Physics for Rock Stars, or How The Periodic Table Can Help You Find You BFF

Women in science and engineering: a rare occurrence. Listen to this interview and learn how one young girl was introduced to the wonders of science and engineering and never gave a thought to being the only girl in the engineering class. It’s an interview with a female engineer and she speaks about her entry into the field and how being a B and C student is good enough because what you do on the job matters more. 
Interviewer: Brianna McGurran
Portland’s Christine McKinley wears many hats: she’s a mechanical engineer, a musician, a composer, an author and a former TV personality. She’s also on a mission to make math and science more fun. Her book Physics for Rock Stars is part memoir, part science lesson, and part advice column. It reads like a practical guide to the world from a clever, nerdy friend. Physics Lessons From The Science Teacher You Wish You’d Had … 

High School Senior Invents Simple Solution to Water Pollution

High School Senior Invents Simple Solution to Water Pollution

Amazing what young minds can create… with a process and research.


water filter


Check out the Intel Science Talent Search (not to be confused with the ISEF which my EDD students must enter)


Who knew? Sand Dams Can Save Water in Arid Lands!

Who knew? Sand Dams Can Save Water in Arid Lands!

Fresh potable water for drinking and irrigation are going to be one of the 21st century’s great challenges. This sounds counterintuitive, but, hey! That’s why we need to be open to new ideas! check this out:

Sand dam technology may date to Roman times. But it has been perfected in the 21st century by a combination of talent including a British NGO called Excellent Development, a Kenyan farmer named Joshua Mukusya, and Mennonites from North America.

Read about sand dams.


We need to use the write stuff

We need to use the write stuff

Many of my students don’t like to sketch because they feel they aren’t good at it. I tell them, this isn’t an art class, it’s a class in learning to solve problems using a structured process and to communicate the results using a technical vocabulary and tool kit (e.g., computer software like Autodesk Inventor and Microsoft Excel). Sketching, like writing by hand, engages the mind integrate vision with the tactile expression of ideas via words, or in class, via sketches: it’s all about communicating what’s in our head so others can understand.

I found this article by a local business writer about writing by hand in this age of ubiquitous digital technology to reinforce my instructional philosophy. The author cites some research that also supports this belief.

(A)n MRI brain scan showed subjects in the handwriting group had activated their brain’s visual and motor systems, as well as their brain’s emotional centers. Chen not only called writing by hand a creative activity, but a visual-spacial process, which could explain why we remember written appointments better than those typed into a smartphone.

There’s also this from the “Reviving the Lost Art of Manliness

By scanning the brain, researchers have found that writing by hand improves memory, cognitive activity, and the expression of ideas.

Write on!


Making The Grade Online

Making the grade online

My anecdotal research (see below) affirms my belief that there a different skill set required for optimal success in the “blended” classroom of today. I think we can be giving our students a leg up on the competition by developing our own (educator) skills in this new world.
I found this other article to be pretty informative about this trend a towards a new learning environment and skills:
  • Clark College is now using Canvas and Edmodo as I learned from a couple of our Running Start students.
  • And some of our recent alumni have also shared their online classroom experiences with me because I started introducing online learning skills in my classes when I started teaching high school eight years ago.
  • My son who taught at WSU-Pullman last year (now at Cal State) also taught online courses.