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STEM Snacks: Bending Glass

Posted by glen_w Oct 17, 2016

Glass_Tubing.jpgMy school’s science team realized our students could learn about physical changes and physical properties using glass tubing. We purchased one meter long glass tubing from one of our science supply sources. Students observed me demonstrate how to heat the glass until it became “soft” and would gently bend. I showed how the tubing could be bent into circles, angles, and wrapped around itself. Students then applied the concepts as they created their own “silly straws” using the glass tubing.


Safety concerns for this activity included:

  • Wearing safety goggles
  • Wearing heat safe gloves
  • Tying long hair back
  • Having only ONE student near the Bunsen Burner at a time
  • Notifying a teacher if glass broke in the process


Students were allowed to create their own designs. One of my favorite looked like the edges of four pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.


STEM Snack questions: Please respond to these questions in a comment below:

  • What design would you like to create (or have a student create) using glass tubing?
  • What other concepts might students learn from this activity?
  • What additional safety concerns do you think should be addressed?
  • Interact with at least one other person's response to this discussion.


Please do the following to complete this month's mission for 300 points and the September STEM Snacks Badge:

  • Bookmark this page
  • Share the blog with three other community members
  • Respond to the questions above
  • Interact with at least one other person’s response to this discussion

Let’s Get Ready to Rock the Code 2016


Computers are everywhere, changing every industry on the planet. But only one in four schools teaches computer science. The good news is, we’re on our way to change this! If you've heard about the Hour of Code before, you might know it made history; more than 100 million students tried the Hour of Code in 2015.


The Hour of Code is a one-hour introductory course designed to demystify computer science and show that anybody can learn the basics of computer programming. The goal is to have students take part in grade-level-specific activities. Over 100 partners have joined together to support this movement. President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign last year. and other organizations have created materials for participants to use during the National Computer Science Week (December 5-11) or before or after. These are very simple, easy-to-follow lessons that are teacher- and student-friendly. This year, there will be a “Beyond the Hour of Code” area for teachers and students who are beyond the entry level of just “one hour.”


Are you joining the global movement to reach tens of millions of students and teachers to encourage them to just try “an Hour of Coding” during the week December 5-11 or before? Last year, more girls tried computer science than in the last 70 years. This year, let's make it even bigger!


Please get involved with an Hour of Code event during Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11. Get the word out. Host an event. Ask a local school to sign up. Or try the Hour of Code yourself—everyone can benefit from learning the basics.


We'll be in touch about new tutorials and other exciting updates. What can you do now?


What is the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code is a FREE one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn basic coding skills.


When is the Hour of Code?

Anybody can host an Hour of Code anytime, but the grassroots campaign goal is for hundreds of millions of students to try an Hour of Code during December 5-11, 2016, in celebration of Computer Science Education Week.


Is it one specific hour?

No. You can do the Hour of Code anytime during this week. (And if you can't do it during that week, do it the week before or after). We are asking everyone to pick your own time to do an Hour of Code. You can start today if you like.


Why Computer Science?

Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path. See more stats at


How do I sign up to host an Hour of Code?


How do I find resources for Hosting an Hour of Code?


How do I get started?

Watch the introduction video and sign up to host an Hour of Code event.


I don’t know anything about coding. Can I still host an event?

Of course. Hour of Code activities are self-guided. All you have to do is try the current tutorials, pick the tutorial you want, and pick an hour — will take care of the rest. also has options for every age and experience-level, from kindergarten and up. Start planning your event by reading the how to guide.


Do students need to log on using an account? No signup or login is required for students to try the Hour of Code; however, if a teacher has gone through the training and has already set up classroom accounts for their students, this would be helpful in tracking the progress of each individual student.


Where is the tutorial with Anna and Elsa? I want to promote girls using computer science.

It is now published and you can find in on the tutorial page. Stay tune for new published tutorials.


Which activity should I do with high school students?

Across all ages, we recommend trying one of the beginner tutorials on to start, such as the tutorial with Angry Birds or with Anna and Elsa. A high school student should be able to finish one of these in 30 minutes and can then try a more advanced tutorial in JavaScript, such as Khan Academy or CodeHS.


I’m doing Scratch for Hour of Code, but what if my students have iPads rather than laptops?

Scratch doesn't run on tablets. If your students are young, they can use the ScratchJR iPad app (for early-readers). If you look at the tutorials on, you can find other tutorials that work on iPads or other mobile devices- from, Tynker, Lightbot, or CodeSpark.


How do you count the Hours of Code?

The Hour of Code tracker isn't an exact measurement of usage. It does not count unique student IDs perfectly when tracking participation in the Hour of Code, especially because they don't require students to log in or register. As a result, we both over-count and under-count participants at the same time. Read all the details here.


How can I prep for the Hour of Code?

Visit this website it has step by step directions on how to get started. It also offers a variety of resources/tutorials to help you get started. If you have never used coding with your students, we recommend implementing the Tutorials for Beginners. Click on Go and your students will be writing code. If you would like to use something  else., click on


Do I need computers for every student?

No. There are Hour of Code tutorials that work on PCs, smartphones, tablets, and some that require no computer at all! You can join wherever you are, with whatever you have.


How can I find a local volunteer to help with the Hour of Code event?

  • Search our volunteer map for volunteers who can visit your classroom or video chat remotely to inspire your students about the breadth of possibilities with computer science.

Here are a few options:

  • Work in pairs. Research shows students learn best with pair programming, sharing a computer and working together. Encourage your students to double up.
  • Use a projected screen. If you have a projector and screen for a Web-connected computer, your entire group can do an Hour of Code together. Watch video portions together and take turns solving puzzles or answering questions.
  • Go Unplugged. We offer tutorials that require no computer at all.

Reminder about what’s different this year

  • This year, the Hour of Code is expanding beyond branded, self-guided tutorials, to encourage students to try more open-ended activities, and to encourage teachers who are new to CS to lead these activities.
  • Prizes, and why we’re moving away from them:
    • We’re not giving away any 10k hardware prizes to classrooms this year
    • We’re not giving away gift cards for filling out the Hour of Code survey
    • Why? With last year’s success, we’re hoping we won’t have to rely on these prize incentives to get teachers to sign up (they’ll sign up because teachers + students love it). This is a HUGE decrease in cost as well, which helps as we move toward a community-owned Hour of Code event.
  • Website: a new and improved page
    • We’re building a browse + search UI for finding Hour of Code tutorials and lesson plans (think: the of Hour of Code activities). We hope this will help teachers find the activity that best fits their classroom.




Chat with Deb

Digital Citizenship


Watch this Chat with Deb Video Blog about conversations we should have with our students as well as laws and policies that are helping to protect our students.



Click Here for the presentation that goes with the video.




Do you have certain topics, activities or resources that you use to teach students about digital citizenship?

Please share with us.

Screen Shot 2016-10-11 at 9.04.39 AM.png

Every year, I work with my third and fourth grade students to cover digital citizenship.  The fourth grade teachers allow me to come in during their social studies time when they are discussing United States Government and citizenship.  This fits in perfectly when I talk about being a responsible digital citizen.   I use the Common Sense Media curriculum and the Digital Passports games and have become a Certified Common Sense Media Educator.  Common Sense Media provides a supportive curriculum that works with the games to provide learning and practice to each student individually.


The games are:

1.  Twalkers has students practice multi-tasking and using devices.

2.  E-Volve gives students strategies to be an upstander and deal with cyberbullying.

3.  Share Jumpers reminds students of what is appropriate to post online, some information should always be protected and private.

4.  Search Shark helps students understand what effective keywords will help them get the search results they are looking for.

5.  Mix n' Mash  allows students to practice giving proper credit for work that is not their own.

Digital Citizen Superhero.jpg

In addition to this curriculum, I am using a free Common Sense Media Nearpod Lesson.  I am using Super Digital Citizen Lite for grades 3-5.  This lesson focuses on helping others to be a responsible digital citizen, being a digital citizen superhero.  Students create their own digital safety superhero and explain their qualities and characteristics. Nearpod is an interactive slide presentation that allows students to answer questions and draw in real time.  I am having students pre-draw in nearpod and then draw their superhero to post on our bulletin board.  Nearpod is a nice program to use because you can ask questions to students while you are teaching and then get a report sent to you afterwards so that you have a record of their answers.

Digital Toolkit.jpgOnce we have finished the Common Sense Curriculum, I move to a fun activity I found on Craig Badura's site called the Digital Citizenship Survival Kit.  I have adapted his activity and use this to guide my lesson.  Students are grouped and given the different props.  They are to discuss what the particular item does and how that might pertain to being a responsible digital citizen.  For example, the packet of seeds.  A seed grows with water and light.  Our digital presence grows, but requires us to nurture it with appropriate posts and safe behavior.  I am always amazed at the different ideas the students come up with every year!

This year, I am adding a Breakout EDU activity to the end where students will have to take questions, pick out the keywords, and find the answers by searching effectively.  This was their weakest skill when I pre-tested them this year, so I thought it would make for a fun breakout!  Once they breakout, they will get a mini digital survival kit so they are always reminded of the activity we did and the importance of being a responsible digital citizen!




What fun activities do you do in your classrooms to teach students about being a responsible digital citizen?

In October, our Engage Community theme is Digital Citizenship.  October is also Nation Cyber-Security Awareness month where there is a promotion of global awareness that encourages all Internet users to ...stop and think before they connect to the Internet. 


In previous threads, we reviewed the importance of FERPA (The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act a “federal law that protects the privacy of student education records as well as COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) which imposes certain “requirements on operators of websites or online services directed to children under 13 years of age, and on operators of other websites or online services that have actual knowledge that they are collecting personal information online from a child under 13 years of age.”  (FCC) and The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) which was created to address concerns about “children's access to obscene or harmful content over the Internet.” (FCC)


One of my main go-to educational resource is Common Sense Education.


Common Sense has a K-12 Digital Citizenship Curriuculum for turnkey curriculum.

Common Sense lists 8 essential topics:

Although all topics are essential and necessary to educate our students, parents, and teachers on how to keep safe, what top three topics do you think are the most important and essential for keeping students safe?  Justify your answer for each of your choices.

Engage-Pathways-icon-150px.pngParticipate in our Learning Pathways Thread between October 4, 2016 and December, 31, 2016 to receive your Learning Pathway Mission Badge worth 500 points.

The Learning Pathway Mission Badge Title is Digital Citizenship: Oct-Dec 2016


You must complete all the actions related to this Month’s Mission to receive the Mission Badge.

  • Reply to this thread and include all of the below items in your first post.
    • Rank the 8 digital citizenship topics in order from Most important to least important. 
    • Justify your top three choices. Why do you think these topics are the most important for your students to know and understand?
      • Include examples of resources you have used before. (Optional)
  • Deepen the conversation by responding to at least 3 people.
      • What instructional tools do you use to teach digital citizenship to all students?
      • Have you experienced any issues with students not in compliance with digital citizenship guidelines.
        • Share some examples where you have had to deal with a compliance issue. How did you resolve it?
  • Share this thread with 3 people (see Comments, Sharing, Likes and Ways to Share Thread)
  • Bookmark this thread

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