Natures Liquid Gold aka Maple Syrup

We have jumped full on into maple sugaring season here in New Hampshire. Three years ago, we began tapping some of the maples on our property as an experiment. Our previous property had very few maples, and the ones we did have were only saplings. We began with approximately 30+ maples that we were easily able to identify on the property in winter. In the two years since, we have identified over 100 different maple trees and currently have over 88 taps online. "Go big or go home" is my husbands motto....or "If its worth doing, it's worth over doing"! Our system is all gravity fed to 20 different collection locations with either 1 gallon water jugs or 5 gallon buckets on the end of the tubing

Escape the Classroom

I have spent the past 6 weeks running Escape the Classroom events at the local Makerspace, with my Girl Scout Troop, and for my nieces and nephews for Christmas. While I rejuvenate my creative juices and design more games, check out these great photos from the past games! #breakout #escapetheclassroom #middleschoolSTEM

Cryptology and Binary Systems

The world of codes, ciphers and cryptology has dominated my thoughts and teaching these past few months between my Escape the Classroom and Breakout games and teaching lessons on binary code. As I researched some ideas to update my binary code lesson, I started to think about other coding systems that use a similiar binary system. Morse Code with it's dashes and dot and Sir Francis Bacon's biliteral cipher are two of these binary systems. Morse code was created by physicist Samuel Morse in the 1830's for his telegraph system. It is an alphabet or code in which letters are represented by combinations of long and short signals (dashes and dots) of light or sound.The first message "What hath G

Engineering a Breakout

I recently started running Escape the Classroom/BreakoutEDU games at the local Makerspace. I find with all my lessons and activities I can not leave things as they are originally written. I started with the Mad Engineer's Heist game from BreakoutEDU but what I ended up with did not resemble the original AT ALL! I like the story lines to be more immersive, which does require quite a bit more work on my end but I find the activities are much more authentic, additionally, I know these students and they needed an additional challenge and immersive storyline. I started the breakout by creating a video introducing the plot. I cobbled together video clips and over dubbed a voice over using a voice

Hidden coded messages

Did you know, the floor of Boelter Hall at UCLA has a coded message in binary code? I started looking for ways that binary code was used in "real life" or ways binary was used in cryptology and I came across an article about the floor of Boelter Hall. The message in the floor spells out "Lo and Behold!", the first message that was sent across the internet. The coded message in the floor tiles was a last minute addition to the building. Originally, the architect designed a wall mural using binary code but in the end it never made the final design. When the contractor called asking for floor tile designs, Erik Hagen, re-purposed his wall mural design as floor tile pattern. No one knew about t

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I recently covered an Engineering Technology class and was asked to teach them my lesson on Binary Code to a group of 5th graders. I love filling in at this school because they really allow me to use my strengths and dig into my bag of tricks. I havent taught this lesson in at least a year, so I felt it needed a quick update. I am always tweaking and changing lessons based on lessons learned. I thought this lesson would be a great one to add a bit of gamification too. So much of our world is technology based. Our homes have become smart homes with interconnected security, TV and internet. We use bluetooth while driving, we access streaming music services and so much more. So, it is important

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