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

September 2013

What's New?

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Welcome back to schoolNew MIT BLOSSOMS Lesson: “The Monty Hall Problem or How to Outsmart a Game Show and
Win a Car”

Monty HallThe latest BLOSSOMS lesson teaches students how to make decisions in the face of uncertainty by using decision trees. With a seemingly simple setup, the Monty Hall scenario allows the decision maker (the game’s contestant) to retain or change an initial decision based on new information. The result is highly counterintuitive, resulting in immediate student engagement in the problem. The lesson then proceeds to introduce Decision Trees—graphical, intuitive representations of potentially complex decision situations under uncertainty. Such trees are the types of tools used by many professions, including physicians, sports coaches, oil and gas drillers, and even international diplomats. This lesson has an accompanying animation that allows students to explore the Monty Hall problem in depth, most likely at home on a computer. Sam Shames, a senior at MIT, Cameron Tabatabaie, a senior at the University of Pittsburg, and Ben Kaloupek, a senior at Northeastern University, are the creators and presenters of this lesson. Watch the lesson here.

“Behind the Scenes at MIT” Brings the Excitement of MIT Research into the Chemistry Classroom
“Behind the Scenes at MIT” is a collection of short videos that feature MIT researchers explaining how a textbook chemistry topic is essential to their research and to an inspiring real-world application. There are currently twelve science videos, which can be searched by chemistry topic (i.e. atomic theory, bonding, acid-base equilibrium) or by research application. A set of accompanying personal videos, one for each scientist featured, illustrates their journeys to becoming a scientist. These videos are intended to help motivate students to learn chemistry, inspire students to tackle important scientific problems in their future careers, and expose students to the many faces of chemistry. Video creation was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institue (HHMI) through an HHMI Professors Grant to MIT Professor Cathy Drennan. Check out this exciting new resource at:

MIT BLOSSOMS Conducts Online Teacher Training Workshop for Over 100 Teachers in Pakistan
PakistanOn August 29th, Professor Richard Larson and Elizabeth Murray led a virtual workshop with Pakistani math and science teachers—along with teacher educators—who gathered for the event in Lahore. The goal of this workshop was two-fold: 1) to introduce the MIT BLOSSOMS resource and instruct teachers around utilization of that resource; and 2) to encourage participating teachers to incorporate some of the BLOSSOMS teaching approaches into the creation of their own lessons. During the 4-hour workshop, a large number of BLOSSOMS lessons were sampled and various teaching approaches were presented, including Inquiry, the 5-E’s and Problem-Based Learning. This workshop was part of a USAID-funded initiative at MIT, “Piloting Contemporary Approaches to Online Teacher Education in Pakistan”, a collaboration between MIT and the Education Development Center (EDC).

Article on MIT BLOSSOMS Appears in Many Newspapers Across the Country

"MIT Interactive Videos Get High School Students Thinking like Scientists." Read article here.

BLOSSOMS to Begin New Partnership in China

Starting on September 1, 2013, MIT BLOSSOMS will initiate a one–year partnership with the Verakin High School of Chongqing, China. This partnership will be funded by the Verakin Group, Inc., a real estate development company that supports the Verakin High School. Under the partnership, BLOSSOMS staff will travel to China in January to conduct a five-day workshop on the utilization and creation of MIT BLOSSOMS lessons and on the several teaching approaches employed in BLOSSOMS lessons. Over the coming year, Verakin teachers, students and technical staff will design and create eight new BLOSSOMS lessons, and five current BLOSSOMS lessons will be translated into Mandarin Chinese. During the summer of 2014, two Verakin educators will visit MIT for professional development and to explore MIT’s high school-related programs.

Five New Lessons Coming

“Meet the Family: Investigating Primate Relationships”

Kite“Tragedy of the Commons”

“Soaring in the Wind: The Science of Kite Flying”

“Fantastic Factorials”

“Is there a Connection between Computer Topologies and a Malaysian Wedding?”

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