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Rainbow Lab - Steven Janke

Grades
7 to 12
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How are rainbows formed? Why do they only occur when the sun is behind the observer? If the sun is low on the horizon, at what angle in the sky ...more
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How are rainbows formed? Why do they only occur when the sun is behind the observer? If the sun is low on the horizon, at what angle in the sky should we expect to see a rainbow? This lab helps to answer these and other questions by examining a mathematical model of light passing through a water droplet. Follow each step of the lab - how light travels, reflection, refraction, exploration, and analysis - to solve the questions. Each segment offers some information about the topic and questions to explore or experiments. The focus of each of the activities is the Mathematical equations and principals involved in creating rainbows.

tag(s): angles (88), colors (79), light (46), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when introducing this topic. Then assign different sections to students to explore then present to the rest of the class. Have students create multimedia presentations based on information learned through explorations in the site. Have students use one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.

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Just for Kids - State of California - State of California

Grades
3 to 8
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Explore this site to learn about the many different offerings provided by the state of California. Although there are many portions of the site with valuable information, the portion...more
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Explore this site to learn about the many different offerings provided by the state of California. Although there are many portions of the site with valuable information, the portion that directly gives specific information about the state is located under the link entitled History & Government. Here you can learn about state symbols such as the state bird, state dance, and even the state color! Follow the link to the Caltrans page to find kids activities books, a build a bridge game, and a trivia quiz.

tag(s): california (27), earth day (112), symbols (19)

In the Classroom

Share portions of the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector when researching state information or share with students for state research projects. Rather than traditional research project options, challenge students to create multimedia presentations using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use information under the Geography section to help students learn about earthquakes.

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Arizona Kid's Page - State of Arizona

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3 to 8
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Learn more about the state of Arizona with this site offering facts and information just for kids. Choose the Natural Wonders link to learn about the many natural wonders and ...more
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Learn more about the state of Arizona with this site offering facts and information just for kids. Choose the Natural Wonders link to learn about the many natural wonders and national parks within the state such as the Grand Canyon, the town of Tombstone, and the Apache Trail. Get a brief geographical background on the formation of the state by choosing the Arizona History link tracing the known time range of man living in the state back 20,000 years. Learn about state facts, emblems, motto, and much more in the facts section (did you know Arizona has official state neckwear?). Be sure to check out the state photos section for realistic images of many portions of the state and of it's natural wonders.

tag(s): national parks (16), native americans (78), natural resources (59), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students when working on state research projects. Display photos included on the site with students on your interactive whiteboard or projector when discussing Arizona, the Grand Canyon, or other areas of the state. Copy and use the coloring pages with the state seal, flag, and other images when learning about the state of Arizona. Rather than having students create a traditional research project, have students create a multimedia presentation using Thinglink, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture.

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Climate Wisconsin - Educational Communications Board

Grades
6 to 12
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Listen to stories of impacts of climate change occurring in a northern state. Choose videos based upon popular activities such as fly fishing as well as issues of climate change ...more
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Listen to stories of impacts of climate change occurring in a northern state. Choose videos based upon popular activities such as fly fishing as well as issues of climate change that include extreme heat and ice cover. View resources that are stories as well as interactives using the menu at the bottom of the page.

tag(s): adaptations (17), climate (92), climate change (64), water cycle (33)

In the Classroom

Use these resources as a pre-unit activity to ecology or climate change. Brainstorm the issues presented as a class. Ask students what they already know about these problems. This is a great opportunity to provide time for student writing either in a conventional journal or on a blog. Allow time for students to generate questions about what they do not understand and plan the unit based upon these questions. Consider telling your own stories from your own area which can easily be published on a wiki, blog, or site. Use older relatives and community members that can discuss changes in weather, hunting, etc. in your area. Find records from past newspapers that help paint a picture of how our seasons and activities have changed over the year. Use many of the ideas from this site to brainstorm potential videos of change in your area.
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Weather Maker Interactive - Scholastic Kids

Grades
4 to 10
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Thinking it would be nice to control the weather, especially if you have to teach about it? Well, this site will not change your outdoor situation, but it does allow ...more
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Thinking it would be nice to control the weather, especially if you have to teach about it? Well, this site will not change your outdoor situation, but it does allow you to simulate weather that you can control. There are only two simple rules to follow: keep the poles cooler than the equator and do not allow for more than seventy degrees difference between two temperatures. Easy as can be! Click through the screens, make your choices and see what unfolds.

tag(s): animation (63), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. When you are teaching about weather, have students adjust the settings of the program to create a desired weather outcome. Create a learning center using this site and your interactive whiteboard. See what happens! Discuss what could have been done and what factors contributed to overall change.
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Digital Universe Atlas - Hayden Planterarium

Grades
6 to 12
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The Hayden Planetarium has created a free download of their atlas of the universe. The video, which does a great job of showing the scale of what we as humans ...more
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The Hayden Planetarium has created a free download of their atlas of the universe. The video, which does a great job of showing the scale of what we as humans can see in the universe, can be viewed directly from the website. There are three different versions of the download. All are free. Be patient with the download, it takes a little while, however the atlas, educator activities, and simulations are well worth the time it takes. One of the hardest concepts for middle to high school level earth and space science learners to understand is size and scale of the universe. Their misconceptions of color and size stem from both brain development and images that they are exposed to of the solar system from young school ages on to middle school. This video and activity set help to clarify this misconception, and provide your learners with a better understanding of their size within the universe.

tag(s): earth (228), light (46), solar system (119), stars (61), sun (71)

In the Classroom

Try showing the video (on your interactive whiteboard or projector) at the beginning of a chapter or unit on universes and galaxies. Have students discuss what they think is correct or even incorrect about the video. As you work through your unit, use the teacher activities in addition to your traditional curriculum materials. Revisit the video at least twice throughout the unit to "check-in" on your student's understanding and to assess whether their misconceptions are being cleared. Another idea, is to show the video as a writing prompt for science. Pose a question such as, "How big are you? Explain in terms of the universe." Then, have students view the video and write about their ideas generated by the video.
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Energy Savvy - Aaron Goldfeder and Leo Shklovskii

Grades
6 to 12
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How energy efficient is your home? Find out here. Save money, save time, and save the environment using EnergySavvy.com. In about ten minutes, you can determine your energy savings...more
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How energy efficient is your home? Find out here. Save money, save time, and save the environment using EnergySavvy.com. In about ten minutes, you can determine your energy savings score and learn ways to save your family money and energy in your home. The questionnaire even has pictures, descriptions, and advice if you are unsure about which options to choose for each question.

tag(s): conservation (127), energy (197), environment (317)

In the Classroom

In environmental science units on conservation, try assigning this website as homework to be done together with parent or guardian help. Have students go through questions with parents and possibly even investigate their own home for evidence of energy losses and good practices. Have students email the report to their parent's address and print a copy to take to school as evidence and for further study. Or, have students' parents forward the email directly to you and print for the students. Have them calculate how much energy they could save as a class, leading them towards discussions of bigger savings overall and how little changes can make huge differences in our environment. Why not keep track of all of the data/results on a class energy saving wiki! Not comfortable with wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst Wiki Walk-Through.

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Science Daily - ScienceDaily LLC

Grades
6 to 12
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Looking for collection of current science research articles? This is your one stop shop! Science Daily is current, searchable, and interesting! Encompassing many, if not all, areas...more
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Looking for collection of current science research articles? This is your one stop shop! Science Daily is current, searchable, and interesting! Encompassing many, if not all, areas of science, this site could make your classroom science research easy. The major categories are: Health & Medicine, Mind & Brain, Plants & Animals, Earth & Climate, Space & Time, Matter & Energy, Computers & Math, and Fossils & Ruins.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (276), brain (72), climate (92), computers (94), data (148), earth (228), energy (197), fossils (44), matter (56), medicine (67), news (261), planets (123), plants (144), space (205), time (144)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a research tool or to provide practice reading informational texts in the content areas. Choose an article relevant to what you are teaching, post it on your website or wiki, and have your students discuss what the article means and how it made them think. Since the articles are heavy with text, you may want to have students work in small groups to read the article you have selected for them, and use a tool such as Mindmeister (reviewed here) or bubbl.us (reviewed here) to create a concept map of the important ideas and their details for the article. Each article has several related links. Have each group choose a different one to explore, and create a concept map to share on your interactive whiteboard or projector so all can benefit from the related articles. Once created, the concept maps can be posted as links or embedded on your teacher website or wiki for review and to share with parents. If the text of the articles is simply too challenging without some "before reading" help, show students how to preview it using WordSift, reviewed here.
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Plug Into the Smart Grid - General Electric Company

Grades
6 to 12
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This powerful website is moderately interactive, and offers a ton of great information on alternative energy. With its calming appeal, the sounds and the graphics help increase the...more
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This powerful website is moderately interactive, and offers a ton of great information on alternative energy. With its calming appeal, the sounds and the graphics help increase the interest in the topic of energy conservation.

tag(s): conservation (127), energy (197), environment (317)

In the Classroom

Use this website as part of a project on alternative energy or as a resource for environmental resources. This site could also be a launch pad for a discuss of why humans should make changes in their energy consumption. Try showing it at the beginning of a lecture about alternative energy sources or the start of a conservation unit. Have cooperative learning groups view one portion of this site and create electronic "posters" or word graphics using a tool such as Piclits (reviewed here).
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Science Buzz - Science Museum of Minnesota

Grades
5 to 9
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Brimming with color and current science information, this site is a great current happenings resource. To post to the blog, students must sign up, but the site promises no spamming...more
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Brimming with color and current science information, this site is a great current happenings resource. To post to the blog, students must sign up, but the site promises no spamming from the sign up. The confirmation email does take some time to arrive, and the buzz requires verification before a user can participate. Read tips for safely managing email registrations here.

The articles contained in this site are to the point, clear to understand, and in a large font. There are very few distractions going on in the site. It is easy to navigate and has a cool teacher tool in the buzz blog. Click on the Community tab, and the blogs are indexed by standards and grouped into topics such as earth science and physical science with subtopics.

tag(s): animals (276), endangered species (38), news (261), nutrition (154), weather (188)

In the Classroom

This site would be a great resource for current events projects. Students could be assigned a specific article to read, and then post to a discussion forum on the class wiki or another internet discussion board that is acceptable at school. Or have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
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Renewable Energy Basics - The Pembima Institute

Grades
7 to 12
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Integrate clean air technology into your physical science units. Re-Energy.ca highlights five basic forms of renewable energy; solar electricity and heat, wind power and energy, and...more
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Integrate clean air technology into your physical science units. Re-Energy.ca highlights five basic forms of renewable energy; solar electricity and heat, wind power and energy, and biomass energy. All the necessary background information needed to better understand renewable energy and with a list of valuable links, resources and videos. Included are detailed construction plans for renewable energy models such as a solar oven or wind turbine. The site also addresses larger environmental issues such as global climate change and is dedicated to educating the public on ways to reduce the consumption of natural resources.

tag(s): climate change (64), design (84), electricity (89), energy (197), engineering (125), heat (15), natural resources (59), sustainability (19)

In the Classroom

The projects outlined are in simple steps to show students how to create their own renewable energy technologies. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to get hands on experience with engineering, design, and sustainable energy technologies. It also could be a resource for science fair projects.

If you live in Canada, you can participate in a solar oven design challenge. Teachers from other countries may want to have their class host an on-line collaborative project to compare and contrast the performance of their home made solar ovens

The website provides a unit plan meant to be completed in 11 class periods. You can download free complete lesson plans with detailed instructions. A student planning worksheet outlines research procedures, project guidelines, timeline for completion dates and evaluation criteria they are expected to meet.
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Science Bob Q&A - Steve Galgas

Grades
3 to 9
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This webpage provides weekly answers to student submitted questions. Answers are student friendly, and offer pictures to help explain the answer. ...more
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This webpage provides weekly answers to student submitted questions. Answers are student friendly, and offer pictures to help explain the answer.

tag(s): questioning (31)

In the Classroom

Use questions as a good bank of "hooks" to start classroom discussions on various topics. Allow students time to expand the question and arrive at their own answers, and then have them view the actual given answer. From here, students can accept or reject the answer by finding more information on the topic.
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Science Master Learning Galleries - The KGM Group, Inc.

Grades
7 to 12
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This site is a categorized collection of scientific pictures (and descriptions) to enhance understanding of specific science concepts. This specific page is this site's jump-start for...more
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This site is a categorized collection of scientific pictures (and descriptions) to enhance understanding of specific science concepts. This specific page is this site's jump-start for Earth science. There are also jump start pages for space science, life science, and physical science.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): acid rain (5), carbon (21), climate (92), earth (228), earthquakes (48), fire (25), fossils (44), glaciers (14), hurricanes (35), images (265), natural disasters (20), natural resources (59), rocks (49), tsunamis (16), volcanoes (61), water cycle (33), wetlands (9)

In the Classroom

For a quick use, add images from this site to a PowerPoint. For a more in-depth use of the site, either choose several pictures/topics that would enhance your unit, or allow students to choose a topic they would like to investigate further. Have pairs or small groups of students brainstorm questions they have about the topic. Many of the questions they come up with will be answered when they click on the picture. For the questions that aren't answered on that page, have the student research the answer using the Internet as a resource.

Have student groups make an online Stixy (reviewed here) of things they discover about their picture/topic, and later rearrange the items to "explain" their topic to classmates visually.
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Exploring Earth Visualizations - McDougal Littell

Grades
6 to 12
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View a variety of visualizations about earth processes. Choose from chapters from their popular Earth Science book to find fascinating simulations and interactives that are engaging...more
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View a variety of visualizations about earth processes. Choose from chapters from their popular Earth Science book to find fascinating simulations and interactives that are engaging and educational.

tag(s): atmosphere (26), climate (92), earth (228), earthquakes (48), erosion (17), geology (81), oceans (148), plate tectonics (23), volcanoes (61), water (130), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Use "Observe a raindrop traveling through various paths of the water cycle" at the beginning of a unit on the water cycle. Give students the vocabulary terms and have them describe or narrate the path of one drop of water through the interactive. Students choose anywhere to start and after time will realize why it is a cycle. Use "Examine Earth from a new perspective" to view the Earth using a variety of contexts: earthquakes, sea surface temperatures, or seasonal changes in land to name a few. Use the Earthquakes visualization to see where the major earthquakes have occurred over time. Use this visualization to find the pattern in the earth. Use as the start of a unit in plate tectonics or later in the unit when discussing human population in the world as well. (Many are along coastlines where major populations are located.)
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Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary - University of Nebraska at Lincoln

Grades
4 to 12
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Find a vast array of lessons and resources on plant and growing technologies on this diverse site. Lessons include Case Studies that can be examined as an introduction to many ...more
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Find a vast array of lessons and resources on plant and growing technologies on this diverse site. Lessons include Case Studies that can be examined as an introduction to many Biology and Ecology topics.

tag(s): agriculture (54), ecology (135), erosion (17), plants (144)

In the Classroom

Find specific lessons on a topic such as Erosion. Use the simple and effective lesson plans and activities to learn about the processes and effects of erosion on the land. Research additional information such as losses attributed to erosion, natural events that disrupt human and other animal populations, and other related environmental problems. Use Google Maps or Google Earth (reviewed here) to map out the case studies presented in the resource. Create placemarks in either application that provide information about erosion, the causes, and the problems created. Research additional items to include in maps or Earth such as images, videos, or news articles that can be viewed to understand the problems. You might consider having students use a tool such as Middlespot, reviewed here, an innovative website for bookmarking in a unique, visual way. Add search material from anywhere on the web by dragging and dropping elements around the screen. Students would use this to help them keep track of their findings. Use with food and fiber activities that identify how many grown products are used not only as food but for building and other materials.

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Central Park Conservancy - Central Park Conservancy

Grades
4 to 12
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This site, created by the Central Park Conservancy, provides some interesting features about the park which includes history and films and famous photographs taken in the park. There...more
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This site, created by the Central Park Conservancy, provides some interesting features about the park which includes history and films and famous photographs taken in the park. There is tour and event information, so whether you're planning a virtual field trip or an actual field trip to Central park, this site is worth your viewing.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (276), environment (317), national parks (16), plants (144), trees (30), virtual field trips (48)

In the Classroom

Use this resource to plan a trip to the park. Or, create a virtual field trip by designating specific places on the website that students have to visit. Have students locate different buildings, art, and trees in the park. It could be a great way to do a virtual leaf collection (in this case - tree collection) with the site's tree database. Have students find at least ten different trees and then create a presentation providing different information about those trees, including their locations in the park. Assign small groups to explore one facet of this site and create a multimedia presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use the site to help teach geography content such as latitude and longitude by having the students create a map to "escape the park."
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Earth Pulse: State of the Earth 2010 - National Geographic

Grades
5 to 12
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What exactly is the state of the Earth now (well, 2010)? Learn from topics such as "Crowding Our Planet," "Satisfying Our Demands," and "Straining Our Resources." Read about focus stories,...more
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What exactly is the state of the Earth now (well, 2010)? Learn from topics such as "Crowding Our Planet," "Satisfying Our Demands," and "Straining Our Resources." Read about focus stories, take an EarthPulse quiz, or view Vital Statistics. View impressive photos, read essays, and view a multitude of resources.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): ecology (135), population (60), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Use photos for students to develop their own point of view essays or suggestions to make the planet better for the future. Use focus stories to ask questions about sustainability, resources, and population. Search other areas of the web for better understanding of issues and our involvement in them (even if they are far removed from where we live.) Create conventional or multimedia presentations of the material for discussions and engagement of others within or outside the school community. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Create an awareness plan to teach other classes or members of the community about local and global issues.
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Science Friday Kids' Connection - NPR

Grades
6 to 12
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Science Friday includes a live science show, chat rooms, and a science desk for questions. Science links and mentors are also available. There are experiments to try, and an online...more
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Science Friday includes a live science show, chat rooms, and a science desk for questions. Science links and mentors are also available. There are experiments to try, and an online library for users. The site features podcasts of broadcasts of the PRN Science Friday shows, and a weekly video. They can be listened to on the site or downloaded through iTunes. Broadcasts can also be listened to live from links on the site. This hands-on site was designed for the user to have a science experience like no other.
This site includes advertising.

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In the Classroom

Use Science Friday as a springboard and resource for research projects, or as an end of the week fun discussion. Play a podcast, and have students discuss the meaning and any possible misunderstandings. You could set up a computer in your classroom with a Science Friday podcast or video set up and ready to go for students to cycle through or for those who finsh their work early.
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How To SMILE - National Science Digital Library

Grades
K to 12
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This site is a compilation of many math and science resources along with a social networking component. Currently there are almost 2000 activities, lessons, and videos and the site...more
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This site is a compilation of many math and science resources along with a social networking component. Currently there are almost 2000 activities, lessons, and videos and the site is constantly growing. There are several ways to use the site both as a registered user or without registration. Without registering for the site you can search and access lessons and information through the different search methods such as keywords, subjects, source institution, and more. Free registration allows the site to become much more personalized. After registering, you can make lists of resources for any different topic, share lists or searches with others, add comments, or add your own resources. Most activities on the site are free; however, there are some searches that deliver lessons that are paid - these are clearly indicated and not frequent enough to discourage use of this site. Searches can also filter out any paid activities and return only free items. Teachers may also want to subscribe to the site's blog and newsletter to receive updated information as it is added to the site.

In case you are wondering about the title, SMILE is the Science and Math Informal Learning Educators pathway of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL).

tag(s): resources (112), social networking (112), STEM (134), video (253)

In the Classroom

This is a perfect way to organize and sort lessons by topic or age range for future classroom use or to share with fellow teachers. Create a community list of lessons to use within your district. Share this site with other teachers in your building or district as a resource for STEM lessons. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector.

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ITSI - SU - Concord Consortium

Grades
6 to 12
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ITSI-SU is a portal for using and creating interactive web-based labs and simulation activities. Brought to you by the research staff of the Concord Consortium, this free online programing...more
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ITSI-SU is a portal for using and creating interactive web-based labs and simulation activities. Brought to you by the research staff of the Concord Consortium, this free online programing uses an assortment of data collection tools from molecular modeling software and web-based simulations to computer sensors (which would need to be purchased if not already in the classroom). Interactives are standards based, thorough, and created with "backward design" in mind. Each activity begins with an inquiry question and a picture with real world relevance. One of the strengths of this program is that it can be used "as is," however all existing activities can be modified by the teacher using them. Any teacher can create new activities of their own as well. Once these activities are created and saved, they can be accessed by other teachers under the "DIY:Other activities area" of the Activities. This added value is something that is rarely found in online lab software. One warning for using this program: it is Java based so modules have to be downloaded. The download takes time and requires tat you "allow" it. Some school computers may block such downloads.

tag(s): modeling (9), problem solving (272)

In the Classroom

There are different levels of use of this site with incremental time and effort. The most basic users will need to create an account. Once the account is created, the user can create classes in the "Home" section of the site. This can be found on the left side of the screen. Beside "My Classes" choose "add a class." Here you will create different sections of students. Name your courses what you wish, but remember the sign-up word. You will give this to students when they create their accounts, and it will automatically enroll them into your class. Once they have signed up, their names will show up in the "My Students" section. Once the class is named, choose the activities you would like to have in your ITSI-SU class. Save your choices and the sign-up word will be shown in green print on the screen. Again, save this word. (You can go back into class information to find it if you forget, but you can save yourself time by remembering it.) From this point, basic users need only to show the site to the students and perhaps make some instructions for signing up for their students. Modules are ready to go. As the teacher, you can view the students' work and answers once they have completed the activity they are assigned. More adventurous users can modify activities by following onscreen instruction or even creating their own.

The only thing that could snag the use of this program is that the Java download may be prevented by your district's web filtering software. Please try this first ("preview activities"). One other concern is that downloading the Java app to every computer in a class of twenty students or more can pull a lot of bandwidth in a network. If your school's internet is not exactly top of the line, try running six computers with students working in groups to accommodate the internet capabilities. Have other students sit at their seat and work on preparing materials, so all students are learning and being productive. This program should be tried for the first time by the teacher to avoid any "tech" complications. Teachers who must request software installation by tech staff may want to try this tool at home so they can explain and convince administration of its educational value.

A great way to use this programing, on the smallest scale, is to share the initial lab question and picture to start a classroom discussion. Have students speculate about the possible answers to the question and possible "whys." Have students ask questions about the picture and attempt to explain its relevance to the question, and coincidentally the activity. From this point, you can have students log into the site and create accounts. Either as individuals or have groups of students create a group log in, name, and password. (Student passwords are available to the teacher at any time from the teachers homepage. Please warn students of this when they are choosing passwords so that they choose something school-appropriate.) Another way to use this portal is to pick a modeling lab as an ongoing science enrichment project for students.

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