All posts by Education WFSU

Do you know about Reading Rockets?

Reading Rockets brings the best research-based strategies to teachers, parents, administrators, librarians, childcare providers, and anyone else involved in helping a young child become a strong, confident reader. As their website states, “Our goal is to bring the reading research to life — to spead the word about reading instruction and to present “what works” in a way that parents and educators can understand and use.”

The Reading Rockets project includes PBS television programs (also available online and on DVD); online services through the websites and; professional development opportunities; and a robust social community on Twitter and Facebook. The project is guided by an advisory panel made up of leading researchers and experts in the field of reading. Visit their website when you get a moment, and sign up for the e-news! It has great information for parents and teachers:

Teaching reading is a complicated task…so much so, that reading expert Louisa Moats titled her influential article about the skills and knowledge educators need to teach reading well “Teaching Reading IS Rocket Science.” That’s how Reading Rockets got its name!

What Makes a Champion?

Jim Bob Bizzell sprints to a silver medal in the men's T44 200m.

Is it a person’s skill? Perhaps his or her hard work? Maybe, technology makes champions? Is the support he or she receives from family and friends? Or is it something more?

Medal Quest is a new web-only series and online project that follows top American athletes on their quest to bring home the gold from the 2012 Paralympics in London, England. This inspiring series shows how these individuals have overcome their physical disabilities to become incredible athletes. The athletes come from all different backgrounds including veterans wounded in recent wars, and young adults competing with disabilities they have had since birth. Each episode leaves you with a sense that anything truly is possible.

This series, produced by WGBH Boston, will be following U.S. Paralympic Team athletes now through the Paralympics in August, and continue into October. Medal Quest will consist of weekly videos and monthly spotlights featuring biographies, pictures and blog entries written by the athletes themselves.

Start watching now! Click here to view all episodes.

To learn more visit

Watch “My goal – gold for my country!” on PBS. See more from Medal Quest.

Get Interested in the Elements – Plus Local Opportunities for Young Scientists

NOVA Hunting the Elements

Salting popcorn the hard way: Theo Gray mixes pure chlorine gas with explosive heated sodium. The result: table salt. Courtesy WGBH

In NOVA: Hunting the Elements, David Pogue spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry on a quest to unlock the secrets of the elements. This special NOVA scienceNOW program will air Wednesday, April 4th at 9 pm ET on WFSU.

What are things made of? It’s a simple question with an astonishing answer. Fewer than 100 naturally occurring elements form the ingredients of everything in our world — from solid rocks to ethereal gases, from scorching acids to the living cells in our body. David Pogue, lively host of NOVA’s popular “Making Stuff” series and personal technology correspondent for The New York Times, spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry on a quest to unlock the secrets of the elements.

Why are some elements, like platinum and gold, relatively inert, while others, like phosphorus and potassium, are violently explosive? Why are some vital to every breath we take, while others are potentially lethal? Punctuated by surprising and often alarming experiments, David Pogue takes NOVA on a roller coaster ride through nature’s hidden lab and the compelling stories of discovery that revealed its secrets.

If you are looking for science-related activities locally for your kids, try the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science. They are accepting applications for their summer camp beginning April 1:

If you know a middle or high school-aged girl interested in science, WFSU and the FSU Mag Lab host SciGirls each summer. Application deadline for this exciting and educational program is April 1, 2012. Visit for details.


NOVA The Fabric of the Cosmos: What is Space?

The Fabric of the Cosmos

What is Space?

With each step, audiences will discover that just beneath the surface of our everyday experience lies a world we’d hardly recognize—a startling world far stranger and more wondrous than anyone expected.

Hour 1: What Is Space?

Space. It separates you from me, one galaxy from the next, and atoms from one another. It is everywhere in the universe. But to most of us, space is nothing, an empty void. Well, it turns out space is not what it seems. From the passenger seat of a New York cab driving near the speed of light, to a pool hall where billiard tables do fantastical things, Brian Greene reveals space as a dynamic fabric that can stretch, twist, warp, and ripple under the influence of gravity. Space, far from being empty, is filled with some of the deepest mysteries of our time.

Ask Brian Greene a Question About “The Fabric of the Cosmos” at 10PM ET
Among the special events marking this week’s premiere of “The Fabric of the Cosmos,” The World Science Festival, Columbia University, and NOVA will host a live-streamed webcast, produced by the World Science Festival, which will allow the in-theater and digital audiences to further explore the program’s rich material in direct conversation with Greene and other featured program participants, including Saul Perlmutter, co-winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. You can ask questions in advance at the World Science Festival Facebook page. To view the first episode, click here.

Sesame Street Weekly for October 11, 2011.

If it weren’t for the invention of the wheel, where would we be today? If not for the invention of the square, how would we be able to enjoy toast? As you see, shapes are all around us and influence all we do. Share the wonder of shapes with your child. Show them how to recognize them and ask them about how they influence their movements throughout each day. This week’s Sesame Street Weekly features adventures in shapes as well as a brand new Anti Bullying Web Exclusive “The Good Bird’s Club”. To view the video, be a shape detective and play Abby’s Flying Fairy School: Pandora’s Lunchbox click here!

NOVA Dogs Decoded

“Dogs Decoded” reveals the science behind the remarkable bond between humans and their dogs and investigates new discoveries in genetics that are illuminating the origin of dogs—with surprising implications for the evolution of human culture. Other research is proving what dog lovers have suspected all along: Dogs have an uncanny ability to read and respond to human emotions. Humans, in turn, respond to dogs with the same hormone responsible for bonding mothers to their babies. How did this incredible relationship between humans and dogs come to be? And how can dogs, so closely related to fearsome wild wolves, behave so differently? To view the entire NOVA news click here.

WFSU Presents PBS LearningMedia

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As America’s largest classroom,PBS and WGBH along with other PBS member stations announced plans today to launch PBS LearningMedia (, a new public media education platform available to every teacher and student across the country in time for the 2011-2012 school year. Bringing together the best available high-quality media from 1500 public media producers and more than 350 local PBS stations, PBS LearningMedia is a next-generation digital media platform for PreK-16 classrooms to help re-imagine classroom learning, transform teaching, and more creatively engage students.

PBS stations are the number one source of educational media for students and teachers, at home and in schools, from coast to coast. Distributed by PBS member stations in every school district, the new digital media platform will deliver classroom-ready, high-quality content tied to curriculum standards, professional development courses, a robust content delivery system, and a flexible infrastructure designed for customization and seamless integration into existing services.

Read full release.

Additionally, Iowa Public Television has written an article about 10 Ways to Use PBS Learning Media in the Classroom with tips for educators to use innovative new media strategies.

Sid the Science Kid for Parents and Teachers

Sid the Science Kid offers a wealth of resources for young children based off of the science content in the program.  But did you know that the Sid team puts together new stories, experiences and resources for parents and teachers every week?  The Sid the Science Kid Parents and Teachers blogs are a wonderful place to read how these two groups are relating Sid the Science Kid content to real world experiences and engaging preschoolers in science.

To view the entire newsletter click here.

Dogs That Changed the World: Part One “The Rise of the Dog”

NATURE’s two-part special Dogs That Changed the World tells the epic story of the wolf’s evolution, how “man’s best friend” changed human society and how we in turn have radically transformed dogs.

In Part One, “The Rise of the Dog,” you’ll learn about how the domestication of dogs might have taken place, including the theory of biologist Raymond Coppinger that it was the animals themselves — and human trash — that inspired the transformation. The genetic analysis of Peter Savolainen of the Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden has placed the origins of domesticated dogs — and those of the first dog — in East Asia. You’ll also discover 14 dog breeds that controversial genetic studies show are the most ancient — and the best living representatives of the ancestors to all living dogs.

Dogs That Changed the World: Part One “The Rise of the Dog” airs Sunday, October 2 and Wednesday, October 5 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS

To read the entire Nature newsletter click here.