Why we're not doing at-home tutoring for now...

Submitted by Tiffani on Sat, 07/18/2020 - 14:32

Since LAUSD announced that they would be starting the 2020-2021 school year online, we have received a steady stream of requests for at-home tutors and teachers. Everyone feels the need to get some in-person instruction for their kids. I know a lot of the parents who are asking.  And I trust that all of them will do everything they can to maintain a COVID-19 safe tutoring environment.  And yet, every email gives me a knot in the pit of my stomach. Every call causes me angst. 

I know that by providing at-home tutoring we can help people.  And, in the process of helping people, we could bring in income that our nonprofit badly needs to keep afloat in this crazy time. 

And, yet, no matter how much it hurts, I've replied "no" to each call and email.  While we are in shut-down/semi-shut-down mode, EdBoost will not be providing at-home tutoring. 

Stumbling towards vaccination...

Submitted by Tiffani on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 14:05

Humans are born observers. And, while we did not develop the technology to see a virus until an electron microscope was first built less than 100 years ago, for at least a thousand years people have noticed that when people contract -- and survive -- a disease, they build up a resistance to it. And for as long as humans have understood that, they have sought ways to gain that protection with less risk.

Is a vacuum always a vacuum?

Submitted by Tiffani on Mon, 04/27/2020 - 15:12

When we hear the word vacuum the first thing we usually think of is a vacuum cleaner.  Scientifically, a vacuum is a space that is devoid of matter, including air.  Vacuums create suction because matter, especially air, wants to fill spaces that are empty. The first scientific (literally, in a test tube) vacuum was created in 1640 by Evangelista Torricelli (who wanted to test Galileo's theories about air and matter). 

Ironically, however, the first "vacuum" cleaners did not use vacuums at all.  Instead, they were blowers!  They were literally made of bellows that someone squeezed to blow dirt out of the way. Needless to say, they were not especially effective at controlling dust.  

Who figured out that a quarantine might work?

Submitted by Tiffani on Fri, 04/24/2020 - 13:08

The first viruses were not actually seen until the invention of the electron microscope in the 1930s.  But for centuries before that discovery, scientists sought ways to contend with epidemics. Some, like Louis Pasteur, sought vaccines for pathogens they could not see but knew existed.  Others, like Carlos Finlay who studied Yellow Fever in Cuba, and speculated about transmission (and how to stop mosquitoes from spreading that illness). But even before that, societies felt the impact of epidemics and learned that they tended to come from ships. Trade ships sailed all over the world, bringing back treasures and silks and spices -- and sometimes the plague. 

Getting to Apply Physics 400 years later!

Submitted by Tiffani on Mon, 04/20/2020 - 11:29

Physics can be one of the hardest sciences to learn.  Although the math scares off some students, others just get stuck in the fact that so many laws of physics are not observable on Earth.  We learn the law of inertia, which states that objects in motion stay in motion.  But, when we roll a ball, it does not stay in motion.  Rather it stops, sometimes sooner rather than later.  We learn that gravity operates on all objects with the same force, regardless of weight, yet we see that a piece of paper will flutter to the floor much more slowly than a pencil.  So, physics, what gives? 

How's your geography?

Submitted by Tiffani on Thu, 04/16/2020 - 10:48

At EdBoost, we often find that our students (even our middle school and high school students) have no understanding of geography (when they don't know that the colonists would have had to take a boat to come from English to America, we're in trouble!).

Most American adults learned the 50 states and capitals in grade school, do you still remember them?  Can you locate all of the European countries?  What about all the countries in Africa and South America?  It's no fun to stare at a globe, but it is pretty fun to see how well (or not well) you know your geography online.  Compete against your friends!

This site has a very easy and simple interface that we love (great for states, capitals, and countries and capitals around the world!):

Remembering PEMDAS

Submitted by Tiffani on Wed, 04/15/2020 - 11:35

As adults, we forget a lot that we learned in our youth.  We can get away with most of it.  But, order of operations are math rules that really will change a math answer.  And, it's nice when math answers are correct. 

So, if the meme is getting to you (click here for the answer). Review our Order of Operations lesssons (embedded videos courtesy of Khan Academy). 

Enjoy the math!


Most students learn the acronym PEMDAS to remember the order of operations.  PEMDAS stands for:

The Beauty of Frozen Sugar

Submitted by Tiffani on Tue, 04/14/2020 - 17:47

Almost any liquid can freeze -- aka: change from a liquid to a solid -- but some of them taste a lot better than others.  The story of the brand "Popsicle" is the story of a kid named Frank Epperson, who accidently invented the frozen treat.  He called it an "Epsicle" (he was 11, so of course he did), but his kids referred to the treats as "Pop's sicles" and the brand Popsicle was born. 

But, how often do we think about freezing as the process of slowing down the movement of atoms?  It all comes down to physics. 

Our next Idongetit Science Tale gets deeper into the atomic details of the states of matter.