are doing even more to innovate. ExploreLearning has demonstrated a commitment to innovation and quality that is reflected in their selection as a finalist for the CODiE Awards. I am pleased and proud to have them listed among the candidates, and I wish them the best in the final round of voting.”

Review the full list of 2010 CODiE Award Finalists. Winners will be announced in May.

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Posted by ExploreLearning at 11:05 AM in Press Clippings | Permalink

Updated Gizmos highlight genetics and evolution

Five Gizmos have been updated with new curriculum materials as a part of our ongoing project. Several of these Gizmos focus on the intersection of evolution and genetics:

Evolution: Natural and Artificial Selection

Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium


DNA Fingerprint Analysis

Human Evolution - Skull Analysis

Please note that the DNA Fingerprint Analysis Gizmo was recently modified by shifting the codons that code for each trait. 

We hope you enjoy using our expanded curriculum materials!

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

February 16, 2010

Updated Help Center navigation

We've updated the look of our Help Center and changed how it's organized.

Some of the updates you may notice include:

  • New topic pages to help organize existing help
  • Help movies integrated with text help
  • New Search field - searches the Help Center only
  • A handful of new help entries related to recent changes (such as Community Features)

Check it out!  We hope this makes things a little nicer, clearer, and easier to use.

Posted by Dan at 04:59 PM in Site Announcements | Permalink

February 02, 2010

Dan Bruni: Gizmo Educator of the Month

Dan Bruni, our Gizmo Educator of the Month for February, has taught Physics, Biology, Earth Science, and more in Ontario’s York Catholic District School Board for six years. Dan uses Gizmos frequently to enhance and extend the curriculum in all of his classes, and for cross-curricular learning, linking the science to mathematics concepts. Dan has contributed Lesson Materials for three Gizmos, three Shared Class Gizmo Lists and a Gizmo recommendation.

Dan believes that being an active part of the ExploreLearning Community really helps educators enhance their teaching experience with Gizmos. "Using this pool of knowledge provides educators with accessible Professional Development to help them incorporate technology into their curriculum."

The Free Fall Laboratory Gizmo is one of Dan's favorite Gizmos. The Gizmo is designed to help students investigate the motion of an object as it falls to the ground. Students can explore many of the variables at work and view scientific data in vectors, graphs, and numerical tables. Dan’s Lesson Materials for this Gizmo showcase the extension of the scientific scenarios in the Free Fall Laboratory Gizmo into advanced math, by working with the equations of the resulting graphs. It even ties in derivatives. That’s cool!

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:27 PM in Case Studies | Permalink

Expert's Corner: Earthquakes

Pam Larson

Pam Larson is the PD Manager and a national training consultant for ExploreLearning. Pam holds a Master's Degree in Science Education from Northwest Missouri State University and she taught middle and high school science before joining ExploreLearning.

On January 12, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck near the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. The earthquake caused buildings to collapse throughout the region, including the National Palace, National Assembly, and the Port-au-Prince Cathedral. Estimates of fatalities are higher than 200,000, making it one of the deadliest earthquakes in history. Weeks after the disaster, Haiti still faces a vast crisis in housing and distribution of food supplies.

In the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, your students may be wondering why an earthquake struck Haiti, and why so many lives were lost. Haiti occupies the western side of the island of Hispaniola. Hispaniola lies on the northern part of boundary between the North American Plate and the Caribbean Plate. This is an example of a transform boundary, where the North American Plate is moving to the west and the Caribbean Plate is moving to the east. Use the Plate Tectonics Gizmo with your students to illustrate four types of plate boundaries and where they occur in the world.

In Haiti, the plate boundary is marked by two parallel faults: the Septentrional Fault and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault. Like the famous San Andreas Fault in California, these faults are the source of frequent seismic activity. A magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince in 1770, and a magnitude 8.0 earthquake hit the Dominican Republic in 1946.


As the North American Plate grinds past the Caribbean Plate at a rate of about 2 cm per year, stress can build up on faults that are “locked.” Almost 240 years had passed since a major earthquake occurred along the Enriquillo Fault. At the epicenter of the quake (marked in red on the map), the ground ruptured over 4 meters (13 feet)! To help your students learn more about finding the epicenter of an earthquake, use our the Earthquake-Determination of Epicenter Gizmo, which teaches students how to determine the epicenter of the earthquake with real-time charts and the Earthquake-Recording Station Gizmo, which allows student to determine the distance between the recording station and the earthquake, based on timing between seismic waves.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake is comparable in size to the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake that struck northern California in 1989. But, the Loma Prieta earthquake resulted in less than 100 fatalities. Your students may wonder why there was such a disparity in fatalities between the two earthquakes. First, the epicenter of the Loma Prieta earthquake was located in a thinly-populated region north of Santa Cruz, so major population centers were spared the most powerful shaking. Second, buildings in the U.S. are less likely to collapse because of stricter construction rules.

Making connections that link current events to science curriculum helps students understand both what’s happening in the world and the science behind such events better. For more learning activities related to earthquakes, take a look at the Teacher Guides and Student Exploration Guides with any of the Gizmos mentioned above.

ExploreLearning’s parent company, Cambium Learning Group, has responded to the call to support Haiti’s recovery and rebuilding efforts, by contributing $5,000 to the American Red Cross.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:24 PM in Current Affairs, Science (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

February 01, 2010

Ontario Certified Trainer, Positions Available

ExploreLearning is seeking experienced science and math educators interested in joining a network of teacher-trainers conducting professional development for Ontario school boards. Prior classroom experience with Gizmos is ideal. This is an occasional, contract position with remuneration on a per diem basis.

Additional information about this position can be found on the ExploreLearning Employment Page .

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:39 PM | Permalink

Regional PD Manager (Math) Needed

ExploreLearning is looking for a Regional Professional Development Manager.  Interested candidates should be highly-qualified mathematics educators who have managerial and teacher training experience.  Prior experience with Gizmos would be a definite plus.  The Regional Professional Development Manager will be a full-time field member of ExploreLearning's PD Team.

This new position will be filled as soon as the right person is identified.

Additional information about this position can be found on the ExploreLearning Employment Page .

Posted by ExploreLearning at 09:56 AM | Permalink