Teague's Tech Treks

Avoiding tech "OOPS-idents" by Helen Teague


Happy Birthday Michael Minovitch

While we were celebrating the new year yesterday, Michael Minovitch celebrated his birthday.

I hope he had an out of this world birthday because he is the reason we know so much about the outer planets of the solar system. Dr. Minovitch proposed the solution to the “three body problem” that would propel the Voyager spacecrafts from one planet to the next using that planet’s gravitational power. Voyager 1 launched in September, 1977 and Voyager 2 launched in August, 1977. The Voyagers contain gold disks with “The Sounds of Earth” an idea from Carl Sagan. Click the link from “the Sounds of the Earth” to hear them.

Traveling at 50,000 miles an hour, over 10 miles a second. Voyager 1 is out in deep space is now over 11 billion miles from Earth and passed most of the power of Sun’s gravitational grasp (see the real-time distance measurement at this link.) Its twin, Voyager 2, has flown past all the outer giant planets, of Saturn, Uranus, and within 3,000 miles of Neptune in 1989.

The maths required for Voyager 2 to fly over Neptune required mathematical accuracy within one second and weather forecasting on a planet 3 billion miles away from Earth. Both Voyagers have flown farther than Pluto into interstellar space.

Now in a mission over 35 years, data from the Voyager transmiter, takes over 15 hours to arrive back to scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. And it all began with Dr. Michael Minovitch’s math of the “three body problem.”


Nanocrafter Game Review Abstract-Updated

RUNNING HEAD: Nanocrafter Game                                                                                                               1

Academic Game Review: Nanocrafter
Helen Teague
EDLT 728: Game, Simulations, and Virtual World for Learning
Dr. Mark Chen
Summer 2014


 Research verifies the important role of exploratory play in the development of cognitive ability, creativity, and concept management (O’Rourke, et al, 2013).  Nanocrafter is the newest game to leverage exploratory play, offered in Beta from the Center for Game Science at the University of Washington (CGS). Announced at the Games for Change conference in April, 2014, Nanocrafter offers progressing levels of skill building for players as they visualize and build nanoscale representations of synthetic protein bonds. Synthetic protein bonds do not exist naturally and must be combined by scientists through synthetic biology. Synthetic biology and DNA protein bonds can be the medical solution to real-world challenges, such as disease treatment and debilitating medical conditions.

Educators will notice how Nanocrafter leverages the cognitive precepts of Wiggins and McTighe’s Understanding by Design (UbD), Strategic Design, and socio-affective attributes such as peer-review and collaborative groups. High-school students will find an engaging portal to strengthen STEM core competencies.


Keywords: games, simulations, protein bonds, synthetic biology


Finnish Innovation Fund (2014). Helsinki Design Lab. Retrieved from: www.helsinkidesignlab.org

Minoff, A. (2014). Can we game our way to better health? Science Friday podcast, April 24, 2014. Retrieved from http://www.sciencefriday.com/segment/04/25/2014/can-we-game-our-way-to-better-health.ht

O’Rourke, R., Butler, E., Liu, Y., Ballweber, C. and Popovi´c, Z. (2013). The Effects of Age on Player Behavior in Educational Games. Foundations of Digital Games. Center for Game Science Department of Computer Science & Engineering, University of Washington.
Retrieved from http://homes.cs.washington.edu/~eorourke/papers/age_behavior_fdg.pdf

The Center for Game Science at the University of Washington. Retrieved from http://centerforgamescience.org/

Wiggins, G., McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by Design. Pearson.

Academic Game Review



Inquiry Learning Resource~Sally Ride Science

Just heard about this from my friend Dr. John Barell:

Dr. Sally Ride was the first women in space and an educator with continuing research in corporate inquiry mind sets and STEM.  Following the explosion of Space Shuttle Columbia, she concluded her investigation with these ringing words: “Ever NASA manager needs to be inquisitive to a fault.  You must ask and ask and ask.”  In person
she told me that, yes, this challenge did indeed apply to all walks of life and that science was an excellent way of fostering our inquisitiveness by asking “Why?”

Continuing in the spirit of inquiry, the website SallyRideScience (https://sallyridescience.com) is a splendid resource for all those conducting investigations about the natural world.

Give yourself some time to search for Curiosity Rover on Mars, Climate Change and with Antarctic research.  In the Antarctic research section, you’ll find the intriguing question, “How do penguins survive  in very cold temperatures?”  John wrote, “I thought I knew the answer, but learned more about the physics that I still don’t quite understand fully:  http://www.coolantarctica.com/Antarctica%20fact%20file/science/cold_penguins.htm

Sally Ride ScienceSallyRideScience seems to be a safe, secure and child friendly. Conduct searches at STEM Central and Browse by
Category. John wrote, “Investigating the natural world  is that area of inquiry where we’re always asking What? Why? How Come?” Take a look at SallyRideScience.

Thanks, Dr. John Barell!

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