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BLOSSOMS What's New? January 2014


January 2014

What's New?

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“Soaring in the Wind: The Science of Kite Flying”
kite soaringFlying kites is a popular hobby in Malaysia and very much part of that culture. A team of six educators from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur campus, have worked together to create this new BLOSSOMS physics lesson. The lesson looks at kite flying science to introduce basic ideas related to the dynamics of kite flying and can be used as an extension of a physics lesson, especially after the students have learned about forces. It focuses on some of the concepts such as weight, thrust, lift and drag. It is a fun way to introduce these forces acting upon a kite and the scientific principles that allow a kite to fly. It will help students relate to the effect of forces and gives an introduction to the science of flight. Watch the video lesson here.

New Lesson – “Averages: Still Flawed”
AveragesIs it possible that all children in Lake Wobegon are really above average? MIT BLOSSOMS video teachers, Dan Livengood and Rhonda Jordan, have returned to answer this and other thorny questions related to the pitfalls that could arise if one is not attentive to details when calculating and interpreting averages. Following up on their popular first lesson, “Flaws of Averages”, this lesson examines several new and counter-intuitive problems involving averages. These include regression towards the mean and “The Friendship Paradox, ” – that is, on average why is it that my friends tend to have more friends than I do? Both recent Ph.D. graduates of MIT, Dan is now an entrepreneur and an Adjunct Lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis, while Rhonda works as an Energy Specialist at the World Bank. Watch their video lesson here.

Applications Now Being Accepted for MIT’s 2014 Science and Engineering Program for Teachers (SEPT)
SEPTSEPT is a partnership between MIT and K-12 science and mathematics teachers. The program strives to capture a snapshot of MIT and deliver it to teachers for one week every summer. Check out the syllabus from 2013 for an idea of a SEPT week's schedule, which always includes:

  • Daily lectures from MIT scientists on new frontiers in science and engineering research
  • Hands-on experiences with computer simulations and curriculla built for in- and after- school implementation
  • Wet lab experiments led by MIT scientists
  • Additional exposure to MIT K-12 initiatives for students and teachersCommunity-building activities for which SEPT has become known.

SEPT 2014 is scheduled for the week of June 22nd (Sunday) through June 28 (Saturday). For more information contact Emily Martin.

Massachusetts Teachers Selected to Make MIT BLOSSOMS Lessons

After attending a series of lesson development workshops at MIT, eight Massachusetts science teachers have been selected to create lessons that will go up on the MIT BLOSSOMS website. These lessons are designed to incorporate required features of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and will serve as resources for teachers wishing to follow these new science and engineering standards. Read More.

Titles of Eight New
Massachusetts Lessons

“Will an Ice Cube Melt Faster in Freshwater or Saltwater, and Why Should We Know?”

“You Can’t Always Get What You Want: A Lesson in Human Evolution”

"How Big Is a Mole? (Do We Really Understand Avogadro’s Number?)

“The Evolution of Surnames in Formville: On Genetic Drift”

“The Rocks of Magnesia: How Magnetism Works”

“Ecological Tipping Points: When Is Late Too Late?”

“The Ecological Cost of Dinner”

“How Do Those BLOSSOMS Grow?”

During the week of January 6th, MIT BLOSSOMS held 5 days of lectures and workshops for math and science teachers at the Verakin High School of Chongqing in China. This is MIT BLOSSOMS' first partnership in China. Read more here.

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