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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Internet of Things,Part 2

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I have spent time at NIST studying the Internet of Things since my last post on it. There are some new things to share including this video from the National Institute of Standards. NIST.

What is the Internet of Things (IoT) and how can we secure it?

Video https://cdnapisec.kaltura.com/index.php/extwidget/preview/partner_id/684682

So you may think well what has that got to do with me? I don’t care about IoT is what a lot of people say initially until they learn more.

Oh Yawn…some would still say!

How about this headline?

A company that sells “smart” teddy bears leaked 800,000 user account credentials—and then hackers locked it and held it for ransom.

https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/pgwean/internet-of-things-teddy-bear-leaked-2-million-parent-and-kids-message-recordings

Internet of Things Examples

Mostly people care about personal uses:

These are a few of the examples on the link

Remember to take your meds

Monitor an aging family member

Check on the Baby

Stay Out of the Doctor’s Office

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YOUR CITY

Engage with the data exhaust produced from your city and neighborhood

Light streets more effectively

Monitoring flooding

There are many  examples to show how IoT can affect you personally.

internet-of-things

 

In the next century, planet earth will don an electronic skin.
It will use the Internet as a scaffold to support and transmit its sensations.” – Neil Gross 1999

 

IoT solutions can be built for large amount of application areas. In manufacturing industry sector even a new concept has been created to describe the new generation IoT enhanced manufacturing: Industry 4.0. IoT can essentially improve manufacturing process monitoring, analyzing, optimizing and managing. In healthcare sector wristbands connected with smartphones can tell heartbeat rate, steps taken and sleep pattern to encourage healthier behavior. Energy consumption of buildings can be controlled intelligent ways. There are even developed fridges which can send the content information to the user’s mobile phone.

In logistics IoT is widely in use and will spread to new logistics application areas in the future. Traffic infrastructure has lots of data collecting points. This data can be used to help traffic control centers and infrastructure users to have real-time information on congestions, weather conditions, accidents etc. Vehicles’ and vessels’ movements can be monitored by location technologies and forwarded as estimated time of arrivals for the waiting customers. Load space and cargo temperatures can be remote monitored and if exceptions arise, the drivers or other users will be notified.

One of the most advanced new logistics IoT solutions is for waste collect transportation. The garbage bins have sensors which measure the free capacities of the bins. The system calculates the predicted time when the bin should be emptied. This information is sent to the route optimization program which produces the schedules and routes for the garbage truck drives.

Maintenance needs and driving of vehicles, forklifts and cranes can be monitored by IoT. Measuring can produce information on economical driving, safety, failures, performance etc. Based on this information the amount and models of machines or vehicles can be optimized, safer driving can be enhanced, work tasks can be optimized and many other improvements can be reached. Also emissions reducing have a big role and there is a need to collect reporting for greener logistics. Congestions increase harmful emissions and waste time – the data collected from navigators can dynamically produce alternative route options for users to select less crowded roads.

There have been large tests to monitor sea containers using boxes which can send for example location, temperature, humidity, movement shocks and door opening data to the shipment controller. This data helps with operation scheduling and risk management. There have been also pilot application where food packages have had sensors to monitor possible contamination risks. The sensor communicates with the back-end system using radio waves (rfid tag) and RFID technology is one the key enabling technologies in logistics IoT solutions.

Sensor systems can produce data several times per second, thus cumulating data amounts can become very large. Sometimes it’s reasonable to use big data –methods to store, handle and analyze data. Also the role of artificial intelligence technologies can help to find relevant information from IoT data. For example heart health can be evaluated using ECG curve analysis and instead of doctor the interpretation of the curve is done by intelligent algorithms. IoT applications can be taken into use as cloud solutions where the users see reporting results using web or mobile applications. Different kind of technical IoT platforms, devices and ecosystems have also developed rapidly and building applications is now faster and easier than in the past. On the other hand security risks have become real challenges because many IoT solutions were originally thought to be used in closed network and not in open Internet. Source;

http://www.logistiikanmaailma.fi/en/logistics/digitalization/internet-of-things-iot/

Oh Boring…some would still say!

Look at Education for the Future. We need to be aware of the excellence of ideas but also help oarrents and caregivers monitor and manage the relationship that their families have with media.

IOT is already here.iho

NCTA  

Click the link above!!

 

 

 

 

#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

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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

     

     

 

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.

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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.

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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/

 

 

 

 

 

Mummies? Egypt?What Can We Learn?

IMG_9840I have traveled to Egypt by thought, by reading, by books, by lectures in geography and by invitation of a friend. My quest was to visit the museum of antiquties in Cairo. Before the newest of technology, I had a laser disc of a mummy, and how they prepared it and like many others , I had done a lot of reading about Sir Howard Carter and his discovery. I also followed an archaeologist on television to see them examine new sites and try to identify new mummies, or tombs.  In school for students I had a remarkable book to use with various movies and videos , by David McCauley.

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Amazon.com Review
When children catch their first glimpse of a pyramid, a sea of questions inevitably tumbles forth. “Why are they shaped like that?” “How were they made?” “Who made them?” “What were they used for?” Perplexed adults can sigh with relief now that David Macaulay has found a way to thoroughly answer all those deserving questions. His exquisitely crosshatched pen-and-ink illustrations frame the engaging fictional story of an ancient pharaoh who commissions a pyramid to be built for him. With great patience and respect for minute detail (not unlike the creators of the early pyramids), Macaulay explains the sometimes backbreaking tasks of planning, hauling, chiseling, digging, and hoisting that went into the construction of this awe-inspiring monument. Just when the narrative teeters on the edge of textbook doldrums, Macaulay brings us back to the engaging human drama of death and superstition. This respectful blending of architecture, history, and mysticism will certainly satiate pyramid-passionate children as well as their obliging parents. ALA Notable Book. (Ages 9 and older) –Gail Hudson —

Talk about engineering!! STEM and STEAM

 

base-pyramid-khufu-2-P

ginger

A poor person’s mummy..

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BlackStudent

The Egyptian and I.

Better than that I had large cardboard depictions of the things that Sir Howard Carter found. While in New York, a man in a fez bowed to me and called me a daughter of Egypt , handing me a rose. It may have been flattery but he was visiting a New York Museum and so we talked a bit . I have been studying about Egypt since I was eleven years old and heard about King Tut. Well let me revise that. I was often sent to the library in my Catholic school to read and I found these books about archaeology. They fasscinated me. He sent these huge , beautiful cardboard placards done in gold and blue. They were museum quality and I taught with them.

I was afraid of mummies, but there was a scientist who went ot Egypt who lived near my home. It was rumored that he had a mummy at the top of his apartment building and we kids went to see. It was a mummy. We were speechless and scared all at the same time. We never asked questions as we did not know him.

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The mummy  , or what I saw was I think the case of a mummy. My imagination set in and so my quest to learn about the geography of Egypt,the mummies and Hierogyphics began.

 

Definition of hieroglyphic
1
: hieroglyph
2
: a system of hieroglyphic writing; specifically : the picture script of the ancient Egyptian priesthood —often used in plural but singular or plural in construction
3
: something that resembles a hieroglyph especially in difficulty of decipherment

Source : Merriam- Webster ( online 2016)

There was in Old Town Alexandria, in an alley a shop of Egyptology. I went there and studied how to make papyrus, and ordered a gold hieroglyph , and studied astronomy using Egyptian science. You can convert your name to a hieroglyph here

WRITE LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

Write your name in a hieroglyh and make a cartouche.

EAT LIKE AN EGYPTIAN

Archeological discoveries have told us much about how ancient Egyptians worshiped, celebrated and mourned. But these scientific finds have also provided tantalizing clues about how–and what–this complex civilization ate. From grains like emmer and kamut to cloudy beer and honey-basted gazelle they dined sufficiently.

Bread and beer were the two staples of the Egyptian diet. Everyone from the highest priest to the lowliest laborer would eat these two foods every day, although the quality of the foods for the priest would undoubtedly be higher. The main grain cultivated in Egypt was emmer. Better known today as farro, emmer happens to be a fairly well balanced source of nutrition: it’s higher in minerals and fiber than similar grains. Breads and porridge were made from the grain, as well as a specially devised product that modern-day archeologists call “beer bread.”

Beer bread was made from dough that used more yeast than normal breads, and it was baked at a temperature that didn’t kill off the yeast cultures. Brewers crumbled the bread into vats and let it ferment naturally in water. This yielded a thick and cloudy brew that would probably disgust our modern palates. But it was also nourishing and healthy, and filled in many nutritive deficiencies of the lower-class diet.

But ancient Egyptians did not survive on carbohydrates alone: Hunters could capture a variety of wild game, including hippos, gazelles, cranes as well as smaller species such as hedgehogs. Fish were caught, then salted and preserved; in fact fish curing was so important to Egyptians that only temple officials were allowed to do it. Honey was prized as a sweetener, as were dates, raisins and other dried fruits. Wild vegetables abounded, like celery, papyrus stalks and onions.

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Although no recipes from the times remain, we have a fair idea of how the Egyptians prepared their food thanks to dioramas and other objects left in tombs. Laborers ate two meals a day: a morning meal of bread, beer and often onions, and a more hearty dinner with boiled vegetables, meat and more bread and beer.

Nobles ate well, with vegetables, meat and grains at every meal, plus wine and dairy products like butter and cheese. Priests and royalty ate even better. Tombs detail meals of honey-roasted wild gazelle, spit-roasted ducks, pomegranates and a berry-like fruit called jujubes with honey cakes for dessert. To top it all off, servant girls would circulate with jugs of wine to refill empty glasses: the perfect end to an Egyptian banquet.

It was fun to let children make their own hieroglyphs. To translate their name as a scribe might have done.

 

Today in Pennsylvania students and teachers can do a virtual field trip from the classroom. It is one of several that are offered to schools.

Mummy Makers: (Grades: 5 – 9)
Students will learn how and why ancient Egyptians mummified their dead by stepping into the role of apprentice to an ancient Egyptian embalmer! Using fabricated mummies, students will explore the artificial mummification process as they prepare Mr. Ulysses Penn for his journey to the afterlife. This workshop uses life-like mummies.

Here are some of the things we learned.

Ancient Egyptians believed in an afterlife, a real and beautiful place, where they played and lived after they died. To enjoy your afterlife, you couldn’t just die. You had to prepare. To achieve immortality, you had to satisfy some requirements.

Requirements:

(1) Your name had to be written down. You had to have your name written down somewhere, the more places the better. If it was not written down, you disappeared.

(2) You had to pass the Weighing of the Heart. You had to pass the weighing of the heart test in the Hall of Maat. Your heart was weighed against the weigh of a magic feather. If your heart was light, because you had lived a good, hard working, caring life, the scale would balance, and you would go to heaven. If it did not, well, that was another story.

(3) You had to have a preserved body. Another thing you needed to move on to the afterlife was a preserved body. One way to preserve the body of a person who had died was to dry them out and wrap them up with linen bandages. That process was called mummification.

You needed a preserved body so that your Ba and Ka, the two pieces of your soul, could find their way home at night back to your tomb. Without a body, the Ba and Ka would get lost. And they would no longer be able to reach the heavenly Land of Two Fields.

The poor placed the bodies of their dead relatives out in the desert sand. The bodies dried naturally in the sun. That was a perfectly good system. It assured the dead a place in the afterlife (provided their heart was light from doing lots of good deeds while they were alive, and their name was written down somewhere.) If they had a light heart, they would pass through the field of reeds and reach their afterlife. (The field of reeds is what the ancient Egyptians called death.)

The rich could afford to be more fussy. They hired professional mummy makers, to help them look their very best.

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These are from the British Museum.

 

The Kennedy Center had a booklet to tell us how to live, make music , make a flute, etc. and to make bread.

A teacher had an extensive website

We used it to do project based learning and thinking about Egypt.

He created a website for teachers to give them background

From The Smithsonian Anthronotes

The Egyptian Afterlife: What to Take with You and Why
Bryan, Betsy M. (2012)
Objects made for and placed in burials were a significant part of a proper Egyptian entombment and demonstrate the belief that life’s activities continued into eternity; for chronology of dynasties and dates mentioned in  this paper.

What Egyptians Took to the Afterlife
There are more than a few similarities between the ancient Egyptian religion, and our modern religions of today. However, a belief that you “could take it with you” is a prime difference. In fact, they thought the dead could take a considerable number of items with them.
What Egyptians Took to the Afterlife
In many cases, the king who were buried in the Valley of the Kings, as well as high officials and others began stocking their tombs with good long before their death. Our knowledge of what they attempted to take with them comes mostly from the intact tomb ofTutankhamun, but there is an abundance of other evidence, including remnants from the tombs of Tuthmosis III (KV 34),Amenophis II (KV 35), Tuthmosis IV (KV 43), andHoremheb (KV 55).

Ancient Egyptian Map 11

Other tombs have provided a few items, and in some tombs such as Sethos II (KV 15), we even have wall illustrations of items placed in his tomb.
In many cases, the king who were buried in the Valley of the Kings, as well as high officials and others began stocking their tombs with good long before their death. Our knowledge of what they attempted to take with them comes mostly from the intact tomb of Tutankhamun, but there is an abundance of other evidence, including remnants from the tombs of Tuthmosis III (KV 34), Amenophis II (KV 35), Tuthmosis IV (KV 43), and Horemheb (KV 55). Other tombs have provided a few items, and in some tombs such as Sethos II (KV 15), we even have wall illustrations of items placed in his tomb.
In the Valley of the King, burials usually included the mummified body of the king, which was placed in a series of coffins nested one inside the other and placed in a stone sarcophagus. The sarcophagus was most often surrounded by gilded wooden shrines. But there were also many other items, including magical items to assist the dead king, and a variety of mundane objects for his use.
The mummy itself was prepared with various items to protect and sustain the king in the netherworld. While some funerary items were very beautiful, items such as the mask had specific purposes. The face mask, a sculpture of the king’s own face, allowed him to be recognized by the deities in his death. Other items found on the mummy included various amulets, such as heart amulets and vulture amulets placed around his neck, all of which were to protect the king from specific threats.
Read more: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/equip.htm#ixzz40XtAcxeX

 

 

 

Changing Education through VR

Have you ever tried to teach plate tectonics to kids? I have. I used lots of different ways to explain it. Children would yawn. I used movies, I used my hands to simulate the movement of the plates.. I used movies.

I went to the Keck Hall of Science at the Smithsonian and there was Science on a Sphere.I wanted to sit near the globe and see the program , but the kids were not moving. They sat as if they were enraptured watching the display on the globe. Wow, I thought. And then they bounced to the exhibit but many sat and sat and looked and looked.

I used to try to share this information, but ..I was never sure that kids understood it.

From the deepest ocean trench to the tallest mountain, plate tectonics explains the features and movement of Earth’s surface in the present and the past.

Plate tectonics is the theory that Earth’s outer shell is divided into several plates that glide over the mantle, the rocky inner layer above the core. The plates act like a hard and rigid shell compared to Earth’s mantle. This strong outer layer is called the lithosphere

That is how you know technology works.

This is the Science on a Sphere installation in the new Global Ocean Systems exhibit at the National Museum of Natural History. The sphere uses four projectors to wrap images around a six-foot diameter sphere.  There were four short videos on ocean system science that seemed to hold the audience’s attention. The small theater containing the sphere is a beautiful space – somewhat intimate but still connected to the broader exhibit. Lots of luck getting kids to move so you can sit down under the globe.iu

It is a beautiful learning space.cur

The exhibit answers these questions in visualization.
What best describes the ocean?
Ever-moving body of water?
Dramatic, yet hidden and slowly changing landscape?
Source of at least half of Earth’s oxygen?
Chemical mix of every element?
The ocean is all this and more.

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The multi-media experience—“Science on a Sphere”—includes four programs that highlight complex aspects of the ocean.

This huge, interconnected system comes to life on a six-foot sphere at the center of the Global Ocean Systems gallery. The multi-media experience includes six programs that highlight complex aspects of the ocean. Data from global ocean observations play on the sphere’s surface, providing a space-age perspective on the ocean.
ocean.si.edu/ocean_hall/Galleries/global_ocean_systems.html
Immersive , virtual reality based programs like this are yours to share on the desktop now. You can do a flat screen projection of this program.

Science on a Sphere Explorer is now available for download.

It is a program that you can load onto a PC or Mac, and then manipulate a 3-D view of the earth with the same kinds of weather, geological, environmental, geographical and astronomical visualizations, some with interactive displays, that are used on the spheres in museums around the world. Articles about the new program do alert us that it is a big download (it’ll require around 15 GB on your hard drive), so if you’re interested do make sure there’s plenty of space on your system.

I’ve included links here to a brief news article about the program, which includes several still and animated examples of the kinds of data you can display with it, and to NOAA’s “SOS Explorer” home page, where there’s more info and a link to download and install the program.

For folks who got super-excited when Google Earth came out, here’s another 3-D model of the world with similarly awesome potential. It’s called the Science on a Sphere Explorer, and it lets you view tons of animated planetary data, from the age of the sea floor to the airborne migration of CO2 to hurricane tracks dating back to 1950.

Science on a Sphere is a NOAA tool that projects different layers on a huge ball, creating a virtual earth you can walk around in museums and classrooms. It’s now available as a desktop program for Windows and Mac, so you can probe natural (and unnatural) phenomena from home in popping, 1920×1080 resolution. Be warned it’s a huge download that eats up to 15 gigs of hard-drive space, though those willing to be patient will reap fantastic rewards.

Here are a few of the ways you can explore the planet. Note you can rotate the screen to find and zoom in on any spot on earth. This is the basic Blue Marble view with real-time clouds—peep all those hurricanes in the Pacific:

Go here to see all of these remarkable graphics.
Hurricane tracks from 1950 to 2005 color-coded by strength, red being the strongest and blue being tropical storms and depressions:
Density of cropland:
The atmospheric transport in 2006 of various aerosols like dust (red-orange), carbon (green), sulfates (white), and sea salt (blue):
Satellites and space trash circling earth (this one’s really fun to zoom in and out of):

A nearly real-time map of earthquakes:d7dcde951

Need more?

The educational material created to support SOS is available here, including scripts, lessons plans, and evaluations.