Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.

Thanks to Education World for use of my Mrs. Waffenschmidt illustration.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

What Would YOU put in a "Digital Memory Box"? Using the News as a Bell Ringer Activity

What Would YOU put in a "Digital Memory Box"?
A company in Great Britain is hoping to send a robotic vehicle to the Moon and land it on the South Pole of the Moon. Once at the location, the plan is to bore into the lunar surface down about 65 ft., a depth never tried before on the surface of the Moon. The retrieved rock samples would give scientists information on the origin of the moon such as examining rocks that haven't been touched by cosmic radiation, in millions of years. To raise money for the project, the Lunar Mission One, is asking people to contribute "digital memory boxes" which would be placed in the hole, as a type of time capsule. Additionally, the complied digital memory box database would eventually  be available for free to anyone to view.The mission is still in the planning stages.

What would be three things you'd place on your digital memory box for others to learn about you?
Which do you think is best and why? Private companies conducting explorations in space or governments(like NASA) being the main source of missions into space?
What are three facts you know about the moon?  
What is something you would like to learn about the moon?

Illustration from

Try my resource on Space: The Final Frontier. Learn about the history of space exploration with this informative web quest. There are 12 web questions, comprehension questions and extension activities.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Will SNOW DAYS be a Thing of the Past?

Here's a little secret. Teachers love snow days, too!  And, they may be a thing of the past as schools turn to technology. Imagine, a snow storm and school closed but students still have... virtual classes.  It's being tried at a private high school in Minnesota.  With virtual classes, students can go online to work on assignments that teachers have posted. Schools must be in session for a specific number of days each year. For most schools, this is at least 180 days. Too many snow days often mean having to make up the days over other breaks.  If states approve this alternative virtual school day, such make-up days would not be needed.
Which would you rather have, a virtual school day or have to make up the day over other school breaks? Why?
Can you see any problems with virtual school days?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Could You Stay in Bed for THREE Months? Bell Ringer Activity

Perhaps, this news story might be of interest for a Bell Ringer Activity.

Ever have a day when you wished you could stay in bed? Andrew Iwanicki not only is staying in bed for one day but for THREE months! As part of a NASA program to study how bones and muscles react to long periods of weightlessness  in space, they have asked for volunteers to stay in bed for 70 days. NASA has actually gotten 54 people to volunteer for this experiment in addition to Iwanicki. No getting out of bed, no going outside, just staying in a bed  with your head slightly tilted downward and your feet up, hooked up to different monitors to see how your body is handling "complete bed rest",is  what Iwanicki will be doing for about seven more week. There is television and internet available and NASA suggests that participants use the time for achieving goals. One bright side is that the volunteers are paid about $15,000 to lie in bed for this period of time!

1. Would you be able to participate in such a study? Why, why not?
2. What would be the most difficult aspect of participating in this study?
3. Watching television and playing video games might get old after a while, what might you decide to do with some of your time?

Illustration from

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Welcome to the NY Skyline: The One World Trade Center!

Perhaps, you might find this bell ringer activity of interest to use with your students.

The tallest building in the United States(and the Western Hemisphere) has opened for business. Built at the site of the original World Trade Towers which was destroyed by terrorists on September 11, 2001, the new One World Trade Center has 104 floors and took eight years to build. Standing 1776 ft. tall, the skyscraper will have a ceremony marking its official opening later in the month. I am very proud to see this new building standing proudly in the New York skyline! 

Bell Ringer activity for students: 
1. What statement do you think this new building tells the rest of the world? 
2. What meaning does the height of the skyscraper have? 
3. Write a sentence describing the new skyscraper. 

Photograph from