Jul 03

Diigo Links (weekly)

Great links! Check these out:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/07/03/diigo-links-weekly-21/

Jul 01

Temperature Data Portage Bay #waospp

Wednesday and Thursday, June 29 and 30, we got to revisit the work we started last summer with the Olympic STEM Pathways Partnership (OSPP) using sensors to collect temperature data with our students. Last year we used these Raspberry Pi-like computers called Odroids with a temperature sensor. They were clunky and difficult to work with mostly because they used quite a bit of power so couldn’t collect data for very long.

So this year the incredible UW team we worked with used mini-controllers (or some such thing – I’m not sure) to attach the temperature sensors that are much more efficient making them able to collect data for much longer periods of time.

Odroid with breadboard and battery.

Odroid with breadboard and battery.

Temperature Sensor System in a water proof casing!

Temperature Sensor System in a water proof casing!

Micro Controller system with smaller breadboard and temperature sensor wires attached.

Micro Controller system with smaller breadboard and temperature sensor wires attached.

The entire new system with battery and PVC pipe that will serve as the waterproof casing.

The entire new system with battery and PVC pipe that will serve as the waterproof casing.

Here's the new system with temperature sensor inside the water proof casing.

Here’s the new system with temperature sensor inside the water proof casing.

The micro controller runs the programming language Python, actually a smaller version of Python with fewer libraries called micro Python so we got to do a little programming! Wednesday evening we tested our sensors. We put them in Portage Bay, near the UW’s Oceanography building (one of them) at 47.65N and -122.31W. It was a gorgeous sunny, clear day. We got them into the water at about 4:30pm on the 29th in a comfortable 69 degree day.

Here’s how we got our sensors into the water:

Since we had many sensors, we used a rope with zip ties and tape to attach the casings and the senors. A weight at the bottom of the rope ensured the sensors would be in the water at depth.

Since we had many sensors, we used a rope with zip ties and tape to attach the casings and the senors. A weight at the bottom of the rope ensured the sensors would be in the water at depth.

Getting the sensor systems on the rope.

Getting the sensor systems on the rope.

We decided to double up so we attached two sensors at each depth, 2.5m in the water, 1.5m, .5m in the water and .5m above the surface of the water.

We decided to double up so we attached two sensors at each depth, 2.5m in the water, 1.5m, .5m in the water and .5m above the surface of the water.

Almost ready to deploy the sensors in the bay!

Almost ready to deploy the sensors in the bay!

Sensors set and ready to be left overnight.

Sensors set and ready to be left overnight.

Scientific diagram of the sensor placement that I made using Google Drawings.

Scientific diagram of the sensor placement that I made using Google Drawings.

By 10:30am on Thursday, June 30, we retrieved our sensors and checked to see if they worked properly and recorded data. Mine worked and I got data! I had the interval set to collect temp every 20 seconds so I ended up with 3,512 data points! Here’s a graph comparing the built-in micro-controller temp sensor that was 2.5m above the water in the black waterproof PVC pipe casing and the external temp sensor at .5m under the water (click here to see copies of the graphs on a Google Doc):

The graph shows the temp rise abruptly as we attached the sensors the rope on the asphalt at the beginning as well as the dip in temp as we took the sensor out of the water and evaporation took place! In between we see the temp changing as the sun set and night took over.

We were actually incredibly fortunate that we put two sensors at each depth because amazingly enough only one of the two sensors managed to collect data at each and every depth! What are the odds of that?? So what you see below is a graph comparing all four external temp sensors (click here to see copies of the graphs on a Google Doc):


The green line shows the temp change for the sensor that was .5m above the surface of the water. The yellow, red, and blue lines show the sensors that were .5m, 1.5m, and 2.5m under the water. This is cool stuff and I can’t wait to use these tools with my 6th graders next spring!

Here’s me zooming into the data to see how the temperature in the water changed at the different depths of .5m, 1.5m, and 2.5m:

Here's a closer look at the temp data at the different depths.

Here’s a closer look at the temp data at the different depths.

Any ideas for me to think about in using this data collection tool or in having students analyze data? Please leave a comment. 🙂

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/07/01/temperature-data-portage-bay-waospp/

Jun 30

Rocketry for Newton’s Laws #waospp

IMG_8626Last year I joined the Olympic STEM Pathways Partnership (OSPP) and got to do some great work as part of that partnership working with some great professors and Math and Science educators from all over our region. So far this summer I’ve been in Seattle (about two hours from where I live in Chimacum, depending on traffic) near the University of Washington (UW) working with the wonderful professors and educators of the OSPP. Tuesday June 28 we got to work with a couple of UW Earth and Space Sciences professors who are part of the Northwest Earth and Space Science Pipeline (NESSP). The NESSP (that link goes to their Facebook page), “aims to create a model network that can serve as a physical NASA educational presence in states without NASA centers and act as a bridge into other NASA experiences for teachers and students, and eventually into careers in STEM fields.

We had quite a fun day! I’ve personally never really worked with rockets or even bottle rockets so when they said we were going to launch rockets I was excited. My team made a bottle rocket that we named Hermes. We wanted to see how different amounts of fuel, water in this case, affected how high our rocket went. We started with the 2L bottle half full of water, then tried it with only a quarter filled with water, then three quarters full. It was so sunny, which we ONLY get during the summer here, so it was difficult to see how high our rocket went but I recorded the event so you can see how long it took Hermes to come back to Earth each time:

We discussed how this could fit into our curricula and to which NGSS standards an activity like this could apply. I’ve been using the STC/MS kit Energy, Machines, and Motion and part of the learning my students do is about energy and forces and eventually motion. Those three concepts apply pretty nicely to launching bottle rockets!

So here’s what am thinking, and this is so preliminary and rough because I don’t know if I’ll have time or any resources to be able to do this. Plus I would need to check with other teachers in my district to make sure I’m not stepping on any toes by deciding to have kids launch bottle rockets. Even if I don’t end up doing this activity the process of designing a learning progression is a good one.

The middle school NGSS standard, MS-PS2 – Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions – fits really well with bottle rockets! Kids could work on the 1st Performance Expectation or PE on Newton’s Third Law, the 4th PE on gravitational force, or even the 5th PE on forces interacting without touching. I chose to go with the 2nd PE, “Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

Now I’m still a novice at unpacking these NGSS standards. There’s so much even with one single performance expectation (PE)! Within the MS-PS2-2 PE students will be dealing with the following:

Emphasis is on balanced (Newton’s First Law) and unbalanced forces in a system, qualitative comparisons of forces, mass and changes in motion (Newton’s Second Law), frame of reference, and specification of units.

AND

Assessment is limited to forces and changes in motion in one-dimension in an inertial reference frame and to change in one variable at a time. Assessment does not include the use of trigonometry.

Each PE also has the following three, interwoven dimensions (this is what they are referring to when they mention the three dimensions of NGSS):

Science and Engineering Practices (SEP): Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Crosscutting Concepts (CCC): Stability and Change

Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI): PS2.A: Forces and Motion

Each dimension comes with ample explanation and detail to help a teacher target all parts of each standard including evidence statements that teachers can use to generate rubrics. I am finding all of that pretty daunting and time consuming so it’s taking me quite some time to wrap my brain around it all.

I’m thinking the big idea with the bottle rockets is unbalanced forces but I’m not sure. For success criteria I want students to be able to identify the forces acting on a water bottle rocket to get up it into the air and back down again.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/30/rocketry-for-newtons-laws-wa-ospp/

Jun 26

Diigo Links (weekly)

Here are my next set of great links from this past week!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/26/diigo-links-weekly-20/

Jun 21

Environmental Youth Summit

SummitArticleNice article in the Kitsap Sun about the Environmental Youth Summit my 6th graders attended in early June.

Pictured in the article is one of my students! 🙂

Anything written about Chimacum or Chimacum Creek is what my 6th grader’s worked on! Check it out.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/21/environmental-youth-summit/

Jun 20

Diigo Links (weekly)

More great resources!

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/20/diigo-links-weekly-19/

Jun 12

Diigo Links (weekly)

I have more amazing links of resources! Check these out:

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/12/diigo-links-weekly-18/

Jun 08

6th Grade Blog Post about the Problem with Cows

CowsPostAnother post written by one of my 6th graders for our World Solutions Blog about The Problem with Cows. She did some great research and takes an environmental look at the impact of cows on our planet.

Check out her post and leave her a comment if you get a chance!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/08/6th-grade-blog-post-about-the-problem-with-cows/

Jun 07

6th Post About the Chicken Industry

ChickenIndustryPostHere’s a blog post one of my 6th graders wrote for our World Solutions blog about the chicken industry.

Warning: the video on this post, suggested by another one of my students who read her blog post, is very disturbing.

Check it out and leave her a comment!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/07/6th-post-about-the-chicken-industry/

Jun 06

Sample Grant Proposals Reboot

I’m re-publishing this post because I have some of my best grant examples for people to see linked in this post. This post still needs work and I plan to do that this summer. I’m not very good at organizing resources I have but I’ll work on it.

Cash

Attribution Some rights reserved by AMagill

I have learned the benefits of grant writing. In my career I have gotten a lot of grants, I’ve gotten at least one grant a year for the past 18 years straight! I have to say that out loud to believe it! All together I’ve received 40 grants (18 of those 40 grants were awarded for my Environmental Project – some were repeat grants but I’m counting each year as one separate grant because I had to submit a proposal each year even though the original was accepted to show any changes AND I had to write reports at the end of each year). Thanks to all those monies I have been able to provide my students with some great learning opportunities with equipment I probably never would have gotten with building budgets.

Many of the grants I have written were rather easy to apply for. I basically just wrote about how I teach and what I teach. I was fortunate to have applied for grants that matched my teaching style. The hard ones are one that require a certain project. Grant writing is all about matching what you are doing to what they want to give money. If you’re lucky you will also be able to get what you need because some grants are very specific about what you can use their money to purchase.

I get people who ask me how to write grants to get iPads, Chromebooks (fill in the blank with what you want) for their students. Bottom line is that you stand a much better chance of getting what you want for your students if your proposal is really strong in showing how it will improve student learning, especially if you show WHAT your students will be doing that is awesome and innovative and HOW the items you want will help your students do that. Unless you find a specific tech grant the goal then is to come up with a project that is so cool they’ll love the project. Then show how getting some iPads, Chromebook, whatever for students is an essential part of your project. I always tie the device use into the project but not just for research. Sharing is important as I’ve seen more grants ask how you will share what you are doing and who funded it. 🙂 So having a component of your project where kids blog or share their work digitally with kids in other schools or around the world has worked for me. Just make sure devices are NOT the main part of your budget. That will be less likely to get funded. In the end it’s great projects that students are involved and engaged in, that are innovative, that get funded – NOT proposals that ask for stuff. So make sure you tell the story of what kids will be doing.

If you have a great project that matches a funding source then you have to write a proposal convincing them that your project is the one they want to fund. My best project has been my Water Quality Project. The project is a work in progress and I try to improve upon it every year. What’s important is coming up with a proposal, the project doesn’t have to be perfect as long as you have ideas that are all worked out. I’m not trying to say that the idea isn’t all planned out just that it doesn’t have to be perfect.

The next thing that is key is to write many proposals. For all the grants I wrote and got there were many I wrote and didn’t get. You can’t let failure make you stop applying or stop writing proposals. It’s not easy finding a perfect match for your idea so spread it and use the feedback you get to improve upon it. Eventually you’ll find someone that wants to fund your project. Persistence is key.

People looking for grants want to read sample proposals to see what works. I’ve had my WA STEM grant proposal on my blog for people to see. In this blog I’ll share my most successful grant proposal in the link below. What people tell me about my proposals is that they appreciate how you don’t have to be a great writer or a technical writer. Sure they tell me they mean that in the best way. 🙂 I don’t think of myself as a great writer. I write plainly. The good thing is that it has worked for me in getting grants. So I hope my proposal helps. I have two versions of it as it evolved.

Water Quality Project Grant Proposal

Here are some other grant proposals I’ve written for the Water Quality project:
Nonprofit Environmental Ed Grant Proposal
ING Unsung Heroes Application (note: Since I got the ING Unsung Heroes grant I found out that the VOYA Unsung Heroes grant is the same thing. I wrote a proposal for it and got a letter saying I’m not eligible to apply because I already got one!)
WA STEM 2012 Proposal
CenturyLink Grant Proposal (This proposal wasn’t awarded in the 1st round, it was awarded a year later! It’s worth it to submit proposals!)
Perseverance OR Obsession (My advice for writing grants.)
Perseverance AND Obsession (How both perseverance and obsession pay off for getting grants!)

Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow Contest
My post on Environmental Grants
My post on kickstarter campaigns (note: get approval first!!)

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.educatoral.com/wordpress/2016/06/06/sample-grant-proposals-reboot/

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