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  • M.I.T. Blossoms
ATP: The Fuel of Life
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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.

Subject:
Life Science
Biology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Christian Schubert
Antioxidant Enzymes: Three or Four Veggies a Day Keeps Aging Away
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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.

Subject:
Nutrition
Chemistry
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Sawsan F. Karadsheh
Arabesque: Where Art Meets Mathematics
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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.

Subject:
Arts and Humanities
Mathematics
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Dr. Jawad Abuhlail
Are Random Triangles Acute or Obtuse?
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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.

Subject:
Geometry
Statistics and Probability
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Gilbert Strange
The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering: How to Whip Out Answers Quickly
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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.

Subject:
Engineering
Algebra
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Stephen M. Hou
The Art of Making Layer Cakes: Proper Construction of Bituminous Roads and Highways
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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.

Subject:
Engineering
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Dr Norhidayah Abdul Hassan, Dr Mariyana Aida Ab. Kadir, Dr Sarimah Shamsudin
Averages: Still Flawed
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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.

Subject:
Mathematics
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Dan Livengood, Rhonda Jordan
Biotechnology: Can It Help in Making the Desert Green?
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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.

Subject:
Botany
Genetics
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Ziad W. Jaradat, PhD
Blood: The Stuff of Life
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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.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Melis Anahtar
The Broken Stick Experiment: Triangles, Random Numbers and Probability
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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.

Subject:
Measurement and Data
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Richard C. Larson
Building Cryptosystems
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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.

Subject:
Computer Science
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Daniel J. Sturtevant
Can Earthquakes Be Predicted?
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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

Subject:
Geology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Zach Adam
The Case of the Stolen Painting: A Forensic Mystery
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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 _„ƒcrime scene_„Ž using map analysis. Analyze and present their analysis of banding patterns from DNA fingerprinting done using plants in a forensic context.

Subject:
Botany
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
MIT BLOSSOMS
Sydney Bergman
Catalytic Converter
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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.

Subject:
Environmental Science
Chemistry
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Prof. Mohammad El-Khateeb
Classifying Animals by Appearance Versus DNA Sequence
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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.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Megan E. Rokop
Discovering Genes Associated with Diseases and Traits in Dogs
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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.

Subject:
Biology
Genetics
Zoology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Elinor Karlsson
Discovering Medicines, Using Robots and Computers
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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.

Subject:
Biology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Anne Carpenter
The Ecological Cost of Dinner
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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.

Subject:
Life Science
Ecology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Leslie Reinherz
Ecological Tipping Points: When Is Late Too Late?
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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.

Subject:
Ecology
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Fred Pontillas
Electrochemistry: Electroplating
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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.

Subject:
Chemistry
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
M.I.T.
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Hafizah Binti Nasir, Mohd Fared Bin Samin