Newsletters | Newsletter Archive BLOSSOMS What's New? October 2013

October 2013

What's New?

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First Two Lessons from BLOSSOMS Malaysian Partners Now Online
Malaysian videosFaculty members at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia have developed the first two video lessons from that country to be up on the MIT BLOSSOMS website. Dr. Zaleha Abdullah presents the lesson, “Is there a Connection between Computer Network Topologies and a Malaysian Wedding?” This lesson provides a creative and culturally interesting introduction to designing a network topology. The second lesson, “Save Our Kingdom”, developed by Drs. Johari Surif and Mahani Mokhtar, teaches students about the often misunderstood Law of Conservation of Mass. This concept is creatively conveyed through the presentation of a Malaysian folktale in which a kingdom is saved by the correct answers to several difficult questions.

“Tragedy of the Commons” Lesson Examines Problems of Shared Resources
Tragedy of the CommonsThe newest BLOSSOMS lesson from MIT introduces students to the “Tragedy of the Commons”, an extended metaphor in which shared resources are compared to a common grazing pasture, or “commons,” where any dairy farmer can graze as many cows as he/she wishes. If too many cows are added to the commons, they will overeat the grass in the pasture, and the shared resource will become depleted – a disadvantage to everyone. Students examine this issue of shared resources using basic math to frame the problem and will discover how useful this approach can be in considering consequences of various actions. Most importantly, they will become comfortable with problems of shared resources, learning how to recognize and seek out examples all around them. This lesson was developed by Abby Horn and Maite Peña-Alcaraz, Ph.D. students in MIT’s Engineering Systems Division. It has an accompanying animation that allows students to explore the "Tragedy of the Commons" problem in depth. Visit animation here.

Harvard University Life Science Program Provides Wide Variety of Online Teacher Resources
Life SciencesThis university outreach program has online lesson plans and scientific animations on the following topics: Exploring Biodiversity; Physiology; Microbiology; Regenerative Biology; Evolution; Neurobiology; Immunology; and the Biology of Cancer. The site also presents two remarkable biological animations – one on “The Inner Life of the Cell” and the other on “Mitochondria.” A final excellent resource found on this site is the Scientist Lecture Series, “Exploring Genomics and Epigenetics”.  Links to these three resources can be found here.



MIT BLOSSOMS Works with Massachusetts Teachers to Create New Science Lessons
Since July 2013, BLOSSOMS has been working with a group of excellent Massachusetts science teachers to create ten video lessons that demonstrate how science can be taught following the new Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It is hoped that these lessons will be valuable for Professional Development as more teachers strive to comply with the new standards. These lessons should be available on the MIT BLOSSOMS website by June, 2014. Read more here.

arrow BLOSSOMS to Have Lessons Listed in Topic Clusters
Teachers will soon be able to identify clusters of BLOSSOMS lessons that address and expand upon important topics covered in high school math and science curriculums. These listings will assist teachers in selecting BLOSSOMS resources that align well with course curriculums and standards. Examples of some math topic clusters include: Probability; Pythagorean Theorem; Geometry; and Graph Theory, while examples of some science topic clusters include: Newtonian Physics; DNA; Environmental Sustainability; Human Anatomy; and Health.



Check Out the BLOSSOMS Topic Cluster on DNA
Classifying Animals by Appearance Versus DNA Sequence

Discovering Genes Associated with Diseases and Traits in Dogs

Making It Personal: Using DNA to Tailor Cancer Treatments

From Teenage to Old Age: How Cancer Develops Over Time

Using DNA to Identify People

Tissue Specific Gene Expression

The King of Dinosaurs or a Chicken Dinner? One Paleontologist’s Quest to Activate Atavistic Genes and Create a Dinosaur