Friday, October 9, 2009

Bangkok Shell Museum

Earth Science A and B classes had a field trip on Friday October 9, 2009 to the Bangkok Sea Shell Museum. We had been studying minerals/rocks, their properties, and how they form, and some students thought shells came from the same sources. So the field trip really helped students understand the difference between something that is made organically and something that is inorganic in nature. We hope to learn more about this as we begin to study other topics. There were so many varieties of shells, some coming from carnivorous animals, and others from herbivores. In any case, the students enjoyed themselves and afterwards they had a quick stop at McDonald's before returning to school for their afternoon classes.

Francis Horne, a biologist who studies shell formation at Texas State University, offers this answer.

The exoskeletons of snails and clams, or their shells in common parlance, differ from the endoskeletons of turtles in several ways. Seashells are the exoskeletons of mollusks such as snails, clams, oysters and many others. Such shells have three distinct layers and are composed mostly of calcium carbonate with only a small quantity of protein--no more than 2 percent. These shells, unlike typical animal structures, are not made up of cells. Mantle tissue that is located under and in contact with the shell secretes proteins and mineral extracellularly to form the shell. Think of laying down steel (protein) and pouring concrete (mineral) over it. Thus, seashells grow from the bottom up, or by adding material at the margins. Since their exoskeleton is not shed, molluscan shells must enlarge to accommodate body growth. This pattern of growth results in three distinct shell layers: an outer proteinaceous periosteum (uncalcified), a prismatic layer (calcified) and an inner pearly layer of nacre (calcified).

Hmm....So minerals are involved in the formation of the shells. We will have to futher investigate.

Science Club Experiences Combustion

I had the pleasure of teaching my Science Club students about combustion reactions today. We started out by viewing Grand Hanks video, which they liked a lot. Then we went to the lab, gathered the appropriate supplies, and we did a demonstration on the soccer field. The kids were so excited and they even were able to video tape me screaming! Then I explained to them that the reaction we just did is the same type of reaction that is responsible for sending rockets to space, except that NASA uses more fuel. We began making our own little rocket ships, but then the rain came. We decided to do a test launch from the second floor balcony since it was raining so hard. Next week we will launch the other 2 rockets we made. I ended the experience with 1 more demo that the students again video taped. I should be able to put an animoto slide show together so keep an eye out for that.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Science Lab of Grand Hank TV Promo

I was lucky to meet Grand Hank at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in New Orleans.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wells Teachers

Wells International School recently hosted a workshop conducted by the College Board from the U.S. that offered strategies for engaging students in science practices...

Click on the link above to read the entire article.

Earth Science Trying to Grow Crystals

My Earth Science students have been learning all about minerals: how to classify them, learning about their properties, how they form, and how they are used in society. The closest we can get to making minerals is growing rock candy. As I began this lab with students I realized that they needed to have a better understanding of the states of matter (solids, liquids, and gases), and they needed to be able to distinguish between dissolving and melting. So after we made a super saturated sugar solution, added some food coloring, and left the solution in a jar to sit for a week, we conducted a couple of labs on understanding the states of matter.

Cellular Respiration

Students in my Biology class have been learning about photosynthesis and cellular respiration. They are in the process of conducting a cellular respiration lab in which they mix yeast and apple cider in a closed container. They put a balloon on the top of the container to trap any gases that are produced. This lab will require students to review cellular respiration, so they can come up with a reasonable explanation for the results of the lab.

What is Educator Space Camp All About

This link should take you to the news article and TV broadcast about the Honeywell Space Camp for Educators that aired on 12 news in Arizona.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Thailand Experience Thus Far

Creating Scientists

Each of my students are required to keep a lab book in which they write all their observations, data, create graphs, do calculations, and write their formal write ups. I will add more examples of student work as the year goes on.

Students Hard at Work Doing Labs

Earth Science: My two Earth science classes have been hard at working learning about the scientific method, and how to write lab reports. They are very excited to learn. I look forward to having them conduct more investigations in the future.

Biology: My Biology class has been studying organic molecules. In the pictured lab they are testing different foods for complex carbohydrates, simple sugars, lipids, and proteins. They will be returning to the lab next week to continue their investigation on osmosis and diffusion as we continue to talk about cells.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Profile of an Engineer

Jamel Lynch

By Jamel Lynch

January 16, 2004

Engineering Major: Electrical Engineering

Degree Granting Institution(s): Virginia Military Institute, Virginia Tech

Job Title: Development Engineer at IBM

Job Responsibilities: I am a development engineer in the Personal Computing Division at IBM in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. My job responsibilities include solving problems and integrating emerging wireless technology such as Bluetooth into IBM's brand of ThinkPad systems. Designing radio technology into computing systems requires the use of mathematical equations and scientific methods to solve real-world problems that affect our customers such as radio frequency interference or battery life due to transmission of energy.

A typical day at work involves meeting with engineers in my department and areas outside of my expertise to discuss, analyze, and provide solutions to computer or network issues discovered during the system design and qualification process. Another portion of the day is spent in the laboratory troubleshooting problems and providing guidance to technicians who perform the test qualification procedures. I also brief managers or project managers about problems with the system. The ability to articulate is as important as possessing the skills to analyze difficult computer designs.

I enjoy being exposed to the multitude of ideas within the innovative field of development engineering. The future job outlook for development engineers in the United States is shrinking due to automation and economic challenges, however, there are countless avenues available such as consulting, project management, and software design.

Best Advice: Take time to determine what activities make you the happiest. If you enjoy solving problems and designing new "things," development engineering could be a good match for you. Alternatively, if you like taking things apart and fixing them or designing electrical gadgets, electrical engineering would be a good career option to explore. Whatever you decide to do, work hard and never give up.


Sunday, July 5, 2009

DOE Academies Creating Teacher Scientists

At the moment I'm participating in a DOE program for teachers. I am spending the days reviewing lessons, and going over the use of lab notebooks, participating is lab activities, attending lectures, attending workshops, and I even get to visit different labs here on the campus of Iowa State University. This program serves to promote science education. I will be returning to AMES for the 2010 and 2011 summers as well.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Costa Rica Video

2009 Honeywell Educators at Space Academy

I was very lucky to receive a scholarship from Honeywell to attend space camp. From June 12-19 I spent all day engaged in intensive classroom, laboratory and training time, focusing on space science and space exploration. The teachers who attended were broken into teams of 16. My team was "Inspiration." We even were able to simulate missions from space, which gave me a much better understanding of all the teamwork and effort that is behind each mission. I hope to be able to bring some of the activities and experiences from space camp back to my classroom.

Hey, if any of you are scientists/researchers/engineers/mathematicians please feel free to give my students a description of what you do day by day. They would love to hear from you.

2009 EFHS Costa Rica Tour

From June 2-10 I traveled through Costa Rica with 4 of my students. We traveled from San Jose to Fortuna, Monteverde, Jaco Beach, Manuel Antonio Biological Reserve, and back to San Jose. We were fortunate to see both Poas and Arenal volcanoes, kayak in Arenal lake, visit a hot spring at the base of the volcano, hike trails in the Santa Elena Biological Reserve, Experience a Canopy tour and horseback riding in Monteverde, swim, snorkel and go canoeing on the coast, see a wealth of the flora and fauna of the country, learn about how the country is balancing its energy needs while it sustains its ecosystem, and learn about the culture and history. Oh, we also got to practice our Spanish. What an educational experience this was for us all!

Summer Update 2009

I have been very busy this summer traveling with students, participating in professional development, and packing for my big move to Thailand. I want to share my experiences with all of you so you can get an idea of how passionate I am about becoming the best teacher possible, and so students, parents, and teachers can learn from each other, and continue to support each other outside of the classroom.