Illusions and Reality

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” -Albert Einstein

ASCD Essential Questions Institute in Tucson 2 May 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — martieinstein @ 1:33 pm
Sunset with Saguaro and Ocotillo

I spent most of last week in Tucson attending an ASCD Institute on Essential Questions with Grant Wiggins.  In a word the institute was amazing.  Not only does Grant Wiggins have great ideas about education, which anyone who has read his books knows, he is a fantastic presenter.  I came away from the institute with an improved understanding of the principles behind essential questions and Understanding by Design, as well as a little insight about how these same ideas can be included in school reform.

Beyond the institute, I had a chance to visit some of my favorite Tucson sites, eat some delicious Mexican food at La Fuente and El Charro Cafe, and have a few delicious

Lizard at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum

margaritas, including a VERY pink prickly pear margarita at El Charro.  I was also lucky enough to be in Tucson when there was a full moon and got to venture out to the Saguaro National Parkvisitors’ center for their special full moon program which included watching the full moon rise over the Tucson Mountains.

Desert View with Blooming Ocotillo

More pictures from Tucson.


Polar Resources Linked All Over the Web 23 April 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — martieinstein @ 5:00 pm

I wrote awhile back about finally being allowed to publicize my collection of Polar Education Resources.  I sent it out to a couple of listservs and posted it to a couple of discussion groups, but since then it has been popping up all over the place.

Here are the places that I sent it to:

Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS)

My resources are in this month's NSTA Reports

Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans (SACNAS)

Polar Sciences at Texas A&M University

International Polar Year (IPY)

NSTA – search for Polar

Here are the places that it has turned up on its own:

Institute for Circumpolar Health

Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

UK Polar Network

National Snow and Ice Data Center

Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


Earthquakes and Flowers 7 April 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — martieinstein @ 9:39 pm

One of the few pretty trees left.

It’s only Wednesday and it has been an interesting week already.  I spent last weekend in LA, doing some work for Walden as a subject matter expert for a course that’s in development.  On Sunday afternoon as I was hanging out in the hotel waiting to take the red eye back to the east coast I experienced an earthquake.  There was a 7.2 earthquake just over the boarder in Mexico that was felt all over southern California.  It was a very strange sensation.  At first, I felt a little dizzy and then I heard the building creaking and noticed the curtains swaying.  It took my brain a few seconds to put all this together along with the fact that I was in California soooooo….it was an earthquake!

On Monday night, I had the great pleasure of watching Duke win the national championship even though  I was super tired after flying in on a red-eye that morning.  Yesterday afternoon, I went downtown in hopes of seeing some cherry blossoms, but they were almost all gone.  I did get to see a few and enjoy the summer like weather, but I think the warm temperatures accelerated the demise of the blossoms.

Tulips at the White House


State of the Arctic and NSTA

Filed under: Uncategorized — martieinstein @ 9:18 pm

March was a very busy month and I didn’t get around to posting much…ooops!  In the middle of March, I went to Miami to attend the State of the

Watch out for manatees.

Arctic meeting…yes it is highly ironic that there was an Arctic meeting in Miami.  I had never been to Miami before and it was nice to go somewhere warm for a few days.  I learned a lot at the meeting, especially some interesting information about the hybridization of marine mammals.  Apparently marine mammals hybridize easily and this could cause us to lose some species as Atlantic and Pacific species that have been isolated by ice are no longer isolated due to the melting of the ice cap.  Another highlight of the Miami trip was seeing a manatee swimming right through downtown in a canal.

After a couple of days in Miami I headed north to Philly for the NSTA National Conference.  In addition to having lots of other Einstein Fellows there with me, my dad was there as well so it was a lot of fun.  I also reconnected with some Crow Canyon friends.  I saw Elaine in the exhibit hall and had planned to get together with Jen who was also in town.  One afternoon, I skipped out on conference sessions to take in the historical sites.  We weren’t able to get tickets for inside Independence Hall, but we did get to see the Liberty Bell and where the Supreme Court and Congress met in the early days.  It was my first trip to Philadelphia and I really loved the city.  There is a great market and great sculptures scattered around the downtown area.

Philadelphia City Hall

I love Philly!


Exploravision, Writing Nonfiction, and NBC 3 March 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — martieinstein @ 5:49 pm

That's me, sitting at the Meet the Press table.

Lots of stuff going on lately and I keep forgetting that I need to update my blog – oops!  Two weekends ago, I was invited to judge Toshiba Exploravision projects for NSTA.  The Exploravision contest asks teams of K-12 students to imagine future technologies based on current science.  There were over 3000 projects submitted from all around the US and Canada.  The judges were science teachers, mostly from the DC Metro area.  The projects are divided into regions for judging.  For each region the judges selected the top four projects plus a proportional number of honorable mentions.  All total, I read probably 300 or so projects over the course of the weekend.  Some were very entertaining as well as very imaginative.  It was a long weekend, but I had a great time and made a little extra money so it was all good.

Last Saturday, I attended a Smithsonian Resident Associates workshop on Writing Nonfiction for Kids.  Like many people, I have this idea that I would like to be a writer.  I can’t imagine being a novelist, but nonfiction seems like something I could do.  Nonfiction for kids may be my thing.  I am envisioning science books for kids about all sorts of interesting topics.  The workshop was really interesting as well as full of helpful ideas and tips.  Margie went with me so that made it even more fun and we went to lunch at one of my favorite DC restaurants, Teaism.  Combined with the perfect weather, brilliant blue sky and cold enough to be nice, but not frigid and it made for a perfectly wonderful day.

Monday of this week, the Fellows got a special treat – a tour of the NBC Washington studios and presentation about NBC Learn.  We started our day in Studio A, which is where Meet the Press is broadcast from as well as where one of the Kennedy-Nixon debates occurred.  The NBC Learn team told us all about that project, which aims to make years worth of NBC news footage available for use in the classroom.  It is an amazing resource.  In addition to the old news footage, they have also developed some original content – most recently the Science of the Winter Olympics in partnership with the NSF!  After learning all about NBC Learn and offering our advice to the team from the educators’ point of view we were taken on a tour of the studio.  Among the highlights of the tour were the control room, editting suite, and broadcast studios.  We got to watch as one of the MSNBC anchors did a live teaser from a small studio.

NBC Control Room with feeds coming in from all over the place.

Einstein Fellows and our NBC Hosts


SNOW, SNOW, SNOW!!!!!! 15 February 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — martieinstein @ 3:45 pm

Capitol in the snow after Snowmageddon and Snoverkill.

The most exciting thing that has happened the last week or so, is the copious amounts of snow that have fallen on the Washington, DC metro area.  I have to admit that I was very happy when the first snow storm arrived last weekend.  Since, I was trying to get home from San Francisco during the first blizzard (known as the Snowpacolypse) I really didn’t get to enjoy that snow storm at all.  So last weekend as the forecasts mounted I was excited that it was going to snow and snow big.  The forecasters were dead on with that storm (known as Snowmageddon) and after snowing for about 30 hours straight we were left with 2 feet or so.  Three days after that storm came the next one (known as Snoverkill).  This one made me feel like I had moved to Siberia or the Great Plains.  All day last Wednesday, it snowed with winds blowing at 25-30 miles per hour causing it to snow sideways and to qualify as a true “blizzard”, meterologically speaking.  By the time that one was done, there was another foot of snow on the ground, although how they could measure it is beyond my comprehension.  The drifts were immense due to all of the wind.  So today, as I write this and look out the window, it has started snowing again.  If the forecasts are correct this storm will not leave us with much accumulation which is a blessing since there are still places that haven’t dug out from last week’s storms.

The storms of last week really brought the city to a grinding halt.  The federal government was closed for four days, there was no above ground metro service and buses weren’t running at all.  Even now, more than a week after the storm there are still problems, mostly caused by the fact that there is no where to put all the snow, so many roads have lost a lane to giant snow piles.  I am so glad that I live in an apartment building with underground parking.  I didn’t have to shovel off any sidewalks and my car was nice and clear of snow instead of being buried in a parking space.

More pictures from Snowmageddon and Snoverkill.

NSF in the snow.

Quincy Park after Snowmageddon


Einstein Fellowship Midterm Report 3 February 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — martieinstein @ 5:17 pm

So here is the midterm report I was supposed to give today, but didn’t get a chance too because the Federal Government has now been closed for four days thanks to the Blizzard of 2010.  I created it using the new web-based presentation tool, Prezi which is great.  You can use the right arrow to procede through the presentation.

If you would like to see it larger go to click on More and then choose Full Screen from the menu.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Midterm Report“, posted with vodpod