Category Archives: Student life

Girls’ world record attempt to measure gravity

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Malcolm and I discuss the giant physics experiment starting at 7 minutes and 37 seconds in this clip.

[audio http://www.brookes.ac.uk/lifesci/runions/DrMolecule/20121113 – Science in UK and GSDT giant physics experiment.mp3]

At 11:30 this morning, more than 2,300 schoolgirls between the ages of 10-15 attempted to set a new world record. They set out to measure the force of gravity… The good thing about this attempt at classical physics experiments was that it was going on simultaneousley in 26 different academy schools of the Girls’ Day School Trust in the UK. If successful, the girls will have set the record for the largest (most participants), multi-location physics lesson/experiment ever conducted.

A couple of things that I would like to address:

i) How does one measure the force of gravity?

ii) Why is it significant that the Girls’ Day School Trust is carrying out this experiment?

(I’ll finish this blogpost later but wanted to get the clip up so that the GDST students could listen if they want)

#organellewars – a fun school project in cell biology

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Malcolm and I discuss #organellewars starting at 6 minutes and 15 seconds in this clip.

[audio http://www.brookes.ac.uk/lifesci/runions/DrMolecule/20121023 – Star Trek tech and organellewars.mp3]

Lysosomes for the win

I don’t need write very much more about #organellewars because my colleague Dr. Anne Osterrieder has explained it on her blog at theplantcell.com. Anne describes this innovative approach to teaching as ‘The organelle presidential campaign 2012‘.

Mighty Mitochondria

Briefly, high-school science teacher Brad Graba, who teaches AP Biology at William Fremd High School in Palatine, IL., has conceived a biology learning project that involves social media in an innovative way. His instructions to his students (#organellewars – Cell Organelle Campaign) are straightforward. Each group is to assume the identity of a cellular organelle (nucleus, mitochondrian, chloroplast, whathaveyou…), and to wage a campaign about that organelle. The campaign is intended to teach about that organelle and here’s the fun part. Among tasks that the students are expected to carry out is a mudslinging smear campaign against the other organelles! This aspect of the project has been largely carried out on twitter and I am absolutely amazed by the sheer volume of tweets that this has generated (See some of these storified).

Go Go Golgi

Not only has the twitter-based discussion and mudslinging fest been popular with the Grade 10 students, but scientists worldwide have jumped into the fray. Go onto twitter and search #organellewars for just a small fraction of the tweets that make up this campaign.

Whether the kids realize it or not, to smear another organelle, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. In other words, they are learning about cells and organelles and having a lot of fun while doing so.

What’s my favorite organelle today… let me see, perhaps the pre-vacuolar compartment or the early endosome…

What’s yours? I’ll write later to let you know the final outcome of the campaign.