Brain Injuries: Compelling Programming & Resources

imagesThis Tuesday, October 8, at 9pm, WGBY airs League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis.  In a special investigation, FRONTLINE joins prize-winning journalists Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada to reveal the hidden story of brain injuries and the NFL, which is under assault as thousands of former players and a host of scientists claim the league has covered up how football inflicted long-term brain injuries on many players.

The FRONTLINE investigation details how, for years, the league denied and worked to refute scientific evidence that the violent collisions at the heart of the game are linked to an alarming incidence of early onset dementia, catastrophic brain damage, death, and other devastating consequences for some of football’s all-time greats.  Watch a preview.

Here are a few examples from pages of classroom resources about the brain at PBS LearningMedia:

Brain Safety Design Challenge (Grades 5-12)  In this Teaching Channel video, Channa Comer introduces her 6th graders to the design process through an engineering challenge to design a football helmet to prevent injury, using an egg as a model head. (Includes background essay, audio description and discussion questions)
The Teenage Brain (Grades 6-8)  Why do teenagers act the way they do? This video segment and discussion questions from FRONTLINE: “Inside the Teenage Brain” explores the work scientists are doing to explain some of the mysteries of teenage behavior.
Journey Into the Brain (Grades 9-12)  In this lesson plan that uses segments from the PBS program The Human Spark, students learn about the human brain, including information about brain regions, brain activity and technologies used to explore brain activity.

Ideas and Resources for Improving Science Education

girls scienceThe September 2, 2013 issue of the New York Times Education Issue has a provocative article by Claudia Dreifus based on the collective ideas of 19 scientists, educators and students on how to improve science education in this country. Their ideas are worth reading. Many of these ideas will no doubt spark debate and ideas in your own school environment.  Read the entire article by clicking here.

PBS LearningMedia has vast resources for science in the classroom that you can search by grade, content, and standards.  Just on example from thousands of resources aligned to National Standards is Jonathan Bird’s Blue World for grades Prek-12.  This collection from Educational Underwater Adventure brings Emmy award-winning video to classrooms to teach science with a spirit of adventure and exploration in the underwater realm.  It includes the content from this national public television series, which has aired since 2008, paired with lesson plans and study guides aligned to National Science Standards. These resources cover academic subject areas including biology, chemistry, math, history and physics.

Resources for Arts Integration

kqed-education-arts-100x100Regardless of the content you teach, integrating arts into your curriculum can tap into students’ natural interests in areas such as music and visual arts while expanding their understanding of how subjects interconnect.  And whether students experience others’ art or make their own, creativity is a powerful antidote to boredom, distraction, or worse.

So perhaps it’s no surprise that right now we can share two exciting resources for arts integration.   Enchanted Circle Theater is launching its first Institute for Arts Integration, a program designed to train teachers in the pedagogy of arts integration as a method for engaging students in meaningful and memorable learning.  Due to support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield Public Schools, ECT is able to offer a subsidized tuition fee of $250 with a savings of $1200 per person.  Click here for the full brochure.  (Registration Deadline is September 18.)

You can also regularly explore thousands of resources at PBS LearningMedia where arts integration is currently highlighted on its homepage.  For example,  Overview of the Arts, part of KET’s Social Studies/Arts Toolkit for K-12, provides an overview of the benefits of an arts-infused classroom; important notes on each aspect of the arts: dance, drama, music, and visual art; and basic techniques for integrating the arts into your classroom.  Paint Art ,a video for grades 4-6 , shows young engineers Renee and Margarita as they experiment with unusual and creative painting techniques at the Science Museum of Minnesota, using a bike and spinning wheel to create unique, splat-tacular art.

New and Noteworthy from PBS Education

Picture-23-e1298609567546Whether you’re a seasoned professional, a new educator or somewhere in between, we hope you trust, value and rely on PBS Education resources.  Here are two new and noteworthy ones from Design Squad Nation that may be helpful as you begin to find inspiration for the coming new school year:

Mission Solar System
New Resources | Grades 4-8

NASA and Design Squad Nation have teamed up to inspire a new generation of engineers with this engaging collection of hands-on activities. Explore it here!

Back to School Webinar
Aug. 21 | 10-11AM EST | Free

Looking to incorporate resources from the new Back to School Webinar collection into your classroom or after-school program? Then this webinar is for you! Email Design Squad Nation to sign up (subject: “WEBINAR”).

NOVA Launches New Cloud Lab Website

Cloud Lab imageWe hope you’re already familiar with NOVA and NOVA educator resources. Now this longest running television science program is excited to announce the launch of the Cloud Lab at, the third Lab in a growing collection of research offerings on the NOVA Labs site. In this NASA-funded site users can learn how to track the development of storms and better predict their impacts by conducting their own investigations about developing storms.

The Cloud Lab also includes a cloud gallery with 260 beautiful images of a range of 10 cloud types, from cirrus to cumulus to altostratus. Users are challenged to analyze the cloud images and classify each cloud type they observe in the image — collecting favorites along the way.

If you want to learn more about the Cloud Lab, you’re invited to join NOVA for an online presentation about this free digital resource this fall —

PBS LearningMedia: New Summer Literacy Collection

pbslm_promoThis summer, PBS LearningMedia turns the spotlight on our spectacular collection of resources supporting literacy skills development in grades PreK-12 with featured resources from Martha Speaks, Poetry Everywhere, The Electric Company and PBS NewsHour!

Storybook Creator
Grades PreK-1 | Interactive Game | Emergent Reading
Illustrate the power of words with this interactive game that allows young readers to change key words in classic stories like “Jack and the Beanstalk.”

Blue Ribbon Readers
Grades K-5 | Interactive Game | Comprehension
The Hamburger Game helps students to practice attentive reading by choosing the main idea – or “meat”- from a passage of text and dragging it to the center of their sandwich.

Martha Speaks
Grades K-5 | Video and Games | Vocabulary
These engaging resources help kindergarten and upper-elementary students increase their vocabulary, develop self-esteem and social skills, and enhance their love of reading.

Silent – E –
Grades 1-3 | Media Gallery | Vocabulary
Capture the attention of summer learners with resources from The Electric Company while targeting vocabulary development and reading comprehension.

Middle School Literacy Collection
Grades 5-8 | Self-Paced Lessons | Comprehension
This online lesson for blended learning enhances the literacy skills of middle school readers while introducing them to topics in science, math, social studies and the language arts.

The Anthology of Rap
Grades 6-13+ | Video | Elements of Poetry
Challenge students to consider the relationship between rap music and the traditions of lyric poetry with this resource from PBS NewsHour.

As many of you know, after exploring 3 resources you’ll be prompted to create a free account — to search, save, and share your favorite resources.

Between the Folds: Reshaping Ideas of Creativity with Art & Science

Just because it’s summer, we’d like to share Independent Lens: Between the Folds for your learning pleasure.  (And shouldn’t what too many would see as an oxymoron — learning and pleasure — be our goal in teaching?)

shellIn this video you’ll watch an origami artist turn a flat square of paper into a three dimensional creation that’s magical! From a minimalist single crease to mathematical calculations to realistic creature, origami fascinates.  Around the globe, several fine artists and theoretical scientists are abandoning more conventional career paths to forge lives as modern-day paper folders. Through origami, these offbeat and provocative minds are reshaping ideas of creativity and revealing the relationship between art and science.

BETWEEN THE FOLDS chronicles 10 of their stories. Featuring interviews with and insights into the practice of these intrepid paper folders, the film opens with three of the world’s foremost origami artists, moves to less conventional artists, and also features advanced mathematicians and a remarkable scientist who received a MacArthur Genius Award for his computational origami research.  The Independent Lens site also offers links to the history of origami, behind-the-scenes information about the film and filmmakers and background on the origami artists.

Featured TED Education Talk — Salman Khan: Let’s Use Video to Reinvent Education

imagesPerhaps you’re familiar with Khan Academy and its founder,  Salman Khan.  According to the TED: Ideas Worth Spreading website, the  mission of the not-for-profit Khan Academy is to provide a world-class education for free to anyone in the world.

Formerly a hedge fund senior analyst who also worked in technology and venture capital, Khan has impressive credentials with an MBA from Harvard Business School, an M.Eng and B.S. in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, and a B.S. in mathematics from MIT.  Equally impressive is his ability to simplify course content so that self-paced learners understand in ways that motivate and inspire them.  Over 1 million students visit the site per month to view his 2000+ video tutorials on everything from basic addition to advanced calculus, physics, chemistry and biology.

In his 2011 TED Talk Let’s use video to reinvent education, Khan discusses the inevitable learning gaps of one-size-fits-all classroom learning and the use of his tutorials to flip the classroom, leaving students to view the lesson/lecture at home and freeing teachers to facilitate one-on-one classroom learning, including the use of assessment tools that lead to true growth.  At the end of Salmon’s talk and a long standing ovation, Bill Gates joins him on stage for a Q & A session that we think you’ll also want to see.

We’d love to hear your thoughts about this or another TED talk as well as flipping the classroom.

Green Design and Technologies

columbusexpositionUse these resources from PBS LearningMedia to enhance lesson plans on innovative tech, sustainable building design, smart cars, and renewable energies. Remember to create a user account for free, full access to PBS LearningMedia’s content library, and let us know what you think about any of these digital resources.

Plug in Hybrids Grades 4-12 | Video | Transportation Technologies
Show students how plug-in electric hybrid technology works and challenge them to compare conventional vehicles with their eco-friendly counterparts.

Green Technology: Sustaining the Earth
 Grades 6-12 | Interactive | Renwable Energy
Use this interactive activity to offer students an overview of innovation in green technology and insight into various areas of research within the field.

The Art and Science of Renzo Piano
 Grades 9-12 | Video | Innovative Building Design
Discover how architect Renzo Piano combined sustainable design features with a sense of fun and exploration in the creation of the greenest museum in the world.

Architecture 2030
 Grades 9-12 | Video | Green Design
Learn about this architect’s efforts to protect the environment by changing the way buildings are planned, designed, and constructed.

Affordable Green Housing
 Grades 9-12 | Video | Green Design
Invite students to consider the role that habitat plays in fostering diverse, vibrant social structures in well-designed, integrated communities by integrating this video resource into your next class discussion.

Bogotá: Building a Sustainable City
 Grades 9-12 | Video | Transportation Technologies
Explore the innovations in urban planning, development, and transportation that transformed Bogotá, Colombia from a chaotic city to a shining example of sustainable improvement.

Celebrating Freedom — Happy 4th of July!

washington-dc-capitol-buildingTo celebrate the 4th, check out this video clip from NOVA: “Fireworks!” to learn how different colors are added to fireworks and share your knowledge with family and friends over the upcoming holiday.

Here are additional PBS LearningMedia resources to help you appreciate this July 4th and to discover classroom resources surrounding our independence:

To Sign or Not to Sign is an interactive for grade 6-8 students who can analyze the Declaration of Independence to understand its meaning and consider the consequences of signing the document.

Declaring Freedom . . . But For Whom?, a video segment adapted from Africans in America, allows grade 5-12 students to consider the American view of freedom that was defined by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence.

Please feel free to share your thoughts about these resources or your ideas for celebrating, understanding and appreciating freedom.