T³ Europe Tips for Your Summer Break

Posted 01/07/2022 by Sónia Reis

The summer holiday is here! You’ll probably be looking forward to recharging, and you might also be looking for some good ideas for inspiring books, websites, videos or podcast series. We asked five education specialists and T3 instructors to share their favourite content and how they will spend their free time in the summer. Hope you find something inspiring! 😊


1. What content do you love, and what would you recommend?

Physics Education Technology

Ian Galloway suggested having a look at the University of Colorado Physics Education Technology (PhET) website. “I’m a big fan. This material covers all the science curriculum, not just physics, and for me represents the very best science simulation technology on the web. My favourite PhET content would be the DC circuit constructor SIM. This SIM allows students to explore in complete comfort and so develop a conceptual understanding of what is going on in a simple circuit.”  


Frederick Fotsch recommended watching Numberphile and Computerphile — YouTube videos for learning about math and computer science. “And I like the BBC micro:bit content. This accessible and widely available physical computing platform will enable greater access to STEM education worldwide.”

Technology Magazine

Like Alexandre Gomes, you probably love technology and like to keep up with the latest news. He said, “There is an excellent source of knowledge, in the form of a magazine and a website, and with a very interesting name, for obvious reasons: The ‘T3 Magazine’” (subscribe here). As a musician and physics teacher, his favourite content involves music because of its artistic and scientific components. “It is an excellent way to approach some aspects of computational thinking and its connection with the real world, namely with the help of the TI-Nspire™ Ecosystem and sound production with the TI-Innovator™ Hub, using Python programming.”

Podcasts: ‘Decoder’ with Nilay Patel and ‘How I Built This’

Harshal Chhaya likes to read, watch and listen to content on STEM and recommends the following podcasts, books, TV shows and YouTube channels. “The podcast ‘Decoder’ with Nilay Patel is very nice. Patel talks to a wide variety of interesting people about the impact of technology on culture and vice versa. The interviews and discussions have impressive depth and breadth on topics that are relevant.” Another podcast he enjoys is ‘How I Built This,’ a narrative journey about innovators, entrepreneurs and idealists. “This is a wonderful opportunity to listen to people who build companies, brands and movements and learn from them,” said Chhaya.

Book: ‘Project Hail Mary’ by Andy Weir (author of ‘The Martian’)

“A very interesting book with a lot of fantastic engineering and STEM problem-solving as part of the story,” according to Chhaya.

TI-Nspire™ Widgets and movies with a STEM theme

Stephan Griebel has a lifesaver recommendation for students sitting over the physics or chemistry thesis: “Save time by using the TI-Nspire™ Widgets to illustrate your paper.” And if you are looking for some movies during your summer break, Griebel can recommend ‘The Imitation Game,’ based on the real-life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, or ‘Hidden Figures,’ about African American female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).


2. If teachers are looking for ideas for back to school, what activities in the
T3 Europe content portal would you suggest?

“I would say Tessellations inspired by Escher,” said Ian Galloway. “These resources have been written and presented by Dutch teacher Bert Wikkerink. You can also watch the webinar recording that’s included.” Education specialist Frederick Fotsch also recommended this content. “I find it a great example of STEAM education and the use of TI technology.”

For Alexandre Gomes, this would be the Smart irrigation System. “It is a project that starts with a degree of difficulty that is quite acceptable for students new to programming and algorithms, but which has a huge impact on their development. In a DIY format, it involves several STEM skills, as well as raising awareness about the sustainability of the planet. It is a great project to create engagement with students. I’ve developed it several times, with different teams, and it’s always a huge success. A must-have!”

Harshal Chhaya has seen many good examples. “I would recommend all activities that show how math and science, and engineering are everywhere around us. And activities that show the use of TI technology in new and interesting ways.” Like:

Stephan Griebel suggested looking at the content on temperature, what it means and how you measure it.

3. What totally off-topic content can you recommend for this summer break?

“Personally, I find that everything I can think of is related in some way to education and/or STEM,” Ian Galloway said. Frederick Fotsch added that he enjoys listening to BBC ‘In Our Time’ podcasts for general learning. And Portuguese teacher Alexandre Gomes is quite fond of DIY. “So, I like to hang out in parts and accessories stores. Besides getting to know tools that I don’t know, I get several ideas for projects that I end up developing later. Unfortunately, I have some difficulty in finding fiction books that can hold me to the end. But I managed to do so with several books by José Saramago, the Nobel laureate of Portuguese literature,” Gomes said. Harshal Chhaya suggest reading ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles and loves to stream the TV show ‘Seinfeld.’ He said, “It’s fun to see what things are still funny from the ’90s and which are outdated and not relevant.” And finally, Stephan Griebel suggested playing the math game Celtic knots, that is also internationally available, or check out the comic book ‘Leonhard Euler: A Man to Be Reckoned With.’

Mathematics in your hammock
All contributors are looking forward to their own summer holidays. They said they will be relaxing and enjoying inspiring content from their sofa at home, their favourite spot in the garden, or on a leafy veranda overlooking the Aegean Sea. As for Stephan Griebel, he said he can picture himself “laying in the hammock in my garden reading ‘Mathematics is Beautiful’ by Heinz Klaus Strick.”


About the contributors

Harshal Chhaya is a system engineer and product manager at Texas Instruments.

Frederik Fotsch is a STEM Education Manager at Texas Instruments, and has been a STEM teacher for 28 years.

Ian Galloway is a T3 Europe STEM lead.

Alexandre Gomes is a physics and chemistry teacher at Escola Básica e Secundária Oliveira Jùnior in Portugal.

Stephan Griebel does Policy, Teacher Training and Content for Texas Instruments Europe.

All photos courtesy of Unsplash