Thursday, March 31, 2011

Schools : Robert Bunsen & International Year of Chemistry 2011 : resources

Robert Wilhelm Bunsen
 engraving by C. Cook, 1850s

"Science or chemistry was never one of my stronger classes in school, but I get nostalgic every time I see a chemistry set and a Bunsen burner." 

Born March 30 or 31 - biographers diverge - 1811, in Göttingen, Germany, the German chemist who, with Gustav Kirchhoff, about 1859 observed that each element emits a light of characteristic wavelength.

Such studies opened the field of spectrum analysis, which became of great importance in the study of the Sun and stars and also led Bunsen almost immediately to his discovery of two alkali-group metalscesium and rubidium.

Adolf Meyer, 1904

Bunsen had a great reputation for warm heartedness, and enjoying jokes and fun. His students admired him greatly. He told a great many anecdotes, published after his death in a short book called 

Google Doodle 200th Birthday Robert Bunsen

Google Doodle:

Today, March 31, Google celebrates the 200th birthday of one of the most important chemists, Robert Wilhelm E. Bunsen. He investigated emission spectra of heated elements and discovered cesium (1860) and rubidium (1861) with Gustav Kirchhoff. 

Bunsen burner
credits: Wikipedia

Bunsen was a pioneer in photo chemistry. He developed the laboratory gas burner, now popular as the Bunsen burner and still in use in our days.

Once again, Google reminds us an important fact or person, on the occasion, an interactive chemical laboratory Doodle. Why? To celebrate the flaming Bunsen burner. 

Invite students to visit the Google Doodles page, if they don't live in Germany, Otherwise, Google browser presents the Doodle. On updated web browsers, students can move their mouse - now touching screen - anywhere on the screen to control the intensity of the flame and the level of the fluids in the beakers. 

"It was a pretty intense session getting all of the work done in time for the doodle to launch, but don't worry, we managed to avoid any (major) lab disasters and/or explosions in the process."

Mike Dutton & Jonathan Tang

Gustav Kirchhoff & Robert Bunsen
Inventors of a Spectroscope

Bunsen–Kirchhoff Award, named after Bunsen and his colleague Gustav Kirchhoff, is a prize awarded in recognition for "outstanding achievements" in analytical spectroscopy.

Bunsen using a spectroscope
credits: New York Public Library/Science Source

Some information:

After taking a Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Göttingen in 1830, Bunsen taught at the Universities of Marburg and Breslau and elsewhere. As professor at Heidelberg (1852–99), he built up an excellent school of chemistry. 

Never married, he lived for his students, with whom he was very popular, and his laboratory. He chiefly concerned himself with experimental and analytical work.

In 1860 Robert Bunsen and Gustav Kirchhoff discovered two alkali metals, cesium and rubidium, with the aid of the spectroscope they had invented the year before. 

Bunsen and Kirchhoff met and became friends in 1851, when Bunsen spent a year at the University of Breslau, where Kirchhoff was teaching. 

Robert Bunsen
credits: Gary Brown/ Science Photo Library

Bunsen burner
via Britannica

In 1855 Robert Bunsen had created the Bunsen burner for use in flame tests of various metals and salts: its non-luminous flame did not interfere with the colored flame given off by the test material. This line of work led to the spectroscope. 

It was Kirchhoff who suggested that similarly colored flames could possibly be differentiated by looking at their emission spectra through a prism. When he shone bright light through such flames, the dark lines in the absorption spectrum of the light corresponded in wavelengths, with the wavelengths of the bright, sharp lines characteristic of the emission spectra of the same test materials.

Robert Bunsen memorial 
Hauptstrasse, Heidelberg 


"In my day, we studied science and not, as now so often happens, only one of them."

Robert Bunsen

Bunsen was one of the most universally admired scientists of his generation. He was a master teacher, devoted to his students, and they were equally devoted to him. 

At a time of vigorous and often caustic scientific debates, Bunsen always conducted himself as a perfect gentleman, maintaining his distance from theoretical disputes. 

He much preferred to work quietly in his laboratory, regularly enriching his science with useful discoveries. 

On a point of principle, he never took out a patent, despite the fact that his new battery and new laboratory burner would surely have brought him great wealth.

in Wikipedia

In the International Year of Chemistry what a wonderful digital resource include into chemistry and physics school curriculum. Teachers and students are joining the celebrations of IYC.

International Year of Chemistry 2011

The Chemistry 2011:

The IYC 2011 will be a year-long celebration in which anyone can participate. Teachers can coordinate an activity, engage students in a project, or simply share an idea. Join in now and become part of something special. 

Teachers can share, discuss and plan ideas about IYC 2011. 

Students can plan activities with their teachers in the classroom and then share with IYC 2011, by country.

And to add an event or events to the list, go to the Activities section and submit a description of the activity. 

Don't miss the video message by Irina Bokova, director general of UNESCO, for the Opening of the International Year of Chemistry (IYC) 2011.

Marie Curie

The year 2011 has coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry awarded to Marie Sklodowska-Curie (1867-1934), one of the most extraordinary persons in all of human history. It also marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the International Association of Chemical Societies.

"Marie Curie was honoured with a Nobel Prize in Chemistry (1911). Since then, only three women having been honoured on this way. It's important to encourage young women to contribute their talent to this exciting field."

Irina Bokova, former director -general UNESCO 

"Chemistry - our life, our future."

the official slogan of the IYC 2011



update: 31.03.2021
Copyright © 2021G-Souto'sBlog,®

Licença Creative Commons
Schools : Robert Bunsen & International Year of Chemistry 2011 : resources bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

References: Britannica/ IYC 2011/ UNESCO/ UN

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why Daylight saving time?

Well, at this time of the year time changes! In Europa clocks changed last Sunday March 27 (almost in all countries!

Daylight saving time (DST) is the practice of temporarily advancing clocks during the summertime so that afternoons have more daylight and mornings have less. 

"Most areas of North America and Europe observe daylight saving time (DST), while most areas of Africa and Asia do not. South America is mixed, with most countries in the warmer north of the continent near the equator not observing DST, while ChileParaguay, andUruguay and southern parts of Brazil do. Oceania is also mixed, with New Zealand and parts of southern Australia observing DST, while most other areas do not". Read more on Wikipedia

Why do we have Daylight Saving Time? In the CBS video below, we can watch  an animated explanation for moving our clocks forward and backward in the spring and fall.

Mitch Butler and Josh Landis of "The Fast Draw" team provide an animated explanation for moving our clocks forward and backward in the spring and fall.


This interesting video provides a good explanation of the rationale for Daylight Saving Time. And students will understand the reasons of DST.

Interesting links to complete this theme in the classroom: 

Like the clouds, an interactive website about DST that students might use to develope tech skills, picking the clouds one by one to learn about Day Light Save, when, why, where. There are some good itens to enlarge knowledge like the History, Controversy (amazing guidelines) or Anecdotes (funny)

Students might learn when DST happens in the different countries around the world - Geography curriculum

Similar to the previous link but students might learn about DST in Portuguese, English and Spanish - Languages curricula

Kids are always very curious to understand why 'things' happen! Here a good way to let them learn about Day Light Saving.

"Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!' ..."

The Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland


Copyright © 2011G-Souto'sBlog,®

Credits: video CBS 

Licença Creative Commons
Why Daylight saving time? by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Cata Livros, projecto de leitura online

Projecto Cata Livros

Os pequenos leitores que gostam de ler e de usar a Internet vão ter acesso ao portal Cata Livros, criado pela Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian. O projecto será apresentado no dia 5 de Abril 2011.

"Cata Livros  é o novo projecto desenvolvido pela equipa Gulbenkian/ Casa da Leitura que utiliza a Internet para aproximar os jovens leitores de um conjunto de títulos essenciais da literatura para infância e juventude, com destaque para a produção nacional, assentando no carácter lúdico e interactivo das narrativas e desafios propostos. 

A apresentação do sítio Cata Livros realiza-se no dia 5 de Abril, pelas 15 horas, na sala infantil da Biblioteca Municipal de Oeiras."

O mocho, ícone carismático da Casa da Leitura, ganha como parceiro um corvo. Os dois servirão de cicerones na aventura em que se transformará a leitura. 

A ideia é promover a leitura, e é dirigida a um público de faixa etária entre os 8 e os 12 anos, que domine a Internet e que goste de ler.

No portal haverá todos os meses um livro em destaque, "bastante trabalhado", à espera de ser mexido e disfrutado pelo internauta.

"Esse livro será colocado online para que possa ser, praticamente na íntegra, folheado, haverá um conjunto de jogos, desafios e temas sobre a obra propostos ao leitor", descreveu João Paulo Cotrim, um dos responsáveis do projecto.

Estranhões e Bizarrocos
José Eduardo Agualusa
Ilustração Henrique Cayatte
Publicações Dom Quixote, Lisboa 2000

O primeiro livro em destaque será "Estranhões e Bizarrocos", de José Eduardo Agualusa com ilustrações de Henrique Cayatte, Prémio Nacional de Ilustração 2000.

Mensalmente será escolhida preferencialmente uma obra da literatura portuguesa, lusófona, para jovens e crianças, mas haverá espaço para a divulgação de outros textos, bem como para a oferta de livros.

Os livros abordados serão escolhidos segundo critérios de qualidade literária e estética, mas também de representatividade histórica e estilística, sem descurar a atenção ao texto e ao grafismo. 

"Há ainda o preconceito de que a Internet afecta a vida dos livros em papel" e com o "Cata Livros pretende-se aliar dois mundos: o prazer da leitura de livros em papel e a utilização da Internet"

João Paulo Cotrim

Cata Livros será uma espécie de laboratório no qual a equipa do portal irá tentar perceber como evolui a relação com o jovem leitor.

O Cata Livros ganhou vida própria a partir da Casa da Leitura, um projecto da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian criado há quatro anos como um espaço onde mediadores de leitura - professores, pais e educadores - podem encontrar informações sobre livros para adolescentes e crianças.

A Casa da Leitura cumpre um papel de biblioteca online, adaptada assim ao contexto tecnológico. Em quatro anos contabilizou mais de oito milhões de visitas.

Convite Cata Livros

Cata Livros, nome que pretende mostrar que "o livro pode funcionar como uma pequena máquina de roubar coisas à realidade", disse João Paulo Cotrim.

Se estão curiosos, poderão dar um saltinho ao sítio web Catalivros que promete já alguma interactividade. E isso é bom! Porque os jovens desta faixa etária preferem tudo o que pode interagir com eles!

A equipa que desenvolve o Cata Livros acredita que os livros (palavras e imagens), contribuem para tornar a vida melhor. 

Acredita ainda que ler é um direito e um prazer que pode ser descoberto com pequenas, mas decisivas, ajudas de outros leitores.

Concordo plenamente! A leitura é um dever e pode ser um prazer se incentivado pelo prazer que professores e pais põem nesse aspecto importante da vida. A leitura!

A vida seria bem mais triste sem livros!

Cata Livros

The Calouste Gulbenkian Fondation will have a new reading project online to captivate young chidren (8-12 years old) that like to read and have already some good skills in the use of the Internet.

The platform Cata Livros (something like 'Fis Book') will be online the 5th April, 2011.

The project is developed by Gulbenkian/ Casa da Leitura and it aims to captivate new readers. Portuguese fiction for children and teenagers in an interactive way. 

Every month a book will be suggested on the website (after April 5) and young 'geeks' might interact with the book and the activities  about it. The site offers an interesting interactivity for the moment.

The first boook was unveiled: Estranhões e Bizarrocos a book by José Eduardo AguaLusa, (Angola) who writes in Portuguese language, illustrations by Henrique Cayatte. The story is about all kind of animals created by a magician. A fictional metaphor about dreams. 

credits: unknown


The project aims to bring together print books and digital books. And we know  when it comes to the “Books versus Digital Media” the debate on children’s reading habits continues.

It is undeniable that literacy is a foundational skill all children must master to succeed. But unlike print media, digital texts have huge potential to engage young readers in stories with richer interactions. For sure!

So, this could be a captivating trend to poor readers but good on digital skills. And digital platforms like Cata Livros could be an important tool to reach poor readers.

The project might be very interesting but rather limited. I wonder... one book per month? It's so little to captivate such a group: 8-12 years old! 

Illustration Ziraldo

Children are so different, even they are the same age! And between 8 and 12 years old? A huge difference!

Let's see how Cata Livros working on April 5!


Copyright © 2011G-Souto'sBlog,®


Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian

Souto, Gina, 'Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton', February 21, 2010

Licença Creative Commons
Cata Livros, projecto de leitura online by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.