December 21, 2012
Holiday card contest winner
This year we decided to have a little contest for our holiday card to see if teachers could name all the Gizmos in the sleigh -- plus two special friends from ExploreLearning Reflex!
190 Gizmologists entered our contest, and today we chose a winner. Congrats to a teacher at Flat Rock Elementary School in Powhatan, Virginia. Your Gizmos Flip Camera will soon be on its way to you!
And here are the answers:
- Distance Time
- Photosynthesis Lab
- Triangle Angle Sum
- Freefall Tower
- Concurrent Lines, Medians and Altitudes
- Cell Structure
- Modifying the Factorization of Ax2 + Bx + C
- Rainfall & Birdbeaks
- Virus Lytic Cycle
- Energy Conversion
- Triangle Beam Balance
- Cell Division
- Coach Penny
December 17, 2012
Geometry Gizmos - 3 new sets of Lesson Materials
Area of Parallelograms (formerly called "Area of Parallelograms - Activity A")
Area of Triangles (formerly called "Area of Parallelograms - Activity B")
As always, our updated Lesson Materials have 4 documents (Student Exploration Sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary Sheet), each available as a .doc or .pdf. (You'll need to be logged in to see all four documents.)
In addition, FYI, some of the Assessment Questions (the 5 questions you see below the Gizmo when you are logged in) have also been updated to better match the new content. As a result, any existing Assessment Results (visible to logged-in teachers) for these 3 Gizmos have been archived - look for the "Archived Results" link at the top of the Assessment Results window. (They'll be available until January 28.)
Enjoy the new materials, and happy holidays.
December 07, 2012
Stuart Merves: ExploreLearning Educator of the Month
Stuart Merves teaches Biology and Introduction to Physical Sciences at Timber Creek Regional High School in Erial, NJ. A graduate of Clemson, Mr. Merves just started his fourth year of teaching. He has been an avid Gizmos user since 2010.
This article will also appear in the New Jersey Science Teachers Association Newsletter.
Mr. Merves loves how Gizmos enable him to maximize the limited time he gets with his students and still allows them to have interactive lab experiences. Gizmos are also great because they can be used at home, allowing students who are absent to stay caught up. Students gravitate to the Gizmos because they “feel like video games” and they love being able to manipulate the variables any way they like. Mr. Merves also appreciates the framework provided by the Student Exploration Sheets, and he often modifies them to more closely match his lesson objectives.
In all of his classes, Mr. Merves starts the year with the Growing Plants Gizmo, which teaches experimental design. In addition to teaching students about the best conditions for plant growth, the Gizmo helps students understand how to successfully design experiments for optimal results. With four variables to manipulate (seed, light, water, soil), students can come up with hundreds of unique combinations as they try to grow the largest plant. “Students are always amazed that the plants never grow the exact same way, even in the same conditions. I tell them ‘Well yes, it’s just like real life!’” Mr. Merves reports.
One of the highlights of the year in his Introduction to Physical Sciences class is a project in which students get to design their own roller coasters. After discussing the concepts of potential and kinetic energy in class, Mr. Merves lets his students loose on the Roller Coaster Gizmo. The Gizmo demonstrates how kinetic and potential energy are related to mass, height, and speed, and demonstrates the principle of conservation of energy as the roller coaster car moves over hills. Based on what they learn in the Gizmo, students then design their own roller coasters. Depending on their design, they have to calculate the potential energy, kinetic energy, and velocity of the car at several points along the track. Students then present their designs to each other in class.