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Human Footprint - National Geographic

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3 to 10
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This interactive takes a look at the effect of typical human consumption on the planet. Students can see how the bread they eat or the newspapers they read tax the ...more
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This interactive takes a look at the effect of typical human consumption on the planet. Students can see how the bread they eat or the newspapers they read tax the resources of our earth. There is also information about water consumption, diapers (and the crude oil they require), eggs, and more. The highly visual display of the site is well balanced with facts. Comparisons between the U.S., the U.K, and Japan provide interesting contrasts in resource usage between nations.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (111), environment (317), natural resources (60), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Fire up the projector or interactive whiteboard to use this site when beginning a unit on natural resources, agriculture, environment, green living, or cultural comparisons. Ask your students to research other items that might be included in the comparison besides newspapers, potatoes, gas, etc. Have them make charts or online presentations to display consumption information in a similar fashion. Save this site in your favorites to use for Earth Day.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Breathing Earth - David Bleja

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3 to 12
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SEE the relative contributions to carbon dioxide emissions country by country. Students roll the mouse over countries on a flattened world map to see what the carbon dioxide emission...more
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SEE the relative contributions to carbon dioxide emissions country by country. Students roll the mouse over countries on a flattened world map to see what the carbon dioxide emission of each. The featured country's pertinent facts pop up, including emissions, populations, and birth/death rates. Countries are color-coded to indicate rates of carbon dioxide emissions. The pop-ups of births and deaths are fascinating (they occur in real-time). The bottom of the site includes a detailed legend; be sure to check it out. Note that spelling is Australian ("tonnes" vs "tons"). You can turn off the audio at the lower left. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): carbon (21), carbon dioxide (17), carbon footprint (11), earth (228), earth day (111), environment (317)

In the Classroom

This site has countless uses in the classroom of various grade levels. Share this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. With younger classes, use this map to teach about map legends. Use this when studying ecosystems, environmental issues, economics, current events, world birth and death rates, pollution problems, and conservation. Leave the site open for a few hours for students to see the changes. This site is an excellent resource for research projects on countries throughout the world.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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All of Inflation's Little Parts - The New York Times

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7 to 12
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what...more
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what does that mean? This graphic, designed by the New York Times, is the kind of visual presentation that can really help put this discussion into perspective. Presented as an amped-up version of the traditional pie chart, the chart shows what percentage of the average consumer's spending is devoted to everything from cable TV to gas to fast food to postage. The graphic also shows the relative increase or decrease in that cost over the past year. For example, students may enjoy seeing the comparison between money spent on men's clothing versus that spent on women's clothing, with additional comparative data on shoes, accessories, and children's clothes! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

This relatively simple graphic has a very wide variety of possible applications. If you teach personal finance and budgeting, students can use this chart to compare the average American's spending with their own. If you teach economics, the fact that the items that have increased the most in the past year are gasoline, fuel oil, firewood, and eggs (OK, eggs?) will bear out the impact of the rise in the cost of crude oil and the chaos in the middle east. If you teach civics or government, you can show how the changes in the economy affect what citizens want from their politicians. If you teach math, the graphic's real-life data could be used as a basis for computation and problem solving. Because it's Flash-enabled, the "mouse over" effects and the ability to zoom in and out to see greater detail (how much does the average American spends on ham versus turkey? It's on there!). This site would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Smog City 2 - U.S. EPA and Sacramento Air Quality Management District

Grades
5 to 12
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you...more
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you to test cause and effect of different factors in a controlled setting. Although the option to download the simulator is offered, it runs just fine in its online version. The site's disclaimer explains that the complex relationships between environmental factors have been simplified for this simulator, but the processes are still representative of the "real world" factors. This is a MUST for Earth Day!

This site is powerful and therefore may take some extra time to load - so prepare ahead! This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), earth (228), earth day (111), environment (317), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Younger students would benefit from a teacher-centered introduction on the simulator (using your interactive whiteboard or projector), followed by directed explorations to find specific answers to teacher questions. Older students can determine the most important factors in air pollution and explore means to solve the problem as part of a health, social studies, science, or government class. Have your students present their finding on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Climate Chaos - BBC

Grades
4 to 10
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must...more
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must visit this website. At the website you will find interactive activities and games, guides and information about numerous topics, quizzes, votes, and chats! This site is frequently updated. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (111), energy (199), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Share this one on an interactive whiteboard or projector to help your students to understand the effects of global warming. Include the link on your teacher web page as you study weather, climate, and environmental concerns. This site would also make a great "scavenger hunt" for students to learn the basics about global warming. Ask each to write some questions for the hunt, then have the whole class try it! Have cooperative learning groups explore various facets of this site and create a multi-media presentation.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Daryl Cagle's Professional Cartoonists Index - MSNBC

Grades
6 to 12
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political ...more
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We know that today's students are far more accustomed to learning through images than students of the past. This site is a collection of the work of dozens of political cartoonists and is constantly updated to provide fresh content tied to the news of the day. The site is surprisingly deep, however, and has cartoon galleries that go back at least five years.

Teachers should be aware of several cautions however: Preview the cartoons collections for age-appropriateness; understand that the site does contain advertisements; and recognize that the images are copyright protected. Teachers are advised to post links to specific cartoons rather than trying to "cut and paste" the cartoons into websites or other documents.

tag(s): comics and cartoons (74), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Use the political cartoons on this site to introduce a class discussion on current events, civics, or government. Try using a cartoon as a writing prompt either for individual students or for collaborative work. Post a link to a particular cartoon or cartoon series on your classroom blog for discussion. Have students try to create a cartoon (either drawing or using computer generated images) depicting current events in the news.

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Lincoln 200 Years - C-Span

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery....more
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This site, created by C-Span, examines numerous areas of Abraham Lincoln's life and legacy. Main areas of this site include Schedule, Timeline, Videos, In His Own Words, & Gallery. The highlight of this site is the video link. Click and find video clips (some reenactments, others lectures) about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Gettysburg Address, Pre-Presidency, and his Assassination. This site also highlights the release of four new pennies in February 2009.

Be aware: the links in the left sidebar will take you to the parent site (C-Span), not the Lincoln information. The right sidebar provides a list of recommended websites about Lincoln. This site requires Real Player, you can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil war (145), emancipation proclamation (12), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

If you are planning for the 200th birthday of Lincoln or any study of the Lincoln era, check out this site! This is a phenomenal site for any secondary class. Use this site for research projects. Share the videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students create their own videos of reenactments based on their research. Share the videos on TeacherTube (explained here).

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Lincoln's 200th birthday coincides with Obama inauguration - The Earth Times

Grades
6 to 12
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This website is essentially a news article highlighting the inauguration of Barack Obama (the first African-American president in U.S. history) and the celebration of the 200th birthday...more
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This website is essentially a news article highlighting the inauguration of Barack Obama (the first African-American president in U.S. history) and the celebration of the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln. This article compares the two American heroes. The theme of Obama's inauguration is Lincoln and how the two men are similar. Both took office during critical times in U.S. history, both faced huge challenges, both are from the state of Illinois, and both are known for their inspirational speeches.

tag(s): inauguration (11), lincoln (86)

In the Classroom

Share this article with your students. Have your class compare Lincoln and Obama. If they both had cellular phones, what do you think they might text to each other? Have students research the two men and then create a fictitious wiki that the men might have written back and forth to one another. Have students write their own articles comparing the two men.

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TeachersFirst: Lesson Ideas for Lincoln - TeachersFirst

Grades
1 to 12
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For Lincoln's birthday or any time of year, here are ideas to better acquaint students with the life, times, and work of the 16th president of the United States. These ...more
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For Lincoln's birthday or any time of year, here are ideas to better acquaint students with the life, times, and work of the 16th president of the United States. These ideas feature both technology-enhanced lessons and non-tech experiences. Choose from the lesson titles (sorted by level) to find lesson ideas best suited to your students and the subjects you teach.

tag(s): civil war (145), debate (41), lincoln (86), presidents (130)

In the Classroom

No matter what subject you teach, you can find something to fit in your plans for Presidents Day or the Lincoln Bicentennial. Use these ideas and adapt at will. You can even email an idea to your teacher colleague to save a friend time!

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NewsHour Extra Lesson Plan: What is the Role of Civil Disobedience - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, presents a lesson plan related to the history of civil disobedience. The site provides a short handout for students, and...more
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This site, affiliated with the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, presents a lesson plan related to the history of civil disobedience. The site provides a short handout for students, and a more detailed summary for teachers to prepare for discussion on civil disobedience and its role in creating change. There is also a collection of historical quotes focused on the issue, including the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Henry David Thoreau, and Bishop Desmond Tutu. You need Acrobat Reader to print the quotes and other downloadable documents. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): civil rights (117)

In the Classroom

Encouraging students to think of disobedience (of any kind) as a positive force for change will delight some students and confuse and trouble others. Depending upon their age and their intellectual and moral development, teachers should be prepared for these varied reactions. Although there is brief mention in the lesson plan of Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war protestor, there is no discussion of other contemporary issues related to terrorism, freedom versus security, or privacy. Teachers should also be prepared to have these topics enter the discussion. The historical quotes would make good bulletin board fodder or discussion (either verbal or written) prompts. Maybe try one on your class blog!
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google Trends - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people...more
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Want a concrete indicator of public curiosity and concerns from the source they use most? Try Google Trends (formerly known as Google Zeitgeist). This simple tool tells what people are searching most on Google (country by country), correlating it to the news and other major dates. Click on the year trends to view all of them and click on those of interest to you. Or scroll down the landing page instead to see the big headline makers of the year. For example, use the 2008 summary to see the spikes in certain Google searches connected with events during the 2008 U.S. political campaigns. Get a quick snapshot of popular culture "hot topics" or personal concerns during tough economic times, simple by seeing what people are searching on Google. If you are trying to build world-awareness and 21st century learners in your classroom, keep Google Trends handy to spark discussion and curiosity.

tag(s): consumers (21), politics (99)

In the Classroom

Teachers of gifted will want to share this as a must-read site, but all students would benefit from hypothesizing about the world trends that generate Google searches. Share this resource on your teacher web page or classroom computer for handy access. As you discuss current events, government, politics, of even consumer behavior, use Zeitgeist to ask questions: Why are people searching this now? What did people in other countries search while Americans were focused on Sarah Palin or bank bailouts? Show a Trends listing on your projector or interactive whiteboard and simply ask the question: Why? Challenge students to discuss possible reasons for what they see in small groups or in blog posts. Use a Trends finding as a prompt for a debate or essay in English class. Use the trends as indicators of consumer behavior for discussions in business or FCS classes. Use search wordings from other countries in your world language classes to sharpen awareness of cultural differences and similarities.

Just ask WHY? and watch your students leap to higher level thinking as you challenge them to prove it with other findings from the web or research.

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The Mint: Fun Financial Literacy Activities for Kids, Teens, Parents and Teachers - Northwestern Mutual Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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Economics and the stock market have taken center stage since the crises of 2008. This site provides a nice overview of the world of personal investment including sections on earning,...more
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Economics and the stock market have taken center stage since the crises of 2008. This site provides a nice overview of the world of personal investment including sections on earning, saving, spending, investing, giving, owing, safeguarding, and tracking. There are also a number of interactive features that can provide insight into the student's attitudes toward money. Online calculators help students understand how finance charges affect the "bottom line" for purchases bought on credit, and how saving in interest-bearing accounts can increase assets. The "Ideas for Teachers" link includes lesson plans and other tips for using the site in an educational setting. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (58), money (192)

In the Classroom

This site provides some great tools for use by students in a personal finance or "Real World" class, as well as information to supplement a discussion of economics or current events. You could also use it as a real world application of many math concepts or team teach middle school math and social studies together. Consider assigning the interactive quizzes as independent work, and using the topical overviews to accompany a lecture or class discussion. One drawback: the "sounds" that accompany mousing over your choices are very distracting. Consider turning down the sound (or hitting mute) on your computer if you use this site on an interactive whiteboard. Challenge students to write "financial" blogs offering advice, based on the information learned at this site. Or assign them to demonstrate competence with concepts such as per cent and interest by creating a financial advice column for a student online newspaper.
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Held accountable - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail! ...more
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The lesson plans are frequently updated; include McRel standards, links to more information, and lots of detail!

tag(s): africa (180), black history (59), civil war (145), lincoln (86), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Teachers can pick and choose easily from among several strands of thought among these lesson plans, either to supplement a unit on the Civil War, for use during Black History observations, or in an English class focused on story telling and personal voice. It could also provide interesting materials for reading comprehension practice using content area materials. All the plans follow a pretty regular format: link to the Times article, read it and discuss, but this kind of break from the use of a standard textbook can be refreshing. Many plans include a vocabulary list, ideas for extension activities and focus on making the lesson as interdisciplinary as possible. As you celebrate Presidents Day (especially Lincoln's 200th birthday in 2009), check out this site for Lincoln resources!

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Glossopedia - Globio

Grades
2 to 8
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View articles of the day, areas around the world, or animals students recognize to learn more about issues and information through interesting articles. Each piece of information has...more
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View articles of the day, areas around the world, or animals students recognize to learn more about issues and information through interesting articles. Each piece of information has highlighted words. Clicking on these words brings up a dictionary definition and pronunciation. Answer the question of the week. Click on "Educators" at the bottom to view standards and lesson plans. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): animals (277), earth (228), ecology (135), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Use the information on the site as background information for additional research. The glossary feature will allow students to create individual dictionaries of new vocabulary as they read! The pronunciations allow ESL students to learn new vocabulary as they follow current events. Students can divide into groups to take an area of the world and use the site to gather information about that region for presentation to the class. Have the groups create a multimedia presentation (video, PowerPoint, or blog) to share their findings. Use this site to determine issues that seem to be affecting more than one area of the world. Use the question of the week to research possible solutions and debate or vote as a class.
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On This Day - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The...more
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The New York Times offers this glimpse back into history in this daily feature. Events may be national or international, and frequently refer to contemporaneous Times coverage. The site also lists "famous" birthdays, copies of previous New York Times, and links to lesson plans (mainly current events).

tag(s): news (260)

In the Classroom

Try this one for a daily "historical current events" sampling. Take advantage of the "ready to go" lesson plans, which include interactive features.

This site also makes for decent research. For a classroom-ready activity each day to build understanding of historical events in the context of your students' prior knowledge, also try TeachersFirst's Dates That Matter. Include both links on your teacher web page for instant access by students both in and out of class. Maybe start a class wiki for your own "This Day" collection and assign student groups a day of their own. Add to it from year to year. Or have students write blog responses on class or individual blogs as they choose an event for the day from several sources and react to it.

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Gallup Daily - Gallup, Inc.

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1 to 12
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The Gallup Daily offers detailed information about elections, current events, video clips, and much more. There are also graphs and statistical information. Some of this site...more
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The Gallup Daily offers detailed information about elections, current events, video clips, and much more. There are also graphs and statistical information. Some of this site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): elections (75), statistics (122)

In the Classroom

Use this site to share current events with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Study the statistics of the election in your math class. Have a mock election in your class, analyze the results of your class election using graphs and statistics.
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5 Sources for Free and Legal Images - The Blog Herald

Grades
K to 12
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These five sources provide Creative Commons images and videos for use in your blog/wiki/web site LEGALLY. Model your ethical use of media by sharing these with your blogging...more
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These five sources provide Creative Commons images and videos for use in your blog/wiki/web site LEGALLY. Model your ethical use of media by sharing these with your blogging students or using them on your whole-class blog or wiki. The sources include abstract photos and current events new stories, as well as general photos. Each has its own search/browse features. The services include: Voxant Newsroom, PicApp, GumGum, Zemanta, and PhotoDropper.

tag(s): blogs (89), images (269)

In the Classroom

Since each site has its own directions, our review team will not explain the how-to's of each here. Some require access to install a plug-in on your blog, such as wordpress. Many school blogging sites do not provide this access. Others permit embedding an image simple by copy/pasting code into your blog or wiki. Two are actually extensions you add to Firefox or Internet Explorer and may require tech department authorization or installation on school computers.

If you do allow students to join a site, be sure to adhere to school policies. As always, we recommend previewing the content available on each site before recommending it to your students. These images sites are NOT education-only, so some image content may not be classroom-appropriate. Have a policy and consequences in place before turning your students loose.

Art teachers or writing teachers can use the abstract images from the GumGum option as writing prompts or to launch discussion on design principles. If your students have individual blogs, allow them to personalize the "look" using these legal images. Be sure to model thinking aloud about why you are using a legal image source. Use news images or videos from Vixant Newsroom as prompts for current events discussions on your blog or wiki, or assign students to select a news story and write an in-depth analysis of it to accompany the image/video. English or social studies teachers teaching persuasive writing can assign students to use their multimedia skills as they present arguments both verbally and visually on a class "issues" wiki. Younger students can help select images to include on a whole-class wiki or blog then add their own writing about them. A teacher can embed a sequence of photos and ask student to tell the story that explains it. Be sure to include this link on your teacher web page for your tech-savvy teens to use as they generate projects with LEGAL images. Of course you will require them to document their sources.
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Gapminder World - Gapminder

Grades
6 to 12
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Use Gapminder World (with no login required) to see how countries vary and change over time in economics, health, and environment. Click the MAP tab as a good place to ...more
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Use Gapminder World (with no login required) to see how countries vary and change over time in economics, health, and environment. Click the MAP tab as a good place to start. Follow all trends and click play to animate the country bubbles through a timeline. Click on a specific bubble (country) to follow through time. Each axis of the graph can be customized for a large number of combinations. Video tutorials and a pdf of directions are available. Share your chart through the use of a link or take a snapshot of your screen using print screen functions. There is also this page of help and ideas specifically for teachers. Be patient. This site has a lot of information to load, so you may have to wait a bit!

tag(s): countries (76), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Be sure you and your students begin by "playing" with the controls to figure out the many tools available on this dynamic site. Be sure to peruse by this page of ideas specifically for teachers. Use this site to generate questions from students for continued research in health, environmental, and civics topics that students will relate to. Manipulate each axis (using pulldowns) to create a dynamic graph and follow all or a few of the countries (bubbles). Questions resulting from the graph can be used to define research leading to further understanding. Have students obtain background information that can lead to further research on social issues in the U.S. and around the World or use this tool as part of oral/visual presentations comparing countries and cultures. Be sure to use your interactive whiteboard or projector.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Stormpulse - Stormpulse

Grades
6 to 12
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Scroll through the earth to watch the current paths of tropical storms/hurricanes. View satellite imagery, news, up to date coastal weather, or view storm archives from 1850 to present....more
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Scroll through the earth to watch the current paths of tropical storms/hurricanes. View satellite imagery, news, up to date coastal weather, or view storm archives from 1850 to present. This is not considered an actual weather source but is an aggregate of information on storms. Probabilities of storms and hurricanes are given, based upon weather movement. This interactive site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): hurricanes (35), weather (189)

In the Classroom

Watch storm movement and predict potential path. Use archives to determine common paths, areas where storms are more prevalent, change in numbers of hurricanes in different decades, etc. Use this site as a springboard for further research and better understanding of causes of hurricanes, factors that change the movement, destruction from hurricanes, or how best to prepare for hurricanes. Students can create traditional (poster, bulletin board) or multimedia presentations (newscasts, wiki, blog) on storms or even "create" a mythical storm of the future that follows predictable patterns, documenting it on a class weatherwiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Online NewsHour Extra: Video Clipboard - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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Are you looking for a new way to get your students excited about current events and the news? This site (a new feature of the PBS NewsHour) provides daily (Monday ...more
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Are you looking for a new way to get your students excited about current events and the news? This site (a new feature of the PBS NewsHour) provides daily (Monday - Friday) video blogs. The blogs come complete with a video clip, summary, quotes, thinking questions, and more. (Don't miss the link to "How to Use this" with tips for downloading veido in advance of your class and how to use it). Video topics relate to current events but extend back into background that lead up to today's events. Some of the "extras" include transcripts, printables, and the ability to post comments. If you post a comment, you must provide your name, city, state, and email address. BE CERTAIN to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy and obtain parental permission before allowing students to comment on the video blogs.

Tip: rather than using your personal or work email, create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service. The videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): news (260)

In the Classroom

Share these video blogs with your students on an interactive whiteboard or projector as you discuss current events and related issues. Share this link on your class web page as an option for weekly current events articles you require from students. Take advantage of the free resources (quotes, warm up questions, discussion questions, printables, and other resources). If you teach reading or are working to help learning support students build comprehension, you will find terrific passages for teaching comprehension, inferencing, summarizing, and more, all with meaningful news stories as the focus. If your school's Acceptable Use Policy allows, have students post their own comments to the video blogs. Another idea: have your students create their own wiki about current events in local and/or national news. Invite students to create their own multimedia packages using video clips and their own text to explain an issue and its history.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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