Monthly Archives: September 2003

An Easy Read

Here is a really interesting “factoid” about how the brain perceives the written word, which I came across while reading Snooze Button Dreams:

“Acocdrnig to an elgnsih unviesitry sutdy the oredr of letetrs in a wrod dosen’t mttaer, the olny thnig thta’s iopmrantt is that the frsit and lsat Ltteer of eevry word is in the crcreot ptoision. The rset can be jmbueld and one is stlil able to raed the txet wiohtut dclftfuiiy.”

The National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

I’ve got weather on the brain! The NOAA has a portion of their web site dedicated to education resources. They have sections specially for teachers and students, as well as a section with links to “cool sites for everyone.” For example, the “teachers” page has links to information on:

  • weather, climate, the oceans and satellites
  • special training opportunities for K-12 teachers (both NOAA and non-NOAA programs)
  • teacher resource centers
  • and more…

Be sure to spend some time exploring the main NOAA site as well. If you are willing to do some exploring, you can find all sorts of fun and useful information (e.g., my family has a cabin on the Delaware River and we use the NOAA site to access interactive maps showing river levels in real-time, as measured by the National Weather Service.)

Tracking a Hurricane

Here on the East coast we are bracing for the arrival of Hurricane Isabel. With hurricanes making headlines on the news, I thought it would be timely to mention that there are a number of different activities on the web for middle school and high school classrooms. The Education World site has some ideas for activities for younger children as well.

Note: The picture to the right was taken from The caption given on that site is: “A view of Hurricane Isabel from space taken from the international space station on Monday. “

A Call for Submissions

If you have any suggestions for posts, please feel free to send them to me and I will consider them for publication on this site. I am very interested in links to physics, chemistry or engineering activities (since this is not my area of expertise).


MIT OpenCourseWare

Yesterday, I discovered via Brian’s Education Blog that MIT has made many of its course materials available on-line free of charge; the web site states that virtually all MIT course materials should be on-line by 2007. Of course, you don’t get to interact with MIT professors, so this site will not substitute for a degree from MIT. However, these materials are a great resource for a large variety of school subjects!

Note: The MIT OCW site is meant to aid in curriculum development and other non-commercial purposes. Check out the MIT OCW site for the terms of use.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Many of you are probably already familiar with Bill Nye (the Science Guy). His popular TV show was broadcast on public television from 1992-1998. His web site (which requires Macromedia Flash Player 6) has a number of different experiments that you can do at home. First, click on “home demos”. Next, choose the subject you are most interested in. Then choose the experiment you would like to try. Printer-friendly versions of each experiment are available as well.

Note: Collections of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” episodes are availabe on VHS video, but they are listed as “out of stock” at many on-line retailers. However, I was able to find used copies of many Bill Nye videos at and

Teaching Genetics with Cookies?

The Center for Biology Education at the University of Wisconsin at Madison has links to several different teaching resources on their K-12 outreach page. Two of the listed activities can be used in the classroom to demonstrate/teach students about genetics and heredity:

1) The Cookie Analogy uses different varieties of cookies (baked by the students) to demonstrate concepts of heredity.

2) Reebops are imaginary organisms, constructed from marshmallows (and other items), that “breed” in the classroom and therefore allow students to follow the transmission of genetic traits through several generations.

The Science of Cooking

The Exploratorium in San Francisco has a portion of their web site dedicated to the science of cooking. They have examples of activities and experiments that you can do with different food items (e.g., bread, meat, eggs, pickles, candy, etc.) Just click on the image of whichever food item you wish to learn more about and then look in the “kitchen lab” section of that web page. Within each activity/example, they have a link to a section where you can “share & discuss” your findings. This feature also allows you to get feedback on your results or ask questions to museum staff. Check it out!