## May 15, 2013

### Math Gizmos - Lesson Materials - 3 new sets released

Alert, Gizmo mavens! More new Lesson Materials have been released for your viewing/learning pleasure!

Perimeters and Areas of Similar Figures - Suppose you took a figure and doubled all of its side lengths. How would its perimeter change? What about its area? Why?

Concurrent Lines, Medians, and Altitudes - If you cut a triangle out of something sturdy, like cardboard, where is its balancing point? How would you find it?

Introduction to Exponential Functions (formerly known as "Exponential Growth and Decay - Activity B") - What's an exponential function all about? How do the y-values behave? What do all exponential functions have in common?

As always, our goal here is real student understanding, beyond just formulas or memorization.

Reminder: 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.)

At this point, 63 high-school- and middle-school-level math Gizmos have now received the updated Lesson Materials "treatment." We hope you and your students enjoy these latest new ones!

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, sign up for a free trial today!

Posted by Dan at 12:04 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## May 09, 2013

### Expert Corner: PD Options for Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards

After receiving her M.Ed. in Science Education and teaching science in middle and high school classrooms for nine years, Pam Larson began working for ExploreLearning in 2007. As a Regional Manager of Professional Development, Ms. Larson has been instrumental in designing curriculum for science and math professional development sessions, and she manages trainers working directly with teachers using ExploreLearning products.

Many schools are using their summer professional development time to address the Common Core Standards for Math (CCSS-M) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Gizmos are a great tool that teachers can use to develop the knowledge and the habits of mind of strong math and science students. The PD department atExploreLearning is offering higher-level training workshops aimed at preparing teachers for the CCSS-M and the NGSS.

Using Gizmos with the CCSS will help participants develop a deeper understanding of both the content standards and the Standards for Mathematical Practice. The Common Core – the Balance between Skills and Understanding workshop allows participants to work collaboratively and identify mathematical tasks that develop students’ capacity to meet the Standards of Mathematical Practice.

Districts can also choose from a variety of Troublesome Topics in Math workshops. Each of these is designed for a different grade band around math concepts that are difficult for students to grasp and have moved down in grade level in the new standards. The elementary workshop focuses on fractions, while the middle grades workshop explores ratios and proportions, and the high school workshop examines functions. Teachers leave with a better mastery of the content they are teaching and with specific strategies for leading students to conceptual understanding of their focus topic.

Like the Common Core workshops, using Gizmos with the NGSS is designed to help teachers make the pedagogical leaps dictated in the new science standards. The NGSS encourages teachers to teach fewer content topics, but to take students to a much deeper level of understanding than in the past. The three Troublesome Topics in Science workshops focus on refining teachers’ understanding of science content in three disciplines across all grade levels; Life Science, Earth/Space Science, and Physical Science. If teachers themselves have a strong knowledge of science topics, they will be better prepared to help students develop a deeper conceptual understanding.

As the summer and fall go on, the PD department will be developing additional higher-level offerings to support these new standards.

Posted by Meredith Cole at 10:55 AM in Training and Professional Development, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## May 02, 2013

### Math Gizmos - new Lesson Materials released today

Another new batch of math Lesson Materials is hot out of the oven!  We've cooked up some geometry for you and your students:

Pythagorean Theorem with a Geoboard

Pythagorean Theorem - Activity B

Similar Figures - Activity A

In these lessons, we work to build students' understanding of these topics, beyond just the formulas or definitions. How can you use a geoboard to show that, in right triangles, a2 + b2 = c2? Also, we've often heard that similar polygons have the same shape but not necessarily the same size. What exactly does that mean in terms of side lengths and angle measures?

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.)

So we are now up to 60 high-school- and middle-school-level math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials.

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, sign up for a free trial today!

Posted by Dan at 03:46 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## April 17, 2013

### Expert Corner: Next Generation Science Standards

Laura Chervenak has been with ExploreLearning since 2010, and she is currently the VP of Professional Development. She has taught high school science, and is the founder and former director of GOAL Digital Academy. Laura is National Board Certified in Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood, with a B.A. in Zoology and an M.S. in Anthropology.

The Next Generation Science Standards were released in their final form just as thousands of teachers and administrators were arriving in San Antonio, Texas for the 2013 NSTA National Conference. Conversations and presentations around the new standards were found in almost every room and hallway as educators gathered information to take back to their districts.

You may also be asking yourself, “Now that the standards are final, what steps should we be taking to prepare for adoption and implementation?” Here are five steps you can take to get up-to-speed.

Dive deeply into the Framework for K-12 Science Education.Students don’t study the law before they understand the Constitution. They don’t study medicine before they take anatomy. Similarly, science educators need to understand the foundation of the new standards as it is laid out in the three dimensions of the Framework — the Disciplinary Core Ideas, the Standards of Scientific and Engineering Practices, and the Crosscutting Concepts.

Study the architecture of the Next Generation Science Standards. Ted Willard’s article, “A Look at the Next Generation Science Standards,” provides an overview and diagram of the information contained in the standards.  This article will explain that these standards are written as performance expectations, which describe what students should be able to do at the end of instruction.

Find the grade level(s) you are most interested in and take a look. Now that you know how the standards are structured, download the PDF of the standards arranged by topic. This format will help you to see the big picture for your chosen grade level(s). Read the Storyline first to see a summary of the performance expectations and then move on to the detailed NGSS Boxes for the grade level(s). Don’t read the performance expectations in isolation! Be sure to include the clarification statements, assessment boundaries, and foundation information from the three dimensions of the Framework.

Review the appendices. The authors of the NGSS provide a wealth of information in the appendices to the NGSS. Depending on your personal interest, they are all worth reading, but if you are pressed for time you should make a few your priority. First, if you are still grappling with the idea of performance expectations, or if you are wondering just what the authors were thinking when they were writing the standards, you should read Appendix A, Conceptual Shifts. It is an excellent description of the philosophies that guided the development of the standards. Appendices E-J describe the progressions through each grade band endpoint, showing the increase in content and skill sophistication from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Learn from others. Talk with colleagues. Join an NGSS study group or PLN. Attend webinars. Read journal articles. Attend conferences and workshops. This summer, ExploreLearning is sponsoring the NSELA Next Generation Science Standards Leadership Institute in Colonial Williamsburg, VA. NSTA also offers many different ways to learn more about the NGSS at www.nsta.org/ngss.

Gizmos are a great vehicle to address the new science standards in your classroom. Gizmos allow students to engage in inquiry-driven scientific investigations, as well as help students develop a deep understanding of all the core ideas.

ExploreLearning is ready to be your partner in implementing the Next Generation Science Standards. If you haven't delved into Gizmos yet,take a free trial and see how well they help prepare you for the next generation in science teaching and learning.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 12:27 PM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

## April 09, 2013

### New Lesson Materials for 3 more math Gizmos

Another new batch of math Lesson Materials went live today! This batch includes some nice variety - one geometry Gizmo, one statistics/ratio/proportions Gizmo, and one exponentials Gizmo.

Investigating Angle Theorems - Activity B

Estimating Population Size

Exponential Functions - Activity B

These 3 Gizmos take our usual inquiry-based approach to teaching math. We strive to ask rather than tell, with students using the Gizmo as an exploratory "what if" tool to build their understanding of the topic at hand. In particular, "Estimating Population Size" is a favorite of mine. It uses the "capture-recapture" method of estimating the fish population of a pond, leading to some really good mathematical thinking. Check it out if you haven't already!

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.)

This brings us to 57 high-school- and middle-school-level math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials - with lots more on the way! 'Tis a busy year in the ExploreLearning math curriculum development factory.

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, you can sign up for a free trial today!

Posted by Dan at 01:18 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## March 14, 2013

### Happy Pi Day, from ExploreLearning!

How many diameters does it take to exactly cover the circumference of a circle? And what does this have to do with March 14? If you’re a math person, or just a fan of numerical oddities, I have a feeling you can see where I’m going with this.

It’s Pi Day, boys and girls!

So, first and foremost, please celebrate responsibly. But secondly, celebrate with Gizmos!

Some math Gizmos related to circles, cylinders, and pi:

Circles: Circumference and Area

Prisms and Cylinders - Activity A

Or, if you’d prefer a couple selections from our science Gizmo library:

Measuring Volume

Measuring Trees

So, from the math nerds at ExploreLearning, happy Pi Day to you and your students! We hope you have at least 3.14 times your normal amount of fun in class today.

Posted by Dan at 01:16 PM in Fun/Humor, Math (Real World), Science (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

## March 08, 2013

### Expert Corner: Lesson Materials give teachers choices

Dan Moriarty is a curriculum writer and editor for ExploreLearning, and our chief "demo movie" maker for Gizmos and Reflex. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Virginia in secondary math education, and he taught high school math before joining ExploreLearning.

Our curriculum department is extremely busy creating comprehensiveLesson Materials for our math Gizmos this year, after finishing a similar project for the entire science library.

The new Lesson Materials consist of four documents (Student Exploration Sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary Sheet), each available as either a Word document (for easy editing) or a .pdf (for smaller file size and consistent formatting). The full lesson materials provide teachers with a convenient, ready-to-use lesson plan.

The Student Exploration Sheet is ExploreLearning's version of a student worksheet, with an emphasis on inquiry. Every Student Exploration Sheet begins with Prior Knowledge Questions and a short Gizmo Warm-up on page 1. After that, there are usually 2-3 activities from which teachers can choose.

Occasionally, we hear from teachers that the Student Exploration Sheets (SE) are longer than they expect — quite a bit longer than a traditional worksheet, for example. They are often 4-6 pages in total length. But we certainly do not expect teachers to assign an entire Student Exploration Sheet to their students — at least, not all at once.

Typically, we recommend that teachers assign page 1 of the SE plus one activity at a time for students. Depending on the length of the activity, that’s just 2-3 pages total.

We include multiple activities in most SE’s to give teachers options. It’s built-in differentiated instruction! Generally, you should find that Activity A includes “the basics” of the lesson, while later activities address more advanced topics or provide further practice. So, you could assign part of your class page 1 of the SE (prior knowledge questions and the warm-up exercise) plus Activity A, while assigning other students who are ready for more page 1 plus Activity B.

We hope that our Student Exploration Sheets make your job of teaching effectively with Gizmos easier, giving you choices in appropriate material for students.

And, don’t forget that if you use the Word versions of the Student Exploration Sheets, you can further customize them for use in your classroom.

Take a free Gizmos trial and explore our full library of simulations and lesson materials.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 11:17 AM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

## March 07, 2013

### New Lesson Materials - 3D geometry, with a splash of statistics

A new batch of math Lesson Materials went live today! This batch features a unique blend of flavors - mostly geometry (volume of three-dimensional figures), but spiced with a dash of statistics (scatter plots and making estimates):

Prisms and Cylinders - Activity A

Pyramids and Cones - Activity B

Solving Using Trend Lines

How do you find the volume of a prism (or its close cousin, a cylinder)? How much "space" does a pyramid take up compared with a prism? (Or, a cone compared with a cylinder?)

Also, what's a scatter plot, and how can you use them to spot trends in data, and then make reasonable estimates or predictions?

These 3 Gizmos (and the newly-published Lesson Materials) are designed to address those topics.

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.)

We're now up to 54 high-school- and middle-school-level math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials, with more to come.

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, you can sign up for a free trial today!

Posted by Dan at 06:01 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 13, 2013

### Expert Corner: Linking Reflex and Gizmos

Dan Moriarty is a curriculum writer and editor for ExploreLearning, and our chief "demo movie" maker for Gizmos and Reflex. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Virginia in secondary math education, and he taught high school math before joining ExploreLearning.

A question we are getting asked more and more frequently is, “My students love Reflex. What do you recommend for them now that they are showing good progress towards fact fluency?”

Current research shows that fact fluency is critical as students move into higher levels of mathematics. The literature is equally clear on the importance of developing a strong conceptual understanding of mathematics. ExploreLearning’s flagship product, Gizmos, is designed to support exactly that. Gizmos help students truly understand key math (and science) concepts while honing their higher-order thinking skills. Students can use both Reflex and Gizmos during their elementary years, and they can continue with Gizmos throughout their secondary education.

Gizmos are flexible for use in different teaching and learning scenarios including whole class instruction, small groups, individually, or for home assignments. You could choose to use Gizmos with a projector and screen with your entire class, and let students use Gizmos on some computers and Reflex on others.

There are over 450 Gizmos that can easily be found with our Browse facility. You can find Gizmos aligned to your state standards and the new Common Core standards, as well as over 300 leading textbooks.

For any Gizmo, be sure you and your students use the associated Lesson Materials or Exploration Guide. The Student Exploration Sheet walks students through an inquiry-based lesson using the Gizmo (and the Word document version can be edited by the teacher, if you like). The Teacher Guide contains suggestions for how to incorporate the Gizmo into a larger lesson, and provides more in-depth information on the topic.

Here are some Gizmos you may want to consider for your students working with Reflex:

Patterns
Pattern Flip Gizmo – pattern recognition as a carnival-like card game.
Pattern Finder Gizmo – identifying patterns in how frogs hop.

Adding and Subtracting Integers Gizmo – adding and subtracting on a number line.
Number Line Frog Hop Gizmo – adding and subtracting by tens and ones, with a frog on a number line.

Multiplication and division
Critter Count Gizmo – multiplication as repeated addition.
Chocomatic Gizmo – multiplication as a rectangular array, in the context of building chocolate bars.
No Alien Left Behind Gizmo – division and remainders in the context of putting classes of aliens on school buses.

Fractions
Modeling Fractions Gizmo – fractions strips used to explore the meaning of numerator and denominator
Equivalent Fractions Gizmo – compare fractions using a fraction-tile-making machine
Fraction Artist 1 Gizmo – create modern “paintings” in the style of Piet Mondrian, and describe them with fractions. (There are actually 2 Fraction Artist Gizmos. The lesson in the second one is slightly more advanced than in the first.)

Fractions, decimals, and percents
Modeling Decimals Gizmo – model and compare decimals with area (grid) models.
Fraction, Decimal, Percent Gizmo – compare fractions, decimals, and percents with area (grid) models.

Simple functions
Function Machines 1 Gizmo – cartoony “input-output” machines are a nice entry point into functional thinking. (There are actually 3 Function Machines Gizmos with gradually more advanced lessons.)

We’re glad to see how popular Reflex is becoming, and we hope this helps connect Reflex a bit better with Gizmos! Take a free Gizmos trial and see how Gizmos can help continue your students’ passion for mathematics.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 10:27 AM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 06, 2013

### New Lesson Materials - triangles and parallelograms, oh my!

We're still cranking away in the ExploreLearning Lesson Material factory! Today, we have released 3 new sets of Lesson Materials on the site. This batch explores more geometry topics:

Classifying Triangles

Special Parallelograms

Parallelogram Conditions

What defines an isosceles triangle? What conditions guarantee that a quadrilateral is a parallelogram, or that a parallelogram is a rhombus... or rectangle... or square? These Gizmos - along with the new Lesson Materials - are designed to help kids explore questions like that, in an interactive way.

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.)

One quick note about the Student Exploration Sheet (SE) - the SE may be longer than most student "worksheets" that you're accustomed to. We do NOT expect teachers to assign the whole SE! (At least, not all at once.) The lesson that we generally recommend is this: page 1 of the SE (Prior Knowledge Questions + Gizmo Warm-up) plus ONE of the activities in the SE. That would total 2-3 pages. (Of course, feel free to revise our SE in any way you'd like - that's why we publish them in .doc form.)

In general, we write multiple activities within one SE to make it easier for teachers to differentiate instruction. In other words, more activities = more options.

Overall, this bring us up to 51 high-school- and middle-school-level math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials, with plenty more to come.

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, you can sign up for a free trial today!

Posted by Dan at 06:20 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 05, 2013

### New Gizmo: Unit Conversions 2 - Scientific Notation and Significant Digits

We have just created a new lesson for a Gizmo that was released last year, and the new Gizmo is called Unit Conversions 2 – Scientific Notation and Significant Digits. This Gizmo provides a great platform for learning about two fundamental topics: scientific notation and significant digits. To do this, first we had to update the Gizmo so that it follows all of the significant digit rules. Next we created a new set of lesson materials to teach about measuring and calculating with significant digits.

We suggest starting with the original Unit Conversions Gizmo to familiarize students with conversion factors and dimensional analysis, and then move on to this new Gizmo

Take a free Gizmos trial to try out this new Gizmo--and all the others in the world's largest library of interactive online simulations for math and science.

Posted by Meredith Cole at 02:27 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## January 09, 2013

### Expert Corner: Coming Next Generation Science Standards

Kurt Rosenkrantz is a science curriculum writer and Gizmo designer for ExploreLearning. Kurt holds a Master of Science in Geology from the University of Cincinnati, and a bachelor's degree in Earth Science from Harvard. He taught high school and middle school science for eight years before joining ExploreLearning in 2005.

For the last two years, Achieve Inc. has been working to develop a set of national science standards similar to the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. The Next Generation Science Standards were built on the previously published book, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. A major goal of the standards is to integrate scientific practices into the standards themselves while using crosscutting concepts to allow students to make connections among disciplines. This will elevate these new standards above those previously developed that were just checklists of content with separate inquiry or science process standards. By integrating the practices into the standards themselves, the way that students learn cannot be unraveled from the content they learn.

So far, 26 states have committed to be lead partners in the development of the standards. The lead state partners have worked with Achieve to develop the standards and will give “serious consideration” to adopting the standards when they are completed. Click here to see if your state is on the list. It is quite possible that additional states will adopt the new standards once they are finalized.

On Tuesday, January 8, the second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) were released for public comment. The public comment period will last until January 29, 2013. The final draft of the standards is planned for release in late March.

Gizmos are a great fit for the proposed science standards. Gizmos allow students to engage in inquiry-driven investigations that fulfill the goals of the Standards of Scientific and Engineering Practice, Crosscutting Concepts and Disciplinary Core ideas described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education. A great example of this is our Food Chain Gizmo, where students see how populations of producers and consumers fluctuate in an ecosystem. The Gizmo supports the Crosscutting Concept “Stability and Change” and targets DCIs LS1 and LS2.

If you wish to comment on the second draft of the NGSS, click here. This is a great opportunity to influence the development of new science standards and we urge that you take advantage of it. Here at ExploreLearning we are keeping a close eye on the development of the standards and how our Gizmos fit in. It is likely that much of our future Gizmo development will continue to enhance our alignment to these new science standards and support educators implementing them in classrooms.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 05:00 PM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

### Lesson Materials - 3 new sets - Geometry Gizmos

Happy 2013, Gizmologists! To kick off the new year, we're happy to announce 3 new sets of Lesson Materials. Again, we've been working in the realm of geometry:

Perimeter and Area of Rectangles

Similarity in Right Triangles

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.)

We hope these materials help your students dig into the concepts of geometry in a real inquiry-based way. Gizmos are great "what if" tools, and the Student Exploration Sheets encourage students to dig into the concepts themselves: What is always true about these figures? Under what conditions?

This bring us up to 48 math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials. Stay tuned, as we'll keep rolling out more throughout the year!

If you'd like to try these Gizmos, or any of the others in our library, take a free trial today.

Posted by Dan at 10:43 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## December 17, 2012

### Geometry Gizmos - 3 new sets of Lesson Materials

Just in time for the holidays, we've released 3 new sets of Lesson Materials to support 3 of our more popular geometry Gizmos:

Area of Parallelograms (formerly called "Area of Parallelograms - Activity A")

Area of Triangles (formerly called "Area of Parallelograms - Activity B")

Triangle Angle Sum - 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.

Posted by Dan at 08:00 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## November 09, 2012

### Expert Corner: Building Understanding of Fractions

Thom O'Brien has been with ExploreLearning for ten years in a variety of roles, including working with teachers to integrate Gizmos into more effective teaching in math and science. Thom has a Master's degree in Instructional Mathematics and he taught 7th grade math before joining EL.

For many teachers and students, fractions are a struggle. It’s a topic that comes around every year, but how can you present fractions to your students so that they really “get” them?

ExploreLearning offers several Gizmos designed to help students build real understanding of fractions. Two of our most popular are the Fraction Artist Gizmos 1 & 2. (The difference between the two is the Lesson Materials: the first is introductory, while the second provides more challenge.)

Both Fraction Artist Gizmos provide students with a blank canvas, which they can divide up and “paint,” loosely modeled after the style of artist Piet Mondrian.

For example, you or your students could make a painting like the one to the right. You could then ask students, “What fraction of this painting is red?” This is a good “fraction basics” question. To answer, students need to see two things. First, the painting is divided into 3 equal-sized pieces, so the denominator of the fraction needs to be a 3. Secondly, there is one red piece, so the numerator is 1. Putting it together, this painting is 1/3 red.

Students can continue dividing the painting up, and adding other colors to it. (And as they do, the fraction questions can get a little more interesting.) For example, suppose students divide the red section again (divide 1/3 into thirds), and then add some yellow, as shown to the right. So, here’s a new question: “How much of this painting is yellow?”

In fact, the painting is 1/9 yellow. Could your students explain why? The Gizmo’s “Inspect sections” feature can help illustrate why. (Note the blue overlay in the 3rd image to the right.)

Mathematically, what this shows is that 1/3 of 1/3 is 1/9, or in other words, 1/3 • 1/3 = 1/9. (This is a nice way to provide some understanding behind the oft-quoted saying, “’of’ means multiply.”

You could also ask students, “How much of the painting is red now?” The answer is 2/9. Each red section is one ninth (1/9), so two of them is two ninths (2/9). In other words, 1/9 + 1/9 = 2/9. (You can find answers like this in the Gizmo by using the “Inspect colors” option.) This helps illustrate why, when adding fractions, numerators get added but denominators do not.

So in this short “mini-lesson,” we’ve touched on at least four important fraction concepts – the meaning of the numerator, the meaning of the denominator, multiplying fractions, and adding fractions. (And obviously, we’ve only barely scratched the surface of what’s possible. There are plenty of other ideas in the Lesson Materials.) Not bad for a fun, simple painting Gizmo!

Posted by Meredith Cole at 11:49 AM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

## October 04, 2012

### Beverly Roy: ExploreLearning Educator of the Month

Beverly Roy has been teaching in the Miami-Dade County Public School System for nine years, and is currently a special education teacher at Gulfstream Elementary. She is a graduate of Florida International University and is currently pursuing a M.A. in Teaching with a specialization in Educational Technology. Ms. Roy is a member of the Golden Key Honor Society and the president elect of Alpha Delta Kappa Lambda, an altruistic sorority for educators. Ms. Roy has been using Gizmos for five years.

With her special education students, Ms. Roy generally introduces Gizmos on a SMART board. Once students have gained knowledge and experience with the concepts, they can manipulate Gizmos on classroom computers or in centers. Ms. Roy appreciates how Gizmos allow students to manipulate variables and provide immediate feedback. She reports that “manipulating variables encourages cause-and-effect critical thinking, and students are able to mentally organize, categorize, and verbalize their findings.” The animations provide clear visualization of abstract concepts and are especially helpful for students with processing deficits who struggle with text.

Ms. Roy utilizes all of the Lesson Materials that are provided with Gizmos. The Vocabulary Sheets are a very helpful resource because students can cut and paste the terms right into their science journals! The Teacher Guides help her structure her lessons and provide meaningful pre-Gizmo activities that encourage concept formation and critical thinking skills.

Some of Beverly’s favorite Gizmos are the Pond Ecosystem and Forest Ecosystem Gizmos, both of which provided excellent background material for a field trip to the Everglades. “When students are able to see the consequences of depleted plant and animal life, they are able to make connections to the importance of the different ecosystems and the interconnectivity of the Everglades. This in turn leads to a better understanding of food chains and food webs across environments.”

Ms. Roy appreciates how the Gizmos and Lesson Materials work together to foster student engagement and enthusiasm for science. “Gizmos enable my students to be active participants in the scientific inquiry process.”

Posted by ExploreLearning at 11:47 AM in Case Studies, Using Gizmos | Permalink

### Expert Corner: A Treasure Map to the Ah-Hah Moment

Laura Chervenak has been with ExploreLearning since 2010 as VP of Professional Development. She has taught high school science, and is the founder and former director of GOAL Digital Academy. Laura is National Board Certified in Science/Adolescence and Young Adulthood, with a B.A. in Zoology and an M.S. in Anthropology.

After two years of helping teachers and students experience Ah-Hah moments with Gizmos, I had my own Ah-Hah moment. I was watching over two math teachers’ shoulders as they browsed the Gizmo library, and I was puzzled as they quickly dismissed student favorites like Cannonball Clowns and Fraction Artist after only a cursory glance.

I approached these teachers and encouraged them to open the Student Exploration Guide for the two Gizmos they had rejected and see how the lesson builds for the students. As they read through the materials, they both began to nod their heads and one turned to me and said, “Oh! I get it now! You are right, this is really great.”

The Gizmos themselves provide rich visual and interactive fun for kids (and adults) as they learn math and science concepts. Sometimes the accompanying Lesson Materials can be overlooked.

Think of it this way - if you were to arrive on an island where there were valuable gems hidden among the landscape, it might take you a while to find them if you began your search in the wrong place. And your chances of hitting the big jackpot would be smaller if you didn't understand the bigger picture. Think how much easier and more rewarding it would be if you had a treasure map to guide you as you explored. Similarly, the Gizmo Lesson Materials provide teachers and students with a treasure map to gems of understanding waiting to be revealed within each Gizmo.

The Teacher Guides help the instructor to plan a lesson or series of lessons using Gizmos in combination with other activities to meet desired learning objectives. Here, teachers can find rich discussion questions, real-world connections, follow-up activities, and scientific or mathematical background relating to the Gizmo.

The Student Exploration Sheets scaffold the students' experience through a Gizmo from exploring and making simple observations to developing deeper understanding. With multiple activities in each Exploration Guide, they also make differentiation of classroom activities much simpler. And because they are available as editable documents, teachers can customize them to meet the specific learning objectives that are needed.

So as you browse for Gizmos, don’t neglect the treasure maps that go with them – the Lesson Materials. Your students will come away with Ah-hah moments of their own, and be richer for the experience.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 11:26 AM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

## August 28, 2012

### Math Gizmo update - 3 new sets of Lesson Materials

It's Back to School time for many, and in celebration - well, OK, at least in recognition - of this, we're happy to introduce 3 new sets of Lesson Materials!

The new Lesson Materials accompany a few of our more popular pre-algebra to early-algebra Gizmos:

Introduction to Functions Gizmo

Slope - Activity B Gizmo

Slope-Intercept Form of a Line - Activity B Gizmo

All of our updated Lesson Materials have 4 documents (Student Exploration Sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary Sheet), each available as a .doc (for easy editing) or a .pdf (for smaller filesize). You will need to be logged in to see all four documents.

Functions - and in particular linear functions - are big concepts in math.  We hope these Gizmos and these new Lesson Materials will help students really understand what they are, how they work, and why they're important.

Enjoy, and happy back to school!

Posted by Dan at 11:33 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## July 02, 2012

### We do solemnly publish and declare: 4 new sets of Lesson Materials

In celebration of the upcoming July 4th holiday, we declare the independence of 4 new sets of Lesson Materials!  (They're published, is what I'm saying.)  These Lesson Materials now aspire to life, liberty, and the pursuit of conceptual understanding.  Have a look:

Estimating Sums and Differences Gizmo

Percents and Proportions Gizmo

Proportions and Common Multipliers Gizmo

All of our updated Lesson Materials have 4 documents (Student Exploration Sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary Sheet), each available as a .doc (for easy editing) or a .pdf (for smaller filesize). You will need to be logged in to see all four documents.

This brings us up to 39 math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials.  Check them out - our goal as always is to guide students toward real understanding of the math concepts, not just rote practice.  (You might even say that we hold the importance of conceptual understanding to be self-evident!)

Posted by Dan at 05:37 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## June 26, 2012

### Two math Gizmos highlighted in NCTM article

A recent article in the NCTM magazine Teaching Children Mathematics describes an activity, designed by two professors, that aims to help teachers select clear, effective technology for their classrooms. The article lists five criteria for selecting technology (National Research Council, 2001):

1. Transparency: How easily can the idea be seen through the representation?
2. Efficiency: Does the representation support efficient communication and use?
3. Generality: Does the representation apply to broad classes of objects?
4. Clarity: Is the representation unambiguous and easy to use?
5. Precision: How close is the representation to the exact value?

Based on these, the teachers selected a variety of applets to use in their classes. Among these, they chose two Gizmos that provide nice visuals to help teach number sense with the number line.

The Rounding Numbers (Number Line) Gizmo is noted for its use of "hills" on the number line to help illustrate rounding. In this Gizmo, points can be dragged onto a dynamic number line. When in "hill" mode, the points will slide to the nearest valley (the nearest 10 or 100), helping students to visualize rounding. (By the way, interesting things happen when points are exactly halfway between two valleys – like, for example, 35 when rounding to the nearest 10, or 350 when rounding to the nearest 100. Why don’t these points slide to a valley right away? Thought-provoking discussions about the "round up" convention can ensue!)

Also, the teachers chose Number Line Frog Hop (Addition and Subtraction) Gizmo, in which Fred the Frog hops along a number line to try to catch flies. If Fred hops more than 10 units, he can jump as a "single jump," "tens then ones," or "ones then tens." The latter two modes highlight the "parts" of a number (place value, essentially). In addition, as a teacher points out in the article, you can show repeated addition in this Gizmo as a bridge to multiplication.

Posted by Dan at 12:20 PM in Edu/Tech, Press Clippings, Training and Professional Development, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## May 30, 2012

### 3 sets of new Lesson Materials - math Gizmos

We've released 3 more new sets of Lesson Materials to the wild:

Biconditional Statements Gizmo

Dividing Polynomials Using Synthetic Division Gizmo

The first two Gizmos are word-tile-based Gizmos that encourage students to think about logic, truth values, and definitions.

The third is a number-tile-based Gizmo that's designed to help algebra students see the connections between synthetic division and polynomial long division.  (They're really the same thing, if you see them side-by-side.)

As always, logged-in teachers will have access to all 4 of our Lesson Material documents (Student Exploration sheet, Exploration Sheet Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet), available either as a Word document or as a pdf.

This brings us to 35 math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials as part of this project. Let us know what you think, and stay tuned for more to come!

Posted by Dan at 11:34 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## May 02, 2012

### Math Gizmos - 3 new sets of Lesson Materials

The math content team is happy to report that we've published 3 new sets of Lesson Materials!

Using Algebraic Expressions Gizmo

Finding Factors with Area Models Gizmo

Isosceles and Equilateral Triangles Gizmo

As always, logged-in teachers will have access to all 4 of our Lesson Material documents (Student Exploration sheet, Exploration Sheet Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet), available either as a Word document (for easy editing if you like) or as a pdf (smaller file size).

It's an assortment of topics in this batch - from writing algebraic expressions, to number sense (with prime numbers and factor trees), to triangles.  We hope you'll find these useful, and will help you bring inquiry and real understanding to these topics for your students.  (It's a fun challenge to walk students through these lessons with questions rather than just telling them what they need to know. Good questions + a Gizmo can be a powerful formula for understanding rather than memorizing.  That's always what we're after.)

This brings us up to 32 math Gizmos with new Lesson Materials now, as part of our Math Update project!  Lots of outlines and drafts are in progress, so stay tuned for more updated Lesson Materials to come.

Posted by Dan at 03:00 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## April 09, 2012

### Math Gizmos - 6 new sets of Lesson Materials!

We're happy to announce that we've published 6 new sets of Lesson Materials!

Order of Operations Gizmo

Using Algebraic Equations Gizmo

Percent of Change Gizmo

Polynomials and Linear Factors Gizmo

Rational Functions Gizmo

As always, logged-in teachers will have access to all 4 of our Lesson Material documents (Student Exploration sheet, Exploration Sheet Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet), available either as a Word document (for easy editing if you like) or as a pdf (smaller file size).

We think you'll find some great inquiry-based lessons here, to promote true understanding of the math, and to help you and your students to get the most out of Gizmos.

This brings us up to 29 math Gizmos with new Lesson Materials now, as part of our Math Update project!

Posted by Dan at 11:06 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## March 07, 2012

### New Lesson Materials for 3 math Gizmos!

We've published new Lesson Materials for 3 math Gizmos:

Simplifying Radical Expressions - Activity A

Simplifying Trigonometric Expressions

Sum and Difference Identities for Sine and Cosine

These 3 Gizmos help students with some fairly advanced topics. Unlike most Gizmos, these are very procedure-focused rather than exploratory. We ask students to work through the steps of a problem, one-by-one, with careful feedback given for any incorrect choices. Each Gizmo will always start with the same 2 problems (which are addressed specifically in the Lesson Materials), and then are randomized after that, to allow for nearly unlimited practice.

As usual, each set of updated Lesson Materials includes 4 documents (Student Exploration sheet, SE Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet), all of which are available as a .doc or a .pdf.  (Note: You will need to be logged in to see all the documents.) These replace the older html Exploration Guides.

We're now up to 23 math Gizmos that have updated Lesson Materials (63 total, if you include the purple "elementary" math Gizmos which already had them). We also have plenty more "works in progress" going on in the background.

Enjoy! And stay tuned for more in the coming weeks and months.

Posted by Dan at 10:33 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink | Comments (0)

## March 06, 2012

### Expert Corner: Pi Day

Dan Moriarty is a curriculum writer and editor for ExploreLearning, and our chief "demo movie" maker for Gizmos and Reflex. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Virginia in secondary math education, and he taught high school math before joining ExploreLearning.

Well, March 14 is nearly upon us again. You can refer to March 14 as “3-14” if you’re into shorthand. And of course that makes us mathy types think about π (“pi”), which equals about 3.1415926535…, or if you are okay with rounding, just 3.14.

Of course Pi Day isn't just for the math crowd, since this irrational number plays a big role in many science lessons as well. If you’d like to celebrate Pi Day with your students, Gizmos can help.

Basically, the number π shows up whenever you want to measure something circular. Or more generally, whenever you measure anything involving or derived from circles; such as cylinders or sine waves. So if your students are not familiar with π yet, just start by showing them a circle. It could be a plate or a jar-lid or anything else that is basically flat and circular. Review these questions with them:

- What is the diameter of a circle? (Distance across the circle.)

- What is the circumference? (Distance around the circle.)

- And then the kicker... how many diameters would it take to exactly cover the circumference?

The answer to that last question is of course π — thus the formula C = πd — but if students have never seen this before, it could be pretty surprising. The Circles: Circumference and Area Gizmo allows students to explore this relationship quite nicely. For further extension, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics offers a nice lesson plan around this sort of exploration with real objects.

If your students already are familiar with π but you want to apply it to some real-world use cases, we have some Gizmos for that as well.

The Measuring Trees Gizmo gives students a chance to learn about tree rings, as well as delving into an ecology lesson. The Gizmo also allows students to measure a tree's diameter (which is pretty tough in real-life without cutting the tree down!) and its circumference. This is another place that students can discover and use the C = πd formula in context.

Finally, one of our newest Gizmos is well-suited for Pi Day. The Measuring Volume Gizmo allows students to find the volume of liquids and solids. They can determine the volume of some solid 3-dimensional figures using formulas. They will discover that the formulas for the volume of a sphere and of a cylinder, since they are circular, involve π. In addition, they'll use the "submerge it in water" technique for finding the volume of irregularly shaped objects.

So, we hope that Gizmos can find a place in your Pi Day celebrations on March 14! And as always, if you celebrate with Gizmos, please do so responsibly. : )

Posted by ExploreLearning at 02:43 PM in Math (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 07, 2012

### Expert Corner: Equilibria Everywhere

Kurt Rosenkrantz is a science curriculum writer and Gizmo designer for ExploreLearning. Kurt holds a Master of Science in Geology from the University of Cincinnati, and a bachelor's degree in Earth Science from Harvard. He taught high school and middle school science for eight years before joining ExploreLearning in 2005.

In much of life we seek to balance opposing forces: money earned vs. money spent, weight gained vs. weight lost, heat vs. cold. When opposing forces are perfectly balanced, the system is said to be in equilibrium and no overall change is observed. For example, if you spend exactly as much as you earn, your total amount of wealth won't change.

The concept of equilibrium plays a prominent role in every field of science: from the delicate balance of Earth's climate to the forces that keep a satellite in orbit. A simple example of equilibrium occurs when an object is hung from a spring, as shown in the Determining a Spring Constant Gizmo. The force of the spring pulling upward increases as the spring is stretched, while the pull of gravity on the object is constant. Eventually the spring is stretched enough that the spring force is exactly equal to the weight of the object. At this point the spring force and gravitational force are in equilibrium and the object remains in place.

When a system in equilibrium is perturbed, the system will often oscillate, or swing back and forth from one state to another. Oscillations can be seen when you pull down a spring or release a pendulum, as illustrated in the Simple Harmonic Motion Gizmo.

A similar oscillation can occur in the populations of predators and prey in isolated environments, such as the classic case of the wolves and moose of Isle Royale, shown at left. As predator populations rise, prey populations are depleted until the predator population crashes. With fewer predators, prey populations recover and the cycle begins again. These oscillations are illustrated beautifully in the Food Chain Gizmo.

Recently we published two new Gizmos which directly address the topic in the field of chemistry: Equilibrium and Concentration and Equilibrium and Pressure. Both Gizmos explore reversible chemical reactions. In a reversible reaction, the rates of the forward and reverse reactions depend on the concentrations of reactants and products. As the forward reaction proceeds, the concentration of products increases. This causes the rate of the reverse reaction to increase as the forward reaction slows. In the Gizmos, you can measure the rate of each reaction by observing the blue flashes (representing the forward reaction) and red flashes (representing the reverse reaction) over time. As equilibrium is approached, the rates of each reaction become approximately equal.

See how many examples of equilibrium you can find in your class!

Posted by ExploreLearning at 12:59 PM in Science, Using Gizmos | Permalink

### Graham Whisen: ExploreLearning Educator of the Month

For the past seven years, Graham Whisen has been teaching at Fletcher's Meadow Secondary School in Ontario. He has taught grades 9 through 12 and specializes in Physics education. Graham is passionate about science, educational technology, and inspiring a love of learning.

That passion is evident in his teaching style. When he introduces a new lesson, sometimes he starts by having his students launch a Gizmo and explore its features. He doesn't provide any structure, instead just allowing them to have fun playing with the Gizmo and seeing what it can do. Then he introduces the lesson, and revisits the Gizmo later when he wants to use it to delve deeper.

As an example of a lesson where Gizmos are particularly helpful, he points to the concept of projectile motion. Students often have trouble grasping the idea that horizontal and vertical motion are independent. But the Golf Range Gizmo clears that up, both because it depicts motion and vectors visually, and because students can manipulate variables and see the results.

Graham presents a series of Gizmo-based challenges to help draw out the main ideas in this lesson. He asks which angles launch the ball highest and farthest, how the initial height affects the range, what the impact of air resistance is, and what golf would be like on the moon. These questions work for students of all ability levels, enabling them to interact with the Gizmo and derive meaning at their own pace. Meanwhile, he can circulate the room and reinforce or extend as appropriate.

"Gizmos are designed for inquiry and this is what makes them so useful. Any one Gizmo can be used to connect to many different concepts, so teachers are able to use them in creative ways. I always love hearing about how other teachers use Gizmos in their classes because the methods are always innovative and expand my own teaching practice."

You can see more of what's on Graham's mind by visiting his blog.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 12:52 PM in Case Studies, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 01, 2012

### New Math Lesson Materials Published

We've just published 2 new sets of Lesson Materials for two of our most popular math Gizmos!

Polygon Angle Sum - Activity B

Quadratics in Polynomial Form - Activity A

As usual, each set of updated Lesson Materials includes 4 documents (Student Exploration sheet, SE Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet), all of which are available as a .doc or a .pdf.  (Note: You will need to be logged in to see all the documents.)

This brings us to 20 math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials (well, 60 if you count the more modern "purple ones" that have never had anything but Lesson Materials). We still have a long way to go in this project, but there's plenty of progress happening "behind the scenes."

We hope these new Lesson Materials are a help to you and your students - lots of good explorations and thought-provoking questions here.

Posted by Dan at 02:58 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## November 10, 2011

### Expert Corner: Gizmos and the Common Core

Featuring David Shuster, Ph.D.,
ExploreLearning Founder and Publisher.

Teachers and instructional leaders all over the U.S. are busy evolving their practice to reflect the rigor and focus of the new Common Core State Standards.  We at ExploreLearning are doing the same thing.

As with practically all modern math products, Gizmos are already correlated to these new standards. More important is to move beyond correlation to provide direct support for the key goals of the Common Core. With Gizmos, we had a wonderful starting point. Gizmos already provide myriad opportunities to develop deep conceptual understanding and strong support for the Common Core's Standards of Mathematical Practice.

But what does Common Core Standards mean by “mathematical understanding?” Here’s a key quote from the text of the standards:

"One hallmark of mathematical understanding is the ability to justify, in a way appropriate to the student's mathematical maturity, why a particular mathematical statement is true or where a mathematical rule comes from."

 Distance-Time Graphs Gizmo demonstrates the relationship between distance and time with a graph, and introduces slope and y intercept in context of this real world scenario. It supports Standards of Mathematical Practice 2, 4 and 5.

Over the years, Gizmos have been widely recognized as an excellent means to help students understand challenging mathematical topics and the “hows” and “whys” behind them. With Gizmos, students don’t just read or listen and watch, they learn by manipulating key variables and working with multiple visual representations. Compared to more traditional approaches, Gizmos help students to attain new levels of understanding.

In addition to content standards that define what specific concepts and skills students should master, the Common Core also defines Standards of Mathematical Practice. These standards define expertise that mathematics educators at all levels should seek to develop in their students. In particular, they state that mathematically proficient students should be able to:

1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

4. Model with mathematics.

5. Use appropriate tools strategically.

6. Attend to precision.

7. Look for and make use of structure.

8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

We have already heard from many of you that Gizmos help students to develop many of these competencies. But we want to do even better. So as part of our ongoing Gizmo Lesson Materials update, we are putting a special emphasis on the Common Core to ensure that both the content standards and the Standards of Mathematical Practice are supported as fully as possible.

If you have suggestions for how we can further improve, we would appreciate it if you would take a moment to send us your thoughts. Additionally, I hope you will consider sharing your favorite Common Core teaching ideas in the form of contributed lesson materials and recommendations for the Gizmos you feel really make a difference for you. With your input, we can make Gizmos an even better program for you and your students.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 04:23 PM in Edu/Tech, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## October 10, 2011

### New lesson materials published!

We've posted 3 sets of new Lesson Materials today!  In addition, the Gizmos themselves (all 3 of these) were updated to gain some new problem types, so your students will be able to get more practice with more types of problems.  Check them out:

Dividing Exponential Expressions

Multiplying Exponential Expressions

Factoring Special Products

As usual, each set of updated Lesson Materials includes 4 documents (Student Exploration sheet, SE Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet), all of which are available as a .doc or a .pdf.  (Note: You will need to be logged in to see all the documents.)

This brings us to 18 math Gizmos with updated Lesson Materials. We have a long way to go on the math side, but we're hard at work on it!

Hope these new materials are a help - to teachers and students alike.

Posted by Dan at 05:05 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## August 02, 2011

### New Lesson Materials - 3 "Pathfinder" Math Gizmos

We're happy to announce that today we have published new Lesson Materials to go with 3 of our "Pathfinder" math Gizmos:

Solving Two-Step Equations

Solving Formulas for any Variable

Exponents and Power Rules

These sorts of Gizmos ask students to solve problems, step-by-step, with feedback for any wrong answers along the way.  They focus on algebraic procedures, but in a thoughtful way.  The new Lesson Materials will help get students started, thinking about what they are doing, and then the Gizmo can take it from there, providing feedback for students.

By the way, we have also updated the Gizmos themselves.  You'll find a deeper bank of problems to allow for more student practice.

Give them a try!

And, as they say, "more to come"!

Posted by Dan at 05:51 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 17, 2011

### New Lesson Materials - more fraction fun

Three more fraction-related math Gizmos would be proud to show off their new Lesson Materials to you:

Multiplying Fractions

Multiplying Mixed Numbers

Dividing Mixed Numbers

As always, the modern version of Lesson Materials contains 4 documents per Gizmo (Student Exploration sheet, Student Exploration sheet Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocab sheet). Each of these is available to you as either a Word doc (to allow you to edit it if you like), or as a pdf (for smaller filesize).

We hope the lessons in these documents will enhance the Gizmo-based learning experience for you and your students.

Posted by Dan at 01:51 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 10, 2011

### Expert's Corner: Fractions

Thom O'Brien has been with ExploreLearning for eight years in a variety of roles, including working with teachers to integrate Gizmos into more effective teaching in math and science. Thom has a Master's degree in Instructional Mathematics and he taught 7th grade math before joining EL.

Fractions are one of the most frequent lessons in a young student's education. Many schools introduce them in grade 2 and continue to teach fraction concepts through grade 7. In fact, the NCTM Focal Points document (2006) and the National Math Advisory Panel (2008) have both recommended that teachers spend larger portions of their time teaching this valuable topic.

Conceptual understanding of fractions is important because they play a pivotal role in higher-level mathematics. Teachers' toolkits for explaining fractions include such diverse resources as pattern blocks, egg cartons, Cuisenaire rods and candy bars. In order to build conceptual foundations, students need to "see" fractions through a variety of different models.

Gizmos are particularly well suited to helping teachers move through fraction models effectively and efficiently. ExploreLearning has many Gizmos devoted to fractions that help teachers provide multiple representations of the concept.

Here are some great Gizmos to try with your students. The Toy Factory Gizmo can be used to demonstrate fractions as a part of a whole or part of a set. The Comparing and Ordering Fractions and Fraction Garden Gizmos can be used to help students compare fractions and set the building blocks in place for adding and subtracting fractions. Also, Gizmos such as Multiplying Fractions and Multiplying Mixed Numbers help students learn to multiply fractions.

Using Gizmos when studying fractions allows teachers to concentrate on building students’ conceptual understanding. Gizmos allow students to evaluate pictorial representations of sets, manipulate numerators and denominators, and bridge the symbolic fractional representation with the abstract understanding of fractional numeric value.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 04:03 PM in Math (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

### Talk About a Gizmo, Win a Flip Camera

Recently we've given away a couple of top-of-the line Flip cameras with a custom Gizmos design. People have responded so well to these great little video recorders, that we would like to get more into the hands of Gizmos fans.

It's easy to enter this contest. Just go to our Gizmos Facebook page and tell us your favorite Gizmo and a few sentences about how it has positively impacted teaching and learning in your classroom. Between now and Sunday, March 6th, math and science teachers who post original entries on our wall and "Like" our page will be entered to win.

As an added incentive, if your post on our Facebook wall includes a photo of you or your students using Gizmos, you will get a second entry in the contest!

All math and science teachers can enter. If you are not a Gizmos subscriber, take a free 30-day trial today. From the library of over 450 Gizmos, you are sure to find a favorite soon.

On March 7, 2011, we will draw from all eligible entries for one grand-prize winner of the Flip camera, and three grab bag winners of assorted EL merchandise.

Of course, this contest isn't just about the prizes. We hope the feedback provided by other educators will give you ideas you can use in your teaching. We encourage you to comment on other posts: ask questions and provide your own insights.

Go Gizmos!

Posted by Ed Pastore at 10:24 AM in Fun/Humor, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## January 24, 2011

### New lesson materials - 3 fractions Gizmos

We've added new Lesson Materials -- Student Exploration sheet, Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocab sheet -- for 3 more math Gizmos!

Part-to-part and Part-to-whole Ratios

Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers

Fractions with Unlike Denominators

As usual, these Lesson Material documents are available as both Word docs and pdf's.  (Word doc form allows you to edit the documents yourself.  The pdf gives you the same document in a smaller filesize, but it is not editable.)

Hope these new materials enhance your use of Gizmos! More to come.

Posted by Dan at 11:15 AM in Help (User Support), Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## January 12, 2011

### Expert Corner: Piecewise Functions

Betty Korte is a Regional Professional Development Manager for ExploreLearning. Her credentials include 17 years teaching mathematics, with 14 years as the department chairperson, and a M.S. in Education with an emphasis in teaching mathematics.

One of the most exciting aspects of Gizmos is their versatility. I recently watched a colleague demonstrate the Rainfall and Bird Beaks Gizmo and participated in an excellent discussion on natural selection. I thought that a statistics teacher could use the very same Gizmo to study distribution and variance. I worked with the Fraction Artist Gizmo at the elementary math level recently as well, visualizing a high school teacher using the simulation to introduce infinite geometric series (with |r| < 1) in Algebra II.

The Distance-Time Graphs Gizmo has a seemingly endless array of pre-Algebra and Algebra applications, from graph sense to linear theory. Its strength lies in its simplicity. Students discuss (or model) the actions of the runner relative to the graph. Through these discussions, they construct meaningful definitions for such abstract concepts as rate of change, y-intercept, and parallel lines.

Because the runner can change speeds and direction during the simulation, higher-level concepts can also be introduced. For instance, an Algebra II topic that challenges many students is piecewise functions. A piecewise function is simply a function whose definition changes depending on the input value. In theory, this is not difficult for students, but the notation can be overwhelming, especially if it is presented too early in the learning process. A better way to structure the learning is to allow the students to develop a concrete understanding of the function and then move to the abstract formulation.

Students first create a scenario where the runner changes speed or direction during the simulation. They describe what they see in words then translate these descriptions into algebraic sentences with increasing precision. Once this step is complete, they are ready to use the complex notation that defines the function. Because they construct the notation themselves, it no longer seems difficult. Students should also be able to come full circle and create a graph or scenario from the notation.

Watch the video "Using Distance Time Graphs to Study Piecewise Functions" for further details.

Apart from the stated lesson objectives and the curriculum correlations, there are many more "outside the box" uses for Gizmos.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:59 PM in Math (Real World), Using Gizmos, Video | Permalink

## January 10, 2011

### A Great Year for Gizmos

We stepped back to look at what we had accomplished in 2010, and we found it was a banner year for Gizmos!

Last year our dedicated Professional Development staff trained almost 14,000 teachers. They either took part in one of our recommended initial training sessions or helped build their ability to integrate Gizmos into their curriculum. These customized programs of support now include onsite consultations, curriculum alignment assistance, and project management services. Visit our Training page for more information.

Gizmos are now helping to improve instruction in classrooms all over the world. We are in all 50 U.S. states and more than thirty other countries. We hope 2011 will be even better!

Posted by Ed Pastore at 10:24 AM in Our History, Training and Professional Development, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## December 15, 2010

### Gizmos Subscribers: Contribute Lesson Materials and Win a Flip Camera!

Gizmos subscribers: if you have a new angle on math or science concepts covered by Gizmos, we encourage you to share your lesson materials (lesson plans, worksheets, etc.) with the ExploreLearning community!

As added incentive, subscribers who submit new and original lesson materials between now and January 31, 2011, will be entered in a drawing to win a top-of-the-line Flip minoHD 8GB camera. It even has a unique Gizmos cover design.

Here are the specific requirements for contest entry:

1) Login to ExploreLearning.com and make sure you have a User Picture posted on ExploreLearning.com. (You can do this from the 'Me' tab of your Teacher Homepage.)

2) Navigate to the Gizmo for which you have new and original lesson materials. Scroll down to the "User Lesson Materials" section, click on "Contribute Lesson Materials" and upload your file.

3) Complete your submission(s) by January 31, 2011. You will receive one entry into the contest for each lesson that is accepted.

Submitted materials will then go through a quick internal review and, if approved, will be posted on our website. A drawing will be held on Friday February 4, 2011 for one grand-prize winner of the Flip camera, and three grab bag winners of assorted EL merchandise.

If you're the lucky winner, we hope you'll use your new Gizmos Flip camera to contribute classroom video to the ExploreLearning Facebook or YouTube pages as well!

Posted by Ed Pastore at 01:47 PM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

## December 02, 2010

### More new math lesson materials

Three more math Gizmos have a brand new set of Lesson Materials!  (As a reminder, "Lesson Materials" include a Student Exploration sheet, an Answer Key, a Teacher Guide, and a Vocab sheet.  You'll need to be logged in to see all of those documents, and students will not see the Answer Key or Teacher Guide, for obvious reasons.)

The 3 Gizmos with the new Lesson Materials in this batch are:

Sums and Differences with Decimals

Percents, Fractions, and Decimals

Ordering Percents, Fractions, and Decimals Greater than 1

Hope you and your students enjoy!  And of course, stay tuned for more to come.

Posted by Dan at 05:47 PM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## November 23, 2010

### New math curriculum materials published!

Good news, math Gizmo fans - we're updating the curriculum materials for all the secondary math Gizmos now also!  Gradually, over the coming months, you'll see the venerable old Exploration Guides replaced with our updated 4-document set of curriculum (Student Exploration sheet, Student Exploration Answer Key, Teacher Guide, and Vocabulary sheet).

The first 3 sets are now live!  You can find them by clicking on the "Lesson Materials" link above these Gizmos:

Comparing and Ordering Decimals

Linear Functions

Points, Lines, and Equations

(Note: That last one is a title change.  This Gizmo was formerly called "Using Tables, Rules, and Graphs.")

We hope you enjoy the new, enhanced materials!  Much more to come...

Posted by Dan at 10:45 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## November 02, 2010

### Expert's Corner: Understanding Hurricanes

Mario Junco has been with ExploreLearning for four years as a project manager in Miami, Florida. He holds a bachelors degree in Meteorology from Florida State and a Master's Degree in Science Education from Florida International University. Mario taught science for eleven years in Miami Dade and has achieved National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Science.

The Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1st and extends through November 30th each year. Here in Florida, and in other parts of the southern and eastern United States, tropical storms and hurricanes are a threat each year during this time period. The most notable recent example was the 2005 Hurricane Katrina: the sixth strongest overall hurricane in recorded history. It was the most costly natural disaster to date in the United States, causing an estimated \$81 billion in property damage. More than 1,800 people lost their lives during the hurricane and subsequent flooding, making it the deadliest U.S. hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane.

Many people in the United States live on or near coastal areas and have to contend with the possibility of these destructive storms each year. Students may wonder how hurricanes form and why their destructive potential is so high. We have several Gizmos that can help you explain concepts related to hurricanes to your students. The Hurricane Motion Gizmo teaches students the real-life skill of tracking hurricanes using latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates.

As a hurricane approaches landfall, weather changes, such as cloud cover, wind speed, wind direction and barometric pressure, start to occur. (As an example, during hurricane Wilma in 2005, the lowest ever recorded barometric pressure of 882 mb was attained). Your students can see how barometric pressure changes by moving a hurricane closer to and further from specific weather stations on the Hurricane Motion Gizmo.

Once students learn about the variables involved in an approaching hurricane, they can conduct an experiment where they attempt to ascertain where an "invisible hurricane" is positioned based on given meteorological data. Teachers can also have students investigate these different weather variables further in the Weather Maps Gizmo and the Coastal Winds and Clouds Gizmo.

The 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons were extremely active, and many debate hotly whether this increase was due to something meteorologists call a multi-decadal cycle of active seasons or global warming. This topic could be fodder for a great discussion in the science classroom after the students have learned about increasing temperatures in the Greenhouse Effect Gizmo.

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 hurricanes and other weather factors, take a look at the Teacher Guides and Student Exploration Guides with any of the Gizmos mentioned above.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:43 PM in Current Affairs, Science (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

## October 05, 2010

### Expert's Corner: Conceptual Foundations in Math

Thom O'Brien has been with ExploreLearning for eight years in a variety of roles, including working with teachers to integrate Gizmos into more effective teaching in Math and Science. Thom has a Master's degree in Instructional Mathematics and he taught 7th grade math before joining EL.

Have your students worked through math problems, performing the mechanics of each step, but not having the foggiest idea why that procedure works? Some students have become masters at solving problems just by mimicking steps, rather than by really understanding what they're doing, and why. This disconnect can be the result of a lack of a deep conceptual understanding of the topic. Providing students opportunities to visualize the concepts, discuss their thinking, and work in small groups can help students build these conceptual foundations.

Today's mathematics teachers can infuse lessons with practice that supports conceptual learning. A great way to do this is with visual models of mathematical concepts and problems. Obviously, Gizmos are a great support for visual learning. Try just about any math Gizmo — for example Comparing and Ordering Fractions. This Gizmo helps students develop a visual representation of least common denominator and gives them a basis for understanding how to add and subtract fractions with unlike denominators.

In addition, teachers can move math classrooms towards conceptual problem solving with the language used in the room. Mathematical communication is saturated with "doer" verbs; write, draw, build, graph, multiply, for example. Simply adding in some "thinker" verbs such as think about, decide, explain, reflect on, and consider, help teachers take students down the road toward more complex mathematical thinking. As an example, try the Quilting Bee Gizmo. As a warm up activity, ask students to reflect on symmetry by having them find it in the world around them or in magazine pictures. Then with the Gizmo, ask them to extend their thinking by considering additional lines of symmetry in the quilts they have been working with.

Read the research behind Gizmos for more information on how simulations can be powerful tools for improving student learning.

Go go GIZMOS!!!

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:38 PM in Math (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

## September 24, 2010

### Shockwave and Snow Leopard (64-bit) Update

Adobe released an updated version of the Shockwave Plug-in that is compatible with Safari on Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6). In the past you had to set up your browser to run in 32-bit mode, but this is no longer necessary.

However, there are a few issues with this most recent release that will affect a small number of Gizmos. We are working with Adobe in an effort to correct the problems. There are about five Gizmos related to 3D seasons that may cause problems, as well as a two math Gizmos that won't show an animation correctly. For several Gizmos the "Copy to clipboard" feature will not work properly.

Hopefully these issues can be cleared up in the near future. We'll keep you posted as new information becomes available, and we will also be working to clear up any other problems that are found.

Please note: This is only important to those running OSX 10.6 in 64-bit mode. If you run in 32-bit mode you will not see any of the problems described here.

Update (Oct 1, 2010): Adobe has released an updated version of the Plug-in which resolves the issues with 3D content. There are only a few minor remaining issues that we are working on.

Posted by Raman at 01:27 PM in Using Gizmos | Permalink

## September 07, 2010

### Expert's Corner: Back-to-school Inquiry Activities

Bridget Mulvey is a science education doctoral student at the University of Virginia. Bridget holds a master's degree in geological sciences from Indiana University at Bloomington, and she taught middle school, high school and college science before starting her doctoral program. Bridget has taught professional development workshops on scientific inquiry and the nature of science and has presented research on whole class inquiry and the nature of science to researchers and teachers at national conferences.

As school gets back into full swing, teachers seek ways to engage students in science and set the tone for the year. One great way to do this is through scientific inquiry instruction using Gizmos!

Whether you're a pro or just getting started, Gizmos support your efforts to develop a positive classroom environment that facilitates inquiry. The simple and fun Pattern Finder Gizmo is accessible to young students yet can still be a great whole-class warm-up activity for older students.

Students observe, predict and then test predictions to identify patterns in frogs' jumps from lily pad to lily pad. Framing students' investigation with a research question such as, "What patterns can you identify in the frogs' jumps?" is a great first step toward inquiry. Students use observations as evidence that they analyze to answer the initial question.

This minds-on activity requires almost no initial scientific content knowledge and therefore offers all students a chance to be meaningful contributors to the class. This helps students see that science is fun and that they can do it.

Because pattern identification helps us make sense of the natural world, this activity can spark great discussions about the nature of science. For example, you could ask students if it is always possible for scientists to perform experiments. This discussion can highlight that direct experiments are not the only way we learn about the natural world. To learn about things out of our immediate reach, such as Earth's history or the cosmos, we can't control variables to actually experiment. When experiments can be performed, however, they are an essential part of science.

For more content-specific Gizmos appropriate for the beginning of the year, try Density Experiment: Slice and Dice. This updated take on a density lab lets students explore a big misconception about density — that size matters. To make this activity inquiry, pose a question such as, "What relationship does size have to mass, volume and density?"

In this Gizmo, students "slice" off portions of aluminum, wood or other material and compare volume, mass and density for different-sized pieces. Students analyze this information to determine the relationships and thereby answer the research question.

These Gizmos support minds-on investigations that involve students in the processes of science. They also encourage students' input, helping students gain confidence in their scientific abilities. What a great way to begin the school year!

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:33 PM in Current Affairs, Edu/Tech, Science (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

## June 03, 2010

### Gizmo demo movies are live!

Who says that all the blockbuster summertime movie action is only taking place on the big screen?

We're happy to announce that all 80 Gizmos with the "purple bar on the left side" appearance have a demo movie!

These Gizmo demo movies are quick (~3 minute) how-to movies that show you what each Gizmo can do, and how you can interact with it.  The movies don't teach the lesson (see the Lesson Materials or Exploration Guide for that), but they should help get you comfortable with that Gizmo.

Demo movies come with voice-over narration, so be sure you have your sound turned on.  (We recommend using headphones if in a lab setting.)

Movies are appropriate for teachers or students.

To access the demo movie, click on the "Demo" button in the purple bar, at the lower left corner of the Gizmo.

Posted by Dan at 03:57 PM in Help (User Support), Quick Tips, Site Announcements, Training and Professional Development, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## February 02, 2010

### Expert's Corner: Earthquakes

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

## January 05, 2010

### Expert's Corner: Function Machines

Dan Moriarty is a curriculum writer and editor for ExploreLearning, and is also our chief Gizmo video producer. He holds a Master's degree from the University of Virginia in secondary math education, and he taught high school math before joining ExploreLearning.

Functions are a topic that math teachers at many levels teach. Linear, quadratic, cubic, absolute value, trigonometric… these are all different types of functions that students encounter as they advance through their studies.

But what is a function? All too often, the definition sounds something like this: "A function is a relation between a set of elements called the domain and a set of elements called the range (or co-domain), that maps each element in the domain with exactly one element in the range." This definition is technically true, of course, but to most kids, it doesn't make much sense.

So, math teachers search for a simpler way to present this concept, often characterizing them as "input-output machines." An input value goes in, the function machine does something to it, and it comes out as a single output. This works well, but how do you SHOW kids this?

Three related Gizmos - Function Machine 1, Function Machine 2, and Function Machine 3 - provide a nice introduction to functions, using the "input-output machine" theme. For starters, students can select a pre-set machine and send input numbers through it as a guessing game. What is that machine’s function? What does it do to each input number?

Students can then program their own machines - but not display the function - and challenge their classmates to figure out their function. They can get more advanced as well. The machines are stackable, so they can experiment sending input numbers though multiple machines. This illustrates the concept of composite functions.

In addition, these input-output pairs can be displayed as points on a graph. This is a perfect way to begin making the connection between a data table and a graph, which is the first step toward graphing functions.

For more ideas on teaching with the Function Machine Gizmos, take a look at the Teacher Guide and the Student Exploration Guide, found in each Gizmo's Lesson Materials. In addition, we have just published a new Teaching with Gizmos: Function Machines movie on our Videos page. All of these short videos help demonstrate how to easily use Gizmos in your classroom.

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:18 PM in Math (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

## November 03, 2009

### Expert's Corner: Show and Tell with Rocks

Kurt Rosenkrantz is science curriculum writer and Gizmo designer for ExploreLearning. Kurt holds a Master of Science in Geology from the University of Cincinnati, and a bachelor's degree in Earth Science from Harvard. He taught high school and middle school science for eight years before joining ExploreLearning.

A couple years ago my family and I left Charlottesville, VA and moved to North Carolina, where I've continued to work for ExploreLearning from my home office. The work continues to be great, but I have to admit it does get a bit quiet working out of your house. So I was thrilled when I recently got the chance to visit my daughter's elementary school classroom and help out with a science unit on rocks.

In my garage was a large box of rocks and fossils I had accumulated in grad school and in eight years of teaching earth science. There were large chunks of granite from New Hampshire; basalt, obsidian and pumice from volcanoes in western California; and of course lots of fossils-trilobites, brachiopods, horn corals, bryozoans, gastropods, and other specimens collected from the Ordovician rocks of southwestern Ohio. I had packed them up when I left California to join ExploreLearning, and they had been sitting in garages and attics ever since.

A week later I was in the class, sharing my rocks and fossils and talking about the time I got to dig up some dinosaur bones. The great thing about elementary school students, of course, is that they are enthusiastic about everything. I did get some unusual questions, however, like "are they still alive?" and "why aren’t they still moving?"

Visiting the classroom always brings me back to my teaching days, and also reminds me of how much energy a teacher both gives to and receives from their students. Try these Gizmos to energize your classroom:

All of these Gizmos work well when integrated into hands-on activities with rock samples in the classroom. For example, students can practice identifying hand-samples of rocks, and then try their skills with the Rock Classification Gizmo. Alternatively, students can learn how to measure a mineral’s hardness, streak, and density with the Mineral Identification Gizmo. They can then apply what they have learned to real mineral samples. Take a look at the Teacher Guides for these Gizmos for more ideas on hands-on activities that you can use with these Gizmos as well.

Enjoy!

Posted by ExploreLearning at 03:15 PM in Science (Real World), Using Gizmos | Permalink

## October 09, 2009

### Remodeled Phase Changes Gizmo

Prompted by a note from a teacher, we have made changes to the Phase Changes Gizmo. In the original Gizmo, we assumed a "no stirring" scenario in which heat applied to the bottom of the beaker was transferred to the ice through natural convection -- the water heated by the burner naturally rose to melt the ice. This scenario resulted in an average water temperature above zero, even while some ice was still present.

We decided to switch the model in the Gizmo to assume "constant stirring." In this scenario, used in many textbooks, lessons, and labs, heat from the burner is instantly transferred to the ice. Noo heat is transferred to the water until all of the ice has melted. As you can see in the revised Gizmo, this results in a heating curve that is perfectly flat during melting, just as in freezing and boiling.

We hope that this change will make this Gizmo easier to understand and use. If you have comments or suggestions about any of our Gizmos, please send them in!

Posted by krosenkrantz at 10:54 AM in Site Announcements, Using Gizmos | Permalink

## August 28, 2009

### Gizmos and Apple OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard)

Apple released OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard) this morning. Many software companies are working to update their products to work well with this new technology.

Here at ExploreLearning our Gizmos make use of the Shockwave plug-in. If you have already installed 10.6 you may have noticed that you can't see the Gizmos. We don't like that at all! We investigated the issue and wanted to let you know that there is a way for you to start viewing the Gizmos!

The developer of this plug-in is Adobe, and they have stated that they are working on updating the plug-in to work with the new operating system natively, but currently you will have to run in "32-bit" mode. In the future the plug-in will be updated and you will no longer need to follow these steps.

If you have already installed Snow Leopard (OSX 10.6) and previously had Shockwave installed (see further below if you don't have Shockwave installed) follow these steps to view the Gizmos:

2. Quit the Safari browser (in menu choose Safari > Quit Safari)
3. In the dock click and hold on the Safari icon
4. Select "Options > Show in Finder"
5. You will now see the main Safari application
6. With Safari selected choose File > Get Info from the menu, or use Apple-i keyboard combination
7. You will see a checkbox labeled "Open in 32-bit mode" on the Safari Info panel
8. Select that option
9. Be sure that Open using Rosetta is NOT selected
10. Close the "Safari Info" window
11. Restart your computer. After the restart please check once again that Safari is still properly set to 32-bit mode by following steps 3 through 10 again.
12. Start Safari by clicking on the icon in the dock
13. You should now be able to view Gizmos!

If you have any problems following these steps you may have to talk with your technology coordinator or teacher. If you are still having any problems be sure to drop a line to customer support on our contact page and we will work with you to solve the problem.

As the software and technology associated with our content changes we will continue to keep you updated.

Update: Jan. 20, 2010

If you try to view a Gizmo and see an error similar to the one below it indicates you have not yet set Safari to run in 32-bit mode. You should try to follow the steps shown above one more time.

Update: Sept. 23, 2010

Adobe has released an updated version of Shockwave (11.5.8.612) which is now compatible with Snow Leopard. You no longer need to set Safari to run in 32-bit mode (with a few exceptions - more information in this newer post).

Posted by Raman at 10:30 AM in Using Gizmos | Permalink