Author: DiScoro

Critical on Maps

Rotating globe
Why all maps of the world are wrong. Or in other words: Why all maps of the world present a wrong, distorted image.

Why do we use maps? How can we present the globe in two dimensions? What challenges do we face?

Start with the first video and than move on to the second one. The latter is spoken fast and uses a wider, more scientific vocabulary.

The only correct representation of the world is a globe. Every projection serves a specific purpose. It’s interesting to explore the different projections and their use and purpose throughout history. It appears that projections and perpectives change over time and place and are culturally bound.

To get a good impression of the tool ‘The True Size’ of a country makes it possible to drag a chosen country over the world and compare it with other countries. Visit the website  https://thetruesize.com

This topic can be addressed from many different angles: geography, politics. history, mathematics, ethics….

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World Atlas App

logo atlas AppThe World Atlas App is a comprehensive educational app for geography. Position maps, flags, and data for more than 240 countries and territories of the world are available. Data from wikipedia is attached to the App. The App is suitable for secondary and higher education students.

The free edition offers political maps with regional units and comprehensive economic and statistical country data for all African countries.  For extensive information on all countries in the world and for the complete Quiz function, the full version must be purchased.

See also Maps of the World,which is more suitable for primary and lower secondary students.

 Purchase  Basic version : Free

 Full version :  $ 4.00  (approx.)

 Hardware  iPhone, iPad, Google Play/Android
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or later, Android 4.1 or higher

Maps of the World App

Maps of our World App describes itself as a geography quiz. yet, the App is more than a quiz, it is a training tool on topographic features such as countries, capitals, other major cities and rivers.ains etc. In addition it shows information on countries. The maps are highly clickable. The free version is very useful, shows mainly political maps, and is so far free from advertisements. The full package offers fysiological maps as well.

Many Apps that claim to offer World Maps have a strong focus on the USA. The App Maps of our World is a genuine tool for more than just the USA.

It ia a user friendly App which is a great tool for primary and lower-secondary students to train there knowledge on the position of countries and cities in the world and some main features.

For more extensive geographic information see the World Atlas App.

 Purchase  Basic version : Free

 Full package :  $ 12.99

 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or later

New York Times

The New York Times App offers quality articles that can be used in class, be it in arts or science classes. The download is free of charge and includes FIVE free articles per month. These can be shared, thus used in class.

The articles are possibly relatively long for students with English as a second language. However, the topics cover a wide spectre, from art, human interest, politics to technology.

 Purchase Basic subscription $1.88 per week for education
(students and     teachers)
Free App with 5 free articles per month
 Hardware iOS, Android, Kendle
 Requirements App

Eyesight Problems and Social Media

Research in Asia shows that in the big cities 90% of the students leaving school have to wear spectacles due to myopia (nearsightedness). The reasons given are too much hard work for school and far too little exposure to daylight and lack of time spent outdoors.
Recent research in The Netherlands shows a steep increase in myopia (nearsightedness) among 20 year old students (Klaver, 2017). Myopia is the eye disorder with the most rapid increase in prevalence worldwide. In 1990 only 5% of the school leavers in The Netherlands suffered from myopia. In 2017 this has risen to 50%, and this is likely to increase. It develops in childhood, with a peak incidence between the ages of 13 to 15 years. Myopia developed in childhood cannot be reversed.

The main reasons given for the steep increase is the frequent use of social media on smartphones and iPads, and og computers in general. Children use their eyes too one-sided, namely for nearsight mainly. This results in eyes that change shape to accomodate for this effort. Another negative side-effect of the use of digital devices is the fact that the eyes become too dry. We blink only 10% of the normal amount when watching at a screen.
Other causes, related to the use of digital devices, are a decrease in hours spent outdoors and the decrease in exposure to daylight. In childhood the eyes need both daylight and the exposure to farsightedness.

How can we reverse the myopia epidemic?

Researchers and experts on eyesight have developed a rule-of thumb.

20-20-2

After 20 minutes working on a screen

Take a break of at least 20 seconds

Spend at least 2 hours a day outdoors

Additional smart rules for parents and teachers to prevent myopia and other eye problems are:

  • Young children (< 6) should not work more than 20-30 minutes a day on a screen.
  • The SmartBoards in classrooms should be turned off regularly.

Riddles and Puzzles

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

Puzzles and riddles that are fun. They require language skills, understanding, logical thinking and can be solved individually or in groups. The Brainzilla website offers a number of ‘Zebra’ puzzles and riddles. An easy one to start with is Movies Night and a pretty difficult one to solve is Einstein’s Riddle. Brainzilla puzzles and riddles are suitable for K4-10.

It is advisable to print out the riddles and puzzles, as the solutions can easily be found online. You can help the pupils to organise their thinking by providing a card for every clue and a stack of cards for the values given. Allow pupils to work together, because not all will enjoy the puzzles if they get stuck.

More similar puzzles can be found on Math is Fun under the so called ‘Einstein Puzzles’. The vocabulary used in the clues here is more suitable for K8-12.

Visualisation of so called ‘Einstein’s Riddle’ which can be found on many websites.

 

Chemistry: pH scales and acidity

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

The PHET simulation pH Scales enables students to experiment with acidic and basic fluids.

Note that pH scale and acidity are complex concepts for students especially for primary school pupils. A lower pH value means more ‘acidic’ and a higher value means less acidic, or more ‘basic’.  Neutral is indicated by the pH value 7.0.

However, the simulation can help the students to familiarize themselves with the concept(s). The simulation can be used in grade 6 or 7. Depending on how much time you wish to spend and how much structure you wish to give, in addition to the simulation, you could encourage the students to experiment and discover the basics about pH values in fluids and its application in every day life.

Suggestions for tasks and experiments:

  1. Check out the different fluids available.
    Rank the fluids from most basic to most acidic before you start measuring. Write down your estimation.
  2. Measure the pH values for the fluids given and write the results in a table.
    Which fluids are closest to pH 7.0?
    What does it mean if  the pH value of a fluid is close to 7.0?
  3. Use water to dillute the fluids and try to make a fluid that is closest to 7.0.
    Write down what you have done to reach your result.
    Make a screencast of your closest result(s) and print it out.
  4. Can you dillute a basic fluid with water to a pH value below 7.0?
    Can you dillute an acid fluid with water to a pH value above 7.0?
    Try to explain the result?

Think beyond the simulation.

  1. How could you make an acidic fluid basic? In other words, how could you for example change the pH value of an acidic fluid from 5.0 to 7.5?
  2. a. Your body functions best if the pH value is neutral. How does your body manage this?
    b. With the knowledge about the pH value of your body, how can you support your body to remain healthy?

pH value paper strips

In addition to the simulation students could use pH paper strips to measure the acidity of fluids. It becomes particularly interesting if the fluids you use can be tasted. Students can describe the taste they experience. Use for example coca cola or other fizzy drinks, fruit juice, tea, milk, coffee, water. This real life experiment makes it possible to neutralise an acid/basic fluid using other chemicals, for example by adding bicarbonate (baking soda) to an acidic fluid.

battery hydrometer

Another interesting tool is a battery gravity hydrometer, which actually measures the acidity (pH value) of the battery acid. You could also say that it measures the gravity of the battery fluid. Together with a Volt meter it is used to check if the battery is charged and in good condition If your battery is fully charged the pH value should be near 1.28. If the battery is discharged, the pH value will be near 1.14. The battery hydrometer only measures accurate with pH values around 1.2. So is useless to measure pH values over 2.

More PHET simulations. See also Balancing Act, The moving man, Energy skate park, and Density and Buoyancy.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  browser