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Fingerprint Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can’t get much more original than fingerprint art!

This is a wonderful way to incorporate art and technology into your forensics science lesson!

I have completed this project with students as young as 3rd grade and as old as 12th grade.  It is VERY simple!

Before beginning this project I teach about fingerprinting history, identification and actual procedure for fingerprinting.

Making Fingerprints Activity

Fingerprint Identification Chart

History of Fingerprinting 

Procedure for Fingerprint Art:

1)   Have students make a fingerprint using an inkpad and 8.5 x 11 white paper.  Have students repeat the fingerprinting process many times on the paper – to ensure at least one clear print is taken.

2)   Scan the paper containing the fingerprints – my scanner places the image directly into Picasa, which is the editing program I use.  Save the scan as an image.

3)   Open the image in a photo-editing program.

4)   Crop the image so only one fingerprint in shown.  I scanned the above example to only show the best and clearest portion of my fingerprint.

5)   This is where the “fun” comes in!  Have students play around with saturation, focus, brightness, shadows… and everything else.  The result will be a fantastic, original work of art!

6)   I printed images up for my students and placed them in a Dollar Store frame.  We displayed these during an open house!  Made a huge statement and parents loved them!

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Art, Lessons, Resources

 

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False Assumptions Lesson

 False Assumptions Student Handout                     False Assumptions Teacher Handout

Purpose: Things are not always what they seem! Events can often be misinterpreted due to our tendency to attach certain meanings to words. The key is for students to recognize what the “false assumption” is in each short mystery story. The “false assumption” is what makes the solution tricky, and that many common problems are difficult to solve because we tend to assume a particular paradigm.

Background: Point out that one of the strategies of science is to recognize how easy it is to make false assumptions about the workings of nature (Earth being the center of the universe), and to devise methods for avoiding or revealing those false assumptions for what they are. This often requires a total paradigm shift…a different way of looking at the situation, in which common assumptions are critically challenged, on purpose. Encourage you students to “think outside the box” and be cleverly creative.

Procedure: Ask students to think about what “false assumption” means to them. Have an open discussion about what kinds of false assumptions scientists have made in the past, the problems this created, and how they solved the problems. Explain that science is a way to work around or through those false assumptions.

These little deceptive problem stories are presented to the class, and students are challenged to solve each problem by asking only yes/no questions.

Explain to students that their challenge is to solve each of the mysteries. Students can either as a group to solve each story or this can be conducted as a whole group lesson.  Students are allowed to ask you (the teacher) questions which can be answered with a “yes” or “no.” It is up to you how many questions each group is allowed to ask, I allow each group only one question – so they have to really think about what they are going to ask. All questions must be answered truthfully.  Encourage students to listen carefully to the other groups’ questions. Be sure to think out-of-the-box, keeping in mind the title of this assignment!

For each story, write down the answer and the false assumption.

Example Story:  A man and his son were rock climbing on a particularly dangerous mountain when they slipped and fell. The man was killed, but the son lived and was rushed to a hospital. The old surgeon looked at the young man and declared, “I can’t operate on this boy: he is my son.” How can this be?

Answer: The old surgeon was the boy’s mother           False Assumption: That the surgeon was a man.

This lesson plan is adapted from Steve Randak, 1999, ENSI.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Lessons, Resources

 

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Stem Resources For Teachers

These resources are just a bunch of my favorite websites that can be used to explain just about anything you’re doing in the classroom with a video, lesson plan or a cool image of an experiment. Blogs are also great resources, they can keep you and your students up-to-date with the latest advancements and technology! There are five sections of resources:Free Money & Materials, Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math.  Resources for Teachers (PDF)

Free Money & Materials

Treasures for Teachers – Science and technology resource center in San Diego for teachers.  Very affordable! http://www.treasuresforteachers.org/index.html

National Girls Collaborative Project – $1,000 Grant – Mini-grants are awarded to girl-serving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) focused programs to support collaboration, address gaps and overlaps in service, and share promising practices. http://www.ngcproject.org/mini-grant/index.cfm

San Diego Foundation – $ 1,000 Grant -This program will support the development and implementation of multi-disciplinary, classroom projects that address student needs and increase teaching effectiveness. http://www.sdfoundation.org/CivicLeadership/Programs/SanDiegoTeachersFund/ApplyforaGrant.aspx

Donors Choose is an online charity that makes it easy for anyone to help students in need. Here’s how it works: public school teachers from every corner of America post classroom project requests on DonorsChoose.org. Requests range from pencils for a poetry writing unit, to violins for a school recital, to microscope slides for a biology class. DonorsChoose.org

Funding for Skype in the Classroom – Through a new partnership with DonorsChoose.org, Skype will donate $250,000 to teachers requesting technology materials to enable Skype video calling in their classrooms. Skype will give a $25 USD DonorsChoose.org Gift Card to each new teacher who registers for Skype in the classroom. The teacher can then apply the value of the gift card to any classroom project at DonorsChoose.org or one they create themselves, if an eligible U.S. public schoolteacher http://education.skype.com/

Digital Wish Grants –  http://www.digitalwish.com/dw/digitalwish/grant_awards Submit a technology-based lesson plan for a chance to win over 50 different technology grants.

Science

http://www.nobelprize.org/educational/ You don’t have to be a genius to understand the work of the Nobel Laureates. These games and simulations, based on Nobel Prize-awarded achievements, will teach and inspire you while you’re having FUN! (Personal Favorite)

www.nclark.net. This site provides biology and chemistry resources for science teachers at the middle and high school levels. These include activities, worksheets, lab exercises, puzzles, games, online test reviews, and links to other useful pages, compiled by teacher Nancy Clark over her 37-year career.

http://www.pltw.org/educators-administrators/educators-administrators-overview Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a resource for education curricular programs used in middle and high schools.

http://bit.ly/As4mce. Global Health Curriculum– This comprehensive curriculum for high school classes, available from Seattle BioMed’s BioQuest program, covers topics such as tuberculosis, vaccines, and malaria. BioQuest data shows teens are more interested in classroom science and math when they learn how these subjects connect with global health issues. Lesson plans, interactive charts, and teacher and student packets—created by Seattle BioMed scientists, Washington educators, and animation experts.

http://www.nsta.org/publications/freebies.aspx NSTA – Freebies for Science Teachers

http://www.hhmi.org/coolscience/resources/SPT–Home.php Howard Hughes – This is a neat interactive website for searching a topic, a grade level, or a keyword and get cool science materials.

http://amasci.com/amateur/coolinks.html This is just a list of neat science links

http://www.williamswords.co.uk/# Williams Words- Great diagrams and printable resources

Technology

http://www.onlinevideocontests.com/ – Online video contests relating to science, art, technology…etc.  Most have cash prizes that can be used for you classroom!

http://lifehacker.com/  Life Hacker is a technology blog that focuses on taking stuff apart, and how to do various things on your computer, e.g. computer

http://gizmodo.com/ Gizmodo is a very interesting technology blog. It’s one of the only (excluding this one and a few others) that I go to on a regular basis.

http://allthingsd.com/ This is a website about current technology in the news.

http://arstechnica.com/ This is another blog that focuses on technology in the news

Engineering

http://www.engineeringsights.org/  Pick your state and see current engineering projects happening right now!

http://www.engineergirl.org/CMS/2987.aspx Tell your kids some fun facts about engineering. Maybe tell them one of these each day to keep them motivated and bring out their inner engineer!

http://www.greatachievements.org/  This is a neat website that focuses on all of the cool engineering things that were created in the 20th century.

Mathematics

http://www.aaamath.com/ AAA Math features a comprehensive set of interactive arithmetic lessons.

http://www.ams.org/home/page ASM aims to support educators teaching math

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2012 in Resources

 

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Brain Hat Activity

Great science/art activity for students!

Learn about the major lobes of the brain while utilizing multiple intelligences.  I use this activity to explain the structure of the cerebrum and cerebral cortex, learn the lobes, and learn the functions of each regions of the brain. For those who prefer the messy, gooey art… I have also made these using paper mache placed over the top of a balloon as a form, and then painted each region accordingly.   To include kinesthetic learning into the lesson – have students place the hat on their head and while you (the teacher) name off different functions (smell, balance, taste…etc.) or region.  Students will then place their hand over the proper region or corresponding area of the brain.

The lessons are endless with this project!

Click on the picture above for printable template and lesson plan!

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in Art, Lessons

 

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Self Esteem in Learning

As a teacher, I hear the phrase, “I can’t do it” or various forms of “I won’t do it” when introducing or learning a new topic.  I have found that these phrases are often linked with low self esteem.

Healthy self-esteem is a child’s weapon against the challenges of the world. Kids who feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life. These kids are realistic and generally optimistic.

In contrast, kids with low self-esteem can find challenges to be sources of major anxiety and frustration. Those who think poorly of themselves have a hard time finding solutions to problems. Faced with a new challenge, their immediate response is “I can’t.”  Kids with low self-esteem may not want to try new things, and may frequently speak negatively about themselves: “I’m stupid,” “I’ll never learn how to do this,” or “What’s the point? Nobody cares about me anyway.” They may exhibit a low tolerance for frustration, giving up easily or waiting for somebody else to take over. They tend to be overly critical of and easily disappointed in themselves.

A School – Home, Teacher – Parent, collaboration is necessary to improve a students self esteem around learning.  These are a few tips I feel are important:

  • Watch what you say. Kids are very sensitive to parents’ words. Remember to praise your child not only for a job well done, but also for effort. But be truthful. For example, if your child doesn’t make the soccer team, avoid saying something like, “Well, next time you’ll work harder and make it.” Instead, try “Well, you didn’t make the team, but I’m really proud of the effort you put into it.” Reward effort and completion instead of outcome.
  • Be a positive role model. If you’re excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic, or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations, your child may eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem, and your child will have a great role model.
  • Identify and redirect your child’s inaccurate beliefs. It’s important for parents to identify kids’ irrational beliefs about themselves, whether they’re about perfection, attractiveness, ability, or anything else. Helping kids set more accurate standards and be more realistic in evaluating themselves will help them have a healthy self-concept. Inaccurate perceptions of self can take root and become reality to kids. For example, a child who does very well in school but struggles with math may say, “I can’t do math. I’m a bad student.” Not only is this a false generalization, it’s also a belief that will set the child up for failure. Encourage kids to see a situation in its true light. A helpful response might be: “You are a good student. You do great in school. Math is just a subject that you need to spend more time on. We’ll work on it together.”
  • Be spontaneous and affectionate. Your love will go a long way to boost your child’s self-esteem. Give hugs and tell kids you’re proud of them. Pop a note in your child’s lunchbox that reads, “I think you’re terrific!” Give praise frequently and honestly, without overdoing it. Kids can tell whether something comes from the heart.
  • Give positive, accurate feedback. Comments like “You always work yourself up into such a frenzy!” will make kids feel like they have no control over their outbursts. A better statement is, “You were really mad at your brother. But I appreciate that you didn’t yell at him or hit him.” This acknowledges a child’s feelings, rewards the choice made, and encourages the child to make the right choice again next time.
  • Create a safe, loving home environment.  A child who is exposed to parents who fight and argue repeatedly may become depressed and withdrawn. Also watch for signs of abuse by others, problems in school, trouble with peers, and other factors that may affect kids’ self-esteem. Deal with these issues sensitively but swiftly. And always remember to respect your kids.
  • Help kids become involved in constructive experiences.Activities that encourage cooperation rather than competition are especially helpful in fostering self-esteem. For example, mentoring programs in which an older child helps a younger one learn to read can do wonders for both kids.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Articles, Resources

 

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Elementary STEM Education

 Increasing science, technology, engineering and math subjects at the elementary    level is a hot topic of discussion among those in the education field. Many  teachers and administrators acknowledge that change is needed, however, little is  actually being done.  In a 2011 article from, The Lawrence Hall of Science at Berkley, alarming facts regarding elementary science education were reported:

“Forty percent of elementary teachers say they spend just 60 minutes or less teaching science each week. Just one-third of elementary teachers say they feel prepared to teach science, but 85 percent of teachers say they have not received any professional development in science during the last three years. And while nine in ten principals say science education is very important and should start early, less than half of principals (44%) believe it is likely that a student would receive high-quality science instruction in his or her school.”

 So, how do we change these discussions for change into an actuality? I believe teacher training programs and certification programs are essential for change.  In contrary to high school teachers, elementary teachers (who possess a multi-subject teaching credential) do not receive any formal science training.  Traditionally, science education has been emphasized at 9-12 levels and therefore the majority of training programs, grants and professional workshops has been on those grade levels and teachers.  However, research supports the earlier students are introduced to STEM topics, the increased likelihood of those students pursuing a STEM career later in life.  New research states STEM training needs to be embedded into credentialing programs, and current teachers need to be given the proper resources, materials and funds to teacher science effectively!

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2012 in Articles, Resources

 

Paid Internship for Teachers – Summer 2012

Looking for something to do this summer?

Who can participate? 5th grade teachers or 9-12th grade teachers

Pay: $32/hr

Time commitment: 6-8 weeks – 40/hrs a week

Description: The Summer Research Internship Program for Teachers at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla was created to expose teachers in current laboratory techniques and procedures, provide information on a variety of contemporary issues in basic biomedical research, develop relationships with working scientists who can assist them in curriculum development, and create opportunities for teachers to share information and knowledge with their peers.

Teachers conduct basic biomedical research in a laboratory under the supervision of a Scripps Research scientist in one of the research departments. The program emphasizes the scientific process, research planning, bench experience, experimental design, data analysis and interaction with laboratory personnel. As an adjunct to their day-to-day responsibilities, participants will be required to attend specially-designed programs and field trips throughout the course of the summer. In addition to the intensive, hands-on eight-week summer program, teachers are expected to use the laboratory experience as a springboard to create opportunities in discovery-based learning for their students, effect change in their classrooms and serve as a resource for other educators. They must demonstrate their willingness to pursue year-round follow-up activities based on the summer experience.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2012 in Articles, Lessons, Resources

 
 
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