5 top tips for school science lab safety

 

Hazardous.

Corrosive.

Poisonous.

What have these words got in common (and no Brexit jokes, please)?

They’re WARNING adjectives that you might find in labs, on equipment or containers.

And they’re trying to tell you: be lab safe or face the consequences! And not just detention, but melting your hand off kind-of-thing.

It’s super important to learn about, and pay attention to, laboratory rules. They may seem overly cautious, but they keep you and others safe, so you can get on with all the fun science stuff!

No. 1 - Be Prepared

Proper preparation really helps. Read any instructions your teacher gives you. Make sure to read carefully from start to finish.

Text is often arranged under headings like "Materials," "Procedures," and "Observations."

Your teacher should advise you where to get all the materials you're using that lesson. Gather all your supplies in one place in one go, instead of having to rush around.

Take note of any special precautions so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises while you're working.

No. 2 - Be Careful With Chemicals

Chemicals often look harmless, but looks can be deceiving. Make sure to read the labels, especially any official observations like the NFPA diamond.

For example, acetyl chloride looks just like water, but it’s actually poisonous, flammable, and corrosive. If you spilled some of that on your arm, it would burn your skin.

No. 3 - Dress Appropriately

Unfortunately, accidents do sometimes happen, which is why it's so important to dress properly for the lab.

“Personal protective equipment” means form-fitting, long-sleeved clothing and closed-toed shoes, protecting your skin from any broken glass and chemical spills.

Some experiments may require you to wear lab coats, gloves, and safety goggles.

And if you have long hair, pull it back, and remove or stow any dangling accessories, which are dangerous around open flames and mechanical equipment.

Your lab should come equipped with a fire extinguisher, and an eyewash station, if something gets in your eyes.

No. 4 - Keeping It Clean

No, not your language, though that would be nice too. A messy work area makes spills and other mistakes more likely, so keep it neat and well organised.

Tell your teacher right away if you see anything spill. They'll let you know if you need to keep away, or if you just need to clean up.

If you break anything, don’t try to pick it up with your hands. Use a broom and a dustpan instead and throw it away into a sharp objects container.

And if you’re working with dissections, be careful with those scalpels. Cuts and punctures are the number one cause of injury in the lab!

No.5 - Use your common sense!

Don't eat or drink in the lab! You don’t want Acetic Anhydride all over your bagel.

Keep all backpacks, coats, and personal items in a designated area away from your workspace. This prevents cross-contamination and reduces the chances of tripping.

Never leave open flames or hot plates unattended.

Don't pour any chemicals down the drain unless your teacher says so.

Don't taste any chemicals or sniff them directly. If you need to know what something smells like, waft the air above it toward you.

And finally, after working in the lab, wash your hands thoroughly!

 

One small step for a Moby...

 

…one giant leap for learning!

The world is celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of humankind’s most awesome achievements: Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins landing on the moon.

BrainPOPpers, as you may have noticed, are huge space nerds and we have a solar system’s worth of space resources from galaxies to asteroids to aliens.

But the Moon landings and Apollo missions are something special. That famous step seems epic and yet intimate. 530 million people watched, enraptured, at the time and it continues to fascinate us to this day.

But there’s a world of politics, history, and science that led to that step, and beyond, into space.

So we dug into BrainPOP’s topics to help you provide a broader context to the ‘space race’ and how (and why) America put three brave men onto another planet for the first time.

Apollo Project

Find out how it all happened in this BrainPOP movie, as Tim and Moby introduce you to NASA’s famous Apollo Project. Discover what--and who!--prompted the project, and learn why putting a person on the moon was so important. You’ll find out when the goal was achieved, and about the complicated spacecraft that got the men safely to the moon and back. You’ll also hear about a few missions that didn’t turn out so well, and discover why the program ended.

Cold War

To fully understand why we went to the Moon, it’s worth taking a look at the geopolitical landscape of the time. Find out how the Cold War led to a major U.S. political policy called containment; the building of the Berlin Wall in Germany; and the “space race,” which greatly advanced human presence in outer space.

John F. Kennedy (JFK)

 
We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.
— JFK, Houston on Sept. 12, 1962
 

John F. Kennedy, the President at the time, was the man who considered winning the space race as key to keeping the United States ahead of the Soviet Union. Learn about the ups and downs of his presidency, from the disaster that was the Bay of Pigs invasion, to his strategic triumph over the Soviet Union during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

The Moon

Of course, knowing about the destination might help! Discover what’s on the surface of the moon and learn more about the various historic missions to the moon.

Space Flight

Explore the history and future of space flight! Get a brief lesson on the physical forces that send spacecraft zooming into space and learn some of the main concepts of rocketry, including the all-important force called thrust.

 

Explore a topic - Black holes

 
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Something astonishing has happened.

A network of Astronomers around the world have collaborated to take the first ever image of a black hole, an object with a mass 6.5-billion times that of the Sun.

Oh and it’s 55 million light-years from Earth.

It might not look like much at first glance, but gathering the data to produce this image took 2 years, eight radio telescopes in 7 countries, 200 scientists, and five petabytes of data on half a ton of hard drives.

It’s a historic scientific achievement and a perfect opportunity to explore Black Holes with your class.

Before watching the movie print out, or share online, the Black Holes KWL Chart graphic organiser, where children can complete the first two columns to show what they know already, and what they want to learn. The third column can be filled in after they’ve watched the movie.

In the animation about Black Holes your class will learn about the types of black holes, how each is formed, and how many black holes there are in our galaxy alone, and see why nothing, not even light, can escape their powerful grasp. But, most importantly, find out what black holes have to do with Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and their affect on the fabric of space time.

When your class is ready to progress why not start a Make a Map, and ask your students to connect facts about Black Holes together - like light, gravity, and relativity.

I’m sure this fascinating collection of classroom resources to teach Black Holes will suck your class in, and lead to lots of fascinating discussions :-)

 

Taking a holistic approach to digital safety

 
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Schools are now required to ensure that ALL staff are actively involved in teaching students to use technology safely and responsibly.

But everything moves so quickly that it’s hard to keep up.

Seemingly every week a new app, trend, meme, or game makes an appearance and it’s back to the drawing board.

The media is awash with scary stories about grooming, cyber bullying, and threatening online activity.

This leaves teaching staff and parents feeling lost. How can they possibly keep up?

We believe that the best approach is holistic.

Teach technology and online combined with personal and social capability topics like peer pressure, conflict resolution, and media literacy.

The best approach is to model good behaviour, on or offline.

  • If a child understands and recognises peer pressure they should be able to manage it when they are in class, with friends, or on Snapchat.

  • If a child has a good understanding of ethics then they are better prepared to make healthy decisions in their online and offline lives.

  • If you’ve explained and explored conflict resolution then your students should be equipped to deal with bullying and disagreements, whether it’s on the internet or down the park with their mates.

Combining attitudinal and behavioral concepts with online safety instruction is a powerful recipe.

This is where BrainPOP might be your new best friend, providing on demand access to topic based resources like...

Explore BrainPOPs Internet Safety resources

So next time you sit down to plan your digital lessons consider blending it with social and emotional learning too to present a more rounded learning experience.

 

We've got a new 3D printer in school! Now what?

 
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Print your own Moby, of course!

Have you just (mic)dropped most your annual departmental budget on a new 3D printer?

Your mind is probably swimming with all the possible applications from engineering projects to STEM engagement to making your very own Egg Rescue Challenge.

But your class (and colleagues!) will likely have a bunch of questions.

  1. What can 3D printers print (and not print)?

  2. How does the technology work?

  3. And can we just get on and print a Moby already?

In this lesson plan, adapted from our Educators support site, students will learn what 3D printers are and sketch a useful object that they’d like to make with a 3D printer.

And print a little Moby figurine, with your fancy pants new printer!

What you’ll need:

  • Computer with internet access for BrainPOP

  • Interactive whiteboard

  • 3D printer (optional)

  • 3D Moby .stl file (these are the 3D Moby instructions for your printer, optional)

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students to research online about 3D printing and write down any questions they have about the topic, plus something they'd like to create using a 3D printer.

  2. Share the Graphic Organizer with your students, so they can write down and discuss what they KNOW, and what they WANT to know in the first two columns.

  3. Play the 3D Printing Movie for the class.

  4. Return to the graphic organizer. Is there any information they thought they knew that was incorrect? What new information do they have now? Which questions were answered and which remain unanswered? Are there any new questions that students have?

  5. If you have access to a 3D printer in your classroom, tell students they will have the opportunity to print their own 3D Moby, just like in the BrainPOP movie. Show students what the 3D Moby .stl file and printer look like and demonstrate how to print.

  6. Pass out copies of the Activity (or graph paper), and encourage students to sketch something that is both useful and simple enough to print on a 3D printer.

  7. Allow students to share their ideas and creations with the class.

  8. You can assess student learning using the Quiz.

Extension Activities:

Have students work collaboratively to research the answers to any questions from the KWL chart that were not addressed through the BrainPOP movie. They can use the Related Reading resources to help.

 

Free Martin Luther King Jr. coding activities

 

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the US.

It’s a day for celebrating the work and achievements of this remarkable man and activist who became the most celebrated leader in the civil rights movement.

Many, many student notebook pages will be filled with facts and stories about him, but we’d like to suggest a slightly different approach: coding to ‘show what you know’ about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below you’ll find 2 different coding activities, free to use, that will help your class express their knowledge and understanding in a digital, dynamic way that also improves their coding skills.

For younger students, or those starting on their coding journey: Design a digital museum to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Code a digital museum in Scratch to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Visit this activity: Design a digital museum about Martin Luther King Jnr.

For advanced coders, or older students: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

In this exercise, students will use a text based coding tool (javascript) to build a flag or poster, to commemorate the march that challenged the inequalities faced by African Americans at the time, that also saw the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

Visit this activity: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

Extension resources

  • Related reading - Read up on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, as well as related civil rights facts and info.

  • Primary source - read an original newspaper excerpt from 1957 The Oberlin Review, Oberlin, Ohio about Dr. King’s speech on the topic "Justice without Violence".

 

Create wild music with Beastbox

 

This awesome new learning game has just been added to BrainPOP and we just HAD to share it.

Your students can become wildlife DJs with Beastbox, an educational game that blends animals sounds and knowledge of their environments with some dope beats.

Wildlife DJ and beatboxer Ben Mirin travels the world collecting the voices of wild animals that catch his attention. Layering his own beatbox loops with his favorite animal voices, he makes music inspired by the ecosystems he visits.

Join the band (and don’t forget the headphones!)

Launch the Beastbox game and pick your band animals. They soon start to bust some sweet moves and beatbox together using samples of their real animal voices. All 5 will soon be cranking out a cool tune. Swap them in and out to see what sort of sound you can build.

But stop (hammer time)!

How do you unlock the special ecosystem tracks?

Do your research! Click the info icon next to each dancing beast to learn more about their real world counterpart, hear a recording of their voice, and most importantly, see which ecosystem they belong to.

Because to unlock a new ecosystem you need to group 5 animals from the same ecosystem into the same band.

There’s endless variety in the wild music your children can make and a whole world of animals to explore.

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Other BrainPOP research resources

Take a browse through all our animals topics on our 'Diversity of life' page. Many of these resource collections will also discuss the evolution of individuals species.

To take a deeper dive into animal environments try our Ecosystems movie, and land topics, like Tundra, Rain forests, Land Biomes, Taiga, and Savanna. To see all topics related to this visit our Ecology and Behaviour category.

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Extension resources

 

An Hour of Code with BrainPOP

 

Learning to code isn’t hard. There, I said it.

It’s no harder than learning to add and subtract. Or a new language. Or a series of dance moves (no, I can’t floss either). Or the rules of punctuation. Or a musical instrument.

But you have to start somewhere, you need to practice, and you need someone to help you along the way (*waves to teachers*).

And you need motivation to keep coding when the coding gets tough (or buggy).

Which is where support events and communities like Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code can show you the the right path, tools, and skills needed to learn to code.

And this year BrainPOP’s Creative Coding is an official Hour of Code activity!

What is Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

For 2018 the theme is “What will you Create” which is perfect for BrainPOP students!

Your students can choose a BrainPOP Scratch (block-based) or Vidcode (text-based) project for sixteen different topics across the curriculum, from Martin Luther King Jr. to DNA to Food Chains. All available for FREE until December 31st 2018.

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To choose a project, visit Hour of Code and select BrainPOP from the “Created By” drop-down menu on the left. If your school already subscribes to Creative Coding, log onto BrainPOP and look for the Creative Coding tile on the right side of any topic page for the full coding experience.

Creative Coding Webinar

Join us on Tuesday, November 27th at 18:00 EST/23:00 GMT (if you can’t make it don’t worry it will be recorded and uploaded to the Educator’s blog) to hear how Certified BrainPOP Educator Nay Belaunzarán is successfully using Creative Coding in her classroom. Nay will share ideas for how to integrate coding into your curriculum — a perfect way to gear up for Computer Science Education Week.


Want to know more?

If you would like to add the full Creative Coding package to your current BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. subscription please let us know and we’ll get right back to you.

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Celebrate World Space Week 2018 with 3 free Mars themed lesson plans

 
Space Week on BrainPOP

Ever wondered what it would be like to walk around on Mars?

Schools around the globe will be celebrating World Space Week 2018, which begins on Thursday on 4th October.

World Space Week is the largest public space event on Earth with more than 3,700 events in 80 countries.

The 2018 theme of “Space Unites The World” seeks to be an "...international celebration of the contribution of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. "

It's the perfect time to study space, its exploration, and our place in the universe.

Mars topic on BrainPOP

We’ve got a galaxy’s worth of classroom Space resources on both BrainPOP Jr. and BrainPOP to bring your lessons to life.

Subscribers can log in and start exploring right away (don’t have a password? Request a free trial). You’ll find a huge range of materials on a diverse set of topics from Jupiter to comets to Moon phases.

Mars is one of our most popular subjects so we thought it might be useful to give away a 3 part series of lesson ideas to support teaching about the famous Red Planet.

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4 quick and simple Mars lesson ideas

A simple pick up and play set of lesson stimulus for all ages


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Force, Gravity, Revolution, and Rotation Lesson Plan

A ‘Forces’ lesson about Mars using our ‘Build a Solar System’ game


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Create our Solar System lesson idea

Blast off from Mars into the Solar system and learn about Learn about scale, distance, and ratio, and the order of the planets in our solar system

 

STEM in your garden

 
STEM resources for the garden

Summer's here! The sun is out (probably) and gardens are blossoming into their very best.

But did you know how much science is happening in your garden? Whether you have a window box or a hundred acres, let's take a STEM look at what's going on in your very own ecosystem...

Plant life

  • Seed Plants and Seedless plants are what makes your garden beautiful and green. Compare and contrast these two types of plants, how they reproduce, and learn key vocabulary such as 'spore', 'angiosperm' and 'vascular'.
  • Fungi - Explore the diverse Fungi kingdom, and discover the unique characteristics that set the 1.5 million species of mold, yeast, and mushrooms apart from all other organisms. Learn how fungi grow, feed, and reproduce, and what they look like when they’re above ground. And explore the many roles fungi play in the ecosystems around us--in our soil, in our kitchens, and even in our bodies.
  • Carnivorous plants - we mustn't forget plants we grow in greenhouses and windowsills! Learn where these meat-eating marvels live, and how their habitats have shaped their special diets, and the difference between passive and active trapping techniques.
  • Soil (BrainPOP Jr.) - What's in all the different layers of soil? What does it provide to your garden, its plants, and insects?
  • Parts of Plant (BrainPOP Jr) - Learn about all the components of a plant from roots to petals.

Minibeasts and creepy crawlies

  • Ants - Our characters, Tim and Moby, introduce your class to the intricate world of ants. Find out about the other insects ants are related to, learn the parts of an ant’s body, discover the different jobs that ants can do, and which members of the ant colony live the longest and shortest.
  • Honey Bees - Discover what makes a honeybee different from other bees and what their body structure is like. You’ll also learn about the three different categories of honeybee — worker, queen, and drone — as well as how these creatures work together to keep their hives bustling all year long.
  • Spiders - Learn about spiders’ body parts, their silk, and spider venom and poison. Maybe spiders won’t seem so scary once you learn about all the good things they do for your house and garden!
  • Butterflies (BrainPOP Jr) - Learn about the life cycle of a butterfly.

    Maths

    • Fibonacci sequence - Explore the beauty of maths by discovering how this fascinating concept occurs in nature. Probably even in your garden - try growing a sunflower!
    • Flower Power - In this learning game, students must use their knowledge of fractions and decimals to make as much money as possible through growing and harvesting valuable and exotic flowers.

    The science around your garden

    • Photosynthesis - Learn what makes plants green, how plants make their own food, and what an important role the sun plays in photosynthesis.
    • Metamorphosis - Learn which creatures go through different kinds of metamorphoses, plus the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis.
    • Pollination - Find out how flowers reproduce by pollination and fertilization as you discover why lots of new flowers can pop up from just a few seeds. See how new seeds form, how pollen can travel, and how to identify the reproductive parts of a plant.
    • Plant growth - learn why flowers grow on apple trees, and how plants reproduce through pollination. Find out the parts of a flower and what each part does, as well as how insects help in the reproduction process.

    Please note some of these resources require a username and password to access. If you are not a subscriber then please request a free trial.