|—||Shel Silverstein, from The Giving Tree (thank you, fabletale)|
This was basically me last night.
Clearly exhausted, as I have been a lot lately (dissertations don’t write themselves and genetics classes don’t teach themselves), I closed my eyes expecting sleep, only to lie there for over an hour in a stage of quiet, semi-conscious rest instead of churning out the Z’s. How useful is that for our brains? Are we experiencing any “neural rest” by just lying there in “quiet restfulness”?
Researchers are growing increasingly confident, though, that sleep evolved specifically to recharge the brain. Dr. Chiara Cirelli, a neuroscientist at the University of Wisconsin, has been studying the difference between sleep and quiet wake in humans. She says that while we’re awake, all of our neurons are constantly firing, but that when we’re asleep, the neurons revert to an “up-and-down” state in which only some are active at a given time. During some stages of sleep, all neuron activity goes silent. And that’s likely when the restful part of sleep takes place.
So it seems that while our bodies may obtain some rest when in “quiet restfulness”, our brains don’t get much of a recharge. Check out Brian’s post for some interesting facts about dolphin sleep and some tips on how to promote real snooze time..
The Hand Washing Lesson
My K-2 students absolutely loved this. The lesson uses lotion-covered hands and glitter to illustrate how germs spread. I placed glitter on one student’s hand and had the student shake hands, high five, and share a pencil with other students, and watching their reactions when they then had glitter (germs) on their hands was great! They then took turns washing their hands, learning just how much effort you should always put into washing your hands to get all of the germs off.
Click through photo for lesson details.
This is excellent!
My 7th graders need this lesson too.
Remember, it’s a process and a way of understanding … science is more than a body of knowledge.
And it’s always a good time to review these inspiring answers to “What Is Science?”
A slightly better list for parents than teachers, but it could always inspire some ideas for fall :o) Here are four to give you some ideas:
- Map out your trip: Involve your children in vacation planning by helping them create a map for your trip.
- Programming: Using programs like Scratch and Kodu, even young children can get started on programming over the summer.
- Finish schoolbooks: Often, school books like math journals aren’t completed by the end of the year-put them to good use and finish them over the summer.
- Do art projects: Practice drawing, take pictures, or sculpt together, and discuss the meaning of art while you’re doing it.
An awesome collection of ideas! Here are two of my favorites form the list (click through for the rest):
1. TURN AN iPAD OR (OTHER MOBILE DEVICE) INTO A VIDEO MICROSCOPE. For less than $8, an iPad can be used as a 45x microscope to capture still images or videos from leaves, household objects, insects, or anything that warrants closer inspection. With an $0.80 grommet from a hardware store, super glue, and a 45x power microscope (usually found for less than $5), the camera in the iPad or mobile phone can become a microscope. This is how it works: the grommet (think of it as a ½-inch rubber washer) is glued around the camera opening, and the microscope plugs into it. You can see how it’s done on this YouTube video, step-by-step.
3. VIDEO-MAKING ON THE iPAD/MOBILE. A huge variety of sophisticated video effects can be done on mobile devices — some of which used to require a television studio and entire crew! You can use fun effects like Green Screen MovieFX, an app for iPads, iPhones, and Windows phones, which allows for a color in a video shot live to become a pre-set video. Cinemagram, a new app that allows part of a video to be frozen while the rest of video continues, is also fun to play with. Coaches Eye, which allows coaches or teachers to slow down, mark up (like on ESPN), and comment on student videos shot on cameras or phones works great for assessing videos. And MadPad, a multiple-screen video display that can be crafted into a math, social studies, or vocabulary game is another great tool to play with.