Video: The Bermuda High and tropical storms

The Bermuda High pressure system sits over the Atlantic during summer. Acting as a block that hurricanes cannot penetrate, the size and location of this system can determine where hurricanes go. A normal Bermuda High often leads to hurricanes moving up the east coast and out to sea. During summer 2004 and 2005, the Bermuda High expanded to the south and west, which steered hurricanes into the Gulf of Mexico rather than up the east coast or curving out to sea. Once in the Gulf, most hurricane paths will involve landfall at some location.The Bermuda High pressure system sits over the Atlantic during summer. This visualization first shows a typical Bermuda High system. Then, it expands the Bermuda High to show what happened in the summer of 2004 and 2005.

via The Bermuda High and tropical storms.

Blogging the Periodic Table: Promethium, Uranium Stole It’s Fire

A century ago, so few natural elements remained undiscovered, and so many scientists were scouring the Earth for the honor of finding them, that disputes over who discovered what first became commonplace. Scientists repeatedly shot down false claims, and acrimony could linger for years, even on a national level. In one dispute between French scientists and a team of Danish and Hungarian scientists, a French magazine sniffed that the whole thing “stinks of Huns,” as if Attila himself had discovered the element.

[But news of Promethium’s Discovery] in 1947, was strangely anticlimactic. Three scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory made the announcement at a scientific meeting that year—but revealed that theyd actually discovered it two years before and had sat on it. They had said nothing partly because of security restrictions at a national lab, but they also knew the delay wouldn’t matter: No one else was looking for the element. The media gave the announcement unenthusiastic coverage, calling the new element “not good for much.” Science had at last discovered the final natural element, completing the periodic table after almost a century of work, and few seemed to care. What happened?

Uranium and plutonium happened. Continue reading

Texas Instruments Activities Exchange: “Learning Focused Schools” and Saxon Math

Activity Overview

For teachers who use Saxon Math and are utilizing Learning Focused Schools concepts, an application of Essential Questions, Vocabulary development, and Preview/Acceleration can be addressed by using this process of preview handout, vocabulary quiz, and answers to Essential Questions on test day.

Before the Activity

As students complete and turn in their test over four lessons, they pick up their Essential Questions and Vocabulary handout for the next four lessons. Their homework assignment is to read the next four lessons and define and study the terms on the vocabulary list in context of the lessons.

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Summary: Mathematically Correct 7th Grade Math Textbook Reviews

Comparative Summary for Seventh Grade


The books under study break down easily into 5 groups. The top (A) group consists of true pre-Algebra texts. The next (B) group consists of books at a lower level of content that might work as pre-Algebra texts under certain situations, but which would better serve as pre-pre-Algebra texts. Given the quality of these books, a true pre-Algebra book in the same series might well score in the same range as other pre-Algebra books. The third (C) group contains books that are not suited for pre-Algebra relative to any of the books above them, but which, under certain circumstances, might work for pre-pre-Algebra. The final two groups (D, F) are unlikely to allow any significant number of students to meet our criteria for even pre-pre-Algebra.

Overall Ratings

Please read the individual reviews to determine if a particular book is likely to meet the needs of a particular school or district. As noted below, not all books with the same grade are equivalent in presentation or organization.

A – Well suited to pre-Algebra. These books may be considered 8th grade texts in some areas, but should be considered for seventh grade students where possible, and were evaluated based on seventh grade criteria.

    4.8 A Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Pre-Algebra, an Integrated Transition to Algebra and Geometry

    4.6 A McDougal Littell Passport to Algebra and Geometry

    4.3 A Saxon Publishers Algebra 1/2

B – Possibly suited to pre-Algebra. Definitely suited to pre-pre-Algebra. A true pre-Algebra book in the same series would probably rate at the A level

    3.8 B+ Scott Foresman/Addison Wesley Middle School Math Course 2

    3.6 B Glencoe/McGraw-Hill Mathematics: Applications and Connections, Course 2

    3.5 B Harcourt Brace Math Advantage Middle School II Preparation for Algebra

    3.5 B Prentice Hall Middle Grades Math: Tools for Success Course 2

C – Not suited to pre-Algebra. May do well in certain pre-pre-algebra situations

    2.8 C+ Saxon Publishers Math 87

via Mathematically Correct Mathematics Program Reviews.

2.7 C McDougal Littell Passport to Mathematics, Book 2

Mathematically Correct Saxon Math Algebra 1/2 Reviews

Overall Program Evaluation: A

Overall Evaluation [4.3]

This high overall rating reflects a high level of content and particularly effective presentation and student work ratings.

This book is among the top three rated books in this survey. The level of content is more than adequate to prepare students for algebra, although it is not as high as in the other two books in the top tier. On the other hand, the presentation and student work make it more likely that more students will actually master the material at an appropriate level in the average classroom. Continue reading

Mathematically Correct Saxon Math 87 Textbook Reviews

Overall Program Evaluation C+

Overall Evaluation [2.8]

As noted in the preface, this is a “pre-pre-algebra” book, not a pre-algebra book. The preface also makes the important point that mastery of an appropriate pre-algebra course, no matter what the name, is important for success in algebra. Thus, this is not the book to use immediately before algebra, although it could reasonably be used with students, at any grade, who are not yet ready for pre-algebra but would be on course to take algebra in two years. The relatively low expected level of teacher to teacher variance and the clarity of the lessons might make this an excellent pre-pre-algebra choice for many districts.

via Mathematically Correct Mathematics Program Reviews.

New England shark species

An updated 2005 shark taxonomy list, has established 34 families, and 453 species of sharks worldwide. That’s an increase from the previous 28 families and 370 species categorized in 1984. Since 2005 several more species have been discovered.That would put today’s total around 460 shark species.

There was an incredible lack of knowledge about shark species until the 1940s, when the navies and air forces of the world got interested in sharks, because of survivors at sea during World War II. The 1975 movie “Jaws ,” spurred the public’s interest in sharks; especially the white shark, Carcharodon carcharias.

The good news is that in most areas of the world you only have to be knowledgeable about a dozen or so shark species. In the United States, on the East coast and Gulf of Mexico from Maine to Texas there are about 33 species of sharks. There are about 15 shark species in the New England area, and only a half dozen species that you are likely to encounter. So with a little effort and interest, you can learn about those species, and how to identify the sharks that ply the coastal New England waters.

via New England shark species.