Build Wind Farms and Create Profitable, Clean Energy

On Teachers First I found a new game that is timely given that in Oregon wind power exceeded Hydro power for a day only a few weeks ago for the first time. 

Play Windfall by Persuasive Games

Try this strategy activity for building wind farms and creating profitable, clean energy. Learn about clean energy while having fun. Research locations for great wind conditions and find suitable places near residential areas by looking at land values and political consequences. As turbines are built, they are connected to the energy grid where energy can be sold for renewable energy credits. There are three levels to the game. (Each level uses a different region.) See the tutorial for extra help.
This site includes advertising.

In the Classroom

Try this challenge through the link on the site or embed the game in a class wiki. As part of a unit on the environment or energy, use this activity to discuss what needs to be considered for any energy creation and specifically for wind energy. Discuss what was learned by the game and whether these facts are also true for other energy sources. Then, compare and contrast the costs and issues with each of these different energy sources. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to visualize the comparisons.

Hacks Life

More education opens the gateway to better, higher-paying jobs

This recent article from The Atlantic summarizes a paper from the Hamilton Project

An individual with only a high school diploma is twice as likely to make less than $40,000 per year than someone with a college degree.

An individual with a college degree is nearly nine times more likely to make over $100,000 than someone with only a high school diploma and 13 times more likely to make more than $200,000 per year

Take at look at the actual article for much more information; howver, the graphs really spoke to me, especially the second one.

Even if the returns from a college degree are not rising as fast as they used to, higher education is still a more worthwhile investment than, well, just about any other investment.

Quick conclusion from the left end of the graph: 80% of individuals making less than $10,000 didn't finish college. Quick conclusion from the right end: 80% of those making more than $150,000 did finish college.


You Could Produce Imagery Using Kites

This is from Google, check it out, and go Fly A Kite!

Here at Google we publish a lot of imagery, most of which comes from the satellite and aerial imagery providers with whom we partner. Last week we published something a bit different: images collected from balloons and kites! The resolution is amazing, and it’s something that just about anyone can do themselves.

Public Laboratory image of Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA (July 2011) in Google Earth

Our friends at The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science have been working hard to make imagery collection easy, cheap and accessible. Their grassroots mapping work is based on the idea that citizens anywhere should be able to explore the environment in and around their communities, by collecting their own imagery and other data, and to do it in a way that is useful for scientific and social purposes.

The Public Laboratory has developed an open source balloon mapping toolkit that allows anyone with an inexpensive digital point and shoot camera, and about $100 of other parts (balloon, helium, line, soda bottle, etc.) to take photos of the ground around them. They also provide a web-based tool called MapKnitter for aligning the photos into a georeferenced image that can be used inGoogle Earth and other digital mapping tools.

Public Laboratory image of WhereCamp, Stanford University (April 2011) in Google Earth

We’ve imported many of the images from the Public Laboratory’s archives into Google Earth’shistorical imagery database. To help you find them, download this KML file, open it in Google Earth (make sure you’re using the latest version), and fly to the image locations in space and time. Have fun exploring this unique imagery!


Help Ladyada’s Workshop Become a Real LEGO Set

Why?  Because every young woman in school should have this name, these tools, and this in mind.  How else will we get it there?  As the NYTimes article suggests, it is time to give women the access code.

Welcome LEGO fans! We looked around and couldn’t find a LEGO set that was geared towards inspiring young girls (and boys) to see how much fun engineering can be. After some recent articles and other LEGO releases geared towards girls we decided to work with a well-known LEGO artist Bruce Lowell to create "Ladyada’s Workshop" based on our own Ladyada who runs Adafruit.
Ladyada’s workshop is a place where you explore all the cool things you build and use when you’re an engineer! Computers, pick-and-place machine, laser cutter, soldering station and more! In Ladyada’s workshop you can run your own open-source hardware electronics company, complete with Mosfet the cat.
We’re documenting how you can make these on your own and we’ve entered the LEGO set in LEGO CUUSOO.
LEGO CUUSOO is a site where you can share LEGO set concepts you’d like the whole world to enjoy and aim for their eventual release as real products. If we can get 10,000 votes here ( LEGO will make it in to a real LEGO set. When we submitted the project to LEGO CUUSOO we granted permission for them to use, market and sell these if we get enough votes! So now it’s up to you, if you want to celebrate art, design, science, engineering and open-source hardware place vote for "Ladyada’s Workshop".


The Rise of the AP

In a recent infographic from, more students today are excelling in AP courses than ever before. AP Exam participation is up and scores are up since 2001, yet there’s still room for growth in science, computer science and more. With growing participation and success, I had hoped to take a look at AP courses this year.

As the 2012 school year begins to wind down, many students across the country are diligently preparing for Advanced Placement exams in 34 different subject areas. AP courses are designed to help high school students acquire the skills and study habits essential for success in college. With test dates running from May 7 through May 25, AP students are poised to hit the ground running when beginning their post-secondary careers, should they earn a score high enough to gain them college credit.

In keeping with the testing season, we are very excited to launch an infographic that highlights the progress made within AP curricula over the past decade. Our graphic, “The Rise of the AP,” shares information and statistics from the College Board’s 8th Annual “AP Report to the Nation.”

We encourage you to share the graphic below with teachers, classmates and friends who might be prepping for an AP exam. And if you have any ideas on which direction AP courses should head over the next 10 years, tell us in the comments section!

The Rise of the AP

Via and USC Rossier Online