Posts by llisa:


    December 31st, 2011

    Happy New Year - www_powersof10_com

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    Workshop – Powers of the 10 year-olds!

    November 4th, 2011


    I.'s class - 7


    I.'s class - 6 I.'s class - 5

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    Workshop – Creative Growth

    November 2nd, 2011


    Creative Growth - gallery


    Creative Growth - Scale Lines 1

    Creative Growth - Scale Lines 2


    Creative Growth - House of Cards - 1 Creative Growth - House of Cards - 3

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    Orders of magnitude

    October 19th, 2011

    Look at another example of distance based on the meter on a scale line – Erik Max Francis’ Orders of Magnitude: Distance.

    A Powers of 10 project would be to make your own scale line online.

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    Understanding the Nanoscale

    October 17th, 2011
    Rohrer and Binnig
    Nobel Laureates Heinrich Rohrer and Gerd Binnig who created the scanning tunneling microscope and won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1986.
    Gadolinium on Niobium
    The upper image is a topograph of three gadolinium atoms on a niobium surface. The lower image is a simultaneously acquired map of the conductance in the sample.

    Courtesy: IBM Research, Almaden Research Center.

    From The Scanning Tunneling Microscope at

    Blue Nickel
    The unreconstructed surface of Nickel.

    Courtesy: IBM Research, Almaden Research Center.

    From The Scanning Tunneling Microscope at

    Documenting what is too small to see with the naked eye

    In 2008, Emmet Cole’s article titled ‘Scientists Scan Striking Nanoscale Images‘ was published in Wired magazine.  The article included the best of several spectacular images made by scanning tunneling microscopes from a competition honoring the 25th anniversary of the STM.  “For the first time, late last year, a team of British scientists filmed the nanoscale interaction of an attacking virus with an enzyme and a DNA strand in real time… This was the latest breakthrough in the advancement of scanning probe microscopes — the family of nonoptical microscopes researchers use to create striking images through raster scans of individual atoms. The granddaddy of them all is the scanning tunneling microscope, a 1986 invention that won its creators the Nobel Prize. STMs pass an electrical probe over a substance, allowing scientists to visualize regions of high electron density and infer the position of individual atoms and molecules.”

    Powers of 10 project

    In 2007,  NanoProject wanted to help teach the nanoworld to high school students.  Using the Powers of 10 film as part of the foundation, a lesson plan was developed to explain the orders of magnitude.  For example, helping students visualize the jumps in scales was found most helpful.

    “How Can We Imagine the Nanoscale?
    “Another way to imagine the nanoscale is to think in terms of relative sizes. Consider yourself with respect to the size of an ant (3-5 millimeters). An ant is roughly 1000 times smaller than you are. Now think of an ant with respect to the size of an amoeba (about 1 micron). An amoeba is about 1000 times smaller than an ant. Now, consider that a nanometer is roughly 1000 time smaller than an amoeba! You would have to shrink yourself down by a factor of 1000 three times in a row in order to get down too the level of the nanoscale.”

    For Powers of 10 projects, click below.
    Scale of Objects – student materials
    Scale of Objects – teacher materials


    Optical illusion

    October 13th, 2011

    Rainbows are spectacular optical illusions! For Rene Descartes’ description of a rainbow in 1637, click here.


    Rainbow: light passing through water drops from Planet Pals


    Here are some Q & A highlights about rainbows from Weather Wiz Kids:

    How do we get rainbows?
    Rainbows are spectacular rays of color. Sunlight looks white, but it’s really made up of different colors…red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The sun makes rainbows when white sunlight passes through rain drops. The raindrops act like tiny prisms. They bend the different colors in white light, so the light spreads out into a band of colors that can be reflected back to you as a rainbow.


    Where do you look for a rainbow?
    Three conditions must be met in order for you to see a rainbow. First, it must be raining. Second, the sun must be shining. Third, the observer must be between the sun and the rain. The lower the sun is in the sky, the higher the arc of the rainbow will be.


    Can rainbows make a full-circle?
    If you could get up high enough in the sky, then you’d see that some rainbows continue below the horizon. That’s because when the sun and rain combine to make a rainbow, they really make a full-circle rainbow. We can’t see all of the circle, because the horizon blocks it from our view. Pilots high in the sky do sometimes report seeing genuine full-circle rainbows.

    Are there double rainbows?
    Yes, they do happen! The inner and brighter rainbow has the red on the top and the blue on the bottom side. The outer and dimmer rainbow has the color scheme reversed.
    Double Rainbow

    What is an upside-down rainbow?
    An upside-down rainbow is an unusual phenomenon caused by sunlight shining through a thin, visible screen of tiny ice crystals high in the sky. Interestingly enough, it has nothing to do with rain. Some people refer to this as a ‘smile rainbow’.

    Upside-down Rainbow

    Why can’t you ever find the end of a rainbow?
    A rainbow is an optical illusion, so you just can’t catch up to it. When you move, so does it!

    Can a rainbow appear during the night?
    Yes, they’re called moonbows! The nighttime rainbow is very rare and occurs only when the moon is bright enough and positioned properly with respect to falling rain to produce the beautiful effect.
    Lunar Rainbow

    Powers of 10 project:  Create your own optical illusion – click here for activities at Weather Wiz Kids!

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    Build your own powers of 10 scale line

    October 11th, 2011

    Information overload?!?  Not if you have a powers of 10 scale line…

    Sometimes it is difficult to grasp the significance of the numbers that we read about.  We don’t know which ones are important.  My 100 day countdown to 10/10/11 is a scrapbook of numbers that surround us everyday.   The scrapbook is a way to start to putting them into the context of powers of 10 at the human scale.

    I found that sometimes some numbers were saying similar things but in different ways.  Or sometimes with lists of numbers like SI derived units, each number is significant in various ways whether for chemists, physicists, astronomers, mathematician…  Billions and billions?  Of what?  Carbon atoms – not a problem.  Population on earth – bigger concern.  This led to thinking about  tipping points.

    A scale line can help with problem solving – are you looking at just a symptom, or do you need to move to a larger powers of 10 to see the whole problem?  See connections and start scalestorming!  This countdown scrapbook can also be a  helpful tool for teachers to use as a starting point to make a scale line for the classroom.

    Build your own powers of 10 scale line!

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    Happy Powers of 10 Day!

    October 10th, 2011

    Powers of 10 - 2011 - Scale Line - blog

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    (NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day -) 1 (Supernova)

    October 9th, 2011

    From NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day
    “Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.”

    October 9, 2011
    See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download  the highest resolution version available.

    Nobels for a Strange Universe
    Image Credit: High-Z Supernova Search Team, HST, NASA

    Explanation: “Thirteen years ago results were first presented indicating that most of the energy in our universe is not in stars or galaxies but is tied to space itself. In the language of cosmologists, a large cosmological constant is directly implied by new distant supernova observations. Suggestions of a cosmological constant (lambda) were not new — they have existed since the advent of modern relativistic cosmology. Such claims were not usually popular with astronomers, though, because lambda is so unlike known universe components, because lambda’s value appeared limited by other observations, and because less-strange cosmologies without lambda had previously done well in explaining the data. What is noteworthy here is the seemingly direct and reliable method of the observations and the good reputations of the scientists conducting the investigations. Over the past thirteen years, independent teams of astronomers have continued to accumulate data that appears to confirm the existence of dark energy and the unsettling result of a presently accelerating universe. This year, the team leaders were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. The above picture of a supernova that occurred in 1994 on the outskirts of a spiral galaxy was taken by one of these collaborations.”

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    2 (Galaxies)

    October 8th, 2011
    An excerpt from Nancy Atkinson’s “Twin Spiral Galaxies Dance Together” in  Universe Today

    “…  The image was obtained, appropriately enough by the Gemini South telescope in Chile using GMOS, the Gemini Multi-Object Spectrograph. These two nearly identical spiral galaxies are in Virgo, 90 million light years distant, in the early stages of a gentle gravitational embrace.

    “Like two dancers grabbing hands while passing, NGC 5427 (the nearly open-faced spiral galaxy at lower left) and its southern twin NGC 5426 (the more oblique galaxy at upper right), are in the throes of a slow but disturbing interaction one that could take a hundred million years to complete.

    “Typically, the first sign of a galaxy interaction is the formation of a bridge-like feature. Indeed, the two spiral arms on the western (upper) side of NGC 5426 appear as long appendages that connect with NGC 5427. This intergalactic bridge acts like a feeding tube, allowing the twins to share gas and dust with one other across the 60,000 light years (less than one galaxy diameter) of space separating them.”

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  • Countdown to Powers of Ten Day

    • 10/10/10 2958 days ago