I want to share one of my favorite blogs - ZooBorns:The newest and cutest baby animal births at zoos and aquariums around the world.  The blog describes itself this way:
"We think it's a pretty easy place to enjoy and hope you saw something that brightened your day. We also hope you learned something about the need to protect these animals in the wild and the ways in which accredited zoos and aquariums contribute to this cause. In short, we hope to educate while we entertain."
I subscribe to the RSS feed, so that most mornings, in addition to news, and the other things I try to look at every day, I get to see one or two sets of really cute baby animal pictures, with a lot of information about the animal, where it was born, how its family came to be living where it is, etc.

You can search the site by animal, or by Zoo and Aquarium.

Here's a photo or two from the site, to put you in the mood.

"In late June, the WCS Bronx Zoo welcomed two baby Lesser Hedgehog Tenrecs..." (link)

"...This is Anna's first cub at the Erie Zoo...."(link)

"There is happy news at the Tel Aviv Zoological Center. Rochale, a 41 year old female Orangutan, has given birth to a healthy infant. .."(link)

Visit ZooBorns, look at the pictures, read the stories, and subscribe to the RSS feed.
And, um....there's an app for that - a free ZooBorns iPhone app, if you want to see cute baby animals on your iPhone.

Dense Information

I haven't seen the movie, but I've been reading about some of the data visualitzaions in Iron Man 2. How would this sort of display look in a classroom?


For the Middle Primary Class, who are going to find out about Peter Blake:

Blake – The origins of POP (1961)

Blake – The Sources of Pop Art 5  

Blake – The Sources of Pop Art 1

Playing online games

I'm adding links and embedding games on our Using Computers at the International School of Central Switzerland Netvibes page, and decided to spotlight them here, too.


First choose how many pieces you want in your puzzle, then choose the photo you want to turn into a puzzle, and then, of course, solve the puzzle!
Here's a 6 piece cat-picture puzzle I made - click on the arrow in the picture to work the puzzle:

Was that too easy? Try this 247 triangle-piece version:


Play chess against your computer at Chess.com, where the moto is "play. learn, share" You can play without logging into the site, if you don't want to save your game.
Screen shot of chess.com
 Jigsaw Planet

At Jigsaw Planet, you can easily create your own puzzle, and send it to a friend.  Here's one I made - use your arrow keys to rotate the pieces. Jigsaw Planet is an excellent site for elementary students - there are no advertisements, and you do not need to register on the site.  It will remember you by your computer's IP address.

Here's a link to the puzzle, if you want to play it on the Jigsaw Planet web page.

Tetris n-blox

Screen shot of Tetris n-Blox
"Here's how you play Tetris N-Blox.  Distinctively shaped pieces (called Tetriminos™) fall into a matrix where you need to arrange them so they form a complete horizontal line.  Once a line without gaps is created, it disappears and the blocks above fall down.  The more lines you create simultaneously, the more you score."
You'll  see links to other good, old fashioned computer games on the left, like Frogger, Pac-Man and Snake.

Screen shot of Sudoku
"Sudoku is a puzzle with a grid containing nine large blocks. Each block is divided into its own matrix of nine cells. The rules for solving Sudoku puzzles are very simple: each row, column and block must contain one of the numbers from "1" to "9". No number may appear more than once in any row, column, or block. When you’ve filled the entire grid, the puzzle is solved."

Screen shot of Othello
"Reversi (also marketed by Pressman under the trade name Othello) is a board game involving abstract strategy and played by two players on a board with 8 rows and 8 columns and a set of distinct pieces for each side. Pieces typically are disks with a light and a dark face, each side belonging to one player. The player's goal is to have a majority of their colored pieces showing at the end of the game, turning over as many of their opponent's pieces as possible." (from Wikipedia)

This game page doesn't tell you how to play, but the rules and hints are on the Wikipedia page.

*Backgammon is a game for two players, played on a board consisting of twenty-four narrow triangles called points. The triangles alternate in color and are grouped into four quadrants of six triangles each. The quadrants are referred to as a player's home board and outer board, and the opponent's home board and outer board. The home and outer boards are separated from each other by a ridge down the center of the board called the bar." Read more about how to play on this page.
 There are instructions about playing the online version on the game page.


At the Friv page, you'll see 250 tiny squares, each a link to a game. As new games are created, the least played ones are dropped, so the selection is always changing.

Screen shot of Friv
The games are simple, and traditional computer type challenges.

All these games require that Java-Script be installed on your computer, and be supported by your web browsers, so that they  are be able to display the interactive games. If you need it, you can download it here.

Using Windows 7

We will be moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 as the operating system for our school laptops. Here's a first look at Windows 7, and some videos to help you get started in this new environment.

The Microsoft pages about how to get the most out of Windows 7 are Using Windows 7 and Windows 7 Help and How to. The Microsoft pages have an excellent series of videos on Getting Started with Windows 7, which should be your first stop when you're ready to explore your computer.

The tech site Gizmodo posted about How to use Windows 7's new interface, and  Windows 7, the complete guide,

Windows 7 Tour

Facilities in Widows 7

Windows 7 - Windows Taskbar

Windows 7 - Windows Search

Science and Math in Sports

This week I've seen a few really interesting links about math and science in sports.  As you watch these videos, listen for  the talk about energy transfer, percentages, velocity, launch angle, spin rate, muscle memory, statistics,

This video, Math in Rock Climbing from Emory Universtiy is embedded here for the ISOCS kids who go wall climbing in Roth:
"What's it like to fall 40 feet down a sheer cliff face, while dangling from a rope hundreds of feet from the ground? Emory mathematician Skip Garibaldi describes his rock climbing experiences on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. He also explains some basic climbing math, such as the fall factor, used to reduce the risk of injury during a rope climb."

This video analyses American football passes by Drew Brees:

This video analyses the speed and timing of a soccer goal kick, and hitting a baseball.

If you're interested in the science of sport, you should look at this web page from the Exploratorium in San Francisco.