biology

biology

Shmoop Makes Learning More Fun

Shmoop website logoHave you ever wanted to learn about an academic subject – such as literature, economics, Shakespeare, or biology – but did not want to be bored to death as some old professor droned on and on about it? Well have no fear. There’s a new website that will teach you these things while also making you “a better love (of literature, history, life).” It’s called Shmoop.

Shmoop is a website that makes learning and writing more fun and also more relevant for everyone. They do this by reviewing topics that you really care about in a voice that is simple to read and actually pretty funny. They also teach you how to write papers, speak more intelligently in classes, and “make studying less of a snooze-fest.” Sounds like a good thing to me!

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Cell and Cell Structure App Makes Biology Fun

I hated my freshman biology class! My professor was a billion years old and she made biology seem about as interesting as watching paint dry. Actually, one day, I did literally watch the paint dry on the wall across the hall instead of actively listening to my professor. Sadly, there were very few fun, interesting, and actually educational resources available in my classroom. If only my professor had an iPad.

Brand new to the Apple iPad, Cell and Cell Structure has been named one of the New and Noteworthy apps. So what is this app? Well, the name basically sums it all up. Cell and Cell Structure is a science-based app that teaches users about cells and their various structures through interactive activities, videos, and diagrams.

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Graduate Students Call the American Museum of Natural History Their Classroom

The fifth floor of the American Museum of Natural  History is prohibited to visitors. However, for Dawn Roje, Edward Stanley, Phil Barden, and several other graduate students, this rule does not apply. Why? Because they are all graduate students at Richard Gilder Graduate School, which is housed in the American Museum of Natural History, where they study the specialized field of comparative biology. This school is quite prestigious and, in 2009, it became the first school in the USA to be accredited to offer a doctorate in its own name.

What do these students do a daily basis? They spend their days analyzing millions of specimens, including everything from ants that have been encased in natural amber to birds that have been dry-mounted. They are examining these specimens to determine what fossils, leeches, frogs, and various other creatures can tell us about evolution and life on Earth.

Although the American Museum of Natural History is one of the first museums to also serve as a graduate school, it will not be the last.

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Frog Dissection Goes Digital in High Schools

High school students in California have turned in their scalpels to go digital. Conservations groups Animal Welfare Institute and Save the Frogs have made a deal with Rancho Verde High School by offering digital anatomy programs in return for giving up the traditional biology assignment of frog dissection in class. The groups are offering similar deals to high schools who are willing to ban dissection for 5 five years.

Digital Frog 2.5 is a virtual program teaching students about anatomy, dissection, and ecology. A virtual scalpel allows students to practice the same cuts they would in class but focuses on the anatomy of the frog by providing comprehensive videos and lessons. The digital program also permits students to practice often without wasting frogs and racking up classroom costs.

Conservation groups argue that using digital dissection lessons is a more humane, cost effective and educational tool for science students. Beyond the virtual scalpel, the Digital Frog 2.5 program offers comprehensive vocabulary, assignments, quizzes, conservation and ecology lessons. Ditching the traditional wet lab frog dissection was found by one study to accomplish the same amount of learning in 44% less time.

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The Perfect Gift for Your Graduate

Instead of stopping by the ATM on the way to that graduation party, take a different route, and get the graduate something you can actually wrap. All of these gifts are under $30.

I found all of these ideas at Amazon.com, but most of these gifts can be purchased locally. So, if you’re headed to a graduation party this weekend and don’t have time to order on-line, see if you can find something comparable at your local Target or Wal-Mart. If you’re really strapped for time, Amazon will let you print gift cards from your home computer. Pick from several designs to add some personal touch.

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Rat Dissection App Saves Rats and Teaches Science

In 2010, Emantras Interactive Technology saved frogs across the nation from becoming science project experiments, a.k.a. being dissected in biology classrooms. Personally, I had a traumatic experience in high school when I had to dissect a frog and there is no way in the world that anyone could convince me to do it again. So, when I heard about the Frog Dissection iPad App, I was very happy. Now, I’m even happier because Emantras came out with another anti-dissection app to help students learn about biology without harming an animal. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the Rat Dissection App.

The Rat Dissection App is very similar to the Frog Dissection App in that it allows you to “dissect” a rat in 11 steps and then to learn about its internal organs. You use real dissection tools, such as a scalpel, pins, and scissors, to dissect the rat. Then, once you have completely dissected the rat, you can look at the heart, stomach, intestines, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, and spleen. Each organ has a detailed description of what the organ does and a realistic picture to show you what it really looks like.

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Frog Dissection iPad App Allows Students to Learn without Harming Frogs

The Frog Dissection App for iPads

My least favorite class in high school was biology, which isn’t strange because I like science and I really enjoy learning about the world around me. So, it seems like biology should have been one of my favorite classes right? Well, it was…until we had to dissect a frog.

I don’t know if you have ever dissected a frog, but it was an awful experience for me. First off, they stink. Really, really badly. Secondly, I hate dead things; they just give me the creeps. And the third major problem for me was that a frog had to die so that I could dig around in its intestines. It just was not at all pleasant for me.

If only my biology teacher had had an iPad. Read the rest of this entry »





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