Topical Science—November 2020

This year has flown by, and we’ve already reached November. The days are getting darker and colder… at least in the Northern Hemisphere! Thankfully, we’ve got lots of fascinating science content to inspire your class. Below, we’ve collated some notable days of this month, along with related topical science videos and articles. Let’s dive right in.

Thursday, November 5

World Tsunami Day

World Tsunami Day encourages countries and communities to develop strategies for coping with tsunamis, with the aim to reduce the damage when they happen. Find out more about tsunamis:

Saturday, November 7

National Bison Day

Did you know that the bison is the largest land mammal in North America? It’s also the official National Mammal of the US. Bisons live on temperate grasslands, which they share with various other animals. Find out more about temperate grasslands:

Sunday, November 8

National STEM/STEAM Day

National STEM/STEAM Day inspires kids to explore STEM subjects and encourages them to pursue these subjects both in school and in their future careers. We’ve collated 10 exciting STEM careers to get your students excited: Discover now.

Monday, November 9

Geography Awareness Week

Geography Awareness Week was first introduced by President Ronald Reagan in 1987, with the aim to encourage people (especially young people) to study geography. This week, why not learn more about time zones? Watch now. 

Tuesday, November 10

World Science Day for Peace and Development

World Science Day for Peace and Development highlights the importance of involving the wider public in discussions about scientific issues—including younger people! The recent NGSS Framework has changed how science is taught in schools in the US. Theoretical physicist Helen Quinn chaired the National Research Council committee that created A Framework for K–12 Science Education—the foundation of the NGSS. In this blog post, Twig Education CEO Catherine Cahn speaks to Helen Quinn about the importance of science education: Learn more.

Saturday, November 14

World Diabetes Day

Diabetes has become increasingly common around the world—in 2014, 422 million adults lived with the condition, compared to just 108 million in 1980. Find out more about diabetes and how it’s treated in this video:

Sunday, November 15

America Recycles Day

On this day, people across America are encouraged to learn more about the importance of recycling, with the hope that more people will get into the habit of recycling daily. But even more important than recycling is reducing and reusing. Find out more about the three Rs:

Friday, November 20

World Children’s Day

World Children’s Day is a UN observance day that has been celebrated since 1954, with the aim to improve children’s welfare worldwide. On this day, why not find out more about how children’s brains develop, and how they learn to recognize themselves in a mirror?

Tuesday, November 24

The Origin of Species

On this day in 1859 “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection” by Charles Darwin was published. Charles Darwin was a British scientist whose theory of evolution changed the world! Find out more.

Lanzamiento global de Learning Passport

Twig Education y el Imperial College London tienen el honor de anunciar una nueva iniciativa para crear el contenido de ciencias para The Learning Passport de UNICEF, una plataforma de aprendizaje personalizado para niños y jóvenes.

Mediante esta colaboración, el contenido de ciencias desarrollado por el equipo de aprendizaje remoto de Twig y educadores expertos de Imperial College estará disponible para niños y jóvenes que utilicen Learning Passport en Jordania, Puntlandia (Somalia), Timor Oriental y Ucrania, con expansión a más países en los próximos meses.

Catherine Cahn, Directora Ejecutiva de Twig Education, comentó:

“Las protestas del año pasado por el calentamiento global demostraron cómo la próxima generación usará su voz y su conocimiento para determinar el futuro de nuestro planeta. Juntos con UNICEF y The Learning Passport, Twig Education y el Imperial College London tienen el honor de proveer de recursos digitales STEM a estudiantes de todo el mundo que normalmente estarían excluidos de esta conversación.”

El proyecto fue inicialmente creado por UNICEF y sus aliados para brindar educación de calidad a niños refugiados o en situación de desplazamiento, y jóvenes cuya educación ha sido interrumpida por conflictos y emergencias. Cuando COVID-19 obligó al cierre de escuelas para más del 90% de los niños en edad escolar del mundo, la plataforma fue escalada rápidamente para ayudar a que los niños pudieran acceder a su plan de estudios y otros materiales de aprendizaje de forma remota.

Professor Alice Gast, Presidenta de Imperial College London, anunció: 

“Estamos encantados de colaborar con Twig Education en este importante proyecto de UNICEF, The Learning Passport. Nos emociona saber los beneficios que este proyecto traerá a aquellos jóvenes y educadores que más lo necesitan. Es un honor para Imperial College London ser parte de este legado.”

¿En qué se enfoca The Learning Passport?

El Pasaporte abarca una serie de temas clave frecuentemente cubiertos por escuelas primarias a nivel internacional, incluyendo:

  • Ciencias, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas
  • Humanidades y ciencias sociales

Éstos son integrados en un plan de estudios cohesivo y ofrecidos en una plataforma en línea excepcional.

Robert Jenkins, Jefe de Educación de UNICEF, mencionó:

“La pandemia ha expuesto y exacerbado una crisis de aprendizaje que existe desde hace mucho tiempo, así como la brecha digital. Los niños que se encuentran más excluidos, que tienen los mayores problemas para obtener una educación, están en el más alto riesgo de perderlo todo. A medida que el impacto en la educación se profundiza, estas alianzas son un poderoso recordatorio de que trabajando juntos podemos crear soluciones innovadoras y escalables que mantengan a los niños aprendiendo.”

La urgencia de proveer una educación de alta calidad

Con la disrupción causada por la pandemia que sigue impactando las oportunidades de vida de millones de niños, es el momento más importante para respaldar a los líderes locales, nacionales e internacionales de las futuras generaciones.

En el Reino Unido, en respuesta al incremento de la educación en casa debido a COVID-19, Imperial College está ofreciendo material en línea gratuito basado en el currículum nacional. Esta alianza con UNICEF significa que Imperial College y Twig ahora podrán alcanzar una audiencia más amplia de niños en edad escolar que se encuentran en necesidad de una educación STEM accesible y de alta calidad.

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Creepy Science: 8 Halloween-Themed Facts to Scare Your Students

Halloween is coming up, so we thought we’d share some facts from the weird world of science and beyond…

  • Dead bodies can get goosebumps! This is because dead muscles stiffen, which causes the hair follicles to contract, giving the appearance of goosebumps. (1) 
  • The largest pumpkin recorded in US history weighed 2,528 pounds and was grown by Steve Geddes from Boscawen, New Hampshire. (2)
  • Pumpkins are actually classified as a fruit, not as a vegetable! In 2006, New Hampshire even decided that the pumpkin was its state fruit. (3)
  • The fastest jack-o’-lantern carver in the world is Stephen Clarke, Pennsylvania, who managed to carve a pumpkin in just 16.47 seconds. The rules state that the pumpkin is required to have a complete face, including eyes, nose, mouth, and ears. (4)
  • Halloween could actually make children more evil—a 1970s study found that costumed children in groups were more likely to steal money and candy than non-costumed kids not in a group! (5)
  • Albert Einstein’s brain was preserved after his death. It’s been studied by scientists and even displayed in museums! (6)
  • Female spiders often eat male spiders that she comes by. Male spiders sometimes use courtship rituals to show the female that they are potential mates, not food! (7)
  • There are three species of vampire bats that feed on blood—the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus), the hairy-legged vampire bat (Diphylla ecaudata), and the white-winged vampire bat (Diaemus youngi). Of these, only the common vampire likes feeding on cows, and occasionally humans. The other two prefer birds! (8)

Hopefully, these have got you into the Halloween spirit—why not share with your students for a Halloween-themed session?

Twig Science Next Gen is full of ways to tie topical and local phenomena into K–12 science, inspiring students every single day of the year. 

Happy Halloween!


1. https://www.quora.com/How-can-dead-people-get-goosebumps

2. https://time.com/5410698/largest-pumpkin-north-america-history/

3. https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/food-recipes/a21246075/is-pumpkin-a-fruit/

4. https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/fastest-time-to-carve-one-pumpkin/

5. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1976-20842-001

6.  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-32354300

7.  https://www.thoughtco.com/fascinating-facts-about-spiders-1968544

8.  https://www.thoughtco.com/fascinating-facts-about-bats-4124369

Topical Science—October 2020

Happy October! We’re well and truly into fall now, and Halloween is just around the corner. Below, we’ve collated some notable days of this month, along with related topical science videos and articles. These are perfect for helping you bring real-world phenomena into the classroom. Let’s have a look.

Monday, October 5

World Teachers’ Day

On this day, dedicated to all the fantastic teachers around the world, let’s find out how Twig Science supports teachers to deliver the Next Generation Science Standards: Watch now.

World Habitat Day

World Habitat Day raises awareness of the importance of protecting the world’s different habitats. Find out more about habitats:

Thursday, October 8

World Octopus Day

Celebrate one of the world’s coolest animals by learning more about invertebrates:

Saturday, October 10

World Migratory Bird Day

This day brings attention to the importance of protecting migratory birds. Learn more about these fascinating birds:

Thursday, October 15

Global Handwashing Day

Now more than ever, it’s important to remember to thoroughly wash our hands. Want to know the best technique for washing your hands? Our Handwashing Song will help you out! Watch now. 

Friday, October 16

World Food Day

World Food Day brings attention to the importance of having reliable access to food. Food gives us the energy we need to live and be healthy—but how do we know how much energy is in different foods? This experiment shows one technique:

Tuesday, October 20

International Sloth Day

Did you know that there are two types and six species of sloths? Let’s find out more about one of the smallest species, the pygmy three-toed sloth: Watch now.

World Statistics Day

Statistics can help us find out a lot about the world around us. Did you know that there’s actually a type of robot that uses statistics? Learn more:

Saturday, October 31

World Cities Day

This UN Observance Day encourages the sustainable development of cities. Cities are a type of settlement, just like villages and towns. Find out more about settlements:

Halloween

Happy Halloween! Here are five facts you might not know about this spooky holiday: Find out more.

5 Easy Tools to Use Twig Science Nevada in Any Delivery Model!

From the start, we designed Twig Science Nevada to be a pleasure to use, from its clear, colorful design to the straightforward navigation between lessons. There are lots of cool features that help to make the Twig Science Nevada experience feel streamlined and effortless, and we’re adding more all the time—many at the request of teachers using Twig Science Nevada right now.

Here are some you may not know about…


1. Digital Twig Book

One of the Twig Science Nevada features we’re most proud of is the Digital Twig Book. This allows students to fill in answers directly into their own personal workbooks on their computers or tablets. You can view any of your students’ individual Digital Twig Books to see their work, and you also have a version of your own—called “My Copy”—which you can add your own notes and answers to.

These features mean that the Digital Twig Book can be used as a streamlined, all-in-one version of the program. You can even teach straight from it. Alternatively, combined with the great new hybrid learning features described below, the Digital Twig Book makes a flexible independent study tool.

Accessing the Digital Twig Book couldn’t be easier. In any lesson, click on “Twig Book” and select “Digital.”

Find out more about sharing Digital Twig Book lessons with your class by clicking here.


2. Hybrid Learning

Many of the hybrid learning resources that have been available to teachers up to now have been stopgap solutions. They help teachers manage, but they’re not comprehensive curricula suited equally well to hybrid and in-class instruction. Twig Science Nevada, however, offers a high-quality, standards-based program unlike anything you’ve seen before. Two of the key features that really help with hybrid learning are the virtual coach and hands-on science lab videos. 

The virtual coaches appear in bite-sized studio-quality coaching videos, presented by experienced teachers who lead students through each lesson, encouraging participation and engagement.

Hands-on science lab videos allow students to take part in experiments from home, to support the teaching of hands-on science.

See the Twig Science Nevada virtual coach and hands-on labs in action here


3. Presentation View

Twig Science Nevada features a fantastic way to control all the events and assets that make up a lesson in one easy-to-use view—it’s called Presentation View. This feature can be used in a classroom or via distance learning through screen sharing, and it gives you a way of presenting assets to your students so that they have maximum visual impact. There’s no clutter—the students see what they need to see and nothing way. It gives you an easy way to navigate through all digital assets that belong to a lesson, enabling you to teach the lesson quickly without needing to wade through instructions.

Presenting a Twig Science Nevada lesson is really straightforward. Simply navigate to the lesson you want to teach, then click the “Present Lesson” button:

Alternatively, click the “Present” button on any asset thumbnail:

To learn more about presenting lessons in Twig Science Nevada, click here.


4. Accessibility Features

The accessibility panel provides many features, such as a screen reader and font adjustment controls, to provide a great user experience for all.

These features can be turned on by clicking the accessibility button on the bottom left-hand side of the screen.

A pop up panel will appear, giving you access to a screen reader and the ability to change many aspects of the site.

Read more about Twig Science Nevada accessibility features—click here.


5. Lesson Pinning

The Teacher Dashboard in Twig Science Nevada is a really helpful tool that lets you quickly access important tools and resources. It’s easy to add lessons to your dashboard, allowing you to navigate straight to lessons and assessment for each class. 

You can pin a lesson directly to your dashboard by clicking the pin icon. When you click the pin you will be able to select the class you wish to save the lesson for:

The lesson will now we available under My Lessons in the Teacher Dashboard:

For more on adding lessons to the Teacher Dashboard, click here.


To implement Twig Science Nevada’s range of ease-of-use tools in your school or district, get in touch today.