"Tap into Learning" Cross-promoting Spigot online.

Coming Soon - Spigot's New Issue - Motion

Tap into Learning with the Motion Issue


                              *Energy, Force and Motion*
*Newton’s Laws*
*How Our Bodies Move*
 *Poetry in Motion*
and so much more!

Coming in January!

Spigot Science; http://www.spigotscience.com/

Happy Holidays

video

Spigot Science in the News

  
Have you noticed that 2011 has had a lot of extreme weather? There has been record heat, drought, snow, tornadoes, and more. Our current release of Science in the News discusses these weather events and helps students understand the difference between weather and climate.
    
If you are a premium member, you can download the article and activities to share with your class right now!

If not, sign up today to get this and all the other publications.  There are now nine other Science in the News and 15 Spigot Science publications available for you to enrich your classroom instruction -- at a cost of less than 70 cents per publication!
    
Visit the Spigot Science site today to help your students understand many complexities and mysteries of the world we live in.

Oceans Affect Us in Many Ways


Have you ever thought about how the weather is connected to the ocean? Or have you wondered about how the food we eat or the air we breath are related to the ocean?

The ocean is the source for many things in our lives and without the oceans we couldn’t survive. All our weather patterns start over ocean waters. The air we breath is largely a result of the plants that grow in the ocean.
Phytoplankton, for example, produce more oxygen than all the leaves on all the trees on land. Scientists believe that about 70% of our oxygen comes from these plants...read more Science Connection Spigot Science Oceans Issue

Science in School vs. Science in Life

Science is often taught as a separate subject in school. We treat it as something unique, discrete. But that is school, not life.
 
In life, we do not separate things into categories, because it is difficult to look at a real world event and decide which category it fits. For example, if we are studying the impact of drought on third world nations, are we studying science (lack of water), geography (global location of stricken nations), or social studies (how people with limited resources adapt).

The answer is often– it depends on which part of the problem we are studying. …more

by David Cochran
Publisher, Chief Learning Officer
      Spigot Science

Geology of the Desert Southwest

Investigate how the earth was formed with 15 projects from Nomad Press and Geology of the Desert Southwest.  Educational, fun and hands on Geology of the Desert Southwest will keep your child learning.  Here's a peek at what's inside;

Introduction - Geology and Geography
Chapter 1 - Plate Tectonics
Chapter 2 - Mountains
Chapter 3 - Volcanoes and Earthquakes
Chapter 4 - Plateaus, Plains, Basins
Chapter 5 - Climate
Chapter 6 - Rivers and Lakes
Chapter 7 - Unique Ecosystems
Chapter 8 - The Coast
Chapter 9 -Natural Resources

In addition, this book gives your child a "Words to Know" list, fun facts, and, of course, 15 hands on projects like  "Make You Own Basin and Range" p.g. 27 and "Make You Own Solar Oven" p.g 65 - these projects are super fun, educational and use household items or ones that are easily found.  Geology of the Desert Southwest is rated for ages 9-12 or reading level; T.

Check out this and other Nomad Press books at; http://www.nomadpress.net/

HUGE HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!

If you haven't discovered Nomad Press Explore Series AND you are still on the fence about Spigot Science then this is a great giveaway for you.  Check it out...

Nomad Press Simple Machines is a wonderful book that engages and teaches about how most machines are based on one (or several) of the very basics machines;
  • the Lever
  • Inclined Plane
  • Wheel and Axle
  • Screw
  • Wedge
  • Pulley
In addition, it includes some cool history facts, words to know and 25 great projects you can do with your child using everyday objects.  Check out Making Your Own Jumping Jack p.g 20, take the Chopstick Challenge p.g 24 or try your hand at Making Your Own Movable Pulley p.g 75.

The great thing about Nomad Press Explore series is your child doesn't have to be a science genius to have fun and learn about new and wonderful things.  Nomad Press is on the web at; http://nomadpress.net/

Nomad Press is awesome, but team them up with Spigot Science and it's unbelievable!

Spigot Science is published 4 times a year, taking one subject and delving into it.  Spigot offers fun articles, and games incorporating all aspects of teaching;
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Math
  • Geography
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies
  • Health
  • Arts
  • Library
Spigot Science is one of the most comprehensive and entertaining publications on the Internet today.  If you haven't checked them out yet (or if you're already a fan) we invite you to stop by Spigot Science at; http://spigotsciencemag.com/

Now that you know about these wonderful publications you can enter here to win a copy of Nomad Press Explore Simple Machines PLUS a Premium Membership to Spigot Science which includes all Spigot's back Issues as well as 4 brand new upcoming Issues. 

All you have to do is leave a comment is this blogspot letting me know you want to be entered (contact info too, please).  I will do a random draw on Sunday December 11th for one lucky winner.

Good Luck!

Faster Than the Speed of Light?

Do you have time for reading this?  Maybe not, but you would if you could travel faster than the speed of light.  Are you skeptical?  You should be–you’re a scientist. And scientists are taught to be skeptical. That’s why they test theories over and over again.
 
This article, and the related activity, discusses what happens if we could travel faster than light.  Albert Einstein said that you could go back in time, like to the point just before you started reading this post.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  What would you do with all this extra time?  Download this month’s issue of Science in the News at http://spigotsciencemag.com/, and read on.
 
And don’t forget to think like a scientist!

Exploracise Gymathtics - Review and GIVEAWAY



Want to win a copy of Exploracise Gymathtics?  Just leave me a comment in this blog post (be sure to include some contact info) and I will do a random draw on Sunday November 20th - This would make a great stocking stuffer - enter now.

Want extra entries?  Follow Spigot Blog (1 entry), Leave a comment at Educational Blogs (icon on right - 2 entries).

Exploracise Gymathtics - Review and GIVEAWAY

With the rate of childhood obesity on the rise, parents are looking for ways to get their kids active.  But is there any way for kids to exercise and have fun besides the Wii system?

Exploracise Gymathtics is a wonderful, upbeat and all over body workout made just for kids 1st through 4th grade levels.  Why the grade levels?  Because Exploracise not only works the body, but the mind as well.

"Scientific research shows that movement in combination with learning enhances retention and recognition."

Here's what you can expect from this revolutionary DVD:

  • Shapes Stretches Warm Up - Stretch your mind and body with line, circle, and polygon stretches
  • Counting Calisthenics - Aerobic movements work your heart as fun counting concepts work your brain.
  • Pattern Power - Growing and repeating pattern exercise combinations challenge minds and strengthen muscles.
  • Well-Being Wind Down - Relaxing stretches cool down the body and open the mind to think about healthy lifestyle choices including the Nice Wave Stretch and Big Dream Stretch.
With a running time of approximately 30 minutes this fun workout is perfect for every day exercise- I think Exploracise should be incorporated into every classroom!

Check out Exploracise on the web at; http://exploramania.com/

Want to win a copy of Exploracise Gymathtics?  Just leave me a comment in this blog post (be sure to include some contact info) and I will do a random draw on Sunday November 20th - This would make a great stocking stuffer - enter now.

Want extra entries?  Follow Spigot Blog (1 entry), Leave a comment at Educational Blogs (icon on right - 2 entries).

Can Adding Math Help Subtract Obesity?



Mom Advocate Says YES!

Carrie Scheiner is not ashamed of being a bit of a math nerd.

But don’t let her degree in Math education from Rutgers University fool you – she is also a big fan of physical fitness, and her passion for both has led to her to think of exercise for kids in a completely new way.

“As adults, we don’t think about it, but much of our exercise regimens revolve around counting,” said Scheiner, creator of Exploracise, an exercise DVD for kids and parents (http://www.exploracise.com/). “So I began thinking about how much more fun, and healthy, math could be for kids if we combined it with exercise. That was the genesis of my combination of the two disciplines.”

Scheiner believes her approach actually addresses two of the most pressing problems in the United States today.

“Research shows that exercise improves learning and multi-sensory learning techniques improve the recognition and recall of information,” Scheiner added. “One-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese and 61 percent of fourth graders are not proficient in math. That being said, it just makes sense that we start approaching these problems head-on, and we can create an economy of scale in time and resources by doing it at the same time.”

Scheiner believes that parents should encourage kids to get off the couch and exercise, too, which is why she has also devised a list of tips for parents who want to see their kids exercise as they learn. They include:
  • Count Along – It’s not just about counting to ten when you touch your toes. There is so much more you can do when your kids are having fun. It can be as simple as having them do the same thing you do – sets of 10 repetitions of any exercise – and then have them add up all those 10s when they are done. It will help them get comfortable tabulating simple equations in their heads.

  • Shapes Can Be Healthy – When I was a kid in gym class, they made us do arm circles, but there are so many other shapes that can be explored. Triangles, rectangles and even more complex geometric shapes can be combined with exercise in a variety of ways. Be creative and don’t be content with your kids using their arms like windmills. Make it fun for them and it will help to create healthy exercise habits that will last a lifetime.

  • Scavenger Hunts – Hide and Seek is a time-honored game, and with a little twist, you can use it to make math and healthy eating fun. Hide some healthy foods around the house, and set your kids to the task of finding them, but write down the calories and fat for each healthy food. When they find them, have them match up the foods with the numbers.
“It’s all about getting kids to put down the video game controllers and to get off the couch,” she said. “We owe it to our kids to start them off in life with healthy habits that we never learned as kids. As adults, we had to teach ourselves to work out and eat healthy. It wasn’t something that most of us learned when we were young. With this approach, you can help your kids develop intellectually and physically, as well as help them establish healthy habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

About Carrie Scheiner

Carrie Scheiner has a lifelong love of helping others, and is passionate about helping children learn math and healthy lifestyle concepts. She won the award for best student teacher for secondary math while receiving her Bachelors of Arts in Math and Secondary Education at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, where she also earned a Masters of Science in Statistics. She has combined her love of math and her passion for healthy eating and exercise to help the next generation overcome its current educational and health crises. (http://www.exploracise.com/)

*My review of Exploracise coming next week *

Traditional Species Distribution Models too Static to Reveal Animals’ Response to Climate Change

Australian scientists studying the reliability of species distribution models for revealing the response of animals to climate change have focused their research on the endangered marsupial, the Northern Bettong. The research, published in Ecography, demonstrates that studying weather events, rather than the gradual changes of the climate, offers a clearer insight into the Bettong’s movements, range boundaries and likely contact with competitors.

“Scientists often use Species Distribution Models (SDM) to predict how an animal will respond to a changing habitat by describing its distribution in relation to the average climate in the location the species is found,” said Dr Brooke Bateman from James Cook University Australia. “However these models fail to take weather events into account, even though short-term changes to temperature and rainfall may cause a species to change its behaviour or even move location.”

To understand the importance of weather the team turned to two of Australia’s marsupial species the endangered northern bettong (Bettongia tropica) and its rival the rufous bettong (Aepyprymnus rufescens). The endangered bettong is only found in three locations in the woodlands and forests of Queensland in Northern Australia, where rainfall is high and the environment is suitable for its primary food source, truffles.

The rufous bettong lives in habitat across a board range of temperature and rainfall. Both species are known to occupy the same areas within the drier end of the northern bettongs range, but rarely at the same time.

The team used occurrence records for both species and compared them to climate variables and extreme weather events such as droughts and heatwaves, which affect the bettong’s food source and could result in short-term change of behaviour and distribution.

The results showed that the endangered bettong occurred in smaller numbers in areas that were more likely to experience droughts and other fluctuations in short-term weather suitability. Reconstruction of weather patterns over time suggested that the two species of bettong are in a dynamic relationship with each other as their distribution shifts in response to rainfall and temperature.

“Weather determined both range boundaries and the outcomes of competition between the northern bettong and the more widespread rufous bettong, which were not detected by traditional models which relied on long-term climate averages," concluded Dr Bateman. "We conclude that models based on weather data are needed to make predictions on where and when species are likely to occur, now and in the future.”


This study is published in Ecography.Full citation: Bateman. B, VanDerWal J, Johnson. C, “Improving species distribution modelling using temporal variation in weather and extreme weather events,” Ecography, Wiley-Blackwell, DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0587.2011.06871.x

Is the reading level too high? Here's what to do

The students in front of you are a mixture of auditory (hearing) learners, visual (seeing) learners, and kinesthetic (hands-on) learners–or a combination of either two or three of these modalities.  Try reading aloud any article that you know would be great for your students.   Actually, perform it–pausing, inflecting your voice, and interacting with your students as you read. Kids love to be read to.

Also it’s important to note that the students’ listening level is several grades higher than their actual reading level. Many times students understand words better by hearing them in context, than if they had to read, or struggle to read, them. By listening to you read (with meaning and enthusiasm), their reading/listening skills are being strengthened, along with their vocabulary and comprehension.

Doing this on a regular basis actually is a valuable practice, especially in the science class where the vocabulary and concepts are often more difficult than with other subjects.


Valeria B. Girandola
MSEd, Publisher, Editor in Chief
Spigot Science Magazine


* Sign up for a free Basic Membership to get tips, and Library Connection resources here
Sign up for Premium Membership and get all Spigot Issues plus other resources here *

Interview With Pat Richwine - Spigot Book Reviewer


Have you noticed Spigot's awesome recommended reading list?  These books are carefully selected and reviewed by Patricia A. Richwine, Ph.D.  I caught up Pat and here's what she had to say:

1.  Tell us a bit about yourself ~
I grew up in Ohio and always wanted to be a teacher. I earned my three degrees; BA, MA and Ph.D. at The University of Akron. I’ve lived all of my adult life in NJ and just recently, in 2008, moved back to Ohio where most of my family lives. Right away my husband and I became involved with family activities that keep us very busy.

2.  Have you always been interested in science?
As an undergraduate student I was an elementary education major with a minor in mathematics. I was interested in all content areas and liked to teach them all. My math interest spilled over into science. At one time I team taught science with another teacher who taught social studies. I began writing about my science interests and presenting at science conferences. Because my passion is children’s literature, I would always try to use science- related trade books in my presentations. When I began teaching at the university level, the first course I taught was for pre-service teachers about how to teach science and mathematics. My interest in science just seemed to increase with each new course I taught and with each new presentation I made.

3.  How did you first get involved with Spigot Science?
While teaching at Georgian Court University, my colleague, Dr. David Cochran and I often shared our common interest in children’s literature. Dr. Cochran also knew of my interest in science and mathematics. When he and Valeria Girandola proposed the idea for Spigot I was thrilled to be involved. I started out on the Virtual Advisory Board (VAB) and from there came the idea of writing the book reviews for each issue.

4.  What in your opinion is the most important scientific fact children should be taught or made aware of? 
I don’t think there is any one scientific fact all children should know. Rather, I think that all children should be encouraged to develop a spirit of inquiry and a curiosity about science and the world around them. That being said, I think one fact that needs to be made clear about science is that the facts are evolving and changing. That’s what makes science more exciting with each new discovery.

5.  Do you think kids are more interested in science today?  Is the school curriculum doing enough?
Yes, I think kids are more interested in science today because the world is so open and accessible to them. They have easy access through the Internet and there are so many fantastic, non-fiction books about every topic imaginable. Kids, and adults, can read about science and environmental issues in the news on a daily basis. This really helps to peak their interest.

6. What do you look for in a good science book?  Where do you find the books you review?
I have some general criteria I use to select books. I think about the audience. What would be age and interest appropriate and what is the purpose for the selection? I also look at literary merit, accuracy and appeal. Books need to be well-written and contain accurate information. Design and artistic style go along with appeal. Authors, illustrators and publishers are making books in a great variety of exciting formats. I find most of the books for my reviews through my county public library system. I think it’s important to review books that teachers and students might be able to find in their own libraries or at sites like Amazon.com.

7.  Science was so boring when I was in school (30 years ago) how is it different today?
Science used to be an "add on" to the school curriculum. Now it’s really an integral part of education and of life in general. There are many great resources that provide hands-on and minds-on learning for students. There are also lots of teacher friendly sources that make teaching science more exciting.

8.  How are publications like Spigot helping teachers and children?
Publications like Spigot make science come alive. Because each issue of Spigot addresses a specific topic it really provides breadth and depth to science learning. The format of Spigot is also great for teachers because it incorporates all content areas and relates them to the theme of the issue. Spigot could be a significant asset for homeschoolers, too.

Check out Patricia's book reviews for Spigot's new Oceans Issue. 

They Include:
  • Wild Oceans by Lucio & Meera Santoro,
  • Explorer: Oceans and Seas by Stephen Savage,
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Big Blue Ocean by Bill Nye with Ian G. Saunders,
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Oceans by Camilla de la Bedoyere,
  • Oceans; Dolphins, Sharks, Penguins, and More! by Johnna Rizzo,
  • Scholastic Atlas of Oceans,
  • DK Guide: Ocean by Dr. Frances Dipper
  • Navigators: Oceans & Seas by Margaret Hynes
  • Oceans; Surviving in the Deep Sea by Michael Sandler
  • Hands-0n Projects About Oceans by Krista West
  • Sweeping Tsunamis by Louise & Richard Spilsbury,
  • Flotsam by David Wiesner
  • Tracking Trash; Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion by Loree Griffin Burns,
All books are available on Amazon from Spigot's Library Connection
 

Take Five

by David Cochran

The first five minutes of class are critical to establishing a climate for learning.  Too often classes start with attendance and housekeeping chores rather than engaging students in thought related to the topic of the day.  Time is at a premium in most classes, so using that first five minutes wisely is important.

Here is what some teachers do to make the most of their start up time. …more

Aquatic Fish Jump into Picture of Evolutionary Land Invasion

When biologist Alice Gibb and her research team witnessed a small amphibious fish, the mangrove rivulus, jump out of a net and back into the water they inadvertently discovered the evolutionary traits which allow fish to temporarily invade the land. Their resulting study, published in JEZ A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, reveals how fully aquatic fish can jump effectively on land without specialized anatomical attributes.

“These findings have significant implications for evolutionary biology,” Gibb said, “because it suggests the invasion of the land by vertebrates may have occurred much more frequently than has been previously thought.”.

In the case of aquatic fish this ability shows that species without legs or rigid pectoral fins can move around on land. This raises the possibillity that more species have been able to invade the land than the fossil record initially suggests.

The team originally intended to study the feeding behavior of a related species, the guppy and once the rivulus exhibited the tail-flip jumping maneuver the team turned their attention back to this fully aquatic fish.

“Interestingly the guppy jumped almost as well as the amphibious fish did,” said Gibb, “and no one has ever suggested that a guppy is an amphibious fish.”

The team set about recording several additional species in front of a high-speed camera, including the mosquitofish, which has been introduced into local tributaries of Oak Creek in Arizona, and a common pet store zebra fish, which is a very distant relative of guppies.

“The mosquitofish became our lab rat,” said Gibb. “It’s accessible, it comes from a group that has other jumpers, and it’s been reported that this fish jumps out of the water to get away from predators and then jumps back in.”

That particular escape behavior had never been filmed, yet using the high-speed video systems the team revealed that both species produced a coordinated maneuver in which the fish curls its head toward the tail and then pushes off the ground to propel itself through the air.

To further their research Gibb and her colleagues are endeavoring to determine if there is directionality to voluntary movement on land and to investigate the genetic basis of the jumping behavior.

“Maybe fishes that are very good at jumping are poor swimmers,” Gibb said. “We want to look at the compromises that may have been made to favor one behavior over another.”


This study is published in JEZ A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology. 
Full Citation: Gibb. A, Ashley-Ross. M, Pace. C, Long. J, “Fish out of Water: Terrestrial Jumping by

Fully Aquatic Fishes”, Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology, Wiley-Blackwell, DOI: 10.1002/jez.711

Video Footage: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/acg/video.html
Author: Dr Alice Gibb

Ocean Motion - Science Connection


The ocean is always on the move, sometimes rolling in gentle swells and at other times slamming with tremendous force into the shoreline. The ocean uses energy that it has received from the forces acting upon it to stay on the move.

Currents
cause water to move continuously in a circular path deep beneath and at the surface of the ocean. The rotation of the Earth causes this movement. In the Northern Hemisphere, the area north of the equator, currents travel from west to east, then back again in a big circle. This is called a clockwise direction. In the Southern Hemisphere, currents travel from east to west, then back again in a counter clockwise direction...read more

Explorers of the New World - A Review

I love Nomad Press! If you have yet to discover this publishing house, you are so missing out! They offer a wide range of books that not only educate, but entertain.

This brand new title, Explorers of the New World Discover the Golden Age of Exploration fits right in with Spigot's current issue, Oceans.

This book explores the men responsible for mapping out our world and includes:

~ Introduction - Exploring in the Age of Discovery
~ Searching for a Water Route to Asia
~ Voyage to the New World (Christopher Columbus)
~ Searching for a Northwest Passage (John Cabot)
~ Circling the Globe (Ferdinand Magellan)
~ The Spanish Conquistadors
~ Journeys Inland

In addition to all the cool history, Explorers offers 22 hands on experiments that can be done with household or easy to find items. Check out;

~ Make Your Own Cross Staff
~ Make Your Own Map Quest p.g 44
~ Make Your Own Ocean in a Bottle p.g 52
p.g. 18

I wish these books were around when I was growing up - they're awesome and make learning so much fun! This book is rated for the 9-12 crowd or children with reading level "S".


Check out, Explorers of the New World and other Nomad Press titles on the web at; http://www.nomadpress.net

Teaching Science Vocabulary in Context

Science vocabulary can be difficult, sometimes even abstract, and this is one of the reasons students don’t connect when reading science texts or articles. If they don’t understand the vocabulary, then there is a very good chance that they won’t understand the underlying concepts.

Students need to see, hear, say, and write the vocabulary words in order to know them, remember them, and use them.  Seeing the definitions of science words in the context of the article helps students understand the meaning of the words and adds to the students’ understanding of the concepts. Here are some examples of “in context” definitions in the OCEANS publication: …more

David Cochran
Publisher, Chief Learning Officer
Spigot Science

Write An Ocean Myth - Language Arts Connection



Long ago before we had as much scientific knowledge as we do today, people would invent stories to explain things they saw in nature. They were not true, but people accepted them because they didn't have any other explanation for why things like the moon, stars, oceans, or rainbows existed.

Features of Myths

These stories are called myths. They have several key features: read more

Into the Deep

Strange, Deep, and Unknown

The ocean is the most unknown area on Earth. We know a lot more about our mountains, rainforests, and deserts than we do about the ocean. This is because we can access these places even when it is difficult. There are many areas below the surface of the ocean that we are just beginning to explore.

The deeper we travel below the surface of the ocean, the harder it is to survive. At the surface, there is light and a small amount of pressure. As we descend, the light gets less and less while the pressure becomes greater. Closer to the surface, we can wear air tanks and wet suits. As we go deeper, we need special, heavier suits. We can go still deeper in submarines. But in the deepest areas of the ocean, humans cannot travel at all. We need robotic submarines to travel to these areas....read more

The Vast Frontier - Spigot Oceans


It is perhaps the most unknown place on Earth. It is wide, long, and deep. And it is filled with salty water. The ocean is so vast that it covers more than 70 percent of Planet Earth with millions of trillions of gallons of water that

Many people refer to oceans and seas by their names such as Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Medi-terranean Sea, etc. However, these names are just to help us identify sections of the vast harbor more unknown plants and animals than we can imagine. frontier. All the oceans are basins or areas sunken below the areas we call land. They are connected to form one gigan-tic body of water read more...

Oceans Issue is Here!

They are wide and deep.  They are vast and have everything to do with life on Earth. 
    
 In this publication of Spigot Science, Oceans, we help students explore the mysteries of the deep from many perspectives.  In addition to learning the science of tides and ocean motion, they will learn all about what lives in the deep layers of the oceans and where all the oceans are located.
    
In the Language Arts Connection, students will write an ocean myth, and then rewrite a scientifically correct version.  In the Social Studies Connection, they will learn about the ocean census.  They will consider ocean safety in Health Connections, and in the Arts Connection, they will sing sea shanties and view ocean statuary.
    
Of course, our regular monthly feature segments focus on oceans too.  Students will learn to think deeply as they Think Like a Scientist and learn about the life of Jacques Cousteau in Scientists Are People Too.  In our Library Connection they will read ocean book reviews relevant to upper elementary and middle school students.
    
There is so much to learn about these waters that encompass 70 percent of our planet.
    
Premium members are entitled to all past, present, and future publications of Spigot Science for a whole year.  This includes all 15 of our themed publications as well as the monthly Science in the News.  Just log in to download Oceans.
    
If you are not yet a member, please visit us and sign up!   Tap into Learning with Spigot Science publications

Teach Math in Just 5 Minutes!

Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps

If your child isn't mathematically inclined don't despair there's help.  Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps is simple, easy and so much fun your child will forget he's learning.

Sticks and Steps is a "multi-sensory method" that will have your child flying through her math homework.  The core is "sticks" are represented by vertical lines and "steps" are horizontal lines.  With this touch, say and print method your child can easily find the right answer - If you can count, you can multiply.

The author, Maureen Sterans, B.A., M.S. has really hit on something here.  I wish this was available when I was struggling through math.

Here's what you can expect to find among the pages of Sticks and Steps;

1.  The Basic Method
2.  Swap the Sticks with the Steps
3.  "Oh no!...A Factor is Missing."
4.  "Oh look!  I See a Pattern"
5.  Multiply Multi-digit Numbers
6.  Take a Shortcut
7.  Divide Using Sticks and Steps
8.  Divide Large Numbers

For Advanced Learners

9.  Find the Least Common Multiple (LCM)
10.  Easy Doubles and Square Roots
11.  Special Rules to Remember

Don't let your child struggle with frustrating math problems, grab a copy of 
Multiply and Divide with Sticks and Steps today.

Fun, Stickers, Stars, and Candy

There’s a lot to be said about using word games to anchor words in the brain while having fun at the same time. A load of positive feedback can work wonders.
 
Students love the competition, the stickers, the stars, and the candy. Teacher/student-made games, easily made from the internet provide a lot of practices: crossword puzzles work on spelling and meaning; word searches work on spelling and word recognition; bingo can work on meaning and/or spelling, or word recognition; and then, of course, there’s Jeopardy.
 
Vocabulary building can be a fun time. Students not only increase their vocabulary and become avid scientists, but they become proud owners of a lot of brand new words that can be used to impress and to get those 100%’s.
 
Valeria B. Girandola
MSEd, Publisher, Editor in Chief
Spigot Science Magazine

Educating Gifted Children

by Linda Warren

Parents of gifted children sometimes find that it is difficult to give their children the education they need. Many people think that having a gifted child means that there are not problems in school for the student. This is far from the truth. In fact, gifted children have as many problems in school as those children of average educational aptitude, or even those children who have learning disabilities. It is just that the gifted children have different problems.

One problem that gifted children have is that they may not learn all subjects equally well. It is commonly thought that a gifted child can easily learn any subject that they are presented. And for some gifted children this is true. Because giftedness comes in many shapes and forms, some gifted children may find math to be a simple subject, easily learning new facts, and needing little repetition or reinforcement to be able to answer problems. That same gifted child might also voluntarily work more math problems that required, willingly exploring more math than is necessary to complete assignments. She might even explore math further, just because she considers it fun or entertaining. This gifted child might have trouble in other aspects of her education. For example, she might struggle with spelling, or other language arts.

The level of giftedness varies between children. Gifted does not mean that learning is effortless. Nor does it guarantee that there is not a cost somewhere else. Gifted children sometimes feel a great deal of pressure when parents or teachers expect them to do equally well in all subjects. Sometimes parents or teachers compound that pressure by telling the child something like, “You are so smart in science, you should be a doctor.” Just because a child may be gifted in science does not mean that being a doctor is what they are interested in. Yet if a child is told every week, from an early age, that they should be a doctor, because they are so gifted, then it becomes hard for them to break free of expectations.

In the classroom gifted children are sometimes given less attention rather than more. In part, this is due to the fact that children who learn easily are thought to not need specialized, or individualized instruction. Gifted students are often assigned as student helpers for children who do need more help. While this is great for the child who needs more help, it does not further the education of the gifted child. Giftedness is not just the ease of learning presented but also the need or drive to attain more information. If that hunger for knowledge is not fed in the gifted child then he may become bored, or even angered. This can lead to behavioral problems. The answer to solving the issues listed here regarding gifted children may not be as difficult as expected.


Gifted children tend to be creative and energetic. They are curious and questioning. It is possible to teach to those strengths, and their ability to learn easily and quickly, offering individualized instruction. This may be difficult to achieve in the typical classroom, there are ways to provide this. One alternative is smaller classes, where children can receive more individual attention. These smaller classes would also allow gifted children to explore their interests and delve deeper into subjects that they are good in, or have deeper understanding of. Another alternative to smaller class size is the home school environment, where the education of the gifted child can be completely individualized.

Gifted children can be challenging to educate, but they deserve as much attention as other students. In a time when it is not politically correct to celebrate exceptionalism, gifted students are sometimes not allowed to shine. They have needs, and weaknesses, and those need to be addressed when developing a curriculum. If we can provide these exceptional students with what they need today, society will reap the benefits of their creativity and ingenuity in the future.


About the Author:

Linda Warren is a writer. Her interests include self-sufficiency, and preparedness. She is a home schooling parent of one child for four years and counting with the online curriculum
http://time4learning.com/

What Do Math and Exercise Have in Common?

Expert Reveals the Answer Should Be "Your Kids"

Carrie Scheiner is not ashamed of being a bit of a math nerd.  But don’t let her degree in Math education from Rutgers University fool you – she is also a big fan of physical fitness, and her passion for both has led to her to think of exercise for kids in a completely new way.

"As adults, we don’t think about it, but much of our exercise regimens revolve around counting," said Scheiner, creator of Exploracise, an exercise DVD for kids and parents (http://www.exploracise.com/). "So I began thinking about how much more fun, and healthy, math could be for kids if we combined it with exercise. That was the genesis of my combination of the two disciplines."

Scheiner believes her approach actually addresses two of the most pressing problems in the United States today.

"Research shows that exercise improves learning and multi-sensory learning techniques improve the recognition and recall of information," Scheiner added. "One-third of U.S. children are overweight or obese and 61 percent of fourth graders are not proficient in math. That being said, it just makes sense that we start approaching these problems head-on, and we can create an economy of scale in time and resources by doing it at the same time."

Scheiner believes that parents should encourage kids to get off the couch and exercise, too, which is why she has also devised a list of tips for parents who want to see their kids exercise as they learn. They include:

Count Along– It’s not just about counting to ten when you touch your toes. There is so much more you can do when your kids are having fun. It can be as simple as having them do the same thing you do – sets of 10 repetitions of any exercise – and then have them add up all those 10s when they are done. It will help them get comfortable tabulating simple equations in their heads.

Shapes Can Be Healthy– When I was a kid in gym class, they made us do arm circles, but there are so many other shapes that can be explored. Triangles, rectangles and even more complex geometric shapes can be combined with exercise in a variety of ways. Be creative and don’t be content with your kids using their arms like windmills. Make it fun for them and it will help to create healthy exercise habits that will last a lifetime.

Scavenger Hunts– Hide and Seek is a time-honored game, and with a little twist, you can use it to make math and healthy eating fun. Hide some healthy foods around the house, and set your kids to the task of finding them, but write down the calories and fat for each healthy food. When they find them, have them match up the foods with the numbers.
"It’s all about getting kids to put down the video game controllers and to get off the couch," she said. "We owe it to our kids to start them off in life with healthy habits that we never learned as kids. As adults, we had to teach ourselves to work out and eat healthy. It wasn’t something that most of us learned when we were young. With this approach, you can help your kids develop intellectually and physically, as well as help them establish healthy habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives."

About Carrie Scheiner
Carrie Scheiner has a lifelong love of helping others, and is passionate about helping children learn math and healthy lifestyle concepts. She won the award for best student teacher for secondary math while receiving her Bachelors of Arts in Math and Secondary Education at New Jersey’s Rutgers University, where she also earned a Masters of Science in Statistics. She has combined her love of math and her passion for healthy eating and exercise to help the next generation overcome its current educational and health crises. (http://www.exploracise.com/)

The Sea Creatures We Love to Hate

They are slimy, giggly, and overall scary creatures. They often are greeted with terms of endearment like “yuck” or “disgusting”.  Nevertheless, kids can’t resist poking them with clam shells when they wash up on the beach.

Everybody seems to love hating jellyfish. Too many of them can ruin a perfectly enjoyable day at the beach. Sometimes they can actually sting you. Nobody is quite sure what purpose these creatures serve...more



David Cochran
Publisher, Chief Learning Officer
Spigot Science

Whale Sharks Do the Math to Avoid That Sinking Feeling

How the world’s largest fish uses geometry and energy conservation to stay afloat.

They are the largest fish species in the ocean, but the majestic gliding motion of the whale shark is, scientists argue, an astonishing feat of mathematics and energy conservation. In new research published in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology marine scientists reveal how these massive sharks use geometry to enhance their natural negative buoyancy and stay afloat.
For most animals movement is crucial for survival, both for finding food and for evading predators. However, movement costs substantial amounts of energy and while this is true of land based animals it is even more complex for birds and marine animals which travel in three dimensions. Unsurprisingly this has a profound impact on their movement patterns.


“The key factor for animal movement is travel speed, which governs how much energy an animal uses, the distance it will travel and how often resources are encountered,” said lead author Adrian Gleiss from Swansea University. “However, oceanic animals not only have to consider their travel speed, but also how vertical movement will affect their energy expenditure, which changes the whole perspective.”

For the past four years, Adrian Gleiss and Rory Wilson, from Swansea University, worked with Brad Norman from ECOcean Inc. to lead an international team to investigate the movements of whale sharks, Rhincodon typus, at Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia. They attached animal-borne motion sensors, accelerometers, to the free-swimming whale sharks to measure their swimming activity and vertical movement, which allowed them to quantify the energetic cost of vertical movement.

The team’s data revealed that whale sharks are able to glide without investing energy into movement when descending, but they had to beat their tails when they ascended. This occurs because sharks, unlike many fish, have negative buoyancy.

Also, the steeper the sharks ascended, the harder they had to beat their tail and the more energy they had to invest. The Whale Sharks displayed two broad movement modes, one consisting of shallow ascent angles, which minimize the energetic cost of moving in the horizontal while a second characteristic of steeper ascent angles, optimized the energetic cost of vertical movement.

“These results demonstrate how geometry plays a crucial role in movement strategies for animals moving in 3-dimensions,” concluded Gleiss. “This use of negative buoyancy may play a large part in oceanic sharks being able to locate and travel between scarce and unpredictable food sources efficiently.”


This study is published in Functional Ecology. Full citation: Gleiss. A, Norman. B, Wilson. R, ‘Moved by that sinking feeling: variable diving geometry underlies movement strategies in Whale sharks’, Functional Ecology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2010

About the Journal
Functional Ecology is published on behalf of the British Ecological Society and is a leading journal in organismal ecology. The journal publishes papers on organismal ecology, including physiological, behavioural and evolutionary ecology. At the same time, we are also interested in organism-level studies that have clear and important implications for community and ecosystem processes.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2435

MEG: Origins - A Review

Did you know scientists believe a 70-foot long, 50 tonne shark called the Megaladon once swam the warm ocean waters?  MEG: Origins by Steve Alten delves into the undersea mystery and takes your teen reader on the adventure of the year.

Jonas Taylor a Navy deep sea submersible pilot has pushed himself to the limit, in fact, he's burned out, but that doesn't stop his commander from ordering him on another mission - this one to the Mariana Trench, a 7-mile deep, 1500 mile long gorge located at the bottom of the Western Pacific.  But little does Jonas and his team know that the coming tsunami is no match for the horror that is about to greet them far below the treacherous waters.

MEG: Origins is also available on; Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook

About the Author:

Steve’s novels are used by thousands of middle and high school teachers as part of their curriculum to encourage teens to read and, in fact, MEG was rated #1 Book for Reluctant Readers. This resulted in Steve launching his nationwide, non-profit program Adopt-An-Author that has over 10,000 teachers registered to date and has an unprecedented success rate in getting teens to read. See: http://www.adoptanauthor.com/.

As a special bonus to readers, this international best-selling author commissioned renowned “MEG artist” Erik Hollander to create nine original color images to introduce each chapter. Combining a white-knuckle story with dazzling images has set the bar for an e-book, with readers raving about the high-tech entertainment experience. Finally, as a way of honoring his loyal readers, Steve Alten is practically giving MEG: Origins away, pricing the e-book for only .99 cents!

For more information, visit http://www.stevealten.com/. And for anyone who has not yet read any of the MEG books, MEG: Origins will surely whet their appetite for things to come. Pleasant dreams…for now.

Planning for 9-11-11

What to teach? and How to teach it? Certainly the first biggest event in the plan-book this fall will be the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on 9/11. Being ready is a real priority for all teachers.  Two suggestions:
 
First–In Spigot’s publication TREES, ”The Miracle Tree,” pp. 29-31, tells about a 150 year old sycamore tree that was standing 50 feet from Tower Seven of the World Trade Center, and how its demise saved the historic St. Paul’s Chapel. The chapel became the center for rescue workers and Firefighters, a place for their equipment and a place to rest as they fearlessly rescued many people from the burning towers. …more
 
Valeria B. Girandola
MSEd, Publisher, Editor in Chief
Spigot Science Magazine

by Sarah Hoyle

For an adventurous female zebra finch a similar personality is more important than a male's appearance or the condition of their beak, reveals research led by the University of Exeter and published in Ethology. This is the first study to show that personalities influence partner choice in non-humans.

The study focused on a population of more than 150 zebra finches, Taeniopygia guttata, as the research team used a series of behavioural tests to assess male and female birds for personality traits.

In one series of tests the team measured levels of adventurous behaviour by assessing a bird’s willingness to explore new environments and reactions to new objects. Each female watched as a pair of brothers explored strange new cages.

Unbeknown to the female one of the brothers was made to look less exploratory than the other as it was restrained within an invisible box. The team then put the female together with the brothers and observed which male she spent the most time with.

The results showed that exploratory females are more likely to favour the most apparently outgoing and confident males. This was regardless of the male birds body size, condition or beak colour. Less exploratory females on the other hand, did not show a preference for either male.

“This is strong evidence that females care about the apparent personality of their male independently of his appearance,” said team leader, Dr Sasha Dall, from the University of Exeter. “We have the first evidence that it is important for partners to have compatible personalities in the mating game. This is something we would probably all agree is the case for humans, but it has been overlooked for other species.”Previous studies have shown that there is a link between a pair’s personalities and their reproductive success across a range of species.
“Exploratory females seem to have the most to gain by choosing exploratory mates,” said lead author,

Dr Wiebke Schuett of the Royal Veterinary College. “We have shown previously that pairs of zebra finches that are both exploratory raise offspring in better condition than those that are mismatched or unexploratory. Similar patterns have been seen in other birds and fish. However, this is the first evidence that the personality of both partners plays a role in mate choice."

About Wiley-Blackwell:
Wiley-Blackwell is the international scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly publishing business of John Wiley & Sons, with strengths in every major academic and professional field and partnerships with many of the world’s leading societies. Wiley-Blackwell publishes nearly 1,500 peer-reviewed journals and 1,500+ new books annually in print and online, as well as databases, major reference works and laboratory protocols. For more information, please visit http://www.wileyblackwell.com/ or our new online platform, Wiley Online Library (wileyonlinelibrary.com), one of the world’s most extensive multidisciplinary collections of online resources, covering life, health, social and physical sciences, and humanities

Tour of a Leaf Factory

Science Connection - Spigot


When we look at a leaf fluttering in the breeze, it’s hard to imagine that there is a lot of activity going on inside it. A leaf is like a factory that converts the sun’s energy into read more... 

New National Standards to Align with Spigot!

The National Research Council must have had Spigot Science in mind when they developed their recently issued framework for new national standards in science education.  Citing concern for a lower than needed level of US students pursuing science as a career, the NRC has set an objective that by 12th grade  “all students have some appreciation for the beauty and wonder of science”. (Don’t you love how they put that?!).

This is good news particularly because the new standards will promote not only scientific inquiry but also the very important...read more

Valeria B. Girandola
MSEd, Publisher, Editor in Chief
Spigot Science

Drop It...

...A Word Game You Can Play Anywhere
At Spigot Science we not only teach, but we also have fun.  Check this out! 

Drop It ~ First read the word clue. Guess the word. Read the Drop It clue. Guess the shorter word. Do both words make sense? Example: A four-letter word meaning to get bigger. Drop it and it means something you do with an oar. Answer: GROW, ROW

Take turns finding the answers and then make up some of your own...read more

A Shaky, Teachable Moment

by Lyle Girandola
 
Where were you at 1:51 EST on August 23'rd? Were you setting up your classroom? Preparing a lesson plan? Getting in the last of your summer vacation?
Earthquake map of the VA epicenter on 8/23/11
Earthquake map of the VA epicenter on 8/23/11

If you were somewhere on the east coast–say East Windsor, NJ, like me–chances are you felt what I felt. It was about 20 seconds of pure bewilderment.

The earthquake of 2011!

I was in my car eating a hamburger. I thought someone, like the cholesterol police, came up behind me and started jumping on the rear bumper. I got out of my car and continued to watch with amazement while my haunted shiny vehicle did its own little dance right there in the lot!

I even opened my trunk. Did I accidentally lock someone inside it? (I hate when that happens!)...read more

Think Like a Scientist



Have you ever thought about how you think? Have you ever wondered how we can look at something that’s confusing and make sense out of it? Scientists do this all the time. Learning how scientists think can help us become better thinkers. The scientific inquiry process is an important part of discovering and learning how the world works. When reading Spigot, look for opportunities to Think Like a Scientist...read more