tt_icon_170This week’s episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast actually features, well, me! Yay. It’s nice to record myself, not always other people, though the folks at the Exploratorium are so darned clever and fun, I feel it’s my mission to document every last scrap of their wisdom and energy. I’m trying…

So, this time I give you a way to adapt a great Exploratorium exhibit to something you can do at home with a friend and a set of keys.  It’s about how we localize sound, which is something very important for people who use sound to navigate (like blind people).  So, find out more about the perception of sound by listening in to this week’s episode.  For those of you who haven’t listened before, these are just 5 minutes long!

Listen to Find that Sound.

This is from the Exploratorium — several opportunities to connect your classrooms with polar science, including via live webcast three times a week!

Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists
Webcasts at 1:00 p.m. PST
December 7, 2008–January 4, 2009
Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays
Connect Live with Antarctica!
E-mail polar@exploratorium.edu or call (415) 561-0359
You’re invited to chat live with an Antarctic scientist during one of
our Webcasts! Contact us to arrange a connection online or by phone.
Or be part of our Webcast studio audience at the Exploratorium.

Watch Webcasts
http://explo.tv/icestories
In celebration of the International Polar Year, we begin a new Ice
Stories Webcast season from Antarctica on December 7. Visit explo.tv
for a schedule of upcoming shows and to watch archived Webcasts on
demand.

Follow Dispatches

http://icestories.exploratorium.edu/dispatches
We gave polar scientists cameras and blogging tools and asked them to
document their fieldwork. Follow along on their adventures and see
what it’s like to be a research scientist in an extreme environment.
Questions and comments for the scientists are invited!

tt_icon_1701I just posted a new episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast on Mini Labs. Give it a listen!  “Zeke” Kossover is a teacher in the bay area, and he’s always posting wonderful tips about teaching — from great organizational tips to the best places to find cheap electronic components to astute tips for teaching physics.  In this podcast I got him to talk about an idea he’s used in his classroom and taught to many other science teachers — Mini Labs.  The idea is to take a science concept and write a very focussed, brief lab activity around it.  He has some concrete tips for making these labs successful and why they can be a useful addition to your class, without taking the amount of time and equipment that full lab experiences can require.

It can be hard to change your view of things. I was just talking about this with a friend last night — we get used to a certain model of the world in science, and it’s rather revolutionary to see the world in a different way. If you see something that doesn’t fit your view of how the world works, you can literally not see it. That’s what happened to Newton when he saw (or rather didn’t see) the evidence that light is really a wave. I just posted an episode of my Science Teaching Tips podcast where Exploratorium staff physicist Paul Doherty tells how to do the same experiment that Newton did back in the 1650’s, so you can see what he didn’t, and confirm the wave nature of light. Listen to the episode — Seeing the light.
Paul Doherty’s Web site