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

Grades
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 (293), romans (35), rome (28), transportation (41)

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 (115), ecology (135), ecosystems (89), 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.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (321), scientific method (67)

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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A Moment in Time - New York Times

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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 (170), cross cultural understanding (117), debate (45), 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.
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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 (149), population (62), railroads (11)

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 (57), geologic time (9), industrialization (14), solar system (122)

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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Free Map Tools - Andreas Viklund

Grades
K to 12
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Free Map Tools provides tools for measuring, marking up, and using overlays with maps. Scroll through to find tools for discovering the radius around any point on a map, calculating...more
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Free Map Tools provides tools for measuring, marking up, and using overlays with maps. Scroll through to find tools for discovering the radius around any point on a map, calculating the area of the enclosed point on a map, or determining the distance between any two points. Choose any of the tools to begin and follow directions to find results. This site has some clickable advertisements, so be cautious where you click.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): area (68), map skills (82), maps (293), measurement (159)

In the Classroom

Use Free Map Tools to add interest to any Social Studies or Math lessons. Learn about area in math by locating homes or businesses on the map, and determining the area that would need to be shoveled during each winter. Find the distance between any two points (home and the pizza place?) and compare that distance to actual driving distance. Want to know what is directly underneath you on the globe? Have students make a prediction. Then use the Map Tunneling Tool to find out if the predictions were correct. Use throughout the year for any number of purposes! You will want to share this one on your class web page for quick access when questions come up.

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Smarty Pins - Google

Grades
6 to 12
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The ...more
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Smarty Pins is an online game combining Google Maps with historical trivia questions. Start a game, and a trivia question pops up requiring an answer that can be mapped. The game gets you started in the right general location, but you have to drop a pin in the right spot to answer the question. Your score depends upon how close you are. Starting with 1000 points, you lose a point for every cumulative mile you are away from the target(s). The questions come from broad categories like science, history, current events and entertainment, and it's possible to narrow your questions to just one of the categories.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (170), map skills (82), maps (293), trivia (18)

In the Classroom

Smarty Pins would be great as a reward for students who finish work promptly, for advanced students who have completed an assignment before other students, or as a way to focus student attention quickly at the beginning of class. It can be used collaboratively from an interactive white board, or it launches from both the Android and the iOS Google map app or from a desktop. Challenge your students to design their own geography quizzes using Mapskip, reviewed here, adding their own "stories" with questions.

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Totally History - totallyhistory.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Totally History offers a brief overview on many historical events and topics. Choose from categories including art history, U.S. history, world history, famous history, and the history...more
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Totally History offers a brief overview on many historical events and topics. Choose from categories including art history, U.S. history, world history, famous history, and the history of technology. Within each topic, find facts and a several paragraph overview of the content.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): american revolution (89), art history (72), civil war (145), presidents (132), religions (67), vietnam (36), world war 1 (53), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Totally History offers a starting point to find basic facts and information on many topics. Use material from the site to introduce any topic such as presidents or events in World or American History. Share with students to use as a resource for classroom projects and reports. Have students create timelines (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about a president or any person or event in history.

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OK2Ask'® Go Google - Searching, Gmail, Google Maps July 2014 - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2014, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore Gmail, Google Calendar, Super Searching on Google, Google Maps, and...more
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This recording of an OK2Ask online professional development session from July 2014, opens in Adobe Connect. Explore Gmail, Google Calendar, Super Searching on Google, Google Maps, and more. Explore ways to safely use Gmail in class. Learn how to use Google Calendar to get organized. Explore the world using Google Maps. Familiarize yourself with Google Trends, Google Correlate, Blog Searches, and more. Participants will be given time to explore. A question/answer period will also be available. Prerequisite: All participants MUST have a Google account. This session is for teachers at Beginner to Intermediate Technology Comfort Levels.

As a result of this session and through individual follow-up, teachers will: Find ways to incorporate both Google Calendar and Gmail in your classroom/position. Browse and explore Google Trends, Google Correlate, Blog Searches, and more. Learn about and navigate around Google Maps. (Follow-up) Create a lesson for your own classroom (or position) using one of the Google tools shared.

Applicable ISTE-T standards (2008)*: 1a and b, 2b and c, 3a and d * The text of these standards is copyrighted. Please read the full text at ISTE's standards page

tag(s): map skills (82), maps (293), organizational skills (128), search engines (65), search strategies (29)

In the Classroom

Get organized this year with Google Calendar. Learn about using gmail in your classroom. Take your students on a trip around the world - make them learn while they are having fun exploring! The possibilities are endless! Save yourself time searching using some of these search secrets shared during this session. Learn about search tools appropriate for even the youngest elementary students. Take a look at the resource page full of MANY great sites and ideas! Learn more about OK2Ask and upcoming sessions here.
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Fracking Across the United States - Earth Justice Org.

Grades
6 to 12
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View this interactive Google map to discover where "fraccidents" have occurred and a description of what happened. A "fraccident" is when something goes wrong at a fracking site. Hydraulic...more
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View this interactive Google map to discover where "fraccidents" have occurred and a description of what happened. A "fraccident" is when something goes wrong at a fracking site. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" is drilling to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. Fracking is a controversial technology, and this site is one organization's efforts to slow the pace of industrial gas development. So you will notice some bias. Find out if anything like this has happened near you. At the bottom of the page is a video, "Finding Their Way." It is about a Williamsport, PA couple who developed strategies to stop industrial gas development in Rider Park, land consisting of forests, rivers, and fields. The video also gives statistics about how quickly fracking wells were built in Pennsylvania from 2007 - 2010.

tag(s): disasters (39), energy (203), environment (321), geology (82), natural resources (60), oil (45), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector during a study of fossil fuels, geology, or energy and government policy. Show students an overview of the interactive map and the states listed below it. Have partners select a state, click on the skull and crossbones, and read about the "fraccidents" that have happened. Have students record the state and the facts about the "fraccident" using an online bulletin board and stickies such as Lino reviewed here. At this point, have students research the positive side of fracking and/or alternative versions of what happened in this "fraccident." Students could then write argument/persuasive papers. Math students could determine the frequency of accidents from fracking over the years and predict what might happen in the states targeted for fracking in the future (listed below the map). Students could view the video at the bottom of the page and discuss the steps taken to stop fracking in Williamsport, PA.
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Smithsonian: Energy Innovation - Smithsonian

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6 to 12
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Explore the leading U.S. states in the production of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." There are three parts to this interactive map. Major Shale Plays shows where...more
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Explore the leading U.S. states in the production of natural gas by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." There are three parts to this interactive map. Major Shale Plays shows where extraction is considered both technically possible and profitable. In State by State Comparison, simply click on each state to show a chart of production rates and reserves. Where is Fracking Happening? provides a legend displaying Shale gas wells and Plays and Basins. Click on the map to zoom in. The accompanying article provides information about technology, earthquakes, and the liquids used in fracking.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (203), environment (321), geology (82), natural resources (60), oil (45), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site with an interactive whiteboard or projector and big screen. View together as a class to show students how the interactive map works. Have pairs of students go through the interactive maps and write down key phrases for information they learn. Then have the pairs create a word cloud of the important terms learned from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here. This site could be used in a unit on contemporary environmental issues or energy. Use it for background research for a class debate on fracking. It would also provide evidence for a Common Core-style writing piece developing an argument and supporting evidence. In a government or civics class, this information could be part of a class discussion on how government policies can affect the environment.

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Extracting Natural Gas From Rock - New York Times

Grades
5 to 12
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Learn the steps in extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" with this interactive. The platform shows each step in drilling to fracture shale rocks to release...more
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Learn the steps in extracting natural gas using hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking" with this interactive. The platform shows each step in drilling to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas. On the left side of many of the frames are explanations of problems that may occur in that step in the process.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): energy (203), environment (321), geology (82), natural resources (60), oil (45), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in science, current events, government or civics classes when studying environmental issues or for issues about regulation. Before sharing this interactive article with students, identify concepts that need an explanation in class. Have students create a four square chart (fold paper "hamburger" style) and list what they know about fracking in one square. Students then explore this interactive to determine whether their statements are correct or false. In the square next to their brainstorm, have students correct their misunderstandings. In the third square, they can list the possible problems with each step. Use ProConIt, reviewed here, and search for fracking debates. In the fourth square have students record the "pros" for fracking in the ProConIt debates. Students in current events and language arts classes can then write opinion pieces or argument and persuasive papers. Read the site to become informed about this controversial topic as it may become a political issue in upcoming elections in some locations. For younger students, have pairs go through the interactive sections and write down key phrases for information they learn. Then have the pairs create a word cloud of the important terms learned from this site using a tool such as Wordle, reviewed here, Tagxedo, reviewed here, or WordItOut, reviewed here.
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Great Lakes Echo - MSU Department of Telecommunications, Info Studies, and Media

Grades
6 to 12
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Find a constantly updated collection of informational articles about the environment of the Great Lakes. Subscribe to receive news of current feature articles. The variety of article...more
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Find a constantly updated collection of informational articles about the environment of the Great Lakes. Subscribe to receive news of current feature articles. The variety of article topics is sure to catch the interest of almost any reader. The articles have Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike licenses so are free to use and recopy (be sure to attribute!).
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (290), fish (27), insects (71), plants (155), pollution (67), water (130), watersheds (16), weather (194)

In the Classroom

Use this resource in a science or environmental science classroom to identify and learn about various problems affecting the Great Lakes. Many of the concerns are representative of watersheds and freshwater bodies in other locations, as well. These articles are also valuable to examine current events in a social studies or civics classroom, identifying the impact of current environmental challenges on society and of society on the environment. Use these articles to provide experience with reading informational texts. Annotate an article using one of many annotation tools such as Scrible or Crocodoc, as part of "close reading." Compare the environmental issues of the Great Lakes with those of other water areas. Add this link to a bank of resources for students to use in research of issues affecting waterways.

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OECD Better Life Index - OECD Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Grades
8 to 12
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Explore statistics and data about what it takes to be happy in different locations. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you have the best life? Of ...more
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Explore statistics and data about what it takes to be happy in different locations. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you have the best life? Of course, it all depends on what you think contributes to a better life. The OECD presents the opportunity to choose from among 11 indices related to happiness. Rank them in order of importance to you, and then see graphically which countries in the world have the best quality of life based on those considerations. Want to have a high income? Then the United States ranks first in that category. Is the cost and quality of available housing what matters? Norway ranks first in that category. Other indices include Environment, Education, Safety, Work-Life Balance, Health, and Jobs. A slider bar on each index allows you to select your priorities and then watch as the countries realign themselves according to your preferences.

tag(s): communities (36), cross cultural understanding (117), environment (321), politics (100), safety (91)

In the Classroom

A great classroom discussion starter, and perfect for displaying on an interactive whiteboard, the Better Life Index allows students to consider and debate what makes for a "better life." And once (or if) they can reach a consensus on those factors, where could that life be found in the world? Of course, once you discover that people are healthiest, for example, in Australia, what does that mean? Why are they healthy there? What community, government, and institutional factors make Australia healthy? Do they make choices other countries don't? This is a wonderful tool for guiding discussion about the public policy decisions made by citizens and governments, and how those decisions affect the quality of life. It would also provide powerful information for persuasive writing or debates. If you talk about utopias and dystopias, this is another way for students to decide what the criteria are for each. If you study world cultures, this site can provide a whole different lens to promote crosscultural understanding. Assign students to compare and contrast factors that matter most to them across multiple countries. Gifted students who are designing an "ideal civilization" can find meaningful data here to use as part of their plans.

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Adventure '14 - Jason Elsom

Grades
K to 12
3 Favorites 1  Comments
Experience a worldwide, virtual, culture exchange in November, 2014. Adventure '14 is an opportunity to work with students from another culture. The only equipment needed is a computer,...more
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Experience a worldwide, virtual, culture exchange in November, 2014. Adventure '14 is an opportunity to work with students from another culture. The only equipment needed is a computer, webcam, reasonable Internet connection, and a projector. Signing up indicates an interest, not a commitment. Sign up requirements: contact information about the school or group, age range, and website address. Also, indicate if there is an interest in pairing up with others by subject, language, or interests. Although there are places to fill in Twitter account information, having a Twitter account is not required. Get to know about people in another culture, embrace the opportunity to work together on a global project, and create a website together (optional).

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (117), cultures (107)

In the Classroom

Consider the many ways your class could collaborate. Science students can collaborate on labs, history students on research, and math students can solve some of the world's most difficult equations together. ESL/ELL students might collaborate with students who want to know about their experiences where one does not speak the language.

Partner teachers can choose a collaborative platform students can use to brainstorm ideas they have about the other country and culture before they meet. Use a projector and Lino, reviewed here, (no membership required) to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge about the culture with whom they will be working. Once the project is underway, go back to Lino occasionally, and add what they learned and whether it coincides with the students' original ideas. Ask the partner class if they will fill in the areas and ideas missed on your Lino. Also, consider asking the partner school to blog together. It is amazing the improvement you will see in student writing when they know they have an authentic audience! If you never blogged before, you might want to check out TeachersFirst Blog Basics for the Classroom. Use the blogs as a way to discuss topics related to both culture AND your curriculum: environmental topics, different types of government, or simply day to day life.

Comments

I intend to use this. It sounds like a great idea. , MD, Grades: 1 - 1

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GeoSettr - Create your own GeoGuessr Challenge - GeoSettr.com

Grades
4 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
 
Create your own GeoGuessr game using five Google Map street view locations. NO membership is required! These challenges show actual views of mystery locations for people to guess where...more
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Create your own GeoGuessr game using five Google Map street view locations. NO membership is required! These challenges show actual views of mystery locations for people to guess where they are. (See this review of GeoGuessr to see how the challenges work.) Move the person to the desired map location to set a location for each round. When complete, GeoSettr generates a URL that will take people to your unique GeoGuessr page.

tag(s): map skills (82), maps (293)

In the Classroom

Make geography come to life by gamifying it! Create (or have students create) landform games (what do these locations have in common), culture games, travel collections, etc. Use this tool to explore world cultures (or languages), geography, historical locations, famous battle locations, and more. Demonstrate how to create a game, then have students create and play games of their own. Pair this activity with What Was There, reviewed here, and have students use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram, reviewed here, to compare and contrast changes over time.

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In Charted Waters - Mapping a Brave New World - MSC Cruises

Grades
5 to 12
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Follow a timeline to view and learn about major ocean explorations from 500 BC through 1911. Each mouse click moves you through explorations beginning with Carthaginians reaching the...more
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Follow a timeline to view and learn about major ocean explorations from 500 BC through 1911. Each mouse click moves you through explorations beginning with Carthaginians reaching the Atlantic Ocean for the first time and finishing with Raold Amundsen setting foot on the South Pole. Deceptively simple, this site is worth a visit for a quick look at ocean exploration (and explorers) throughout time. Unlike many explorer sites and textbooks, this site includes explorations outside the western hemisphere.

tag(s): continents (49), explorers (65), maps (293), oceans (154)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on exploration on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Have students create maps using Animaps, reviewed here. Students can add text, images, and location stops. Have students create their own timelines of explorers (with music, photos, videos, and more) using Capzles, reviewed here. Have students use Fakebook reviewed here to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about one of the explorers mentioned on this site.

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Documentary Lens - National Film Board of Canada

Grades
9 to 12
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What makes a short film or documentary effective? The National Film Board of Canada presents a database of documentaries from the 1940s through 2004. Each film is annotated with questions...more
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What makes a short film or documentary effective? The National Film Board of Canada presents a database of documentaries from the 1940s through 2004. Each film is annotated with questions for discussion or with observations on important elements of the film. The focus is not necessarily on the content (although the films are grouped by theme), but rather on what makes the effort noteworthy. Don't miss the related site, accessed through the drop down menu, "Behind the Camera," that highlights the elements of good film making.

tag(s): canada (30), history day (24), media literacy (60), movies (72)

In the Classroom

The availability of inexpensive video cameras and film editing software makes including film making as a part of the regular classroom easier than ever. With digital writing included as part of Common Core, documentaries are a wonderful way to share student-written, informational text in a multimedia format. Incorporate the lessons that accompany these films as you introduce a documentary project. Help students understand that no matter how much fun it might be to watch the latest homemade viral video on YouTube, effective film making requires planning and design. The lessons presented here will be of particular assistance to students who are considering a National History Day entry in the documentary category.
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GDP: Measuring the human side of the Canadian Economic Crisis - National Film Board of Canada

Grades
9 to 12
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The National Film Board of Canada documented the economic crisis through short films and photo essays between 2008 and 2010. We hear about economic downturn every day, but it can ...more
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The National Film Board of Canada documented the economic crisis through short films and photo essays between 2008 and 2010. We hear about economic downturn every day, but it can be easy to forget the human side of hard times. Economic failures are more than statistics on a graph; they are the realities that affect lives. GDP presents these stories in 135 episodes and 53 photo essays. Search the stories by theme--community action, real estate, farming, natural resources--or by using the interactive map. Although the stories are from Canada, their appeal is broader, and they parallel what occurred in many countries.

tag(s): canada (30), media literacy (60), photography (162)

In the Classroom

This site can put a human face on the numbers for students studying current events, economics, or social studies. The site may also be useful as an example of how to tell stories related to history. Consider asking students to analyze HOW the stories are told, either using film or still photography. How can we use these media to illustrate a historical event? For students considering a History Day exhibit or documentary, these stories may provide inspiration and direction. As Common Core calls on students to engage in digital writing, showing these examples to help students plan student-made media will be more meaningful than simply talking about it.
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