Computational Thinking and Supercomputing!!

I have been learning about computers and technology for about 30 years or more. NASA, National Geographic, NEA, NSTA and the National Center for SuperComputing. Conferences, workshops, and meetings. It is a moving target. This blog is inspired by ex-students and CIrcl.

There is always more to learn, share and explore. Here is what might be of interest to you.

Here is some of the future of learning in a connected world.

Is your local school up to the challenge?Are you providing the real professional development for teachers?

SuperComputing and Computational Thinking (What do you know about it?)

In education, computational thinking (CT) is a set of problem-solving methods that involve expressing problems and their solutions in ways that a computer could execute..

Sounds and looks complicated? It is not. Digital Promise simplifies it like this.

But how do “code,” “computer science,” and, “computational thinking,” fit together? What is motivating their introduction into schools, and how might they change education?( read this report)

Digital Promise Our new report, Computational Thinking for a Computational World, draws from research and interviews with leaders around the country to answer the essential question: 

In a computational world, what is important to know and know how to do? Please download and read the report and share it.

Digital Promise says:

What is computational thinking?

Computational thinking skills are versatile approaches to problem solving that include:

  • Gathering and organizing data to investigate questions and communicate findings
  • Expressing procedures as algorithms (that is, a series of logical, precise, repeatable steps that delivers an expected result) to reliably create and analyze processes
  • Creating computational models that use data and algorithms to simulate complex systems
  • Using and comparing computational models to develop new insights about a subject

We see these practices of computational thinking ,benefitting cutting-edge research and everyday life.

For example, when a hurricane is approaching, a meteorologist on TV may use a computational model to demonstrate the various paths that the storm may take as any number of interdependent variables change.

An astrophysicist may similarly use computational thinking practices to develop simulations and new theories about the collisions of black holes.

Digital Promise shows us great images to understand the methodology.

There are great online resources, that are free that demonstrate how these skills are used.

The Science of Where

The Science of Where – Unlock Data’s Full Potential

https://www.esri.com/en-us/about/about-esri/overview

Will.i.am Sparks Mapping with GIS in L.A. Magnet Academy

What is Science On a Sphere®?

Science On a Sphere® (SOS) displays global data the way it should be viewed – on a sphere! It is a room sized, global display system that uses custom software, computers, and video projectors to display planetary visualizations (and much more!) onto a large sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe.

https://sos.noaa.gov/what-is-sos/what-is-science-on-a-sphere/

NOAA has an app !!

https://sos.noaa.gov/sos-explorer/download-sos-explorer-mobile/

Computational tools for high school STEM

https://ct-stem.northwestern.edu

In education, the acronym STEM stands for the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM education, then, is the learning of these STEMsubjects through an integrated approach; one that offers hands-on and relevant learning experiences.

Students and robots intermingle at the Hirshhorn ARTLAB+

ArtLab is giving young people opportunities to explore science, technology, and art with help from innovative artificial intelligence (AI) robots.

Sometimes , the beginning of this learning path is coding!!!

We can find many ways to lean to do coding. Code.org has programs in many languages.

https://code.org

But don’t just do two weeks of coding. It’s something you can continue to learn and do projects in.


If you’re just getting started on your coding journey, here are ten tips and resources to set you off on the right foot.

Photo by hitesh choudhary on Pexels.com
  1. Grab Some Free Programming Books.
  2. Take a Coding Course. … 
  3. Use Free Online Training Sites. … 
  4. Try a Kids App. … 
  5. Start Small (and Be Patient) … 
  6. Choose the Right Language. … 
  7. Figure Out Why You Want to Learn to Code. …

Stay tuned for part two.

Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities. Our vision is that every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra. Code.org provides the leading curriculum for K-12 computer science in the largest school districts in the United States and Code.org also organizes the annual Hour of Code campaign which has engaged 15% of all students in the world. Code.org is supported by generous donors including Amazon, Facebook, Google, the Infosys Foundation, Microsoft, and many more.

Studying the Human Body ,Is Virtually a Whole New Experience!!

Those of us who started teaching before technology took hold had some hard lessons to teach. Talking about most of the human body was not correct. ( sex) and then to explain the systems. What a job! What was allowed, and what permission did we have?

This is the Me Too Era… there are more resources and perhaps extended permission. We think in new ways about teaching about the human body.
human-anatomy

My friend Delores Davis had each child to use brown wrapping paper in large sizes to make a body. The systems we were allowed to teach were then carefully draw and attached to the brown paper ” body”. And we learned to take a pulse , measure height and weight ,to talk about nutrition.

person using black blood pressure monitor

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

I taught from the inside out. I loved using skeletons of small animals that were dis-articulated to have students think about their skeletal structure. Of course I did it around Halloween. One year my brother, who was studying to be a physician brought a whole skeleton to the study.

selective focus photography of skeleton

Photo by Chris Mitchell on Pexels.com

I had a cat, skeleton, a rabbit skeleton, a snake skeleton and a mounted chicken skeleton.

The bones were in boxes and we had a blue velvet sort of box to make the display.

Reading about the human body does not tell you much.  A nurse could come in and talk.

The Red Cross helped us with some little charts to teach about the circulatory system.

And there was a lung that smoked to show children the effects of smoking.

008

INTERACTIVE DISPLAYS

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia has a walk through heart. There is also an exhibit 

that goes to communities for the study of the heart.

Museums did a great visualization job in sharing the body systems.

Now there is online BioDigital, and there are many other iterations of ways to study and learn about the human body. You have to establish an account to take a look but it does not cost anything.

The BioDigital Human visualizes anatomy, disease and treatments in interactive 3D.

Some question the use of VR because it requires different teaching strategies. Here is an article that shares those concerns.

Common Sense has reviewed and commented on applications for K-12.

Best Anatomy Apps and Websites for Students

computer desk laptop stethoscope

Photo by Negative Space on Pexels.com

Learning anatomy and physiology can be tough for students, especially at higher levels; not only is there a lot to remember, but it can be difficult to comprehend how the body systems all work together.

As students dive into the organs of the respiratory or digestive system, they’ll gain an appreciation for structure and function, and they’ll understand how our anatomy influences our health and the medical field.

Give Gray’s Anatomy a rest with these picks that provide some amazing interactive models, let students perform virtual dissections on animals, and reveal every detail of the human body.

https://www.commonsense.org/education/top-picks/best-anatomy-apps-and-websites-for-students

For younger students ( 3-8) There is Tiny Bop ! It is an app.

Immune Defense

Immune Defense is a strategy game for big kids and grown ups (ages 10+). Players use various types of white blood cells to fight off real pathogens, using real surface molecules and signaling molecules. More information about Immune Defense here.
Available for PC, Mac and Linux computers. The video is here.

SEX EDUCATION?

Harvard takes us to new levels with this curriculum in sex education. (from the article)

“Sex education in America is still often taught as abstinence-only, despite decades of research showing that this approach results in higher teen pregnancy rates and STDs. Absent a more complete sex education — or any at all — children often learn from peers, siblings, or the internet, Brown tells EdCast, opening the way for misinformation and a lack of understanding of what is and isn’t appropriate when it comes to respect in sexual relationships. Students need to be prepared for the world we live in and become part of a broader conversation about “communication, intimacy, desire, and healthy relationships,” Brown says.”

 

Although the federal government has moved to reduce access to intervention tools such as sex education, there’s also some good news: Many states, fueled by the #MeToo movement, are taking initiative to make change, Brown says. “#MeToo is the catalyst for better consent and sex ed in schools and states around the country,” she says, citing Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, and Maryland as states that have updated laws to include consent.

https://www.gse.harvard.edu/news/uk/18/12/state-sex-education#.XDe-v4oh1bg.twitter

Welcome to the future.

Study the human body

The Future of Education
Teaching and learning have gone beyond the norms of reading from a book. With the Virtual Reality technology, students are able to better understand concepts at a much profound level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Children Being Mistreated and Incarcerated!It is still happening!

CagesWeb

Often, we are being bombarded by pictures of animals in cages and asked to contribute to their welfare.  My heart hurts because of them, but I have tremendous angst about the mistreatment of children.

There is an unspeakable , horrible cruelty that is happening. I don’t use politics to tell you about it. If you have a child if you love a child, you will understand. If you remember your own childhood , it will make you think.

In the past, we know that there have been 2 deaths. The director of Homeland Security says in an article that the open borders are the cause.

As human rights groups, Democratic lawmakers, and the United Nations demanded an independent probe into the deaths of two Guatemalan children in U.S. Border Patrol custody, President Donald Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen sparked outrage on Wednesday by declaring that “open borders” advocates and the kids’ “own parents” must bear the blame.

As a child when I read about the Holocaust, I could not believe that no one did anything. As an adult now I read about these children and I wonder why we are doing nothing.

Well, nothing enough  to stop it.

There are powerful people in Washington.They could change this.
Powerful people have children. They understand, or do they?

The First Lady seemed to be interested. After all, she is a mother. She is an immigrant. Her perspective is hard to tell. Nor do I understand the message on the jacket that she wore to a detention center.

4D80954800000578-5871221-Standing_by_her_style_choice_Despite_the_furious_public_outcry_o-a-204_1529618706695

We are mystified by her actions, but she did visit.

What is going on with migrant children is variable and we don’t know all of the stories.
littlegirlpassport1

Here is a new story, a new twist.

It is more than frightening.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection detained a 9-year-old U.S. citizen for more than 30 hours this week, then refused to explain why it took so long to verify her identity.

Thelma Galaxia and her children, 9-year-old Julia Isabel Amparo Medina and 14-year-old Oscar Amparo Medina, live in Tijuana, Mexico. Julia and Oscar are U.S. citizens, though, and they attend school in San Diego. One of Galaxia’s friends drove Julia, Oscar, and her own children to the border so they could get to school on Monday, but decided it would be quicker for them to cross the border on foot due to traffic.

That’s where Julia ran into trouble. While she has a passport card, the picture on it was taken when she was younger. Customs agents believed she was impersonating her cousin, Galaxia tells KNSD. The agents also accused Oscar of smuggling, the children say.

Here is the article from Time Magazine
.

The care and treatment of children? What is going on?

You remember the old stories written about here.

Reporters and Democratic lawmakers have been allowed inside a detention center that lies at the heart of a growing storm over a new US policy separating migrant children from their parents.

Authorities did not allow photos or videos to be taken inside the center, but US Customs and Border Protection later released several images.

Nearly 60 miles away, in the town of Brownsville, some 1,500 boys are being housed inside a building that was once a Walmart superstore. The boys, aged 10 to 17, were all caught illegally crossing the border. It is America’s largest facility for such minors, and numbers have increased in the past month by several hundred.

chi-immigration-border-wre0073544675-20180613

There are supposed to be tender aged shelters.

https://apnews.com/dc0c9a5134d14862ba7c7ad9a811160e/gallery/media:f93054354a7f40ea91f54089bc18fd42

800

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston.

The stories seem to have disappeared from the news until two children died.

Two children have died in government custody in recent weeks after crossing the border into the U.S., prompting renewed scrutiny of the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants.

Jakelin Caal, 7, died earlier this month from dehydration and shock after being detained with her father after they crossed the border illegally. Attorneys for her family said she did not receive water for hours, but had been in good health earlier in her journey.

Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, died last week after being hospitalized in New Mexico with flu-like symptoms, high fever and vomiting. He had been detained with his father after crossing into the U.S. without documentation. The Article from the Hill

McAleenan also said on ABC that a “multi-faceted” approach is needed to address broader immigration issues.

“We need a sober-minded, nonpartisan look at our immigration laws to really confront and grapple with the fact that children and families are coming into this cycle, that’s first and foremost,” he continued.

“We also need to invest in Central America. The State Department’s announcement of an unprecedented increase in aid, I think, is a tremendous step forwards.”

 

Former First Lady Laura Bush has compared it to the internment camps used for Japanese-Americans during World War Two. A Democratic congressman who visited the site said it was “nothing short of a prison”.

The Texas facility is known as Ursula, though immigrants are reportedly calling it La Perrera – dog kennel in Spanish – in reference to the cages used to hold children and adults who have ended up there after crossing the border from Mexico illegally.

“One cage had 20 children inside. Scattered about are bottles of water, bags of chips [crisps] and large foil sheets intended to serve as blankets,” the Associated Press reports.

Here is the whole article from the Associated Press and here is a video that talks about us , America as a land of opportunity.

Lieu Refuses Order Not to Play Audio of Child Detainees

Listen to it.

49606018_10157030449811672_1318964369039556608_n

#iLRN2018 Immersive Learning Research Network Conference in Montana

iLRN

We develop & support a community of educators, scholars, and practitioners dedicated toward research in & on digitally-enhanced immersive learning environments.

Global Network
You will have to check our twitter feed for individual presentations This was not a vendor driven conference but a thought driven conference with participants from all over the world with several very extensive tracks. It was small enough that you got to meet people and to have great conversations with them,
There was a pre-conference event to Flathead Lake, and to Glacier National Park.
Those of us who love ESRI were delighted to learn about the support and interest in the Flathead Lake. Do you know about the threat of Zebra Mussels.?
We learned first hand in an environmental discussion about invasive species
This is one of the tracks and a paper

Flathead Lake is a large natural lake in northwest Montana, and is the largest natural freshwater lake by surface area that is west of the source of the Mississippi River in the contiguous United States. en.wikipedia.org

  • Location: Lake / Flathead counties, Montana, US
  • Area: 510.23 km²
  • Length: 43935.09 m
  • Width: 24944.832
  • Outflow:Flathead River
  • Inflow:Flathead River

We learned that the Montana Geographic Alliance had spent time at Flathead Lake.

Here is our hostess.

 

We reviewed the biological history of Flathead Lake.

A current concern is the Zebra Mussel. It is an invasive species in the US.

What problems can they cause?

Zebra mussels can:

  •   clog irrigation intakes and other pipes,
  •   attach to boat motors and boat hulls, reducing performance and efficiency,
  • attach to rocks, swim rafts and ladders where swimmers can cut their feet on the mussel shells,
  •  attach to and smother native mussels, and
  •  eat tiny food particles that they filter out of the water, which can reduce available food for larval fish and other animals, and cause more aquatic vegetation to grow as a result of increased water clarity. A lively discussion was of interest to all.

Then we went to Glacier National Park. We had lunch by the Lake and we chose one of

.

 

 

If you go there.

Visitors to Glacier National Park will be treated to all kinds of amazing scenery, from jagged peaks to mirror lakes to wide blue skies. This scenery can be enjoyed on a drive, from a boat, during a hike, or while sitting on the porch at one of the park’s historic lodges. Because Glacier National Park preserves a convergence of different ecosystems, varying in moisture and elevation, the views are diverse and ever changing.

Glacier National Park is part of Waterton – Glacier International Peace Park, which was designated a World Heritage Site in 1995. The World Heritage Site designation recognizes places that are considered natural or cultural treasures of the entire planet.

There are so many things to see and do in Glacier National Park, you’ll want to visit more than once. Your first visit will assuredly leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Here are some of the most popular things to do in Glacier National Park.

  • 01 of 08
    Road in Many Glacier Valley

     

    •••

    The Going-to-the-Sun Road runs east-west through Glacier National Park, crossing the Continental Divide at 6,646-foot Logan Pass. Along the way, it passes through some truly amazing scenery, from glacier-carved lakes and valleys to rocky peaks and snow-topped mountains. There are scenic turnouts, hikes, waterfalls, and views galore. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is 50 miles long, runs from the western park entrance at West Glacier to the eastern entrance at St. Mary.

    We had dinner at a place near the lake, close to Missoula and we prepared for the first day of the actual conference. This was a pre-conference trip.

    We put the Geo in the conference with https://www.esri.com/en-us/about/about-esri

     

     

 

GIS, Geoliteracy, and ESRI..What are you waiting for?

This year the changes in climate, the storms and devastation have caused us all to take time to pay attention to weather, to where places are and to what a disaster map is in many places. You should have also learned how and why storms are tracked.

People all of a sudden were worrying and watching the weatherman or a climate mapping system for news about fires, floods, the hurricanes. ESRI provided story maps and data for all to see. Problem? Many students  in the US do not study or use resources that are available free for schools.

During the Hurricane emergencies we could use this map.  There were individual story maps that you could use during the hurricanes, to learn to read, see , big data define the hurricane.Hurricane Harvey  , Hurricane Irma, Hurricane-Irma-1054595

Hurricane Maria

http://gis.ruekert-mielke.com/2017/09/14/esri-story-map-of-hurricane-harvey/

There were also story maps of the fires.

You can learn using ESRI resources.

What is a disaster that is likely to happen in your area? What is the history of weather in your area? What actions should you be ready to take?

 

iu

There are lots of fabulous tools that we can use to learn about Earth Science. One of my favorite is Science on a Sphere. You can learn about it here. SOS  There are lots of locations where you can go and participate in an SOS program. There is also SOS Lite. That is a download that you can install on your computer. Here is the link. SOS Lite.

Climate Models?

What Is a Climate Model?

Global climate models (GCMs) use math – a  lot of math – to describe how the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, living thingsice, and energy from the Sunaffect each other and Earth’s climate. Thousands of climate researchers use global climate models to better understand how global changes such as increasing greenhouses gases or decreasing Arctic sea ice will affect the Earth. The models are used to look hundreds of years into the future, so that we can predict how our planet’s climate will likely change.

There are various types of climate models. Some focus on certain things that affect climate such as the atmosphere or the oceans. Models that look at few variables of the climate systemmay be simple enough to run on a personal computer. Other models take into account many factors of the atmospherebiospheregeospherehydrosphere, and cryosphere to model the entire Earth system. They take into account the interactions and feedbacks between these different parts of the planet. Earth is a complex place and so many of these models are very complex too. They include so many math calculations that they must be run on supercomputers, which can do the calculations quickly. All climate models must make some assumptions about how the Earth works, but in general, the more complex a model, the more factors it takes into account, and the fewer assumptions it makes. At the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), researchers work with complex models of the Earth’s climate system. Their Community Climate System Model is so complex that it requires about three trillion math calculations to simulate a single day on planet Earth. It can take thousands of hours for the supercomputer to run the model. The model output, typically many gigabytes large, is analyzed by researchers and compared with other model results and with observations and measurement data.

NESTA  Souce

There are currently several other complex global climate models that are used to predict future climatic change. The most robust models are compared by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) as they summarize predictions about future climate change.

There are tools that are used to predict weather and to define possibilities that are data models. There is a European Model, and a US Model which we learned from with all of the storms, and fires, in the last several months.

The European Climate Model

  • produces numerical weather forecasts and monitor the Earth-system;
  • carries out scientific and technical research to improve forecast skill;
  • maintains an archive of meteorological data.

To deliver this core mission, the Center provides:

  • twice-daily global numerical weather forecasts;
  • air quality analysis;
  • atmospheric composition monitoring;
  • climate monitoring;
  • ocean circulation analysis;
  • hydrological prediction.

They also provide advanced training to scientific staff in our Member and Co-operating States and assist the World Meteorological Organization with its programs. We make 25% of the supercomputing facilities available to Member States.

The US Climate Model is here.

https://www.climate.gov/teaching And you can look here

How reliable are computer models of the Earth’s climate?

Climate models are used to analyze past changes in the long-term averages and variations in temperature, precipitation, and other climate indicators, and to make projections of how these trends may change in the future. Today’s climate models do a good job at reproducing the broad features of the present climate and changes in climate, including the significant warming that has occurred over the last 50 years. Hence, climate models can be useful tools for measuring the changes in the factors that drive changes in climate, including heat-trapping gases, particulates from human and volcanic sources, and solar variability.

Scientists have amassed a vast body of knowledge regarding the physical world. However, unlike many areas of science, scientists who study the Earth’s climate cannot build a “control Earth” and conduct experiments on this Earth in a lab. To experiment with the Earth, scientists instead use this accumulated knowledge to build climate models, or “virtual Earths.” In studying climate change, these virtual Earths serve as an important way to integrate different kinds of knowledge of how the climate system works. These models can be used to test scientific understanding of the response of the Earth’s climate to past changes (such as the transition from the last glacial maximum to our current warm interglacial period) as well as to develop projections of future changes (such as the response of the Earth’s climate to human activities).

Climate models are based on mathematical and physical equations representing the fundamental laws of nature and the many processes that affect the Earth’s climate system. When the atmosphere, land, and ocean are divided up into small grid cells and these equations are applied to each grid cell, the models can capture the evolving patterns of atmospheric pressures, winds, temperatures, and precipitation. Over longer timeframes, these models simulate wind patterns, high and low pressure systems, and other weather characteristics that make up climate.

Some important physical processes are represented by approximate relationships because the processes are not fully understood, or they are at a scale that a model cannot directly represent. Examples include clouds, convection, and turbulent mixing of the atmosphere, for which important processes are much smaller than the resolution of current models. These approximations lead to uncertainties in model simulations of climate.

Climate models require enormous computing resources, especially to capture the geographical details of climate. Today’s most powerful supercomputers are enabling climate scientists to more thoroughly examine the effects of climate change in ways that were impossible just five years ago. Over the next decade, computer speeds are predicted to increase another 100 fold or more, permitting even more details of the climate system to be explored.

.Source

ucar_model_inputResources for schools.

 

 

 

 

 

Kids in a Network Learning Science, Geography, GIS, Computational Thinking and all of that Jazz ..it worked!!

12592524_10153947135966327_6686462405674773649_n

Many people embrace what is called STEM at this time. There was SMET before there was STEM.

There was a time when science was pushed aside and people who dared to advocate it were not in the right political space. We suffered but continued the practice of good teaching.

We had our champions, and one of them was Dr. Robert Tinker of Concord.org who got great funding for a number of revolutionary programs and projects and many of them were for K -12.

His projects were much needed to change teaching and learning .

More alphabet soup.

You may ask what is TERC?

For more than fifty years, TERC  introduced millions of students throughout the United States to the exciting and rewarding worlds of math and science learning. Led by a group of experienced, forward-thinking math and science professionals, TERC is an independent, research-based organization dedicated to engaging and inspiring all students through stimulating curricula and programs designed to develop the knowledge and skills they need to ask questions, solve problems, and expand their opportunities.

 

What is really important is that there was extensive broadening engagement and the vision that TERC and Robert Tinker had was an immersive imagining of a future in which learners from diverse communities engaged in creative, rigorous, and reflective inquiry as an integral part of their lives—a future where teachers and students alike are members of vibrant communities where questioning, problem solving, and experimentation are commonplace.

This ideational scaffolding worked.

One of the projects was the NGS Kids Network , standards-based, online science curriculum that allowed students from around the world to investigate topics and share their findings.

Students explored real-world subjects by doing exactly what scientists do: conducting experiments, analyzing data, and sharing results with peers.

You will remember the climate march and the scientists march. With Bob Tinker we marched with our fingers and minds exploring real world science and the ideas are still being used and referenced.

There are pieces of this work that are still relevant. There was an extensive set of resources for teachers at each topic.

You can explore the Unit TRASH here.

You can explore the topic “What’s in Our Water?” here.

Here is the background for water. 

You can explore SOLAR ENERGY here. It has been updated.

HISTORY

A National Geographic Summer Institute was where Concord.org was introduced to me. I believe I met Dr. Tinker however, at the NSTA conference. or at the George Lucas Educational Foundation in a round table discussion.  There we learned about probes. The way we worked was revolutionary in science , and we true pioneers got some push back. We had Dr. Tinker as a resource and the information was free. The promise of the Internet for all has never happened , but if you could get on the Information Highway, well, Concord was there for you.

 

 

niiac

If you ever taught a National Geographic Kidsnetwork Program and did it well ,you know that it changed the face of teaching and learning. Here is a research report that explains the way in which it worked.

The National Geographic Kids Network

REFERENCE: TERC. (1990). The National Geographic Kids Network: Year 4 Final Annual Report. Cambridge, MA: Author.

In conjunction with the National Geographic Society, TERC created The National Geographic Kids Network as a resource for improving elementary science and geography instruction in classrooms around the world. Since its inception in 1986, more than a quarter of a million students in over 7,500 classrooms had then used the network to collaborate on science and geography projects ranging from the study of solar energy to acid rain.( old data)

The primary goal of the National Geographic Kids Network was to promote science and discovery in elementary classrooms by combining hands-on science, geography, and computer technologies with telecommunications activities.

GIS 1The topics were the beginning of real science study for many students.


The National Geographic Kids Network includes seven 8-week curriculum units focusing on “increasing the time spent on inquiry-oriented, hands-on science instruction, strengthening science process and data analysis skills, raising public awareness of the value and feasibility of appropriate science instruction, and publishing and widely disseminating curricular materials that further these goals.” While students research, collect, analyze, and share data with their peers they also problem solve and collaborate with students at other schools. In addition, the network also features a scientist who works with students electronically to evaluate their data, make comments, and offer suggestions. The seven 8-week units include:

  • Hello!  This was a special introductory unit that let us learn how to use project based learning and collaborate with other classes.
  • Solar Energy
  • Acid Rain
  • What Are We Eating?
  • What’s in Our Water?
  • Too Much Trash?
  • Weather in Action

The beginning unit was very special.

Students and teachers and community collaborated and shared , giving information, history, geography and data about where they lived. They got mail. This was a personalized way  , it was a pre-social media of talking with and learning with students in other parts of the world.

How excited my students were to link with a school in Moscow, Russia, or to figure out what animals were pets in some places of the world that we considered pests.

 

.Bonniecopy

For those of us who used the units , the task of classroom management was quite different from that faced by teachers employing the traditional instructional methods of lecture, discussion, and seat work. Geography was a huge factor in the work. Sometimes there was application of the arts, and yes, there was purposeful reading and writing. The face of the working classroom was changed. Extensive resources were shared with teachers.

Students were involved in an inquiry process and reported back to a scientist who helped them analyze their data . There were geographical teams of students sharing information , and collecting data and sometimes telling their stories. I was a teacher of the Gifted, but I was able to use technology to transition into being a classroom teacher for all. Parents and community members were excited about meaningful  uses of technology.

With NGS Kidsnetwork, students spend the majority of their time working on their own or in small groups collecting and doing research.

Teachers often spend their time participating in projects as peers , with community interface of experts, parents helping with the data.

11048284_10153226665121424_8538442603643895639_n

 

15421006_10154621210371327_254228138370067503_n

Dinosaurs and Many Ways of Learning!!

What is a field trip? It could be VR, AI or real. It could be short, a day field trip or long as in Earthwatch , or the Fulbright Experience. It could be online and after school in learning places in the neighborhood. I love it when they are journeys of the mind.  I love taking kids to a place prepared to stretch their minds with a head full of knowledge. We prepared for our field trips and profited from pre-learning.

IMG_1942

This was a field trip with students to the Science and Engineering Festival. It would be hard to prepare for this one, but we had been studying Dinosaurs, reading books, looking at images online, seeing videos, using ramification ( Dynotycoon) and making them out of clay. We can’t take a real dinosaur field trip, but we know where to go to learn more.

We could learn with a game. That is not a field trip, but a trip using ramification to explore a mythical Dinopark. Here

You can just imagine the shrieks of joy as students programming a robotic  dinosaur. This learning venture required some base knowledge, some reading, some knowledge of geography and study of a special kind of dinosaur. As far as I know the closest dinosaur field trip a real one is to Saltville , Va.

HISTORY

After nearly 100 years of study, the town’s ancient fossil beds continue to yield surprises.

ETSU paleontologists are the most recent in a long line of researchers to collect specimens in the Saltville Valley. This year is the 50th anniversary of a Virginia Tech agreement with the Smithsonian Institution to excavate and study specimens found here in the 1960s, including a 7-foot-long section of mastodon tusk.

Scientific digs began much earlier, in 1917, when a collapsed industrial salt well revealed a rich layer of prehistory that drew the attention of the Carnegie Institution. The town’s Museum of the Middle Appalachians, which now oversees the digs, is planning to celebrate next year with a centennial symposium, executive director Janice Orr said.

But accidental finds go back at least to the 18th century, and possibly much further.

In a letter dated 1782, Arthur Campbell wrote to Thomas Jefferson, former Virginia governor and future U.S. president, about the discovery at Saltville of the bones of a “large jaw tooth of an unknown animal lately found at the Salina in Washington County.”

MUSEUMS AND MAPS?

The Smithsonian used to have a dinosaur outside of the museum. I was missing a child from a field trip. He had been mesmerized by the dinosaur and climbed it. He could not get down. I spotted him from the bus and a parent went to help him climb down. That dinosaur is no longer available to climb.

WHO  WHAT  WHERE  WHEN AND WHY?

Those are the questions we asked.

Where in the world did the dinosaurs live? Here and a global map

Where in the US did the dinosaurs live? Here

You can learn a lot studying paleobiology at this Smithsonian web site. Here

Who can teach me more about dinosaurs?

What are ten things Kids need to know about dinosaurs?Here

Why do we care about dinosaurs? What are the known dinosaurs?

What did they eat? 

The first blockbuster movie that influenced my teaching was about dinosaurs, I was about Jurassic Park. I had never been interested in them but I had to rise to the challenge and fit the interest of those who loved the big beasts. First, I had to see the movie and then think of ways to add, augment, share , expand their knowledge in meaningful ways. The movie is online at Amazon Prime ( the whole movie).

Jurassic Park ( the movie)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5C7dqrAItM

I also needed to share the movie experience with the students who had not seen it and make available the book and the many books and magazines about dinosaurs.

IMG_6870

You may not know what the learning places and museums have to offer you and your children or students. Take a planning trip there. See how they do outreach. Talk to them.

I explained to a group of interested people that 2 field trips a year were often the most that children could take and suggested use of some of the budget for a bus. Or to do outreach to the school. My school scheduled a Museum bus on Saturdays for parents and students.

I also wrote grants and requests for field trips , movies, and realia for the classroom. Virtual field trips are good, real ones are good , a combination with Skype is good.

Museums have gone digital and they have much to share online.

https://learninglab.si.edu/news/creative-introduction-into-geography

Smithsonian

There are many experiences that are virtual

Walking with Dinosaurs

Virtual Reality Dinosaur Game

Dinosaur Art ( K-3)

High School   Geniversity ( Build a Dragon)

http://geniverse.concord.org/geniversity/