During the current academic year, BLOSSOMS team members traveled to Washington DC, on four successive Professional Development (PD) days, to train Wash DC STEM high school teachers in BLOSSOMS. (Read more) As part of this process, we held a contest for STEM teachers in the DCPS, and we are happy to announce two winning BLOSSOMS lesson designs. The contest winners are: Ms. Sydney Bergman whose lesson, “Plants and People”, will describe the forensic applications of pollen as trace evidence and relate plants’ various pollen dispersal methods to plant reproductive strategies and their use in forensic investigations; and Ms. Diana Aljets and Mr. Justin Lessek whose lesson, “The King of Dinosaurs, or a Chicken Dinner? A Paleontologist’s Quest to Activate Atavistic Genes and Create a Dinosaur,” will involve students in creating, interpreting and explaining a phylogenetic tree in order to determine the closest living relative to Tyrannosaurus Rex. Read more.
MIT BLOSSOMS is pleased to announce the arrival of our newest math module by MIT’s math Professor Gilbert Strang, widely noted for his superlative teaching of linear algebra with 35 video lectures posted on MIT OpenCourseWare. This is Prof. Strang’s second BLOSSOMS module, the first being, “Are Random Triangles Acute or Obtuse?” This new BLOSSOMS lesson focuses on a core curriculum topic: the Quadratic Equation. Every student who takes algebra confronts the quadratic equation and many, perhaps most, hate that dreaded formula for finding the roots. Prof. Strang takes the mystery out of the quadratic equation, first by graphing it – for students to obtain a visual intuitive sense and later finding roots in an easy-to-follow step-by-step manner. In the last segment, he uses the newly found way of getting slopes to solve an optimization problem – the geometric design of a rectangular pen for livestock, assuming a given total length of fencing. Watch this new lesson.
The MIT BLOSSOMS project in Saudi Arabia, sponsored by Saudi Aramco and the Sultan Bin Abdul Aziz Science & Technology Center (Scitech), has recently contributed two new video lessons to the BLOSSOMS website: “The Construction of Proteins” by Abdullah Fuheed; and “Is there a Connection between Water Desalination and Making Pickles?” by Dr. Abdul Muttaleb Yousef Mohammed Jaber. These lessons are currently available in Arabic, but will soon be available with English subtitles.