Saturday, March 31, 2012

Scientific tuesdays

This semester I am following a blog called Scientific Tuesdays. This blog is done by one guy and he does a lot of activities that are geared toward entertaining children and are often fun crafts but have a lot of good science behind them. In the very first episode I watched he created neon solar powered lights for Halloween. He walked us through the craft part of painting the classes and then showed us how to disassemble a solar lamp. In disassembling the lamp he talked about how the lamp was a circuit and that the reason it worked with solar power was because all day the suns light was absorbed and stored. Once the light was turned on the wires connected let the energy run through them completing the circuit. The end result of the activity was having glowing lights that were solar powered.
The second episode I watched involved showing us how to make a trip wire. In this activity he took apart a toy candle light and showed how to break the circuit up. In breaking the circuit he had two loose wires that when connected to a long spare wire would then re complete the circuit. Of one end of the loose wire he has attached each side to a clip. The clip when closed allowed the circuit to flow but when was open did not. When the clip closed and the circuit was complete the light would flicker on. To test the trip wire he placed it across a doorway so that when someone walked by and pulled on the wire the clip would close. I thought this was a fun was to show students to a circuit works. This would be a fun activity or lab to do with students along with the glowing lamps.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Mental Math

One of the pod casts I am following this semester is called Mental Math. Mental Math provides helpful tips to doing math equations in your head. In the most recent pod cast I have viewed I have learned how to divide numbers by .5 in my head. For example in you are dividing a 10 by .5 it is the same as multiplying by 2, this is the case for any time that you are dividing .5 by a number.  I think learning tips like this are extremely helpful for any prospective teacher. While it is important for students to learn how to write out algebraic equations and to be able to show their work to support their answers it is also important that students understand tricks for more real world applications. Often teachers focus a lot on how you got your answer and what many teachers seem to lose is that there is more than one way to come about the answer to a math problem and not one single way is correct. 

When students come into a standardized test they are not being judged on the work they can show, there is not partial credit so it would be relevant for a student to know the fastest way to get to an answer. In an age where standardized testing is relevant but changing we as teachers need to be preparing students to be able to do these things.  As a student who struggled with math a lot in elementary school I know that one of the major problems I had was with simple operations when problems got too big. If there were multiple steps for an equation I often made simple errors. For other students who have the same problem watching videos that are made through Mental Math could provide them with shortcuts that might eliminate these types of simple errors.