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March 2013

What's New?

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New BLOSSOMS Lesson: “Gravity Assist or Stealing a Planet's Angular Momentum and Getting Away With It”
Dr. Bassem Sabra This video lesson will integrate many seemingly disparate parts of high school Newtonian mechanics to present and explain a real application - just how interplanetary spacecraft can travel farther on less fuel. Created by Dr. Bassem Sabra of Notre Dame University in Louaize, Lebanon, the lesson examines “Gravity Assist”, or what is wrongly referred to as the gravitational slingshot. Gravity assist turns out to be carefully choreographed jumps between orbits. It is a classic exercise in Newtonian mechanics. The basics of this lesson are covered in high school physics curricula: conservation of linear momentum (to explain rocket propulsion), angular momentum, Newton's law of universal gravitation, and energy conservation. These concepts will be combined to explain orbits in the solar system. Only one topic reviewed in this lesson is not usually covered in high school curricula: that is distances in the solar system. A quick introduction to distances in the solar system will be enough to put the problem of fuel constraints in interplanetary travel into perspective and also to later highlight the importance of gravity assists in solving this fundamental problem. This lesson was supported by the Lounsbery Foundation. Watch lesson here.

OCW, MIT BLOSSOMS Participating in State Department-led Open Book Project
Department of StateWashington DC, January 28, 2013—At a gathering that included representatives of the Arab League Education, Culture and Science Organization (ALECSO) and leaders of the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the start of the Open Book Project, an effort to create openly licensed text books, course materials and other educational content to support the development of educational opportunities for Arabic-speaking populations. MIT plans to support the effort by expanding MIT OpenCourseWare's existing translation program to include Arabic translation affiliates, and by building on the success of the MIT BLOSSOMS project in creating Arabic-language educational resources. Watch Secretary Clinton's comments on the State Department website. Read more.

MIT Artemis Strives to Empower Educators and Students with the Knowledge and Skills to Create Math, Science and Engineering Visualizations.
ArtemisARTEMiS stands for ART for Engineering, Mathematics, and Science, and the program’s goal is to enhance teaching and learning through high-quality visualizations. They apply the principles of visual communication and use the tools of modern computer graphics to create visualizations that accurately portray scientific and technological concepts, while also meeting high aesthetic and artistic standards. They also develop curriculum and provide training for members of the MIT community and other educators who wish to learn how to create and use computer visualizations themselves. Visit their website here.

Be Featured at the 2013
MIT LINC Conference

LINC Conference Images
There will be speakers and a panel discussion on BLOSSOMS at this year’s LINC Conference, June 17-19 on MIT’s campus. Speakers will include the BLOSSOMS Project Managers from Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Lebanon. In addition, several papers on BLOSSOMS have been submitted for presentation in parallel session. Early bird conference registration ends April 7th. Read about the conference here.
LINC Conference

Check Out these Six Popular BLOSSOMS Lessons

Classifying Animals by Appearance Versus DNA Sequence

Fabulous Fractals and Difference Equations

How Much Small Is Small?

Sorting Algorithms

Tissue Specific Gene Expression

How Does Biotechnology Help Clean Up The Environment?

Meet a BLOSSOMS video teacher
David HuDavid Hu is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biology at Georgia Institute of Technology who studies the locomotion of animals. He is particularly interested in how animals use specialized surfaces such as water-repellent fur and snakeskin. David has studied how snakes slither, how insects walk on water, and how small insects fly in the rain. Videos and images used in his work may be found on his website. Watch his BLOSSOMS lesson, "How Mosquitoes Fly in the Rain."