Who’s on first? Heck, I just wanted to know about the Periodic Table . . .

November 28, 2013

Genius from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, paying tribute to Abbott and Costello while educating us on the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, paying tribute to Abbott and Costello while educating us on the Periodic Table of the Elements.

Science project: Hello Kitty at 94,000 feet

February 8, 2013

GoPro cameras weigh so little, work so well and are so tough that they go anywhere.  How we would have loved to attach one to the kites we sent a couple thousand feet above the Utah mountains.

Only time stood between the cameras and their use in high-altitude photography from weather balloons — even the topic of a credit card advertisement.  And now, a middle school science project, for a Christian parochial school (what science could a religious school foul up in studying the atmosphere?).

Four Go-Pros, a styrofoam box, a bunch of duct tape, a GPS-equipped locater (you could use a cell phone), some high-technology-now-cheap sensing equipment from High Altitude Science for temperature and air pressure — even a 7th-grade science project can make Galileo, Newton and Goddard jealous.

You can tell it’s 7th grade from the choice of the astroKittynaut to the choice of music, no?


Cornerstone Christian school 7th grade science project.
The effects of Altitude on air pressure and temperature.
Cameras: GoPro Hero2 video footage.
Edited By: Eddie Lacayo elacayo212@gmail.com
Flight gear: High Altitude Science.
Flight computer / Data acquisition: High Altitude Science.
Tree Climber: Woodpecker Arborist.

music: We Are Young by: Fun (Feat Janelle Monáe)
We Do Not Own The Rights To This Song
buy at: http://www.amazon.com/Are-Young-feat-…

This isn’t an ad for High Altitude Science, nor for GoPro (although if they want to send some products along for review, I would review them with full disclosure, and return what isn’t used up), but if you are inspired to try this, look at some of the details.

From High Altitude Science, a sales-pitch on how easy it is:

  • If you’re interested in starting your own space program, click here.
  • If you’re interested in purchasing weather balloons, satellite trackers, and weather balloon kits, visit our Store.
  • If you already have a weather balloon kit, but need some training or a refresher, read our Tutorials.
  • If you’re an educator who wants to inspire your students, visit our Education Page.
  • If you would like to see our products in action, visit our Videos Page.

I got my GoPro at REI; there are other vendors, and the new ones are very impressive.  High Altitude Science uses a special mount for the GoPro, which they sell with the camera.  For the project above, some of the cameras were borrowed.  Some adult supervision is needed — this package drifted more than 40 miles from the launch site; you want to be sure to avoid air travel lanes at launch (a lot of the Dallas-Ft.Worth area would be off limits); launching from Salt Lake or Utah Valleys could put the touchdown site 5,000 feet up in a wilderness area.  There are considerations on safety and recovery that require some thought.  When CNN tried it, they ran into problems — their account could be useful background (with cool photos, too).

What else could you do with these cameras and science project kits?  How about flying a kite, just to look at your town.  Attach a camera to a radio-controlled aircraft (a drone), and see what you can’t see of a wilderness area or riparian environment, or forest canopy, or rockface on a mountain.  Get the water-tight case, and put the thing into a river or lake.

A 7th-grade kid doing real science measurements at a Christian school — ain’t technology wonderful?

Is there gyroscope device to keep these devices from spinning so wildly?  Will the new GoPros support a radio contact to get images live from the device?


Film from the physics class at East Union High School in Afton, Iowa, showing more detail of the data collection and analysis:

A July 2012 launch from Austin, Texas:

A Vimeo version, for a launch from farther east (BrooklynSpaceProgram.org), that garnered coverage from the New York Times:

How many of these projects have there been?

Scenes from a beach: At the edge of the sea

December 20, 2011

Interesting little bauble in the Biloxi-Gulfport (Mississippi) Sun-Herald, I think from their columnist George Thatcher:

Cover of Rachel Carson's "The Edge of the Sea"

Good teacher resource for National Environmental Week, April 15-21, 2012

December 20 Scenes from the beach

“To stand at the edge of the sea,” wrote Rachel Carson, “… is to have knowledge of things that are as eternal, as any earthly life can be.”* The things that we see this morning–a cerulean sea and sky, the shorebirds, the sun still near the horizon — are identically the same objects that could be seen in Cambrian times, eons ago. There is a sense of the eternal in the objects viewed today. And I suppose there will be little change in a faraway eon that lies in some future age. — Diary, autumn 2011

* At the Edge of the Sea by Rachel Carson; Signet Books, New York (1955)

Read more here: http://www.sunherald.com/2011/12/19/3641733/december-20-scenes-from-the-beach.html#storylink=cpy

One should read Rachel Carson to get closer to the universe, not for political reasons, not necessarily for the science.  But being scientifically accurate, and being close to the pulse of the universe, Carson’s views will change your politics for the better if you really read and listen.

Friends of science and evolution: Testify next week in the Texas textbook process?

July 14, 2011

I get important e-mail from the Texas Freedom Network; they’re asking for help next week to fight creationism and other forms of buncombe popular in Texas:

Science and the SBOE: One Week to Go

Next week, the Texas State Board of Education will take a critical vote on science in our public schools. We need people like you to make sure the vote is in favor of sound, well-established science.

Up for board consideration are science instructional materials submitted by a number of publishers and vendors who want their product used in Texas classrooms. Even before the board meets, far-right groups have been hard at work trying to ensure materials approved by the board attack and diminish evolutionary science and include the junk science of “intelligent design”/creationism.

The attacks include one from a little-know firm out of New Mexico, International Databases, which submitted instructional materials rife with creationist propaganda.

It gets worse. Far-right SBOE members last month appointed creationists with questionable scientific credentials to teams tasked with reviewing the materials and making recommendations to the board.

And new board chair Barbara Cargill upped the stakes when in a speech just last week she framed the debate over science as a “spiritual battle.”

The board will hold just ONE public hearing on the science materials. Your participation is crucial.

It is critical that you act now by clicking here to express your interest in testifying before the board on July 21.

Please note: The deadline to sign up to testify is 5 p.m. Monday.

We must insist that the SBOE keep junk science – including “intelligent design”/creationism – out of our children’s classrooms. The board must approve only instructional materials that are accurate, that are in line with sound and well-established science, and that will prepare Texas children to succeed in college and the jobs of the 21st century.

Texas Freedom Network advances a mainstream agenda of religious freedom and individual liberties to counter the radical right. www.tfn.org | www.tfninsider.org | General: tfn@tfn.org
Tell a friend to subscribe to TFN News Clips, Alerts or Rapid Response Teams. Subscribers may choose the issue areas that interest them. To change your TFN subscription preferences – or to unsubscribe – click here.
Copyright 2010, Texas Freedom Network

Trying to carve out time here.  Can you help?

Hearings will be most interesting.  Support for the Texas State Board of Education actually comes, often, from the Texas Education Agency (TEA).  TEA this week laid off just under 200 workers, to deal with the 36% budget chopping done to the agency by the Texas Lege.  Word comes this week that curriculum directors at TEA were let go, including the director of science curriculum.

It’s rather like the first 20 weeks of World War II in the Pacific, with the aggressors advancing on almost all fronts against science.  When is our Battle of Midway?

Information, resources: 

Education reforms working? Poverty, poor test results correlate in national study. What could it mean?

February 27, 2011

More from Greg Laden’s blog that deserves your attention, and a much wider audience.

The Science component of “The Nation’s Report Card” was released today and clearly indicates that we have moved one step closer as a nation in two of our most important goals: Building a large and complacent poorly educated low-pay labor class, and increasing the size of our science-illiterate populace in order to allow the advance of medieval morality and Iron Age Christian values.

The plan to sabotage the middle class, kill teachers unions and keep most Americans stupid, is working.

That was the plan, right?

Pay no attention to that teapot tempest in Wisconsin.  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.  You are getting sleepy, very, very sleepy . . .

Get the facts:

Teachers, compare your class results:

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