Monday, May 30, 2016

A Great Research Resource for Country Statistics!

Happy Memorial Day! Speaking of Memorial Day, many people enjoy travelling to various destinations for vacation.  Some would like to spend their much needed break before finals or after APs completing their research projects. A great resource for a history, statistics or economics  project which involves the daily life of a country would be the website named Knoema.

Knoema provides country profiles, maps, country rankings, commodities of individual countries, and other topics of significant such as energy or national defense. All of these features on Knoema are free of charge and additionally, you can make a free account using your Google account. 

Country profiles are basically pages of each country which contain specific information regarding facets of daily life ranging  in subjects from the economy to crime to the environment. All of the information provided is statistically based  using trusted sources and because they only provide a statistical number, bias is limited and great for research. A good example of a global profile on Knoema would be the United States

All of the most important statistics are provided quickly and easily at the top of the profile. According to this profile statistically, the United States is quite a diverse nation.

Maps is another great feature of Knoema. Basically, Knoema has tons of statistics stored onto their servers for every nation. The maps features incorporate all of these statistics onto an easy to view map. These maps do not only apply to specific countries but also to individual states. This is great because it provides a more detailed view towards an issue because some nations such as the United States are quite large. 

Above is a color coordinated map  that shows the number of motor vehicles registered in each states. Several interpretations could be made by a raw, but simple map without any explanation. For example, the automobile industry is thriving in the mid-Atlantic where population is more dense than the Mid-Western states of North Dakota, South Dakota or Wyoming. A disclaimer for this argument is that an additional map with populations of each state would be more convincing. Click here to view a population map.

Knoema is a great resource for any student needing detailed data for research. The fact that explanations are limited is great because it limits bias. The raw, but simple statistics places the role of interpretation on the viewer and allows the viewer to explain his/her reasoning in a report without outside influences.

Friday, May 20, 2016


The Exploratorium is a museum about science, art and human perception located in San Francisco. Annually, over 1 million visits are made to the Exploratorium! It is a very intriguing museum with many fun and exciting exhibits to educate the general public on science, art or human perception. However, I understand not everybody reading this blog lives within driving distance of San Francisco, which is why I am going to write about the Exploratorium's useful webpage!

Above: An image of the Exploratorium! Source:

The great part about Exploratorium's website is that it does a great job of bringing a museum experience to the online user. They educate the user about many of the things which are also covered in the actual Exploratorium. Even better, using the online website is completely free of charge, unlike entering the museum which requires an admission ticket.

The Explore Section on the Webpage

In this section of the webpage, there are different websites, interactive activities and more.

One of the items in the explore section is  regarding tides on earth. It provides a short and clear explanation regarding the reasoning behind the cause of tides then provides a fun activity.  The activity is basically an instructions page regarding how you can build a paper model to better understand  tides. This is what makes this webpage stand out from all the others. Instead of a boring article, it provides a visual example for  visually learners.

There is a also a sub-section to explore named apps. In my opinion, this is where the website gets extremely cool. There is an app available for Androids called Total Solar Eclipse, so therefore, I downloaded the app on my phone and started playing around with it. They have cool videos on solar eclipses and they even did a live webcast in March during an eclipse with representatives from both NASA and the Exploratorium.

In addition, you can also search by categories. For example, I found a page about avalanches. The page features a video with a detailed explanation to how avalanches are triggered and provides a demonstration with sand.

The exploratorium is a great museum. However, it may not be accessible for all, so their amazing staff there decided to bring the experience online. This website provides a wide variety of educational resources. Best of all, many of these resources are backed by visual and audio resources, guaranteeing an education for learners of all types. 

Seriously, this webpage is interesting! Feel free to browse through and I guarantee you will learn something new!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Interested in Science? Need Science help or ideas?

Science is a subject which is loved by many for its unpredictable and interesting results. For many, curiosity is the driving force for research and development in science. However, science is not always an easy subject to study. Many concepts must be understood and applied, in addition, many exceptions exist. Success in science requires much more than just memorization, it requires interest and willingness to indulge in a concept for an extended period of time.

A useful science webpage for junior high students, teachers, or simply enthusiasts is The Science Spot. The Science Spot offers classroom activities for 16 different fields of science. For example, chemistry, astronomy or ecology. These classroom activities are rather interesting. There is an activity for balancing chemical equations. The activity is called "Snowman Challenge Game" and students are asked to work in pairs to match equations using snowman cards. Everything for this activity is provided, even the snowman cards, free to print!

Another great feature of The Science Spot, is the "Science Starters". Simply, they are short PowerPoints created to "reinforce" the most important concepts of a topic.

These Science Starters are great because they are short and to the point. In addition, they require some thinking at first and if you can't figure the answer out there is an answer key on the next slide. Science Starters are provided for General Science, Physical Science, Biology, Earth Science/ Astronomy, and Forensic Science. So obviously, a wide variety of subjects are covered. 

The next feature of The Science Spot is called "Science Club". On this page, users will find different project ideas. For example, the classic egg drop experiment is suggested on this page. A description of the project is specified on a pdf file provided. In addition, they even provide a score sheet to make this experiment a competition. Science is fun, but when made into a friendly competition, it can be even more intriguing! 

The final important part of this website is its puzzles! Studying straight from a textbook is boring!

Like usual, many topics are featured by using these great puzzles. A few  examples are chemistry, physics and biology. These puzzles are important items that will be useful for high school students studying  any of these subjects at an introductory level. 

Science is fun and interesting. However, The Science Spot makes it competitive and interactive. An activity always benefits students more than a lecture. Teachers must face the facts that young adults have a short attention span and many student will not be able to absorb 100% of the information in a lecture. An activity which requires the student to perform a simple task will keep a student's attention. Even better, if the activity is a competition such as the "egg drop" experiment, then the students will be encouraged to win and perform their best!