Here’s an interesting comparison between virtual world games and how people behave in them, compared to the real world. This infographic comparers various statistics between Farmville farms, from Facebook and real farms across the country and around the world. Interestingly, while 930 million acres are farmed in the US, Farmville players cultivate 500 million acres. I’m wondering what kind of discussions might be generated from examining this graphic.
Blog Page: http://goo.gl/oM3y3i
Graphic Image: http://goo.gl/0lF9Ab
Luckily for children everywhere, a group of physicists believe Santa is real, and have worked out how he is capable of giving toys to children around the world. They deal with the issue of his bag, seeing millions of children, if not a billion, children on a single night, and of course making all his toys.
Wormholes, relativity, and an ever moving North Pole are the answers to these questions, and a great opener to these subjects in an introductory physics class. While many of the answers are theories, it is important to remember that ideas such as gravity were also once simple theories.
The weather is an area of science that has only recently been fully understood. For centuries, people have known the difference between rain and snow, have recognized the change in temperature throughout the year, and have even realized the impact of air pressure on weather. However, only since modern satellites and other weather surveillance has the ability to predict the weather and further understand it been made possible.
This infographic goes into some of the advanced information on weather patters, specifically winter storms. Arguably, winter storms can be some of the most destructive due to the period of time their effects reside. Hurricanes are very destructive as well, and especially on islands can cause a great deal of destruction, however, the affects of winter storms (the snow and ice) can last for days if not weeks, while the affects of other storms (rain and wind), only last for a matter of hours. For this reason, it takes longer to be able to recover from such a storm.
What do your students think about this statement? What have they learned from this infographic?
To go up into space and live for a period of time is the dream of many children, but one that is reached by few adults. It takes a peak of physical health, a high level of intelligence, and a great deal of training. There are also a great deal of people who meet these criteria, and so they then must go through a stringent weeding out process, following by intense training.
Once one reaches the space station, it is a tight fit with little human contact. Thanks to modern technology, the astronauts are able to communicate with their colleagues, and maybe even family back on Earth. But even modern technology cannot give these astronauts a gourmet meal, a luxurious bed, or an overly pleasant experience. These men and women are there to work, and work during the majority of their waking hours.
But the space program does now have an education program for grade schools. It allows schools to submit experiments to be performed in space, which the astronauts will record and discuss in a short segment. Do your students have any experiments they want to happen in space?
There is a growing problem in the United States, and that is the increasing resistance of bacteria to antibiotics. For several decades nearly every concerned parent has brought their children to the doctor for every cough, sneeze, and minor infection. Antibiotics are among the most prescribed category of medications (this information is based on experience in a pharmacy a few years ago).
Because of this overmedication, an increasing number of bacteria are resistant to common antibiotics. New medications are having to be created, but some bacteria seem to be adapting faster than the new medications can be developed.
This infographic goes into the science behind the the resistance of bacteria, and what can be done about it. Poll your class about whether this is a problem that needs to be addressed, or if it is simply a hiccup in human existence. Also, what can be done to help this problem? What do your students already do that is suggested, and can your students come up with any other solutions?
What are the odds that you exist? No doubt this is something few people have thought about, but according to this infographic, the odds are 0. Luckily, this world has you, and hopefully luckily, the world has every one of your students. In teaching odds, this would be an interesting infographic to share.
Beginning with the chances of your parents meeting the odds are increasingly less likely. Then, once your parents have met, the infographic goes into the odds of a specific egg and sperm meetings (this infographic may be reserved for only the most mature of students), and creating you. On top of this, as this infographic shares, your existence is dependent upon not only these events, but these events occurring for every one of your ancestors.
Dealing with odds, exponents, and other various mathematics, this would be a great infographic for the math classroom. Share this infographic with your students, and hopefully they will realize how lucky they are. And hopefully this feeling of luck will make them want to learn more, rather than live a crazier life.
Yesterday, Tim Holt wrote “Why I am At a Science Conference,” describing his work at this week’s Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST), and why it is so important that we edubloggers and techspeakers should be sharing our messages into other communities of interest, science teachers for instance. I agree. I’ve tried, for years, to get into social studies conferences. When I succeed, it’s to do a concurrent session, and only 12 teachers showed up. It’s part of the nature of the profession, that we owe our professional identity to our particular area of specialty.
I have keynoted foreign language conferences, library conferences, administrator, and even book publisher, real-estate developer and farmer conferences. Perhaps the most receptive to my particular message are school boards conferences. But Tim is right. Little of this actually makes it into classrooms, especially the “Common Core” classrooms.
Holt referred to the fact that I too will also be speaking to Science teachers this week, in Charlotte, at one of the regional conferences of the National Science Teachers Association – and my efforts to tailor my presentation to that audience. I admit some concern about speaking to science teachers, because I taught social studies, and my examples tend to be more social studies oriented – though I would maintain that any good social studies teacher is also teaching science, math, health, literature, and everything else. It’s all societal.
Tim mentioned me because of a string of posts I made to Facebook and Twitter yesterday, reporting my progress in playing with Kerbal Space Program, a sandbox-style game that has the player designing, building, and flying space craft, on missions from the planet Kerbal. It’s been fun, regardless of my immigrant clumsiness with video games – though I am experiencing some pride in finally getting a manned (well a Kerban-piloted) space craft into orbit. It cost the lives of 12 fellow kerbans and several billion $kerbols worth of hardware.
And although (David’s) message is VERY general, it is at least a start. He is trying to tailor the message to the audience by demoing the Kerbal Space Program online game (https://kerbalspaceprogram.com) so good for him. But those opportunities are few and far between.
These opportunities rare and priceless. ..and forgive me if I seem overly sensitive and even defensive, but there is nothing general about this. The message is singular and it is revolutionary. It has nothing to do with, “Look, here’s something that you can do in your classroom with technology.” It is,
“Look, here’s what many of your students are doing outside your classroom. It’s fun, but it’s work. It’s hard work. And it is entirely about learning. The energy of our students’ youth culture is not based on how high you can jump or fast you can run. It is neither wit nor the appealing symmetry of your face. The energy of their culture is the ability to skillfully and resourcefully learn and to inventively employ that learning.”
My message is that children are entering our classrooms with learning skills that, although based on long understood pedagogies, they are skills that we are too often ignoring and sometimes even handicapping. When I say that we “chop their tentacles off,” it’s not about cutting them off from technology. We’re amputating their access to the learning skills that they are so effectively developing outside our classrooms – their avenues to personally meaningful accomplishment.
Perhaps those of us who have chosen to pursue education technology or have been seduced by its potentials are in a unique position to notice our children’s ’native’ learning skills – more so than science or social studies teachers. But we all must be careful to shed the glow of tech, and get right down to the point of being educated in this time of rapid change.
It’s not about being taught.
It’s about becoming a learner.
This is one of the infographics that is not so easy to read, but well worth the effort. It maps out the flow of scientific research talent across 16 countries. Created by information designer, Giorgia Lupi and here team in Italy, as a follow-up to several celebrated graphics (this and this), it was not initially apparent to me that it is a scatter plot.
Some things are better discovered than obvious.
The X axis represents the percent of the country’s GDP that is invested in research and development, with Sweden, Japan, Denmark and Switzerland leading the field. The Y axis represents the number of researchers in the country for ever one million people. At the top here are Denmark, Japan, Sweden and the U.S.A.
The lines show the migration of scientific researchers. For instance, Denmark exports talent to Great Britain and the U.S. The U.S. exports to Canada, Germany, Great Britain and Australia. Just about everybody exports to the U.S.
Of particular interest are the percent of foreigner and emigrant researchers in the countries compared to the total foreign and emigrant residents.
All in all, it’s worth a study by teachers and STEM and social studies students.
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) will be holding a conference this week in Charlotte, The Queen City of North Carolina. It is both ironic and opportune for science teachers, from around the country, to converge on my state to celebrate science education and to learn more about their chosen passion and techniques conveying it to their students.
I had planned to explain this event’s importance as part of my address to the audience. But, alas, I’ll have only 45 minutes, so will be getting right to business. Instead, I’ll explain it all here, sitting in a Raleigh coffee shop, and proud to be a citizen of this state that owes so much of its recent success to science and education – and a state that desperately needs to be snapped out of its stupor.
Dazed by $80,000,000 worth of campaigning in 2012 (“Follow the money,” 2012), we have witnessed an arrogant government, in effect, vilify science and education. Helping to spur this backward thinking is John Droz, a retired real-estate investor and fellow with the American Tradition Institute (which is tied to fossil fuel interests). In a recent presentation [a Droz slidedeck] to the General Assembly, he called smart meters “fascism in a box” and environmentalism a “new world religion backed by the United Nations.” Among his cited sources were,
Whistleblower, the monthly magazine companion of WorldNetDaily a website that promotes conspiracy theories about topics such as President Obama’s citizenship; Quadrant, a conservative Australian magazine that was involved in a scandal over publishing fraudulent science and the Institute for Creation Research a Texas outfit that rejects evolution and promotes Biblical creationism and the notion that “All things in the universe were created and made by God in the six literal days of the Creation Week.” (Surgis, 2013)
Also carrying some influence is John Skvarla, the newly appointed Secretary for the state’s Department of the Environment and Natural Resources. He apparently believes that oil is a renewable resource, saying “The Russians for instance have always drilled oil as if it’s a renewable resource, and so far they haven’t been proven wrong.“
And then there are the legislators of 20 coastal counties, where developers have been stifled by the notion of sea level rise. So to make things better for developers, They introduced a bill that outlaws the rise of the sea, or at least how it’s measured. From House Bill 819, Section 2.
This whole business prompted comedian, Stephen Colbert to say on the air, “If your science gives you a result you don’t like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved.“
The dramatic decline in Tobacco farming in North Carolina, illustrated in this graphic (North Carolina Department of Agriculture), has meant an enormous hardship for rural NC. As part of Raleigh’s efforts to find a new cash crop, the Biofuels Center of North Carolina was established five years ago, researching, developing and testing a variety of crops biomass crops.
|The now defunct Biofuels Center of North Carolina web site|
The center closed its doors last week. The General Assembly cut the center’s entire $4.3 million budget. In the words of Steven Burke, the centers CEO,
“The center, a growing biofuels community statewide, and companies considering new facilities here share dismay that North Carolina has visibly pulled back from the nation’s lead state biofuels agency and from long-term commitment to comprehensive biofuels development.” “No longer pursuing advanced biofuels with a focused, comprehensive strategy will lessen opportunity to create rural jobs, strengthen agriculture, and create an enormous biofuels and biomaterials sector.”
There’s not much that a few thousand science teachers can do, except to be mindful that science is neither fact nor theology. It’s a way of looking at the world, observing, hypothesizing, predicting, testing, evaluating and adapting. It is both personal and social, and following someone else’s standards for what’s to know (to be taught) is as repudiating to what science is as outlawing the results.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the NSTA conference this week in Charlotte. I’ll be inBallrooms C&D at 2:00 on Friday afternoon.
Follow the money. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.followthemoney.org/database/state_overview.phtml?s=NC&y=2012
Surgis, S. (2013, February 7). Climate conspiracy theorist returns to NC legislature, warns of threat from science ‘elite’. [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://www.southernstudies.org/2013/02/climate-conspiracy-theorist-returns-to-nc-legislature-warns-of-threat-from-science-elite.htm
(2011). Coastal management policies (House Bill 819). Retrieved from North Carolina General Assembly website: http://www.nccoast.org/uploads/documents/CRO/2012-5/SLR-bill.pdf
North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, North Carolina Agricultural Statistics. (n.d.). Crops: Highs & lows, stocks & storage, biotech, varieties, floriculture, county estimates, fruits & vegetables. Retrieved from website: http://www.ncagr.gov/stats/2012AgStat/Page061_098.pdf
There are a few things that are really difficult to convey to students. I remember how hard it was to help my social studies students understand what caused the seasons. Yes, I taught a lot of science while teaching social studies. Distance and time, on the outset, seem simple. But comprehending the vastness of time, when looking at history, and distance, when looking at science (or visa-versa), are hard for us to comprehend. In the words of the source blog for this infographic,
Humans are good at a lot of things, but putting time in perspective is not one of them. It’s not our fault – the span of time in human history, and even more so in natural history, are so vast compared to the span of our life and recent history that it’s almost impossible to get a handle on it.
There are lots of great infographics and visualizations that help to compare all manner of vastness, and here’s one.keep looking »