Celebrate our Armed Forces this week: Chance Discoveries – Kevlar

Armed Forces Day is May 20th and we want to look at an invention that has save many soldiers’ lives – Kevlar.
Have you ever wondered if all mistakes in science end up in the garbage? Find out about one important mistake in this video, part of a series on “Chance Discoveries” in chemistry. Hear how veteran NBC News war correspondent Richard Engel tells the story of lab work done in 1965 by DuPont chemist Stephanie Kwolek that unexpectedly produced Kevlar, a lightweight fiber five times stronger than steel. Kevlar fibers can be spun into anti-ballistic, shrapnel-resistant material for protective body armor worn by police forces, military troops and those in combat zones, including Engel himself.

See more at https://science360.gov/obj/video/ff988118-72a9-404c-b3dd-b0a065239655

Celebrate Nurses this week: Diary of a Civil War Nurse

National Nurses week is May 6th to 12th so to help us celebrate nurses, we are looking back at experiences of a Civil War nurse.
This interactive exhibition makes use of personal letters and diaries to document the life and experiences of Civil War nurse Amanda Akin. Get a first-hand account of a nurse’s job through the eyes of Amanda Akin who was serving as a nurse at Armory Square Hospital in Washington, D.C.. Site includes both journal entries and letters she wrote home to her sister to give you a full picture of her job. Learn how the nurses’ role has changed over the years. Site not only includes her writings but also pictures to fully explore the nurses’ job during the Civil War.

See more at http://americanhistory.si.edu/documentsgallery/exhibitions/nursing_1.html

Celebrate Space this week: Astronaut Video – Water in Space

Celebrate Intergalactic Star Wars Day (5/4) and National Astronaut Day (5/5) this week with some space science.
In the weightlessness of space things tend to behave a little differently. Water is a good example as you’ll see on board the International Space Station. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield soaks a washcloth with water and shows what happens when he tries to wring it out. How does water behave in space? How does it move? Where does it travel? Discover how the phenomenon of surface tension behaves in a zero-gravity environment. What happens here will amaze even the most scientific thinkers.

See more at http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/videos/astronauts/waterinspace.html

TedEd: Why Shakespeare Loved Iambic Pentameter

Dive into prose that makes Shakespeare come alive today. Even though Shakespeare gets a bad rap in high schools for his complex plots and antiquated language, a quick peek into the rhythm of his words reveals a poet deeply rooted in the way people spoke in his time- and still speak today. Why do Shakespeare’s words have such staying power? David T. Freeman and Gregory Taylor use this Ted Ed talk to uncover the power of iambic pentameter. After the video, students can take an eight question quiz over the concepts in the talk, and then participate in a guided discussion about Shakespearean elements and poetry verse.

See more at http://ed.ted.com/lessons/why-shakespeare-loved-iambic-pentameter-david-t-freeman-and-gregory-taylor

Science360: The Study of Climate Change – How Ice Core Drill Work


How on Earth do climate scientists study climate data from long ago? They dig and extract ice cores from frozen environments. Here, engineers describe the operation of the Blue Ice Drill during its initial test. This video showcases a double barrel coring design with glimpses of its action, normally hidden beneath the ice’s surface. The U.S. Ice Drilling Program plans and coordinates for the ice drilling science and technology communities, and provides drilling technology and operational support that enables the community to advance the frontiers of climate and environmental science.

See more at https://science360.gov/obj/video/0d3f4de1-d72a-458a-993a-1e388deefb58/ice-core-drills-work

Your Dictionary: Scrabble Word Finder

The dictionary and Scrabble are perfect partners. In honor of National Dictionary Day on April 14, introduce your students to the game of Scrabble using resources on Your Dictionary. Your students can unleash their competitive juices by challenging each other to games of Scrabble. This site will allow the students to input tiles from their hand to find out the best possible words. If that is too easy, students can do other searches such as best 3 letter words, words ending in ING, crazy consonant words, vowel only words, and words with uncommon letters. The rules can be geared toward any grade level. Enjoy learning new words and beating your classmates in Scrabble!

See more at http:grammar.yourdictionary.com/games-puzzles-and-worksheets/scrabble-word-finder.html


Science360: Football Helmets – The Last Line of Defense?

Celebrate National Student Athlete Day this week! In this video you will learn all about how football helmets are designed and manufactured to keep athletes from injuring their heads and necks. Football is such an intense contact sport and all those tackles make everyone focused on safety. Learn about the old leather football helmets and the advanced chemistry behind the design of the modern football helmet.

See more at https://science360.gov/obj/video/c36cc355-7278-4dd2-bb47-4bd720a7d560/football-helmets-last-line-defense

Personalizing our National Anthem

Written by Francis Scott Key, the Star Spangled Banner is the national anthem of the United States of America.

The story behind the Star Spangled Banner is as moving as the anthem itself. During the War of 1812, Key was called upon to negotiate the release Dr. William Beane who was a prisoner on the British naval ship, Tonnant.

The Tonnant was anchored near Baltimore and Fort McHenry.  Key traveled there and  secured Beane’s release but since the British navy had begun attacking Baltimore, he had to wait at sea to return home.

The British navy soon abandoned Baltimore and turned their full attention on Fort McHenry on September 13, 1814. As the 190 pound shells began to shake the fort,  mother nature brought a storm of her own. Thunder, lightening and rain pelted the shore along with the bombs and shells.

At sea, Key watched the bombs bursting in air over the water and steadily pummeling Fort McHenry. It was surely a sight to behold. For 25 hours the star shaped fort manned by approximately 1,000 American soldiers endured over 1,500 cannon shots.

In the early morning of September 14th, the British were defeated. Major George Armistead ordered the oversized American flag raised in all its glory over Fort McHenry.

As Key awaited at sea for dawn to break and smoke to clear, imagine the inspiring sight in the silence of the morning to see his country’s flag fully unfurled against the breaking of the day and the fort standing strong.

Key was so moved by the experience he immediately began penning the lyrics to what is now our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner”.


Sing the Star Spangled Banner.  Support students in their understanding of the words and meaning of the anthem using Knovation’s Texthelp feature.  With icurio, I used a resource called Our National Anthem: The Star-Spangled Banner with the words from the song.  After turning on Texthelp in the upper right-hand corner of the page, I can:

  • select a passage to have read out loud in English so students know how to pronounce certain phrases like”O’er the ramparts we watched”
  • select a single word to get a definition, for example, what exactly is a “rampart”?
  • select a single word to get a picture definition, so that “by the dawn’s early light” becomes clear showing that “dawn’s” is the rising of the sun
  • select a passage and have it translated, for example, to Spanish – now my ELL students can understand more clearly the passage “and the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night, that our flag was still there”
  • have that passage then read aloud in Spanish to hear the anthem spoken in a familiar language to enhance the comprehension and connection to the words

National Anthem with Texthelp

It ‘s a very powerful song, let’s help all of our students understand it and be able to sing it proudly.  Oh, Say Can You See all the classrooms in schools all over the country celebrating our national anthem and being moved by the words just like when they were first heard in 1814?