The goal of this lesson is to introduce students who are interested in human biology and biochemistry to the subtleties of energy metabolism (typically not presented in standard biology and biochemistry textbooks) through the lens of ATP as the primary energy currency of the cell. Avoiding the details of the major pathways of energy production (such as glycolysis, the citric acid cycle, and oxidative phosphorylation), this lesson is focused exclusively on ATP, which is truly the fuel of life. Starting with the discovery and history of ATP, this lesson will walk the students through 8 segments (outlined below) interspersed by 7 in-class challenge questions and activities, to the final step of ATP production by the ATP synthase, an amazing molecular machine. A basic understanding of the components and subcellular organization (e.g. organelles, membranes, etc.) and chemical foundation (e.g. biomolecules, chemical equilibrium, biochemical energetics, etc.) of a eukaryotic cell is a desired prerequisite, but it is not a must. Through interactive in-class activities, this lesson is designed to spark the students’ interest in biochemistry and human biology as a whole, but could serve as an introductory lesson to teaching advanced concepts of metabolism and bioenergetics in high school depending on the local science curriculum. No supplies or materials are needed.
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The purpose of this video lesson is to expand the student's knowledge about enzymes by introducing the antioxidant enzymes that are intimately involved in the prevention of cellular damage and eventual slowing of the aging process and prevention of several diseases. Students will learn that natural antioxidant enzymes are manufactured in the body and provide an important defense against free radicals. The topic of free radical action is introduced, covering how they are constantly generated in living cells both by ''accidents of chemistry'' and also by specific metabolic processes.
The main objective of this lesson is to illustrate an important application of mathematics in practical life -- namely in art. Most of the pictures selected for this lesson are visible on the walls of Al-Hambra – Granada (Spain), which is one of the most important landmarks in the Islamic civilization. There are three educational goals for this lesson: (1) establishing the concept of isometries; (2) giving real-life examples of groups; (3) demonstrating the importance of matrices and their applications. As background for this lesson, students just need some familiarity with the concept of a group and a limited knowledge about matrices and the inverse of a non-singular matrix.
This learning video deals with a question of geometrical probability. A key idea presented is the fact that a linear equation in three dimensions produces a plane. The video focuses on random triangles that are defined by their three respective angles. These angles are chosen randomly subject to a constraint that they must sum to 180 degrees. An example of the types of in-class activities for between segments of the video is: Ask six students for numbers and make those numbers the coordinates x,y of three points. Then have the class try to figure out how to decide if the triangle with those corners is acute or obtuse.
The purpose of this learning video is to show students how to think more freely about math and science problems. Sometimes getting an approximate answer in a much shorter period of time is well worth the time saved. This video explores techniques for making quick, back-of-the-envelope approximations that are not only surprisingly accurate, but are also illuminating for building intuition in understanding science. This video touches upon 10th-grade level Algebra I and first-year high school physics, but the concepts covered (velocity, distance, mass, etc) are basic enough that science-oriented younger students would understand. If desired, teachers may bring in pendula of various lengths, weights to hang, and a stopwatch to measure period. Examples of in- class exercises for between the video segments include: asking students to estimate 29 x 31 without a calculator or paper and pencil; and asking students how close they can get to a black hole without getting sucked in.
The aim of this video is to introduce high school students to the engineering concept of road construction and to the reasons why problems might arise in road construction. Presentation of this concept is made more accessible to students by comparing road construction to the art of baking a layer cake. This simple comparison can serve to emphasize how important it is to follow proper procedures and to use proper materials for successful road construction. The approach used is highly correlated with the common knowledge of baking layer cakes in Malaysia. Students should be able to relate the procedure of baking a layer cake to the importance of following the correct methods of road construction. An understanding of basic statistics is necessary before starting this lesson. This lesson will take almost 60 minutes to complete. During activity breaks, students are required to answer questions and complete assigned tasks related to the subject.
This learning video continues the theme of an early BLOSSOMS lesson, Flaws of Averages, using new examples—including how all the children from Lake Wobegon can be above average, as well as the Friendship Paradox. As mentioned in the original module, averages are often worthwhile representations of a set of data by a single descriptive number. The objective of this module, once again, is to simply point out a few pitfalls that could arise if one is not attentive to details when calculating and interpreting averages. Most students at any level in high school can understand the concept of the flaws of averages presented here. The essential prerequisite knowledge for this video lesson is the ability to calculate an average from a set of numbers. Materials needed include: pen and paper for the students; a blackboard or equivalent; and coins (one per student) or something similar that students can repeatedly use to create a random event with equal chances of the two outcomes (e.g. flipping a fair coin). The coins or something similar are recommended for one of the classroom activities, which will demonstrate the idea of regression toward the mean. Another activity will have the students create groups to show how the average number of friends of friends is greater than or equal to the average number of friends in a group, which is known as The Friendship Paradox. The lesson is designed for a typical 50-minute class session.
This learning video introduces high school students to a topic they would not ordinarily study in school, biotechnology, and to different applications of biotechnology that relate to the main theme of the module - making the desert greener. After reviewing traditional methods used for manipulating plants to produce desired traits, students will learn about the methods of making transgenic plants. Dr. Ziad discusses a real world problem that is critical in his country, Jordan, where much of the land is desert. A prerequisite to this video lesson is some background in biology.
The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about blood and its components while instilling an appreciation of its importance for survival. The lesson takes a step-by-step approach to determining the recipe for blood while introducing students to important laboratory techniques like centrifugation and microscopy, as well as some diseases of cell types found in blood. It also highlights the importance of donating blood by explaining basic physiological concepts and the blood donation procedure.
This learning video is designed to develop critical thinking in students by encouraging them to work from basic principles to solve a puzzling mathematics problem that contains uncertainty. Materials for in-class activities include: a yard stick, a meter stick or a straight branch of a tree; a saw or equivalent to cut the stick; and a blackboard or equivalent. In this video lesson, during in-class sessions between video segments, students will learn among other things: 1) how to generate random numbers; 2) how to deal with probability; and 3) how to construct and draw portions of the X-Y plane that satisfy linear inequalities.
This video module presents an introduction to cryptography - the method of sending messages in such a way that only the intended recipients can understand them. In this very interactive lesson, students will build three different devices for cryptography and will learn how to encrypt and decrypt messages. There are no prerequisites for this lesson, and it has intentionally been designed in a way that can be adapted to many audiences. It is fully appropriate in a high school level math or computer science class where the teacher can use it to motivate probability/statistics or programming exercises. nteractive lesson, students will learn to build the cryptography devices and will learn how to send and ''crack'' secret messages.
This learning video uses a simple analog setup to explore why earthquakes are so unpredictable. The setup is simple enough that students should be able to assemble and operate it on their own with a teacher's supervision. The teaching approach used in this module is known as the 5E approach, which stands for Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, and Evaluation. Over the course of this lesson, the basic mechanisms that give rise to the behavior of the simple analog system are explained, and further elaboration helps the students to apply their understanding of the analog system to complex fault systems that cause earthquakes
This video will help students, particularly those not in AP-level classes, have a practical application for knowing about the major divisions between plants, particularly about the details of plant anatomy and reproduction. Students will be able to :Identify the major evolutionary innovations that separate plant divisions, and classify plants as belonging to one of those divisions based on phenotypic differences in plants. Classify plants by their pollen dispersal methods using pollen dispersal mapping, and justify the location of a _crime scene_ using map analysis. Analyze and present their analysis of banding patterns from DNA fingerprinting done using plants in a forensic context.
This video lesson aims to motivate students about chemistry and to raise their awareness about how chemistry helps in solving certain environmental problems. In this lesson, the air pollution problem created by cars and other vehicles is presented. The lesson will highlight causes of this problem, harmful products from it and possible solutions. There will also be discussion of ways to convert the pollutants produced by burning oil in vehicles into more friendly products.
The topic of this video module is how to classify animals based on how closely related they are. The main learning objective is that students will learn how to make phylogenetic trees based on both physical characteristics and on DNA sequence. Students will also learn why the objective and quantitative nature of DNA sequencing is preferable when it come to classifying animals based on how closely related they are. Knowledge prerequisites to this lesson include that students have some understanding of what DNA is and that they have a familiarity with the base-pairing rules and with writing a DNA sequence.
In this video module, students learn how scientists use genetic information from dogs to find out which gene (out of all 20,000 dog genes) is associated with any specific trait or disease of interest. This method involves comparing hundreds of dogs with the trait to hundreds of dogs not displaying the trait, and examining which position on the dog DNA is correlated with the trait (i.e. has one DNA sequence in dogs with the trait but another DNA sequence in dogs not displaying the trait). Students will also learn something about the history of dog breeds and how this history helps us find genes.
Scientists who are working to discover new medicines often use robots to prepare samples of cells, allowing them to test chemicals to identify those that might be used to treat diseases. Students will meet a scientist who works to identify new medicines. She created free software that ''looks'' at images of cells and determines which images show cells that have responded to the potential medicines. Students will learn about how this technology is currently enabling research to identify new antibiotics to treat tuberculosis. Students will complete hands-on activities that demonstrate how new medicines can be discovered using robots and computer software, starring the student as ''the computer.'' In the process, the students learn about experimental design, including positive and negative controls.
This lesson is about the flow of energy in ecosystems. The setting is Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA, where students will learn about the first Thanksgiving meal in America, celebrated in 1621 by early American settlers and Wampanoag Indians. By examining this meal and comparing it to a modern day Thanksgiving celebration, students will be able to explore the way in which food energy moves and is transformed in an ecosystem. The learning goals focus on the movement of energy from one feeding level to the next within a food web, the way in which energy changes form, and the inefficiency of energy transfer, which in turn affects the availability of food energy for organisms at the highest feeding level. The lesson is directed at high school level biology students. Students should be familiar already with food webs, food chains, and trophic (feeding) levels. They should also be familiar with the general equations for photosynthesis (CO2 + H2O => C6H12O6) and cell respiration (C6H12O6 => CO2 + H2O), and understand the basic purpose of these processes in nature. This lesson can be completed during one long classroom period, or can be divided over two or more class meetings. The duration of the lesson will depend on prior knowledge of the students and on the amount of time allotted for student discussion. There are no supplies required for this lesson other than the downloadable worksheets (accessed on this BLOSSOMS site), paper and some glue or tape.
The major goal of this lesson is to provide students with some of the tools they will need to analyze and solve the many complex problems they will face during their lifetimes. In the lesson, students learn to use Flow Charts and Feedback Diagrams to analyze a very complex problem of ecological sustainability. The lesson looks at a specific case study—from my home town in the Philippines—of the Live Reef Fish Trade now threatening survival of the Coral Reef Triangle of Southeast Asia. Live reef fish have long been traded around Southeast Asia as a luxury food item, but in recent decades trade in fish captured on coral reefs has expanded rapidly. Although the trade has provided communities with additional income, these benefits are unsustainable and have come at considerable cost to the environment. This lesson begins by having students analyze a familiar or personal problem, using Flow Charts and Feedback Diagrams, and then moves on to the application of those tools to a complex environmental problem. The lesson could be completed in a 50-minute class session, but using it over two class sessions would be preferable. Everything needed for the lesson is downloadable from the BLOSSOMS website, including blank Flow Charts and Feedback Diagrams, as well as articles on the Philippines case study from the World Wildlife Fund and the United States Agency for International Development.
The aim of this lesson is to introduce the concepts of Electrochemistry and Electroplating and to present their applications in our daily lives. Students are encouraged to construct their knowledge of Electroplating through brainstorming sessions, experiments and discussions. This video lesson presents a series of stories related to Electroplating and begins with a story about house gates as an example of the common items related to the Electroplating topic. Prerequisites for this lesson are knowledge of the basic concepts of electrolysis and chemical equations. The lesson will take about 60 minutes to complete, but you may want to divide the lesson into two classes if the activities require more time.
This video lesson introduces students to the worlds of engineering innovation and entrepreneurship. It seeks to encourage students to see the world with a fresh perspective for innovation through interactive classroom brainstorming activities and real life stories. Students will build self-efficacy in their own entrepreneurial potential by developing their perspective for innovation, developing a prototype solution for a problem they have recognized, and delivering an elevator pitch. The video will familiarize students with all the steps in the innovation process: from conception to launch. By the end of this lesson, students will be prepared for an optional long-term innovation project.
This learning video introduces students to the world of Fractal Geometry through the use of difference equations. As a prerequisite to this lesson, students would need two years of high school algebra (comfort with single variable equations) and motivation to learn basic complex arithmetic. Ms. Zager has included a complete introductory tutorial on complex arithmetic with homework assignments downloadable here. Also downloadable are some supplemental challenge problems. Time required to complete the core lesson is approximately one hour, and materials needed include a blackboard/whiteboard as well as space for students to work in small groups. During the in-class portions of this interactive lesson, students will brainstorm on the outcome of the chaos game and practice calculating trajectories of different equations.
The aim of this video lesson is to introduce the concept of factorials, and to show students that everyday events in their lives have so much to do with factorials - even if they do not realize it! During this video, students will learn about the large number of ways to arrange people and objects using the mathematical concept of factorials. This video lesson will begin with a story of a family vacation to Pulau Pinang, an island located 330 km from the city of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. In this video, lessons about using factorials are demonstrated through several challenges this family encounters during their vacation. A prerequisite for this lesson is knowledge of the multiplication rule of counting. During the classroom activities, students are asked to carry out collaborative learning challenges in groups of 6. These activities require students to arrange cards to show different factorial arrangements that can be made. The materials needed for this activity are very simple. We only need to provide a few pieces of blank or colored paper for each student. The lesson will take about 40 – 50 minutes to complete.
This learning video presents an introduction to the Flaws of Averages using three exciting examples: the ''crossing of the river'' example, the ''cookie'' example, and the ''dance class'' example. Averages are often worthwhile representations of a set of data by a single descriptive number. The objective of this module, however, is to simply point out a few pitfalls that could arise if one is not attentive to details when calculating and interpreting averages. The essential prerequisite knowledge for this video lesson is the ability to calculate an average from a set of numbers. During this video lesson, students will learn about three flaws of averages: (1) The average is not always a good description of the actual situation, (2) The function of the average is not always the same as the average of the function, and (3) The average depends on your perspective. To convey these concepts, the students are presented with the three real world examples mentioned above.
This video lesson shows students that math can play a role in understanding how an infectious disease spreads and how it can be controlled. During this lesson, students will see and use both deterministic and probabilistic models and will learn by doing through role-playing exercises. The primary exercises between video segments of this lesson are class-intensive simulation games in which members of the class 'infect' each other under alternative math modeling assumptions about disease progression. Also there is an occasional class discussion and local discussion with nearby classmates.
The goal of this lesson is to assist students to relate the forces acting upon particular objects and the “unseen” resolution of those forces. The video begins with a story line involving Adam, who helps his father in the garden by disposing of a garbage bag of leaves—the very act that involves resolution of forces. This lesson includes embedded video clips, animations, diagrams and inquiry-based experiments where students are required to work collaboratively and answer thought-provoking questions. The experiments will involve the study of the resolution of forces on objects placed on varying planes or on platforms of different angles, using materials that are easily found. Finally, students are required to discuss and apply what they have learned to determine whether it is easier to push or to pull a luggage bag with wheels. The lesson will take about 50 minutes to complete.
This video lesson is an example of ''teaching for understanding'' in lieu of providing students with formulas for determining the height of a dropped (or projected) object at any time during its fall. The concept presented here of creating a chart to organize and analyze data collected in a simple experiment is broadly useful. During the classroom breaks in this video, students will enjoy timing objects in free fall and balls rolling down ramps as a way of learning how to carefully conduct experiments and analyze the results. The beauty of this lesson is the simplicity of using only the time it takes for an object dropped from a measured height to strike the ground. There are no math prerequisites for this lesson and no needed supplies, other than a blackboard and chalk. It can be completed in one 50-60-minute classroom period.
This lesson focuses on the biggest problem faced by any young programmer - i.e. the LOGIC BUILDING required while solving a particular problem. With programming, the solution to a particular problem lies in the head, but one is unable to convert it into a computer program. This is because the thought processes of a human are much faster than the sense of observation. If this thought process could be slowed down, logic to solve a programming problem could be found very easily. This lesson focuses on converting this psychological thought process in a step-by -step logic fashion that a computer program can understand. This lesson is recorded in a kitchen where the basic programming concepts are taught by giving examples from the process of making a mango milk shake. This lesson teaches the 4 following techniques: 1) Swapping two variables by swapping a glass of milk with a glass of crushed ice; 2) Finding max from an array by finding the biggest mango; 3) Sorting an array by arranging the jars; and 4) Understanding the concept of a function, parameters and return type by comparing it with the blender/juicer. The lesson targets those students who know the syntax of programming in any language (C or GWBASIC preferred), but are unable to build the logic for a program. It can be taught in a class of 45 to 50 minutes.
This lesson is also available in Mandarin Chinese.
This video lesson has the goal of introducing students to galaxies as large collections of gravitationally bound stars. It explores the amount of matter needed for a star to remain bound and then brings in the idea of Dark Matter, a new kind of matter that does not interact with light. It is best if students have had some high school level mechanics, ideally Newton's laws, orbital motion and centripetal force. The teacher guide segment has a derivation of centripetal acceleration. This lesson should be mostly accessible to students with no physics background. The video portion of this lesson runs about 30 minutes, and the questions and demonstrations will give a total activity time of about an hour if the materials are all at hand and the students work quickly. However, 1 1/2 hours is a more comfortable amount of time. There are several demonstrations that can be carried out using string, ten or so balls of a few inches in diameter, a stopwatch or clock with a sweep second hand and some tape. The demonstrations are best done outside, but can also be carried out in a gymnasium or other large room. If the materials or space are not available, there are videos of the demonstrations in the module and these may be used.
The topic of this video module is genetic basis for variation among humans. The main learning objective is that students will learn the genetic mechanisms that cause variation among humans (parents and children, brothers and sisters) and how to calculate the probability that two individuals will have an identical genetic makeup. This module does not require many prerequisites, only a general knowledge of DNA as the genetic material, as well as a knowledge of meiosis.
This BLOSSOMS lesson will help students conceptualize the enormity of geologic time and learn about important events in Earth s history. Students will also learn how geologic time can help explain seemingly incomprehensible processes, like the formation of the Himalayan Mountains from a flat plain to their current height, and the evolution of a tiny group of reptiles into enormous dinosaurs. During the breaks, students will construct a geologic timeline of their own in the classroom and do simple calculations to determine how long amounts of time can lead to impressive changes in the height of the Himalayan Mountains and the size of a group of reptiles.
This video lesson highlights how science can be learned from daily life experiences. It emphasizes the ways in which simple laws of physics can be understood from personal observations and experiences, and in fact it demonstrates that we use these laws as if they were built into our instincts. The video also introduces Newton's laws of motion. The title, Gravity at Work, comes from a fascinating example of two laborers working at a construction site in Pakistan. In this lesson, Newtonian equations of motion are used to determine the velocities and height achieved by the projectile in a very simple and basic manner.
This video lesson uses the technique of induction to show students how to analyze a seemingly random occurrence in order to understand it through the development of a mathematical model. Using the medium of a simple game, Dr. Lodhi demonstrates how students can first apply the 'rules' to small examples of the game and then, through careful observation, can begin to see the emergence of a possible pattern. Students will learn that they can move from observing a pattern to proving that their observation is correct by the development of a mathematical model. Dr. Lodhi provides a second game for students in the Teacher Guide downloadable on this page. There are no prerequisites for this lesson and needed materials include only a blackboard and objects of two different varieties - such as plain and striped balls, apples and oranges, etc. The lesson can be completed in a 50-minute class period.
The unit “mole” is used in chemistry as a counting unit for measuring the amount of something. One mole of something has 6.02×1023 units of that thing. The magnitude of the number 6.02×1023 is challenging to imagine. The goal of this lesson is for students to understand just how many particles Avogadro's Number truly represents, or, how big is a mole. This lesson is meant for students currently enrolled in a first or second year chemistry course. This lesson is designed to be completed within one approximately 1 hour class; however, completion of optional activities 4 and 5 may require a longer class period or part of a second class period. This lesson requires only pencil and paper, as the activities suggested in this video place an emphasis on helping students develop their “back of the envelope” estimation skills. In fact, calculators and other measuring devices are explicitly discouraged. However, students may require additional supplies (poster board, colored pencils, markers, crayons, etc.) for the final optional/assessment activity, which involves creating a poster to demonstrate the size of a mole of their favorite macroscopic object.
This video is the second lesson in the How Cold Is Cold? BLOSSOMS series and examines the properties of materials under low temperature conditions. The video consists of a series of fascinating demonstrations with liquid nitrogen, which boils at 77K (-196 C -321 F). These demonstrations include the following: What goes up, may not come down; Is that supposed to be cold? - thermal insulation; Some properties of liquid nitrogen; Making ice cream - the slow way and the fast way; Try not to explode: expansion of liquid nitrogen and the ideal gas law; Making the air cold: phase changes and the affect on volume; No frozen fingers: the changes in mechanical properties; Resistivity at 77K; The magic magnet: the Meissner Effect; Cautions in using liquid nitrogen
This video lesson is part of a two-part series and introduces the concept of temperature. Temperature can be a challenging concept to convey since our perception is tied to words that are relative to our own experience, which varies quite a lot. A short activity to be performed in the classroom shows the need for a temperature scale since qualitative descriptions are not adequate. Temperatures that vary from the hottest to coldest recorded temperatures on earth are shown in advance of introducing the boiling temperatures of a number of cryogenic liquids.
The aim of this lesson is to introduce the concepts of heat and temperature, which many students find confusing. During the lesson, students will be asked to explore and discuss situations where even though the same amount of heat is absorbed by several substances, the increase in temperature of the substances is different. This video lesson presents a series of stories relating to heat and temperature, beginning with a visit to a factory where gamat oil is produced. In the video, a man dips his finger into boiling gamat oil yet feels no pain. The scene will draw students’ attention and raise their curiosity about how this is possible. Students will also carry out several experiments to compare and relate the situations where the same amount of heat absorbed by substances will result in different temperatures. By the end of this lesson, students will understand the term “specific heat capacity” and will recognize the difference between a high or low specific heat capacity. They will also understand the term “thermal diffusivity” and how this relates to the topic of the lesson. This lesson offers some authentic learning experiences where students will have the opportunity to relate the concept of heat and temperature to everyday situations. It will take about 50 minutes to complete - however, you may want to divide the lesson into two classes if the activities require more time.
In this lesson, we learn how insects can fly in the rain. The objective is to calculate the impact forces of raindrops on flying mosquitoes. Students will gain experience with using Newton's laws, gathering data from videos and graphs, and most importantly, the utility of making approximations. No calculus will be used in this lesson, but familiarity with torque and force balances is suggested. No calculators will be needed, but students should have pencil and paper to make estimations and, if possible, copies of the graphs provided with the lesson. Between lessons, students are recommended to discuss the assignments with their neighbors.
This lesson is about the estimation of the value of Pi. Based on previous knowledge, the students try to estimate Pi value using different methods, such as: direct physical measurements; a geometric probability model; and computer technology. This lesson is designed to stimulate the learning interests of students, to enrich their experience of solving practical problems, and to develop their critical thinking ability. To understand this lesson, students should have some mathematic knowledge about circles, coordinate systems, and geometric probability. They may also need to know something about Excel. To estimate Pi value by direct physical measurements, the students can use any round or cylindrical shaped objects around them, such as round cups or water bottles. When estimating Pi value by a geometric probability model, a dartboard and darts should be prepared before the class. You can also use other games to substitute the dart throwing game. For example, you can throw marbles to the target drawn on the floor. This lesson is about 45-50 minutes. If the students know little about Excel, the teacher may need one more lesson to explain and demonstrate how to use the computer to estimate Pi value. Downloadable from the website is a video demonstration about how to use Excel for estimating Pi.
This learning video addresses a particular problem of selection bias, a statistical bias in which there is an error in choosing the individuals or groups to make broader inferences. Rather than delve into this broad topic via formal statistics, we investigate how it may appear in our everyday lives, sometimes distorting our perceptions of people, places and events, unless we are careful. When people are picked at random from two groups of different sizes, most of those selected usually come from the bigger group. That means we will hear more about the experience of the bigger group than that of the smaller one. This isn't always a bad thing, but it isn't always a good thing either. Because big groups ''speak louder,'' we have to be careful when we write mathematical formulas about what happened in the two groups. We think about this issue in this video, with examples that involve theaters, buses, and lemons. The prerequisite for this video lesson is a familiarity with algebra. It will take about one hour to complete, and the only materials needed are a blackboard and chalk.