Fifty Unbelievable Facts about Earth

There is so much information that could be further studied in this single infographic. It is fascinating to find out that so little of the Earth is usable the way it is now, the difference between life now and life when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and some of the effects we have on the planet. […]

There is so much information that could be further studied in this single infographic. It is fascinating to find out that so little of the Earth is usable the way it is now, the difference between life now and life when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and some of the effects we have on the planet.

Have each of your students choose one or two facts portrayed in the infographic from different categories, and provide more information about it. For instance, the fact that the Earth is smoother than a bowling ball. When you rub your hands on a 3d globe, one would have to disagree. So what is the difference between these globes and the truth? Why can’t we get to all that gold beneath the Earth’s surface, and what can we do to work on getting to it? And what can we do to try to clean up the plastic in our oceans. Encourage your students to have fun and study something that truly interests them.

Blog: http://visual.ly/fifty-unbelievable-facts-about-earth

Why is the Sky Blue?

Last week I posted an infographic that showed why the sky is blue. This week I am showing another infographic that explains the same phenomenon, but in an interactive infographic that I believe explains it a little bit better, or a little bit simpler. Hopefully the two combined will give you are good idea as […]

Last week I posted an infographic that showed why the sky is blue. This week I am showing another infographic that explains the same phenomenon, but in an interactive infographic that I believe explains it a little bit better, or a little bit simpler. Hopefully the two combined will give you are good idea as to what happens.

This infographic shows particles moving towards Earth and how they affect the color of the sky. From what I gather, it is basically our perception based upon the strongest color wavelengths.

How has this infographic further helped your students understand this concept?

Blog: http://visual.ly/why-sky-blue-0?view=true

Why is the Sky Blue?

Ask people in different parts of the country this question and you will get different answers. Ask people where I am from, and the most common answer will be “Because God prefers UNC.” Others will say it is a reflection of the ocean. But then why is the ocean blue? Because it is a reflection […]

Ask people in different parts of the country this question and you will get different answers. Ask people where I am from, and the most common answer will be “Because God prefers UNC.” Others will say it is a reflection of the ocean. But then why is the ocean blue? Because it is a reflection of the sky. Excuse me?

Well here is the truth as portrayed by an infographic created by designers at Visual.ly. This infographic is fairly scientific, and I will admit I do not completely understand it. I understand that wavelengths affect the color we see out of all the colors that are available, but the rest went over my head. I went to school to study history and not science.

Before producing this infographic, have your students discuss why the sky is blue. Have each student produce a short hypothesis, share it in small groups, and discuss the merit behind each. Then share this infographic and see how close students came to the truth.

Blog: http://visual.ly/why-sky-blue

Beyond the Boom

The Fourth of July is a celebration of this country’s independence from Britain. As yesterday’s infographic showed, what occurred on July 4th, 1776 was not even recognized in England, and barely even shared. Also, as yesterday’s infographic showed, some Americans do not even understand what we celebrate on July 4th, aside from chemical reactions in […]

The Fourth of July is a celebration of this country’s independence from Britain. As yesterday’s infographic showed, what occurred on July 4th, 1776 was not even recognized in England, and barely even shared. Also, as yesterday’s infographic showed, some Americans do not even understand what we celebrate on July 4th, aside from chemical reactions in the sky, alcohol, cookouts, and family gatherings. So what is the biggest thing this country does to celebrate this random day at the beginning of the summer? Shoot off fireworks, and this infographic shares this information in a great way.

The fireworks industry is a billion dollar industry, $940 million for the Fourth of July, plus New Years and other celebrations throughout the year. And launching a spectacular show requires more than just a lighter. Aside from the chemistry involved in creating the firecracker, it also requires physics to know at which angle to shoot it to reach the ideal location. How many people on neighborhood streets are doing physics problems as they light the fuse?

In addition, this infographic shares the difference between a variety of shows across the country. It shows how much is fired, how much it costs, and how many people view the various shows. Why do you suppose some shows are more popular than others? What information needs to be gathered in order to give a better idea as to the reasons behind the popularity.

Finally, ask your students to choose a topic, find something that stands for this topic, and use it in an entire infographic to share data, just like this infographic did in its use of firecrackers.

Blog: http://visual.ly/beyond-boom-how-fireworks-work

What’s Inside Coffee?

According to this infographic, coffee is not nearly as harmful as it is sometimes reported to be, or they are just not giving us the full story. Wired gives us this infographic as a short video to share with us what is in the coffee so many Americans are addicted to. And since many start […]

According to this infographic, coffee is not nearly as harmful as it is sometimes reported to be, or they are just not giving us the full story. Wired gives us this infographic as a short video to share with us what is in the coffee so many Americans are addicted to. And since many start in high school, now may be a good time to share it.

The infographic begins by sharing that 98% of coffee is actually water, only 2% is “the good stuff.” A small percentage is actually the same chemical that cockroaches emit to warn of danger, so it may be a good thing to keep around. But as far as the caffeine itself, this infographic only shares that it keeps you awake.

This infographic does not share much about the chemicals in caffeine, aside from their name and a small tidbit of information. Assign each chemical to a group of students and have them discover what it does to the human body. Will you students still want to drink their coffee?

Blog: http://visual.ly/whats-inside-coffee?_from=homepage

The 23 June 2013 Supermoon

Fact: the moon hangs in the sky (or circulates the Earth if you would like to be completely correct), every night, and in fact every day as well. Fact: it cannot be seen every night, depending up on when it rose and fell in your region, as well as depending upon the weather in your […]

Fact: the moon hangs in the sky (or circulates the Earth if you would like to be completely correct), every night, and in fact every day as well. Fact: it cannot be seen every night, depending up on when it rose and fell in your region, as well as depending upon the weather in your area. Fact: it is the same size and shape at every time, but the shadow of the Earth makes it appear to be in a crescent shape, and the distance from the Earth makes it appear larger or smaller. One example of it appearing larger in the night sky was on June 23, 2013. Did any of your students witness this?

This infographic shares information about the upcoming Supermoon (since this infographic was created before the Supermoon). According to this infographic, it was about 30,000 km (ask your students to figure out how many miles that is), closer to the Earth than on an average day. There are also about three to four Supermoons per annum.

Hypothesize with your students why this Supermoon is exceptional, if there are several each year. Also, how does it affect the tide? It is a fact that the moon affects the tide, but what is it about the moon that affects the tide. Have your students explain this phenomena in their own way, by drawing, video, using words, or any way that makes sense to them and may help other students understand.

Blog: http://visual.ly/23-june-2013-supermoon

The Story of a Successful Learner

Yesterday (or several days ago) I wrote about success as the element of learning that trumps lazy. By success, I mean learning that accomplishes a meaningful goal, as opposed to one that achieves an external and often symbolic outcome. This morning, I thought of a classic example.

1977 Toyota Corolla

After my first year of teaching, I traded in my aging Fiat station wagon for a brand new 1977 Toyota Corolla.  It cost $2,700 and was a wonderful car; drivetrain, chassis, body and four wheels – basic transportation that I kept tuned myself.  It cranked every time and never failed to get me to work or to Arizona or wherever I was going.  Until four years later.

The starter motor would turn, but the engine simply would not engage.  However, if I left it alone for about a half hour, it would start right up.  This didn’t happen every time I used the car, but each time it did, the pattern was the same.  I took it to a number of auto repair establishments, but, as is always the case, it would start flawlessly.  

I remember as if it was today, a rather short stocky fellow, slipping his Exxon cap off as he leaned under the hood and with grease- and tobacco-stained fingers, flipped open a plastic box that was mounted to the wheel well.  Seated into a circuit board were several microchips.  He said, “That’s your problem.  I don’t know what that is, but that’s your problem.”

The car cranked right up and I drove back home.  It was the next day that I was telling this story to a teacher friend, outside our rooms, during class change.  Several students were lingering close by, including a young man we’ll call Bobby.

I can picture him today; a good looking kid, tall, straight as an arrow, curly back hair and day-old stubble (before it was cool), and the broadening chest and shoulders that come to some boys as early as 15.  ..and he was still in the 7th grade. 

Ignition Coil for a 1977 Toyota Corolla

From the other side of the radiator he said something that I didn’t understand.  My teacher friend asked him to repeat and he said almost clearly, “h’it’s yer cule mista Warlick.”  

After engaging him in something similar to a conversation, I got that my coil was the problem.  An ignition coil is “an induction coil in an automobile’s ignition system which transforms the battery’s low voltage to the thousands of volts needed to create an electric spark in the spark plugs to ignite the fuel.1

This was better advice I’d gotten from any of the trained and experienced auto mechanics I’d consulted, so that afternoon I stopped off at Advance Auto, bought an ignition coil for a Corolla, installed it myself, and the car ran without fail until I sold it a couple of years and 95 thousand miles later for $2,300.

I’d never taught Bobby, but I knew that the teachers liked him, one of those guys they didn’t mind holding back year after year.  I told the story to another friend, whom I respected deeply, a woman who’d taught Bobby for all of these years, and she said,

“Don’t worry about Bobby.  His Dad owns a trucking company that hauls trees to the pulp wood plant.  He’s a millionaire, though you’d never know if you saw him.  Bobby’s going to go work for his Dad when he turns 16 and he’ll inherit the business.  He’s not dumb, he’s just lazy, and he always will be when it comes to learning.”

I don’t know what happened to Bobby.  I do know that pulp wood played out in the region, and Bobby’s business either folded, or he found some way to repurpose his assets into another line of business.

What I do know is that Bobby was not a lazy learner.  That he was able to diagnose the problem with my car, just from the telling of my story, convinces me that he engaged in deep and powerful learning experiences that taught him not only fundamentals, but how to apply those fundamentals for solving real problems.  

They were learning experiences that were qualified by

SUCCESS,

not by a SCORE.

Ignition coil. (2013, March 15). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:16, May 17, 2013, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ignition_coil&oldid=544257271

How Storms Affect Businesses

Application of information is the only reason to gain information, and thus it is a very important skill that was not adequately taught when I was in school. It is useless to make students memorize and recall information, if they don’t know how they can use it later in life. This is why I have […]

Application of information is the only reason to gain information, and thus it is a very important skill that was not adequately taught when I was in school. It is useless to make students memorize and recall information, if they don’t know how they can use it later in life. This is why I have chosen today’s infographic. Part of the fifth grade curriculum is weather in North Carolina, and in my own experience, many students do not know why they are taught this information. However, this infographic is a great example of why it is important to learn something that can be sought otherwise.

Hurricane Sandy affected many businesses. Many were forced to close their doors, and those who served the entire country were greatly affected, and greatly affected others. For instance, I worked in a stationery store for a few months this past winter. Several major stationery companies were forced to close during the winter months because they were based in the Northeast. There was no way to call about questions, and production time was increased due to these closures. Another example involves a friend of mine here in North Carolina, who works in the marketing department of a major supplier of electronic supplies. When Japan was hit with the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, many plants were forced to rebuild their machinery, and she noticed a drastic spike in sales. So companies can be affected in two ways, by weather where they are located, as well as by weather to their suppliers.

Challenge your students to make other correlations. How will they use other skills in their future lives? How do politicians use history? How do marketing analysts use science and math? In the end, why are your students learning this information?

Blog: http://visual.ly/how-storms-affect-businesses

How Far is it to Mars?

With all of this hype about Mars and the exploration of Mars, there have been many infographics about Mars and space exploration. I have found yet another that is very interesting. Using pixels, this infographic shows how far away Mars is. However, it is not as far away as it used to be. Most people […]

With all of this hype about Mars and the exploration of Mars, there have been many infographics about Mars and space exploration. I have found yet another that is very interesting. Using pixels, this infographic shows how far away Mars is. However, it is not as far away as it used to be.

Most people who remember SPUTNIK and America’s landing on the moon are retiring, so in order to get a first hand experience, most teachers will have to speak with parents or grandparents. But the goal is to get first hand memories of this momentous event that can be related to your students today. For instance, what was someone doing when they found out about these momentous events, what were their thoughts? What did children play with and what were children excited about?

Then have your students imagine what it would be like to walk on Mars. Write a news article about the first Mars landing, or a diary entry as though they were the first person to walk on Mars. Have students discuss what landing on Mars would mean, and what they think will be the next goal after we do land on Mars.

Infographic: http://www.distancetomars.com

The Most Amazing Construction Projects

Constructing a building takes into consideration a great deal as this infographic shares. To begin with, the materials, climate, and foundation must sustain the structure, there must be enough men and women to complete the project with enough knowledge to put into the construction, finances are a major consideration, and of course time. These construction […]

Constructing a building takes into consideration a great deal as this infographic shares. To begin with, the materials, climate, and foundation must sustain the structure, there must be enough men and women to complete the project with enough knowledge to put into the construction, finances are a major consideration, and of course time.

These construction projects take these into consideration, and a great deal more. Do research into various construction projects your students find interesting and find out how these ideas were factored in. For instance, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, what could have been done then, and what can be done now to prevent a building from leaning.

What other things must be considered during construction? What simple machines are used during construction? How is the climate and the soil under the building a factor when choosing a location? How do people finance the building of these massive projects?

Blog: http://visual.ly/most-amazing-construction-projects

Infographic: www.rockanddirt.com