Thursday, March 27, 2008

Make an Origami Jumping Frog from an Index Card - wikiHow

Make an Origami Jumping Frog from an Index Card - wikiHow

I have often thought that a fun physical science lesson would involve this type of origami creature. The lesson objectives would involve following directions and motion principles such as calculating speed or velocity. Ballistic principles can be used, too. The lesson would involve students racing the frogs across a table top or the floor, measuring the frog's journey, and making calculations. Charts and graphs of the motion can be used. Using different materials in the frog's construction would make the basis of an experiment.

If you need a template for an experiment activity worksheet, try the science experiment one on this page of my website. You can download it for free.

Visit the How to Wiki site to see the actual instructions for making the origami frog:
Make an Origami Jumping Frog from an Index Card - wikiHow

Have fun!

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Dark Journey an American Future History

---Yes, I know. This is also posted in my other blog: different title; same emotions.---

Last week I had fun. I laughed with John Stewart as he showed us the sound bites repeated on each of the major networks. Almost, but not quite verbatim, each broadcaster used the same memes to analyze the statements and activities of the presidential candidates. Leave it to the mockery of Stewart to find comedy in the everyday. When my new dog barked at the eagle's birdsong that introduces the Colbert Report, I giggled and took myself off to bed. I am growing really fond of that dog.

Then I watched Link TV over the weekend. Now I am roiling in stomach acid. I spent the whole weekend in emotional turmoil. Shock at the shenanigans of American politics. Awe at the brazen usurption of American civil rights. I was slain by how I had been manipulated time and again by those I should have been able to trust. I now fear for the future of my children. The democracy of the country of my birth is being threatened from within, and patriotism will not save it.

If you want to know the source of the threat, I invite you to watch the Orwell Rolls in his Grave and Propanganda and Politics. These shows resonate with the pain of a betrayed people-US. And the sorry thing is, we actively tolled the death knell ourselves when we allowed voter fraud to occur right under our noses, and we did nothing to stop it.

I love this country. I have always believed that our diversity and system of checks and balances would guarantee our way of life for centuries to come. I believed that, flaws and all, our democracy was the best solution for governing people. I felt such pride in our goodness, or at least our striving to be good. And I am proud of our military and support the public servants-military, police, fire fighters, teachers, civil service workers--that work faithfully to keep us safe and our government operational.

I never believed that in the name of God, and freedom, a Christian president would use his power to undermine our US Constitution. I did not really believe that the mainstream public would rather pay lipservice to a politically correct notion of morality at the expense of modern technology and science. It is OK to use psychology and marketing technologies to win legal battles, no matter what the truth or who is actually guilty. But to accept scientific principles is anathema to one's faith.

Since when is the competition to win cases the measure of justice rather than the identification of guilt or innocence?

Since when is the freedom of speech less important than political correctness? Since when is the American Way subject to conforming to the neighbor in power? Since when does anyone have the right to tell me how to think? Since when can I no longer use my own sense of right and wrong to decide what choices to make?

I always thought that our Constitution protected us from government control over every aspect of our lives and thoughts. Our Bill of Rights and our US Constitution are being reinterpreted to remove the individual civil rights. What will replace them?

We live in frightening times. We live in a country on the verge of self-destruction. Slow, subtle erosions of the traditional American ideals, the vision of the founding fathers, and my civil rights are crumbling. I am white. I am Anglo-Saxon. Yet my voice, just like Peter Jenning's and Trent Lott's, is a weak whisper against the cacophany of sound bites manipulating and spinning the censored tidbits of information about current events and the axis of power in control.

If I count to 10 and breath deeply, can I will it all to go away. "Don't worry; be happy." A mantra should calm me down and make it better.

  • Orwell Rolls in his Grave
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    Saturday March 15th 09:00 am
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  • Propaganda and Politics
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    Friday, March 14th 12:00 pm
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    Monday March 17th 12:00 am

  • Stealing Democracy?
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    Sunday March 16th 10:00 pm

  • Best of Link TV

Read more of my comments about Link TV.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Get these Resources on Global Warming!

The Planet 1-4 are important documentaries showcasing evidence for Global Warming and some of the cultural change that this phenomenon has already wrought. They are useful for high school and homeschool. They do have a political message, but it is one shared by many in the field of ecology and biology today: Global Warming is here.

Link TV is currently showing the 4-part series The Planet, which look for evidence for Global Warming. It airs several times this week including at 12:00 noon EST beginning Tuesday, 3/3/08, with Part 1 and ending Friday, 3/6/08, with Part 4. It is also shown in the middle of the night for those of you who, like me, record things during the sleeping hours; and at other times during the week. Get the schedule.

I watched The Planet 1 this past Sunday. The presentation this week runs 90 minutes because it is interspersed with interviews and Link TV fund-raising announcements.

And such interviews! Peter Coyote interviewed several scientists and authors this past Sunday, including Kim Stanley Robinson and William Steffen. Each have books and talks about the politics and science of Global Warming. The interviews are as interesting and informative as the documentary. I highly recommend that you catch the showing of The Planet this week to be sure to see the interviews.

I tried to locate The Planet documentaries for purchase, but could not find it at Amazon. Maybe later. I did find the books by Steffen and Robinson that are part of the gift package that Link TV was giving for a $300.00 donation. If you want to give less, as I did, but still want the books, they are available at Amazon. I offer them here.

The non-fiction books I recommend as references for student reports. These are the books by Steffen.

Concerning the books by Kim Stanley Robinson, these are fictional accounts of what could happen in the very near future. Robinson offers knowledgeable scenarios of the the individual and governmental responses to this looming crisis. Critiques of the books are on the Amazon pages. I offer links to the more informative ones that I deem useful for teachers and homeschool parents. These critiques mention the concepts covered in the book and will prove helpful in lesson planning.

Furthermore, the book review of one of the books in the trilogy by a school librarian publication, Library Journal Reveiw, indicates that these books are appropriate for use with youth. I haven't yet read them, but I think they will be safe. I believe the ones I have read--Red Mars and Green Mars, both on the terraforming and colonization of Mars by Robinson--are safe enough.

Read these informative critiques on the book that let teachers know what topics are covered so these books can be used in the classroom. The Library Journal review on the book page of Forty Days of Rain implies that the book is suitable for a high school library.



Read more about Link TV and some of its offerings at Valerie's Memos later this week and, of course, at the Link TV website itself.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Getting Kids to Read

One of my passions is encouraging kids to read my favorite books: great science fiction.
In fact I even joined a group that facilitates just that. You can visit their website at Reading for the Future, which links to other sites with the same mission.

In the back of my mind for years has been this idea. I present it you today.

Yes, I know that authors do not having their works butchered or censored. However, kids are kids; and there are a few things about adult literature and kids that either are incompatible or intimidating.

I have not checked to see if this is already being done. Is it?

What if we did this to some of the exciting adult science fiction:

  1. Make a reading list of the best pages in a long, complex "future history" with many interlacing threads.  What if that list dealt with only one thread and were placed in a mini-story for kids?
  2.  What if the stories were illustrated in the same manner as the old Treasure Island and Star Wars books (art rather than photos)?
  3.  What if a list of the pages of only one subset of readings were in a reading list or lesson?
  4. What if new anthologies were published with certain words removed and story subsets were included--like the old literature books we grew up with but with book passages as well as short stories?

These could be short, 100 pages or so. They could be ebooks. They could be illustrated. They could be packaged as youth books. They could be paperback and library-bound hardbacks. They could have links to author bios, information about the "rest of the story" and lessons online--all those things that would make the book more like a textbook removed from the book itself but made easily accessible.

Teachers and Librarians, would this work?

I have a long list of books--the ones in my bookstore online--that I would love included in such a project. I have another set that I have recently read that I would want included, too.

Yes, I would love to be tagged as an editor for such a project.

The picture at the top is of a slide that is a PowerPoint Template Design. To me this design is a bit other-worldly. I thought it would add ambiance to this post.

Postscript: I reread this page today, 10/8/10, and -- oops! -- found typos.  I corrected several. Hope I got them all! Sorry. --Valerie