Category Archives: Fun, Silly and Funny
This song by BioRad is a funny discussion starter on the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and biotechnology. For a full lesson plan, with editable slides for students and a complete TED Ed lesson (with quiz), visit the full page.
This is a neat connection to the properties of water:
This tweet from the IB World Magazine links to an interesting article:
It also reminded me of these Manga Guides to Physics, Statistics, Biochemistry, Mathematics by NoStarch, which were shared recently by Frank Noschese and Dr Tae. They’re translated from Japanese, and written in the Manga style by artists and experts in their field.
You can see some sample pages on Scribd:
They are funny, with some clear explainers and a narrative context for the content. You could recreate some of the situations or experiments in class, and use pages as a discussion (in a similar way to concept cartoons).
I do have some concern that the common thread through the books is of a young girl who doesn’t ‘get it’ and so needs the help of an “explaining male*” (typically nerdy, with glasses) to be able to understand – and the motivation seems to be to save grades or achieve romance. Does this reinforce gender stereotypes, or would high school students see through it as part of the narrative gimmick? Being in Japan, I often see my students and other young adults on trains reading comic books with similar artwork and, I assume, storylines. The style is commonplace here, but I do wonder how girls in other countries would react to the imagery.
I can see it being recommended as a supplement to differentiate the presentation of content for students who are into the comic book/ manga genres, rather than as a class text.
* Mother Jones article: the problem with men explaining things
Here’s a bit of fun for the last lesson of the year, with a sensible Chemistry or Physics class. The aim is to use the gas produced in the reaction between baking soda and dilute HCl (or vinegar) to propel a cork over a wall and into a beaker. Lots of fun with testing methods, hypothesising and problem solving.
Obvious safety issues: use low concentrations, keep washing hands and/or use gloves and keep goggles on at all times. Students must be sure to aim away from the body and each other.
He also has a radio show/ podcast called The Infinite Monkey Cage, hosted with Brian Cox on the BBC. In this episode, Six Degrees of Separation, they discuss the connections of humans with Stephen Fry, Simon Singh and Alex Krotoski.
Related to it is an update to the Powers of Ten video, from the IMAX Cosmic Voyage movie, narrated by Morgan Freeman. the start brings us in powers of ten, out into the universe. From 6:03, we start moving in – to cells, molecules and atoms.
Jump straight to the small bits here (6:03). Biology class will use it too, as we look into measurement and microscopy.
This is why we love Science.
Thanks to Bing (the encyclopedic student, not the search engine) for showing me this. The perfect post-exam chillout!
The Symphony of Science is a musical project headed by John Boswell, designed to deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form.
It mashes TED Talks, Carl Sagan and autotune into quite the experience. Let The Ode to the Brain mess with your grey matter: