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April 2012

What's New?

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Three Teachers from the Washington DC Public School System Will Make BLOSSOMS Lessons
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.

New BLOSSOMS Lesson - The Quadratic Equation: It’s Hip to be Squared!
Prof. StrangMIT 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.

Two New BLOSSOMS Lessons from Saudi Arabia
New VideosThe 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.

Watch for These New BLOSSOMS Lessons Coming Soon

Tissue Specific Gene Expression
A Paleontologist’s Quest to Activate Atavistic Genes and Create a Dinosaur

Plants and People!

Meet an MIT BLOSSOMS Video Teacher
Elinor KarlssoElinor Karlsson is a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard University and the Broad Institute, a biomedical research institute located on the MIT campus. Her research focuses on finding genes causing diseases that are shared between dogs and people, including cancer and obsessive/compulsive disorders. She is also studying the genetics of cholera susceptibility in the people of Bangladesh, in part by applying new mapping methods she developed in dogs. Dr. Karlsson’s research was featured in the NOVA program, Dogs Decoded. Watch her BLOSSOMS lesson, “Discovering Genes Associated with Diseases and Traits in Dogs.”
MIT Launches Student-Produced Educational Video Initiative
MIT has launched a new initiative, MIT+K12, encouraging its students to produce short videos teaching basic concepts in science and engineering. Read more.
MIT STEM Pals Newsletter

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