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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Congratulations to the Global Teacher Prize Top 50 Finalists, Class of 2017!

A new batch of 50 ridiculously talented teachers from all around the world have been selected as this year's Top 50 Finalists in the Global Teacher Prize. This is run through the Varkey Foundation (in the United Kingdom), and is now known as the 'Nobel Prize for Teaching.' One of these teachers will end up winning a $1 million award in March of 2018, at a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.This is the fourth year of the GTP, and tens of thousands teachers of all age groups have been nominated from some 170 countries. Congratulations to all of these wonderful people! One of them is from Chicago Public Schools.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017


Periods 3-4, 6, 8-9:

Check out the NOVA video called "Runaway Universe." This is about the expansion of the universe, and how scientists figured out it is accelerating. Take notes, and focus on the methods used to do this. How can astronomers figure out so many details of the universe, when all they have is some light from stars?  Think about what causes anything to accelerate, let alone a whole universe.

For tomorrow, check out the term "dark energy.'

Periods 3-4, 8-9:

After the NOVA, check out a video on inelastic collisions, using the example of a ballistic pendulum.

We will get into all this Thursday. Sorry to be out, it's a flu bug...happy Wednesday! :-)

Tuesday, November 28, 2017


My apologies to everyone, as I have some annoying bug today.

Periods 3-4, 8-9:
Based on the discussion yesterday, some follow-up. I do want to collect your initial thoughts about what schools/education should look like and focus on leading up to and beyond 2030. Think of content and skills your children should have to live in a globally connected, uber-technological world. I know that is a challenge, to consider your own children some day, but give it a try! A second piece to consider is how do we educate the public so this becomes a major political issue - it will take political will to change how schools are run and what they look like, and that won't happen unless the electorate has a clue about any of this and why it is imperative that education changes to match the times.

Check out my personal favorite TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, on creativity and schools. Feel free to check out another from him on changing education paradigms, if you are curious. These may help with your thinking. If anyone is interested, some years ago I posted about a high school model I would like to try some day.

When done, something I would like you to be aware of is the situation in Yemen. Check out this post, and feel free to email your congressional representative (Jan Schakowsky) and/or senators (Sens. Durbin and Duckworth), or feel free to sign a petition my son created that will go to the senators.

For actual physics, we will be starting Momentum and Impulse. Check out and take notes on a short video about why momentum is conserved in collisions. On page 3 of the new packet, try
                                          Ch. 8, Questions 6, 19; and Problems #5, 9.

Period 6:
If you have not yet shared with me the satellite proposal, use this period wisely and get it done. Deductions of 10% each day late have begun. Don't forget that all you need to do is just follow along the assignment sheet - it is laid out part by part, and the rubric specifies what you should have. We're just looking for a summary of what you find, 1-2 pages.

For those who are done or finish, you have a chance at some bonus points by doing one or two article summaries. It is on any science related article, and feel free to use the Scientific American magazines on the back tables.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

A need for soccer balls, other sports equipment in Kenya

We have much to be thankful for in Evanston, and the United States in general. One thing we take for granted is an almost unlimited supply and exposure to sporting goods of every possible type. But unfortunately this is not the case everywhere.

A world-class teacher and friend, and Top 10 Finalist in the 2015 Global Teacher Prize, Jacque Jumba-Kehura, has a school in rural Kenya. The students at Makonjemare Primary School love sports, but literally have to improvise and make their own from any materials they can find - there is no sporting goods store of any kind within hundreds of miles, and the school has no funding to purchase pricey equipment.

Unfortunately, shipping costs, even for small boxes, is on order of $1200, so instead of sending actual sporting goods we would like to wire some money to Jacque so they may order some equipment. We are hoping for dollar donations that can be used for these kids to have something other than improvised soccer balls for their activities. Notice many of the children are barefoot going to school. If interested in helping out, please give any donation to your teacher and we will wire 100% to help our friends in Kenya! Note that $100 US is a little more than 10,000 Kenyan shillings, so dollars are worth a lot right now.

Thanks for considering!  😊

Monday, November 20, 2017

Consider taking action: Let Congress know about Starvation in Yemen

Hello, all, and I hope you are well heading into Thanksgiving. We have SO much to be thankful for in our lives, but after watching one of the stories on '60 Minutes' this past Sunday, it was reinforced how horrible some in this world have it.
Please consider contacting your congressional representatives and senators about the situation in Yemen. Due to a Saudi Arabian blockade, millions of meals are not making it to innocent civilians, including children who are dying at a rate of 1 every 10 minutes, due to starvation. Let's see if anyone in Congress will even bring this to the attention of the appropriate committee or the State Dept. You can find email contacts for Congress at!/.
If it helps, a possible message to your representatives is:
"It has come to my attention that millions of innocent citizens of Yemen, including hundreds of thousands of children, are at risk of starving to death. The reason for this humanitarian crisis is primarily due to a blockade of Yemen's ports by Saudi Arabia. Millions of meals are on ships, waiting to be unloaded and distributed by the United Nations and other NGOs. This action by the Saudis, one of our supposed allies in the Middle East, goes against international standards for war and is simply inhuman.
While the civil war in Yemen is a complex issue, I am asking that you at least bring this to the attention of the appropriate committees as well as the State Department. There must be some leverage the United States has with the Saudis to encourage them to do the right thing, and allow food go to starving, innocent noncombatants, including children who are dying at a rate of one every ten minutes. Thank you for your consideration."

A second option is to sign this petition. Thanks for your consideration!!

Friday, November 17, 2017

A glimpse into education and '2030 issues' from the UK

There is a featured opinion piece from my Varkey Foundation brother, Vikas Pota (who is the CEO of the foundation), about three major converging issues in the United Kingdom: Brexit, the 'age of the machines' and automation, and a growing shortage of teachers at all levels.

This is timely, of course, because of our discussions in class about these issues over the next 10-15 years, that will continue to change, rapidly, the world's economies and ways of life.

As many brought up in our discussions, education is the foundation of dealing with present and future changes as technologies evolve. Without an educated public on these issues, my personal fear is that we will never elect any officials at any level of government who will be willing to bring these up and have as major planks in their platforms - politicians focus on issues the public is interested in if they want to be elected. So it starts, and ends, with a well educated electorate.

There is also a growing shortage of teachers in some parts of the U.S. This, combined with a large segment of the population who buy into 'fake news' and an anti-science/anti-intellectual/anti-expert perspective, will make progress difficult in the U.S. over the next couple election cycles.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What can the public do NOW to have a sustainable future? Check out UN Sustainable Development Goals

For those wondering what we can do individually and collectively, despite any action or lack thereof of governments, to help both the country and the world have a sustainable future, the United Nations developed a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). There is a global movement for this to be taught, or at least to have exposure, in classrooms...if our youngest students are exposed to these ideas and actions, and it is part of their 'normal' experience and routine, then we have a chance for lots of people doing lots of things, and that adds up to create some level of change and success.

As far as how we can change how we do high school, and better prepare students for a fast-changing world, check out one model I have in mind. Keep in mind that things like creativity and innovation skills, along with content in various subject areas, including competency with a variety of technologies, are some of the most important things we should be developing in the next generation.

Check out the SDGs here! Are you doing anything for any of the goals? Are you interested in trying to do something for any of the goals?