Saturday, February 12, 2022

STEM communicators for the TikTok generation

Two media items in two days. Move over Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, and Carl Sagan. Make room for The Next Generation.

Image: Science Friday

Science Friday (February 11, 2022)

Science is for everyone. But you knew that.

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

The Theater of Electricity at Boston's Museum of Science

Today's episode of the Atlas Obscura podcast was dedicated to the Theater of Electricity at Boston's Museum of Science.

I was lucky enough to visit it in the 1990s. And yes, I forever saw my own trusty 1960s-era Cenco hair-raiser as a mere miniature Van de Graaff in comparison. Boston's behemoth is stunning.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Where's my stuff?

I created a new blog to document the curriculum resources I have authored/created over the years. Specifically the ones that have been published beyond the realm of remains my "school-oriented" website. It began in the 1990s as a repository for most of my physics curriculum materials. I adopted the "Phyz" prefix from my mentor, the late Walt Scheider, Ann Arbor Huron High's 1983 Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. grew to be a useful place for sharing curriculum materials with students and teachers. My district eventually offered websites to teacher via a service vendor. The hope was that teachers would construct personal websites through this district service. Those who spent the time doing so then had the virtual rug pulled out from under them as the district switched its teacher web services vendor. 

I maintained through a stream of district fits and starts. Schoolwires and Schoology are couple that I remember.

Over the years, I became friends with Paul Hewitt, who invited me to author lab manuals for Conceptual Science textbooks published by Pearson. I also wrote several "Figuring Physics" questions for Paul Hewitt's The Physics Teacher cartoon. Some of them are hosted at Arbor Scientific's Next Time Questions page.

The good people of CU/Boulder's PhET team had been producing solid computer simulations for years by the time I started developing activities around several of those sims. I posted my activities to PhET's libraries of activities. PhET is reconstructing the old (legacy) Flash and Java sims in HTML5. Some of these rebuilds break my activities. Sometimes I can fix things. Sometimes I cannot.

The skinny fish tank I designed for use in my classroom was picked up by Arbor Scientific, who named it the "Laser Viewing Tank". Refraction, total internal reflection, mirages, scattering, and diffraction were made immediate and accessible to students with these simple tanks.

In 2018, I began posting resources to Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT). I had made a purchase at TpT (and was grateful to do so), and decided I might have wares I could sell on that platform. I called my TpT store, The Lessons of Phyz.

It seemed like a good idea to wrangle my disparate resources in a manner I could provide background and/or usage tips. And a place where I can announce new things as I produce them. I settled on creating a new blog.

Pre-populating the new blog with extant resources was non-trivial. I had more stuff out there than I thought. The blog post dates are mostly ... "impressionistic," serving to be reasonably accurate and appropriately functional.

In any case, this is where my stuff is: The Lessons of Phyz.