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ContextU: Understand Your World - ContextU

Grades
7 to 12
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a ...more
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Although it is still in Beta, ContextU seeks to provide important context to major events in US History. With its American Revolution and Civil War modules up and running, a table of contents allows you to select a person, place, event or theme relating to the broader subject. From that starting point, you can easily jump to a map, a brief biography of important characters, a hyperlinked timeline of events, or a flow chart of causes and effects. When so much of traditional instruction on US history consists of looking at discrete events without always understanding the larger framework and connections for these events, ContextU offers an important perspective for learning. Based on the site's table of context, future modules are planned for each of the larger wartime eras in US history.

tag(s): american revolution (86), civil war (145), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Consider using the ContextU organizing framework as a regular touchpoint for a unit on either the American Revolution or the American Civil War. As you progress through the important events that comprise each era, return to the larger context to help students "see the forest" as well as the trees. ContextU might also be added to your storehouse of bookmarks for each unit so students could access it while doing outside assignments or projects. Find age-appropriate literature to share with your students about Colonial America and the Revolution or The Civil War and Slavery at TeachersFirst's CurriConnects booklists for all ages. Use class discussions or student essays to draw together what they learn from independent reading, this site, and their "regular" curriculum.

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Teachers TryScience - IBM, New York Hall of Science, and TeachEngineering.org

Grades
5 to 12
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Teachers TryScience provides free and engaging lessons, along with teaching strategies and resources. All activities are designed to spark students' interest in science, technology,...more
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Teachers TryScience provides free and engaging lessons, along with teaching strategies and resources. All activities are designed to spark students' interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Create or join communities for teachers to discuss and share effective instructional practices. Access over 250 lesson plans that allow students to create water filters, design earthquake-proof structures, explore vertical farms, and much more. Many lessons include slideshows, videos, and links to other resources about the lesson topic. Browse through strategies and tutorials on a variety of topics ranging from a professional development resource (video) on differentiated instruction to a tutorial on what engineering might look like in your classroom.

tag(s): STEM (134)

In the Classroom

Bookmark Teachers TryScience as a resource for STEM lessons in your science or math classroom. Share the videos or activities on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Join communities with similar interests to yours to discuss teaching strategies, lesson planning, and more. Share strategies and tutorials during professional development sessions or with student teachers.
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Where We Came From and Where We Went State by State - New York Times

Grades
7 to 12
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, ...more
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The New York Times looks at each state in the US and charts movement both into the state and out of the state since 1900. With immigration in the news, it's sometimes helpful to remember that with a country as large as the United States, there has been a great deal of INTRA-state movement over the country's history. Explore the states via these interactive charts. Mousing over each component of each chart brings additional clarifying information about that state's intra-state migration statistics. The set of charts begins with California, Florida, and Nevada, three states with the most dynamic population changes. The remainder of the charts follow in alphabetical order. Each state's chart also contains a brief narrative explaining significant components.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19), immigrants (20), immigration (58), migration (59), states (162), transportation (40), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

A great introduction to population change and the changing nature of social and physical mobility in the United States, these charts can prompt discussion about why families move. Although the charts begin in 1900, they are still useful in looking at Westward Migration in the US. Also explore such issues as changing job markets, natural resources and industries, movement between high density and low density areas, and the places where non-native born residents are most likely to settle. Invite students to create their own infographics about a certain state or region based on what they discover here. Learn about infographics in the classroom and the tools to make them in TeachersFirst's Now I See!.

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Geography From Space - Smithsonian Air and Space Museum

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4 to 12
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Join the annual Geography From Space online contest from the Smithsonian every November! Enjoy exploring past quizzes from previous years. Review geographic locations based on satellite...more
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Join the annual Geography From Space online contest from the Smithsonian every November! Enjoy exploring past quizzes from previous years. Review geographic locations based on satellite images with activities from this program.

tag(s): map skills (79), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Hook students into geography (and more) with these challenges. Study the quiz questions as a model and create quizzes/activities of your own about geography related to a region you are studying. Use previous quizzes as a contest in geography class. Use them as examples for students when studying different countries, and have students determine what they would feature in their own quizzes. Use in math class to determine proportions by drawing maps or ratios. Have students create similar quizzes using Google Maps, challenging classmates to answer questions about areas, perimeters, and even shapes.

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National Geographic and the Common Core - National Geographic

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K to 12
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National Geographic offers collections of resources aligned to Common Core ELA standards for grades K-12. Begin your search by exploring non-fiction resources grouped by grade range....more
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National Geographic offers collections of resources aligned to Common Core ELA standards for grades K-12. Begin your search by exploring non-fiction resources grouped by grade range. If you prefer, use a keyword search to find specific content. When searching by grade range groups, scroll through the presentation slide show to view all resources and click links to go directly to the page. Be sure to take some time to find all the collection offers; there is a great deal of content available. Look for Geostories, Article, or Encyclopedic Entry to find reading resources. Don't miss the Common Core Toolkit offering a large variety of lesson plans and media aligned to National Geographic books.
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tag(s): charts and graphs (195), guided reading (47), reading comprehension (116)

In the Classroom

Use this National Geographic site to find high quality, high interest, non-fiction reading material for your students. Ask students to visit sites found through your search. Challenge students to share what they learned by creating multimedia presentations using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. Use this site as an anticipatory set to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard.

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Interactives: Historical Thinking Skills - Annenburg Media

Grades
5 to 12
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Become a historical thinker by competing a series of educational interactives. Each interactive models a specific skill or set of skills, such as analyzing historical artifacts or using...more
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Become a historical thinker by competing a series of educational interactives. Each interactive models a specific skill or set of skills, such as analyzing historical artifacts or using primary sources to develop a thesis. Several interactives include classroom extensions with hints for teaching the skills in the classroom. At the time of this review, the topics included Placing Artifacts in Time, Analyzing Artifacts, Reading Maps, Evaluating Evidence, Curating an Exhibit, and Balancing Sources.

tag(s): evaluating sources (13), maps (287), primary sources (86)

In the Classroom

Create a link on classroom computers for students to complete interactives on their own or display on an interactive whiteboard or projector to view as a class. Most interactives take 20-30 minutes to complete so may need to be split into two class sessions. Assign the interactives as homework (flipping the classroom) to allow time for in-class discussion. Create a mind map using a tool such as Mindmeister, reviewed here, to display ideas upon completion of an interactive.

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The Civil War - Teaching American History

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5 to 12
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This engaging Civil War site features interactive maps detailing many aspects of life during the time of the Civil War. Choose from tabs at the bottom of the main page ...more
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This engaging Civil War site features interactive maps detailing many aspects of life during the time of the Civil War. Choose from tabs at the bottom of the main page to explore railroads, slavery, cotton production, and more as it looked during the time. Each map includes a legend demonstrating statistics by date for all states and territories at the time.

tag(s): agriculture (55), civil rights (117), civil war (145), gettysburg (26), industrial revolution (25), railroads (10), slavery (72)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector to explore and understand different components of life during the Civil War period. Challenge students to create a presentation using Prezi, reviewed here, with information from this site. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare two states during Civil War times or to compare one state during the Civil War era to that state today. During your Civil War study, don't miss TeachersFirst's Gettysburg By the Numbers for more questions and data to use in your discussions.
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Stuff You Missed in History Class - Tracy Wilson and Holly Frey

Grades
7 to 12
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Explore interesting history tidbits and background information about world events including topics from Atlantis to Vikings. Scroll through the list of topics and find links to various...more
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Explore interesting history tidbits and background information about world events including topics from Atlantis to Vikings. Scroll through the list of topics and find links to various podcast episodes with archives going back to 2008. Click to play the episodes or download any episode in mp3 format using the download link. Episodes are approximately 30 minutes in length. You can also search for specific topics using the search tool.
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tag(s): archeology (32), black history (59), civil rights (117), civil war (145), cross cultural understanding (115), mental health (26), native americans (78), podcasts (52), religions (61), vikings (10), world war 1 (54), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Use podcasts from Stuff You Missed in History to enrich current lessons or lure students into thinking history can actually be "cool." Provide a link on class computers or your class website for students use. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of one of these events (with audio stories and pictures included)! Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the people in these lesser known historic events.

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Spacehopper - visualised.io

Grades
5 to 12
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Test geography skills with Spacehopper (powered by Google Maps). After viewing a Google Street View interactive image of a location, your goal is to pinpoint the location on the world...more
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Test geography skills with Spacehopper (powered by Google Maps). After viewing a Google Street View interactive image of a location, your goal is to pinpoint the location on the world map. Look around using Street View tools to find information that can help determine where you are. Click to receive up to three clues to narrow down the correct answer. Then click the correct dot showing the location of the image. Check your answer. Receive the answer and location after three incorrect guesses. You can also click the clue button a fourth time and you move on to the next location. Choose specific continents rather than the entire world, if too challenging.

tag(s): cities (25), landmarks (26), map skills (79)

In the Classroom

Display Spacehopper on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) to practice problem-solving skills along with geography and map skills. First review how Street View tools work. (Why not allow a student emcee to operate it?) Have students research locations and create an annotated map image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here. Have students create their own location mysteries and associated questions to put on their Thinglink map image. Or have theme simply "drop" a placemarker in Google Maps and write clues and questions to accompany the placemarker url so classmates can figure out why the location is important. Mysteries could include home ports of explorers, locations of major landforms, environmental disaster sites, author homes, or any location that places your curriculum "on the map." In world language classes, have students write the hints in their new language as they introduce cultural locations related to the language.

Comments

Such a cool way to have interactive geography questions for the whole group. Patricia, NJ, Grades: 6 - 12

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CurriConnects Book List: Alaska and Hawaii - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This CurriConnects collection of books takes you on a journey to Alaska and Hawaii through the pages of a book. Every state boasts culture and history of its own, and ...more
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This CurriConnects collection of books takes you on a journey to Alaska and Hawaii through the pages of a book. Every state boasts culture and history of its own, and these two have extra rich offerings. Discover their history, people, and culture, both historic and contemporary, through both fiction and nonfiction. Challenge your students to flip their view of the "Lower 48" or "Big America" (the contiguous states) through the experience of Alaska and/or Hawaii. Include these books during units on states, multiculturalism, or U.S. geography. CurriConnects thematic book lists include ISBN numbers for ordering or searching, interest grade levels, ESL levels and Lexiles'® (where available) to match student independent reading levels to challenge, not frustrate. For more on text complexity and Lexiles'''®, see this information from the Lexile Framework. Don't miss other CurriConnects themes being added regularly. If your library does not have the books, try interlibrary loan!

tag(s): alaska (25), book lists (128), hawaii (7), independent reading (128)

In the Classroom

Include these books for independent reading during a unit on U.S. geography, multiculturalism, or the states. Compare the life of children living in Alaska or Hawaii to the students in your own class. The conversations will easily evolve into projects where students can compare and contrast or create "profiles" of childhood in different states and cultures.

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40 Maps That Explain World War I - Vox

Grades
7 to 12
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It is hard to believe that World War I began over 100 years ago. Explore "The War to End All Wars" through a series of maps, both contemporary and historical. ...more
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It is hard to believe that World War I began over 100 years ago. Explore "The War to End All Wars" through a series of maps, both contemporary and historical. The collection provides extensive insight into the causes, progress, and impact of World War I. Each map is accompanied by a brief explanation of what it illustrated. Each map can then be opened as an image alone in another tab/window and is then zoomable. Some of the historic maps are static; others have interactive features. The maps are organized into categories: Background, War Breaks Out, Major European Battles, the War Outside Europe, Technology, Allied Victory, and Consequences of the War. There are hyperlinks to further information embedded in the explanatory material with each map.

tag(s): europe (75), map skills (79), maps (287), world war 1 (54)

In the Classroom

These maps are perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard. If you are teaching World War I, these maps need to be among your "go to" bookmarks for illustrating important highlights about the War. Consider also providing a link to the maps as part of materials students can access to learn more, as extra challenge, or for independent or group projects. The maps illustrating important technology first used in World War I will fascinate students who enjoy learning how things work. Have students create a multimedia project about the aspects of WWI that fascinate them most.

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LibrAdventures - LibrAdventures

Grades
4 to 12
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LibrAdventures is a map-based exploration of literature, authors, artists, and film makers (powered by Google). Choosing an author, a genre, a literary timeframe, or a location allows...more
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LibrAdventures is a map-based exploration of literature, authors, artists, and film makers (powered by Google). Choosing an author, a genre, a literary timeframe, or a location allows you to view, using either map view or satellite view, the physical location in which the author created some of his or her famous literary works. The beauty of LibrAdventures is the combination of being able to see, either on the map or using a panoramic view, the place where great literary figures lived and did their work. There are some classic children's authors included. Many of the views also offer 360-degree panoramic views. Each collection (called an "adventure" on the site) provides narrative describing the connections between the place and the author's work, links to further information, and other explanatory material such as a film clip or other media.

tag(s): art history (70), artists (75), authors (120), literature (275)

In the Classroom

Visual learners, or those who find it difficult to make a connection with an artist or author from the past, may find that walking the streets near the author's house, or seeing the view he or she may have seen from the window, helps bring the author and that work alive. The ability to use a more interactive interface to learn more about an author will also appeal to those more accustomed to digital media and hyperlinks in order to associate concepts with a visual representation. The interactive maps can be used on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) to accompany an introduction to the life of a particular author before tackling his or her work. As they read or view works by the writer or artist, have students look for descriptive passages in the works that seem to describe what they "see" or experience on the related "adventure" on this site.

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ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World - Stanford University

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7 to 12
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What if you could plan a trip to Ancient Rome in the year 200? This geospatial model of the Roman World allows you to choose among major Roman empire urban ...more
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What if you could plan a trip to Ancient Rome in the year 200? This geospatial model of the Roman World allows you to choose among major Roman empire urban centers and plot the most efficient course of travel. The map takes into consideration the geography and terrain, the season, the weather, the mode of transportation (boat? on foot?) and whether we want to get there quickly or cheaply. An experience like the old "Oregon Trail" software on steroids allows you to experience travel in the Ancient Roman Empire and to understand the pressures and challenges the growing Empire experienced in trying to govern such a large area.

tag(s): maps (287), romans (35), rome (27), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

There are a lot of complexities involved in plotting a route between two cities, but the interface is pretty intuitive, and students with enjoy playing "what if" with the various possibilities. Once they get the hang of it, challenge individual students or groups to see who can make it from start to finish most quickly or cheaply. What happens if you start in the Winter? or the Fall? And of course, how did these challenges affect the real Roman Empire and its citizens? If individual computers aren't available, plot your travel as a class on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Include this in Latin or world history class to make Roman civilization more "real."

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Estuary Education - Ocean and Coastal Resource Management

Grades
6 to 12
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Estuary Education is a great site to dive into learning about estuaries. Explore NOAA's living classrooms and laboratories. Scientists working for NOAA's National Estuarine Research...more
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Estuary Education is a great site to dive into learning about estuaries. Explore NOAA's living classrooms and laboratories. Scientists working for NOAA's National Estuarine Research Reserve System produce and/or review the current and cutting edge content on the site. Skim the surface of estuary education on the "About Estuaries" page or use the "Video Gallery" page to dive deeper into your learning of estuaries. The video clips are the next best thing to visiting a real estuary. The Estuaries 101 Curriculum modules for grades 6 through 12 feature hands-on learning, experiments, field work, and data explorations. It deepens students understanding about estuaries and how estuaries affect their daily lives. The resources page provides information and links to different sources outside of the estuaries.gov site that have been carefully reviewed and chosen to expand understanding on a particular topic and deemed to be scientifically accurate. Try the interactives from the link on the student page to test your knowledge or take the quiz! Estuary Education is a great site to connect with the coastal environment.

tag(s): biomes (116), ecology (135), ecosystems (88), marine biology (33)

In the Classroom

Estuary Education is essential for teaching your students about the importance of estuaries. Designed to be used by teachers in grades 6-12, the Estuaries 101 Curriculum provided on the site deepens students understanding about estuaries and how estuaries affect their daily lives. Estuaries offer an exciting context for learning about math, geography, chemistry, marine science, among other fields. Use the information on the "Science and Data" page for students to analyze real-time data if you're unable to access an estuary where you live. Use the "Video Gallery" page to introduce lessons, to "flip" your instruction, or to provide visual examples for students. Challenge your students to use Prezi, Brainshark, or another presentation medium to demonstrate their knowledge of estuaries. Use Podcastomatic for students with reading difficulties to access the content on the pages. Have your students use Padlet to collaborate as a class on research for an assignment. Review their posts on an interactive whiteboard. Challenge your gifted students to explore the "Resources" page to deepen their understanding of estuaries. Provide an opportunity for your students to get involved with a local organization to use what they learned from the Estuary Education site to preserve local estuaries.
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The Square of Life - The Center for Innovation in Science and Engineering

Grades
1 to 12
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Become a part of a local and global Internet based collaborative project studying your square meter of life. This project may look "plain vanilla," but the hands-on, real world learning...more
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Become a part of a local and global Internet based collaborative project studying your square meter of life. This project may look "plain vanilla," but the hands-on, real world learning is terrific. Once you choose your square meter, document and record data of all the living and nonliving things within your square. While sharing findings look for similarities. This project takes place multiple times a year. The guide offers lesson plans, extension activities, and worksheets. Also find assessment ideas, standards, and information for urban teachers. After creating an account, submit data, view data, and participate in the discussion area. Resources include student galleries, reference materials, ask an expert, project leader, and more. Some past student contributions are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid reviewed here to download the videos from YouTube.

tag(s): ecology (135), environment (317), scientific method (64)

In the Classroom

Bring a heightened awareness to your local and global environmental education. In lower elementary grades, do the project together as a class. Teach scientific observation using a hands-on project. You could also include this as part of a civics or government class discussing the environment and public policy. This well-defined project is ready made for you. Integrate observations, documentation, measurements, deeper inspection, and ways to identify living and nonliving materials. Take photographs and record written accounts. Create presentations in PowerPoint, Prezi, reviewed here, Google presentations, reviewed here, or other presentation tools to draw in language arts standards. Expand the project to each student's backyard. Are any squares in your school or local area severely damaged environments? Brainstorm with students to find a way to change them back to their original state.
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Discovering Ancient Egypt - Mark Millmore

Grades
4 to 9
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Explore Ancient Egypt! Choose from topics on the left such as hieroglyphs, pyramids and temples, or kings and queens. Each topic includes descriptions, maps, videos, and more to take...more
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Explore Ancient Egypt! Choose from topics on the left such as hieroglyphs, pyramids and temples, or kings and queens. Each topic includes descriptions, maps, videos, and more to take an in-depth look. Be sure to check out the cool hieroglyphic typewriter for typing names and sending or printing secret messages! The videos from this site are hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, they may not be viewable. You could always view the videos at home and bring them to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as KeepVid, reviewed here, to download the videos from YouTube.
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tag(s): egypt (67), pyramids (29)

In the Classroom

The videos and information from this site would be useful during any unit on Ancient Egypt. Math teachers will also love the information about Egyptian numbers to include in a unit on different number systems. Share videos on an interactive whiteboard (or projector). Create a link on classroom computers for students to explore on their own. Have students create messages using the hieroglyphic typewriter then print (or screenshot) for others to decode. Have students create timelines using information from this site (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles reviewed here.

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A Moment in Time - New York Times

Grades
6 to 12
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. ...more
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What just happened here? The New York Times offers hundreds of user-submitted photographs from all over the world, each capturing "a moment in time" on a Sunday in May, 2010. Search by theme, and then give the virtual globe a spin to select a location from which to view your moment in time. Repeat. You won't want to stop. See the world in images from all over the world, all on the same day.

tag(s): creative writing (166), cross cultural understanding (115), debate (41), expository writing (44)

In the Classroom

Each of the "moment in time" photographs provides a wonderful thinking/writing/discussion prompt. What Just Happened Here? If it happened somewhere far away from me, how is it different from what happens in my backyard? What do I have in common with what is pictured? What don't I understand? Use this site to generate ideas for writing, for art, for debate. Use this as an avenue to open discussion about different cultures. Imagine a "moment in time" from another date, such as June 6, 1944, Sept 11, 2001, or an ordinary day in 2014. Challenge students to imagine and create their own moments in time to share.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Urban Observatory - Esri, Radical Media, and Richard Saul Wurman

Grades
8 to 12
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Visually compare current data about cities all around the world. Choose three cities at a time to access information such as work, movement (including transportation), systems, and...more
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Visually compare current data about cities all around the world. Choose three cities at a time to access information such as work, movement (including transportation), systems, and people. View the findings of all three cities side by side. After viewing introductory maps and a summary of trends about any specific city, click on specific information you need. The interactive and manipulable maps change as each different theme about the city comes up. You can easily and quickly compare different parts of the population, weather details, transportation facts, historical boundaries, parks, and many other themes. Creators of the site have the goal of adding data about more cities around the world and welcome outside additions to the fact bank.

tag(s): cities (25), data (148), population (60), railroads (10)

In the Classroom

Share this tool and compare locations on your interactive whiteboard or projector as you study geography, economics, or government. Ask students what items are important to look at in a city where they plan to live. Then ask them the same thing about a city where they plan to vacation. Have students make online "tours" to compare their choice of three cities using Stoodle reviewed here. Share cities as part of a world language class to discuss the economic and statistical differences in different cultures. Use data from this site in math classes for students to compare, contrast, and manipulate real world data.

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Big History Project - Big History Project LLC

Grades
8 to 12
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Big History Project is a free, online social studies course designed for secondary students tracing from the Big Bang through the history of humanity. This course takes a VERY broad...more
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Big History Project is a free, online social studies course designed for secondary students tracing from the Big Bang through the history of humanity. This course takes a VERY broad view of the "big picture" to provide greater perspective in how we see history. View course information in 2 sections with 10 units covering a time span of 13.7 billion years. Each unit contains between 20-30 modules including projects, discussion topics, and assessments. All are aligned to Common Core Standards. Other course offerings include Project Based Learning activities, videos, animations, infographics, and much more. A simpler, shorter version of the course for the general public is available under "Not an educator?. Click on "Check out our public course."

tag(s): agriculture (55), geologic time (9), industrialization (15), solar system (119)

In the Classroom

Use Big History Project as a complete year-long course in your high school. Adapt portions of the project for use within current classroom content. Share videos or use lessons or animations as part of any unit. If you employ Project Based Learning activities, use the three PBL learning activities embedded within the project. Be sure to read through the FAQ provided on the site for guidance on using the Big History Project in your classroom.

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Planet Pals - PLANETPALS

Grades
K to 5
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Discover countless activities, lesson plans, facts, and fun at Planet Pals. Lively characters such as Moonbeam and Earthman guide you through activities teaching about our planet and...more
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Discover countless activities, lesson plans, facts, and fun at Planet Pals. Lively characters such as Moonbeam and Earthman guide you through activities teaching about our planet and resources. Other links lead to Fast Facts about Earth, Wonders of the World, and much more. Explore book lists, arts and crafts, coloring pages, and much more within sections for teachers and parents. Don't miss the newest part of the site featuring Green Journals for use during holidays and seasonal celebrations.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): conservation (127), earth (228), earth day (112), endangered species (38), environment (317), ozone (10), recycling (57), weather (188)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson about our planet and more on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Make a shortcut to this site on classroom computers and use it as a center. Share this link on your class website for families searching for more science fun at home! Take advantage of the many free lesson plans. This site is perfect to find crafts for homemade gifts for holidays throughout the year.

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