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Quickly, think about your first answer to this question. What's the magnetism of earth's magnetic field at our geographic North Pole? I recently watched a video of Minute Earth on YouTube saying how earth's atmosphere is escaping. In it, the artist/scientist drew the earth with its normal magnetic field. And that got me thinking about an age-old problem that I've seen online. So horrible of a problem in fact that I've had to write a letter to NOAA, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (not the guy from the Bible), to correct a problem that they had on their website. So, hold onto your hats folks, because we're going to dive into magnetism. In elementary school we were all introduced to the basics of magnetism. Opposite poles attract, and like poles repel. The red ends of the magnet, commonly the north ends, would rather hang out with the south ends of a magnet, commonly the white ends. This is a concept that seems simple to most of us, and it is... read more

What a way to start off the New Year! First I met with a student for US History and Living Environment. She is taking the Regents exams in three weeks. When I first met with her, Cee had a fear of taking exams, and was very nervous. She struggled with understanding both subjects; the Historical Events and dates, as well as the vocabulary words for Biology. Her next struggles were understanding and answering the document based questions for US History and the short responses for LE. Now she answers them much more confidently and accurately, and has even improved in writing her document based and thematic essays for US History. I am so proud of her and is certain that she will pass both Regents exams. Then I met with my grade 4 student for Math, English Language Art and Science. He has gone from scoring 31% to 83% on his practice science exam. He is much more confident with doing Math and ELA assignments. I am so proud of him. Then it was on to my grade 6 Math student. When... read more

Alex made my day today. He passed the Global History and Geography Regents Exam!! Let me tell you a little bit about Alex. When I first met him, he came to tutoring two hours late. The next day an 11/2 late. He was on time on the third day, but by the next week it was back to being Alex. He did not show up for tutoring nor did he call. He would do assignments if he felt like it. There was always an excuse for something, but he would never take responsibility for his actions. When I finally sat down with he and his mother and told them that at the rate Alex was going, he was not going to pass his Regents exams. He may have to repeat the grade or go to summer school. Alex became so angry and adamant. He kept saying repeatedly, that he was not going to repeat grade 10. So I looked at him and asked, "So what are you going to do about it?" "Because saying that you are not going to repeat and then you neither study nor do the assignments, is not saying much. I think... read more

This blog is specific to the AP (Advanced Placement Exams). Not to date myself any further but how things have changed. When I was in High School, there were only a handful of exams that a student could sit for in terms of Advanced placement exams. There were your basic sciences, such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology, and of course English Literature and US Government. However, nowadays, students have up to 34 AP exams to choose from, ranging from Chinese to Art History to French or any other subjects a student could imagine. So why sit for these exams? what are the advantages? First is the tangible benefits, which are: 1. Taking and acing the AP exams are much cheaper than paying for college credits at most major universities. Thus, students who prepared in advanced, no pun intended, could easily see major financial savings. 2. By passing AP exams and earning college credits, you graduate sooner. Also, allowing you to have either a lighter course load or allowing... read more

Today it was great to see today's Google logo (viewable at http://www.google.com/doodles/nicolas-stenos-374th-birthday) transformed into fossil-bearing rock strata, in honor of the 374th birthday of Nicolas Steno, the 17th Century scientist who pioneered the concept of stratigraphy- that lower rock layers are older than the layers above them- and that fossils are the result of once-living organisms, not "rocks striving to resemble life". Steno's contributions to the scientific method paved the way for modern geology and paleontology. Way to go Steno, way to go Google!

Most of us tend to think that science is all about equations. But language is just as important as numbers are to the scientific endeavor. E.O. Wilson, the famous biologist, once stated that he doesn't even consider himself as acting like a scientist until he sits down and starts writing. Words are central to science, and so when you're teaching or studying the sciences, it's a good idea to focus on writing as a tool for learning. What I recommend for my students is to build a master list of new vocabulary terms. I have them write definitions in their own words of what those terms mean, and I use that list to quiz them. This serves a few purposes. First, it helps students build their understanding of language of science. Second, for who struggle with attention or other learning disabilities, it helps them to focus on the key ideas of the course. As a grad student in science education I learned that there is a lot of evidence to indicate that revising notes, focusing on... read more

Hi, I spent some time studying NC Geology, and have come up with a unique Earthcache for a spot in my town of Kernersville. It's a bit information dense and probably should be whittled down, but it was fun to do. Most importantly it has connected people to the Earth below and around them. Check it out: http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=b008cbeb-1636-4488-85b7-1718f577c54e I have a couple more floating around in my head, but haven't had the chance to research, write and post.

I'm a former geologist and I think it is one of the most interesting subjects to study. Why? Because you have to know a lot of other kinds of sciences (chemistry, physics, and even biology!), math, computers and have the ability to see things spatially (think geometry and trigonometry!). You really have to wear a lot of hats to study geology, and that's the bare minimum that you need to work as a geologist! You might be asking yourself, "Well, rocks sure are cool looking, but how does geology really apply to my life?" It is probably the most important subject! Oil and gas exploration, mineral exploration (gold, silver, iron, rare metals and elements), environmental protection, water resources...all of these things require an understanding of geology!

Top Ten Test-Taking Tips for Students Here are the top ten tips to success! 1. Have a Positive Attitude Approach the big test as you'd approach a giant jigsaw puzzle. It might be tough, but you can do it! A positive attitude goes a long way toward success. 2. Make a Plan The week before the test, ask your teacher what the test is going to cover. Is it from the textbook only? Class notes? Can you use your calculator? If you've been absent, talk to friends about material you may have missed. Make a list of the most important topics to be covered and use that as a guide when you study. Circle items that you know will require extra time. Be sure to plan extra time to study the most challenging topics. 3. The Night Before Cramming doesn't work. If you've followed a study plan, the night before the test you should do a quick review and get to bed early. Remember, your brain and body need sleep to function well, so don't stay up late! 4. The... read more

I believe in finding a person's learning style and employing that to assist an individual with their school subjects. No one person shares the same way of learning, so what works for one person may not work for another. I've used this philosophy in all paths of life; like when training employees on the job, tutoring students one on one or heading up study groups. Let me help you succeed.

I recently presented an after school lesson to a group of 6th grade science students on the rock cycle entitled "You've heard of rock musicians but have you heard of rock magicians?". During this study we discovered the three stages of the rock cycle and what happens to minerals during each stage to form igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. After mastery of the rock cycle, I donned my "rock star attire" (hat, glowing beads and magic wand) to become the "Rock Magician". My "assistants" came up with a magic word we used to give each ordinary rock its special properties and with a wave of the magic wand, transformed ordinary rocks into amazing science. I was able to demonstrate igneous rock that floats like a boat (pumice), sedimentary rock that fizzes like soda pop (calcite), or turns into rubber (ozocderite), and metamorphic rock that glows in the dark (scapolite and sodalite). Ultimately, they were able to deduce when... read more

I'm glad that my first post here is a success story. After many, many, many hours of tutoring sessions, Utpal has finally achieved his goal. As a hopeful Marine Officer candidate, this success story really hits home for me. Actually, he finished the tutoring a long time ago, before the New Year. I was so happy when he texted me to tell me that he got above the necessary AFQT score for the ASVAB. Utpal is so committed and devoted to service with the U.S. Army...it really was an honor helping to get him there. Even better was talking to him on the phone while he was at MEPS in New York and convincing him to become a Tanker. Attention students: MOS counseling is not included in the standard tutoring package. ;) Anyways, just a few days ago, I get a text from Utpal saying that he finally signed his contract and is now a part of the big U.S. Army family. Silly Utpal - thinking he's already a Specialist. Little does he know that he's just a private right now... I should've... read more

According to the United States Geological Survey (the USGS), the Lithosphere is, "The solid outer zone of the Earth comprising the Crust and the upper layer of the Mantle." Also, according to the USGS, the term comes from the Greek word, lithos, meaning, rock, and the word, sphere, which can be any round object, such as a ball, an orange, or, even, you guessed it, a planet. Wasn't that helpful? To a geologist, a scientist who studies the Earth, maybe; but, for us mere mortals, not really. When I think of, "Crust," I think of the top of a pie. Apple's my favorite, but anyway, back to the topic. Other times, I think of a loaf of fresh-baked, piping-hot bread, right out of the oven, smothered with honey butter. Oh, it's so good! Wait a minute! What am I doing? OK, OK, let me make this point so I can forget about food. When we discuss, "The Earth's Crust," we're talking about the outer layer of the Earth's surface. This is part of the Lithosphere... read more

The Crust is the top layer of the Earth's surface. But, did you know that there are 2 types? One is called the Oceanic Crust, and he other is called the Continental Crust. As its name suggests, the Oceanic Crust is the top layer of Earth that makes up the ocean floor. The Continental Crust, however, will be our focus. We walk on top of and dig down through the Continental Crust when we plant or drill. Even if there is an unstable surface at the very top, like sand, the deeper parts of the Crust are made of harder rocks. The large land masses we call, continents, have bases made from sedimentary, igneous, or metamorphic rocks, as well as any combination thereof. This shield rock is the oldest known; they've been tested, dated, and found to have been here for 3,960,000,000 years! And I thought my father was old when he turned 50! Geologists, scientists who study the Earth, believe that shield rock was created when hot molten iron, known as magma, cooled. If their math's... read more

According to the Public Broadcasting System educational television program, NOVA, “A parsec is equivalent to 3.26 light years.” According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website, Ask an Astronaut, a light year is, “The distance light travels in 1 year,” which is 5,878,786,410,000 miles per year. With that information, we can find out just how far away a parsec is. If we take the miles per year and multiply it by 3.26 years, we discover that 1 parsec equals 19,164,843,696,600 miles. So, where then, does the term, parsec, come from? Parsec is a combination of 2 words, parallax (par) and second (sec). Parallax means something looks like it changed its location because you changed yours. For example, if you stand on your porch and look across the street, you will see a house on your left and a house on your right. If you go across the street and look at the same houses from your neighbor's backyard, they will be on the opposite sides. Did the houses... read more

In elementary school, every teacher had one of those pull-down maps of the world to teach geography. On occasion, I thought the largest land masses, known as continents, reminded me of pieces in a jigsaw puzzle. They just seemed like they should fit together, somehow. Not until I took Earth Science, in 8th grade, did I discover my earlier idea was correct. My teacher explained about a phenomenon, known as The Continental Drift Theory. He said that some German had the same idea I did. The man my teacher mentioned, Alfred Wegener (Vay gen ner), developed The Continental Drift Theory in 1915. He was a meteorologist and a geologist. His theory basically said that, at one time, there existed one large “supercontinent,” called, Pangea, pan meaning all-encompassing, and gea meaning the Earth. He went on to suggest that, seismic activity, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, also called tidal waves, eventually created fissures, or cracks in the Earth. As these... read more

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