"Tap into Learning" Cross-promoting Spigot online.


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