Thursday, February 28, 2008

Website: pi10k

pi10k is an amazing website that combines music and math:
This experiment attempts to convert the first 10,000 digits of pi into a musical sequence.

Select ten notes, and your corresponding selection translates into an integer. The first not you select will equal "1", the second will equal "2", and so on. As your computer cycles through the digits of pi, the corresponding note will "play."

A great multidisciplinary tool, or a fun way to get students interested in pi.

Article: Math on Display

Science News' article Math on Display: Visualizations of mathematics create remarkable artwork is an interesting look at how some mathematicians use geometry (I think? I'm not that great at math) to make beautiful works of art. Probably a bit advanced for basic math, but students would probably enjoy using patterns, fractals, and tessellations to make art.

Monday, February 18, 2008

BoingBoing: Multi-play Mario game video as Many Worlds quantum tutorial

Probably not something most teachers need to get into, but BoingBoing has an interesting link to another blog that explains quantum events using hacked versions of Mario World. There's even a video!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Author Blog: Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a great writer for young adults. He frequently posts about the writing process, revising, and any difficulties he encounters with his work. It can be encouraging for students to learn that even a professional writer sometimes has to start over or change the direction of a story, because so many seem to think that they have to get it right the first time.

Website: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Similar to FAWM, it is a yearly novel-writing challenge. From the site:
What: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

There's a section for Young Writers, and teachers who sign their classes up for the challenge receive a "Classroom Starter Kit."

Website: BookCrossing

BookCrossing is a community where members register books, then leave them "in the wild" for others to find. They even have a helpful PDF about BookCrossing in the Classroom, to give you ideas.

Website: The Atlas of Fiction

The Atlas of Fiction uses Google Maps to give a visual representation of locations in famous fictional works. It's not comprehensive (there are only about 20 authors to search), and it focuses mainly on the UK and the US, but students may find it interesting. It could also be useful for interdisciplinary units or serve as a starting point/inspiration for class projects.

Website: FAWM

FAWM stands for February Album Writing Month, a yearly songwriting challenge. From the site:
Can you write 14 songs in 28 days? What are you waiting for... inspiration?

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." — Jack London

For songwriters, this is the club. FAWM.ORG forges a collaborative community each February, where musicians of all walks and skill levels write an album's worth of material in the shortest month of the year (roughly one tune every other day). So many quality works so quickly is challenging, but healthy and doable, even with a full-time job not related to music. We began in 2004 with a mere four "fawmers," and grew to over 800 hopefuls in 2007. Fawmers are a mix of music professionals, students, homemakers, and folks who work dayjobs but rock nightclubs. It's a great experience for everyone.

It could be good for Musical/Rhythmic students, or for lessons incorporating music and poetry.

Neatorama: The Origin of Everyday Punctuation Marks

The Origin of Everyday Punctuation Marks gives the history of symbols like $, &, #, !, ?, and others. May be a good starting point for an interdisciplinary unit.

Neatorama: 5 Nastiest Presidential Elections in History

The 5 Nastiest Presidential Elections in History shows that scandal and mudslinging are not new political phenomenons.

Website: The Comic Book Periodic Table of Elements

The Comic Book Periodic Table of Elements is a great way to get students interested in chemistry. Each element has a link to comic book pages involving that element, along with an explanation. Even Rhodium gets a mention!

Website: ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink, a part of the National Council of Teachers of English website, has lesson plans, web resources, and student materials. For all grades.