Newsletters | Newsletter Archive BLOSSOMS What's New? June/July 2012

June/July 2012

What's New?

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BLOSSOMS Lessons Promote Creativity in Chinese High School
The Verakin High School of Chongqing, China reports that they used MIT BLOSSOMS lessons during this past academic year to teach 22 advanced students in their Senior 1 group. Because the teaching philosophy of BLOSSOMS is quite novel and different from that of the traditional Chinese way, officials hope that these lessons will help change the school’s style of teaching and learning. Although English vocabulary was sometimes a challenge, participating students really liked the problem-solving focus of the BLOSSOMS lessons and also the way these lessons connected topics studied with real-life applications. Additional Verakin teachers are being trained in BLOSSOMS for the next academic year “so that more students can be involved in such courses to stimulate their creativity.” The number of participating students will be doubled to 44 this coming year.

New Lesson from MIT Looks at “The Fuel of Life”
imageBLOSSOMS is pleased to announce the arrival of a lesson to introduce students who are interested in human biology and biochemistry to the subtleties of energy metabolism through the lens of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) as the primary energy currency of the cell. Avoiding details of the major pathways of energy production—such as glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation—this lesson is focused exclusively on ATP, which is truly the fuel of life. The lesson is taught by Dr. Christian Schubert, Head Teaching Fellow, Neurobiology of Behavior at Harvard University and Manager, PharmaTherapeutics Precision Medicine at Pfizer. Watch it here.

New Lesson From Lebanon Explains Why Cells in Different Tissues Express Different Genes
imageA second BLOSSOMS lesson from the American University of Beirut (AUB) aims to help students conceptualize the fact that although all cells in the animal or human body contain the same DNA, different cells in different tissues express, on the one hand, a set of common genes, and on the other, another set of genes that vary depending on the type of tissue and the stage of development. In this video lesson, students will be reminded that genes in a cell/tissue are expressed when certain conditions in the nucleus are met. Among other factors—all discussed fully in the lesson—cells make use of a tiny scaffold known as the “Nuclear Matrix or Nucleo-Skeleton.” This lesson is taught by Dr. Rabih Talhouk, a Professor of Cell Biology at AUB and by Elia El-Habre, MSc. of the Biology Department at AUB. View here.

BLOSSOMS Lessons Now Available in Portuguese
futuraBLOSSOMS will soon be available in another language: Portuguese. We are happy to announce that our Brazilian partner, Canal Futura, Brazil's largest educational television network, has now completed the translation of 37 BLOSSOMS modules into Portuguese, using subtitles. This adds a fourth language to BLOSSOMS: Portuguese, in addition to English, Arabic and Urdu. Canal Futura plans to air these translated BLOSSOMS modules multiple times over their extended network, which reaches 35 million Brazilians. The selected 37 modules were drawn from the set of modules that we had available as of May 2011. We are hopeful that as the joint partnership evolves and grows, additional modules that have been created during the last 15 months will also be translated. Our plan is to post these Portuguese subtitled versions on the MIT BLOSSOMS web site in August.

Georgia Tech Professor Makes BLOSSOMS Lesson on Current Research

David Hu, a joint assistant professor of biology and mechanical engineering, has made a BLOSSOMS lesson around his research into how mosquitoes survive collisions with rain drops. It will be available in September. Read more.

Watch for these lessons coming soon to MIT BLOSSOMS

The Parallax Activity: Measuring the Distances to Nearby Stars
How Mosquitoes Fly
in the Rain

Multi-Criteria Decisions

Meet two MIT BLOSSOMS video teachers
teachersJordan Srour PhD is an assistant professor at the business school of the Lebanese American University. She has a background in both Mathematics and Transportation, and her research focuses on network models for operational problems within the freight transportation sector. Professor Srour’s research has been published in recognized journals, including Transportation Research, Part C and Computers & Operations Research. George Turkiyyah PhD is a professor at the American University of Beirut and Chairperson of the Department of Computer Science there. He conducts research in high-performance computing, geometric modeling, real-time physically-based simulation, numerical optimization, and large-scale Web-enabled data repositories. He holds patents on geometric representation technologies, co-founded a software startup, and published a number of widely-used software systems that have won a number of awards. Watch their MIT BLOSSOMS lesson, “Who Do You Know? The Theory Behind Social Networking”.
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