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Design by the Book - New York Public Library

Grades
6 to 12
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How does an artist find inspiration, even in less likely places? This collection of four videos draws on real artists to open our eyes to inspiration from a library building ...more
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How does an artist find inspiration, even in less likely places? This collection of four videos draws on real artists to open our eyes to inspiration from a library building and its contents. The New York Public Library inspires this series of four videos about real artists and how they find new artistic ideas within the Library: from its books, its map collections, its light fixtures, and more. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): creativity (121)

In the Classroom

Share one or more of these videos on your projector or interactive whiteboard as you talk about artists and art history, and-- perhaps more importantly -- about what "inspires" your students to their own creations. Share digital pictures of a local library or landmark on a projector as inspiration for in-class artwork after watching one of these videos. As you study famous artists, compare the experiences of these New York artists, talking about their own creative process, with accounts by Van Gogh's diaries or authors' writing journals. As your art students prepare portfolios, use these videos as a model for blog entries (or videos of their own) sharing students' thoughts on their own creations and what inspired them. Have students make whole-class or individual wiki portfolio pages with digital pictures of their art projects and reflecting on the ideas behind their work in written text or embedded video clips. Use a safe video sharing site such as SchoolTube reviewed here to post student video; then "embed" them in a class wiki collection.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Frieze Patterns - NCTM Illuminations

Grades
4 to 12
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This site offers seven simple interactives that demonstrate various classes of Frieze patterns (patterns of symmetry). Students can experiment at this site with Glide Reflection and...more
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This site offers seven simple interactives that demonstrate various classes of Frieze patterns (patterns of symmetry). Students can experiment at this site with Glide Reflection and Rotation, Horizontal and Vertical Reflections, and Translations. Click on the small red circles to transform the figures, use the red "s" to stretch or shorten the pattern. Some of the terminology is even applicable in elementary math.

There is a link to a detailed lesson plan (including a few lesson plans, printables, and interactives). This site is aligned to national standards. The site requires both Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): rotation (12), transformations (17)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector during a unit about rotation and/or reflection. Have students work with partners to explore this site together. Have students create their own patterns using graph paper or a drawing program with lines of symmetry and simple "flip horizontal" or "flip vertical" commands. Take advantage of the ready to go lesson plans, printables, and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Tower of Hanoi - NCTM Illuminations

Grades
6 to 12
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This traditional "Tower of Hanoi" challenges secondary (and possibly gifted elementary) students to move all of the interactive discs from the left peg to the right peg. The goal is...more
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This traditional "Tower of Hanoi" challenges secondary (and possibly gifted elementary) students to move all of the interactive discs from the left peg to the right peg. The goal is to move the discs using the lowest number of moves. This site requires Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): brain (72), logic (236), puzzles (203)

In the Classroom

Use this activity for independent challenges at the beginning of your math class. List this site on your class blog or website for students to try at home. Ask your advanced students to generate a "how to" explanation for the challenge.

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Primary KRYPTO - NCTM Illuminations

Grades
2 to 7
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This interactive activity is a primary Krypto using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You will build number sense as well as computation skills. The rules are simple:...more
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This interactive activity is a primary Krypto using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You will build number sense as well as computation skills. The rules are simple: combine five numbers and choose the operation in between to obtain the final "target" number. Primary Krypto uses the numbers 1-10 only. You simply "drag and drop" the numbers to the correct locations. To choose the operation, you click on the smaller boxes and the symbols (+, -, etc) appear. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (225), division (160), multiplication (211), number sense (98), subtraction (185), vision (77)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. This is an excellent challenge for young gifted students. Have students work in pairs to try out these interactive puzzles. You may find them challenging each other to do more as they become addicted!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Mathematical Fiction - Alex Kasman

Grades
K to 12
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This site provides countless books, films, plays, and television shows that all relate to specific math concepts. What a fabulous way to integrate math, language arts, history, and...more
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This site provides countless books, films, plays, and television shows that all relate to specific math concepts. What a fabulous way to integrate math, language arts, history, and more! The site includes the title, year, and brief description. Teachers can browse by genre, medium, motif, and/or topic. Media include everything from comic books to plays to television series. Genres include historical fiction, children's literature, adventure/espionage, fantasy, science fiction, and more. Sixty-three fiction offerings are even available FREE (in their entirety) online! The site is still developing and frequently adds additional fiction titles. Students who enjoy fantasy will also enjoy choosing books from this site, since the author admits that not all math mentioned in all the books is "real" math!! The site allows teachers to search by keyword and also to browse new offerings in the compilation of titles.

tag(s): logic (236), probability (131), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find extra reading choices for reluctant readers who are interested in technology and math. Use it also to show students that math processes are inherent in a lot of life's experiences. Search the site for your current math topics. Share this link on your class website for students (and parents) to use at home. Share it with your school librarian for a featured reading shelf. Challenge your more verbal/linguistic gifted students to write similar stories that feature a math concept and create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here.

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Johns Hopkins University CTY Program - The Johns Hopkins University

Grades
2 to 12
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Created by the Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth at the Johns Hopkins University, this site contains comprehensive information for teachers of gifted students in upper...more
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Created by the Institute for the Academic Advancement of Youth at the Johns Hopkins University, this site contains comprehensive information for teachers of gifted students in upper elementary grades through middle school. Highlights include information about summer programs for students in grades 2-12, summer employment opportunities for elementary and middle school teachers interested in becoming involved in CTY summer programs, the CTY talent search, student application information, ability and achievement testing, recommended publications and resources, and available services for interested schools and teachers.

tag(s): gifted (89)

In the Classroom

Share this link with your parents of gifted students.

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Write Like an Egyptian - University of Pennsylvania Museum

Grades
3 to 12
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This is a fun (and easy to use) site to add to an Egyptian unit or any unit based on historical types of writing or communication. By simply typing in ...more
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This is a fun (and easy to use) site to add to an Egyptian unit or any unit based on historical types of writing or communication. By simply typing in their name, students will see how it might have been written in hieroglyphs by an ancient scribe. The maximum number of letters is 16. After you enter your name and click inscribe, you are linked to a page with your name written in hieroglyphics AND a link to the "scribe" for more information about Egypt and hieroglyphs.

tag(s): egypt (70)

In the Classroom

By providing picture clues, have students try to solve names using the Egyptian symbols. If students want to seek the scribe and delve into hieroglyphs a bit further, click on Scribe at the bottom of the page. They will be directed to the University of Pennsylvania Museum website for detailed information regarding the Egyptian culture. Are you looking for a site to use with younger students? Check out Journey to Egypt (reviewed here). Click on the link for Hieroglyphics to learn more.

Use this site as part of a study of different alphabets and coded symbols, even comparing them to mathematical or musical symbols as a means of communicating meaning. Gifted students will enjoy exploring and comparing different symbol systems.

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Fantastic contraption - InXile Entertainment

Grades
3 to 10
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Use this physics mechanism creator to build amazing contraptions. Stretch your brain with the puzzles and contraptions to move the object in to the goal. Use simple URLS to share ...more
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Use this physics mechanism creator to build amazing contraptions. Stretch your brain with the puzzles and contraptions to move the object in to the goal. Use simple URLS to share your fantastic creations with your friends. Follow the simple instructions and tutorial. Visit the forum for challenges and fixes to activities.

tag(s): machines (28), newton (26), simple machines (35)

In the Classroom

Share the tutorial on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students make a contraption and then discuss the simple machines used to create the contraption. Create a contest for the most elaborate contraption or for creativity in reaching the goal. Share the student created contraption (providing the URL) on you class website or blog. Have students write an explanation of their contraption on the blog or wiki, using terms from physics and Newton's laws. More able students can create several alternate machines to accomplish the same task and compare them.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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KENKEN - Nextoy, LLC

Grades
4 to 12
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The KENKEN craze is spreading quickly across the world! Created in 2004 by Japanese Math Teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, these puzzles are fun, educational, and addictive. At first, these...more
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The KENKEN craze is spreading quickly across the world! Created in 2004 by Japanese Math Teacher, Tetsuya Miyamoto, these puzzles are fun, educational, and addictive. At first, these puzzles appear very similar to Sudoku puzzles. They have a few added components (more math and logic required). There are various levels of difficulties (3x3 puzzles through 9x9 puzzles). For 3x3 puzzles, you use only numbers 1-3, for 4x4 puzzles you use only numbers 1-4, and so on. At the time of our review of this brand-new puzzle, the 3x3 puzzles had not been created. But they add new puzzles daily, so check back! The rules are simple: each number can only be used once in any row or column. There are also "cages" which are represented by heavily outlined sets of squares. The goal is to produce the target number (in the corner of the cage). Numbers can be repeated within one cage, just so the number is not already in the row or column. Want to learn more? View the How to Play link that includes written instructions and a tutorial video. Puzzles are also PRINTABLE. Don't miss the link for teachers. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): addition (225), division (160), logic (236), multiplication (211), puzzles (203), subtraction (185), sudoku (17), vision (77)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore the puzzles on their own. Use this site to differentiate for various students. Be certain to save this site in your favorites and check back often. List this link on your class website so students can "play" both in and out of the classroom. Have older students attempt to create their own KENKEN puzzles. It's not as easy as you think.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Language is a Virus - Unknown

Grades
6 to 12
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In spite of the annoying ads, the rich choices of writing ideas, prompts, exercises, and "widgets" on this site are well worth the time to digest and wade through. There's ...more
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In spite of the annoying ads, the rich choices of writing ideas, prompts, exercises, and "widgets" on this site are well worth the time to digest and wade through. There's so much! There are 17 "widgets" for curing writer's block: Electronic Poetry, Haiku-a-Tron, Character Name, Text Collage, Creative Writing Prompts, Random Line Generator, and MANY others. There are also 7 links to post your fiction and poetry, 2 sections on creative writing and prompts (including 60+ writing experiments by Charles Bernstein), poetry links, visual inspiration, and a long list of authors you can click on to read articles or see questions answered, plus more articles and extras.

To post any stories or poems at Language is a Virus you must be registered. The log-in process does require an email address. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Before having students post anything on this site, check your school's Acceptable Use Policy and BE CERTAIN to obtain parental permission. Be aware this site has several advertisements and includes Twitter Buttons, Badges, Backgrounds, and Images. Be sure to provide students with specific instructions of where they MAY and may NOT go. Or make this site a whole-class activity (too bad, though, since writing is so individual).

tag(s): poetry (222)

In the Classroom

Just using the "Widgets to Cure Writer's Block" section makes writing fun. From Mad-lib poems to a random line generator this offers lots of laughs as well as creativity nudging for students. The "66 Writing Experiments of Charles Bernstein" offers a variety of activities for students from sentence combining to poetry to transcription to chronology.

Share the prompts and activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work on individual computers to use these activities to cure their writer's block. Just be sure to give instructions of where they can and can't visit! Keep your pop-up blocker turned ON to avoid at least some of the annoying advertising.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Written in Bone: The Secret in the Cellar - Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Grades
5 to 12
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This site, The Secret in the Cellar, offers a "webcomic" based on a TRUE story. This story mixes some history, science, forensics, and more to create an authentic mystery for...more
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This site, The Secret in the Cellar, offers a "webcomic" based on a TRUE story. This story mixes some history, science, forensics, and more to create an authentic mystery for students to read and solve. The mystery involves the discovery of a 17th Century body. Who is he or she? How did he or she die? Use photos, graphics, and online activities to unravel this history mystery! Analyze artifacts, examine the skeleton, and determine the cause of death.

Be sure to turn off your pop-up blocker to experience all the features. There is a link to Print & Help, there you can download the entire webcomic and all supporting documents. There is also an optional feedback survey at the end of the webcomic. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): anthropology (11), forensics (27), fossils (44)

In the Classroom

This site is ideal for entire class viewing, small group exploration, or even as an individual project for students. Share the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have your students keep a journal while they view the webcomic, keeping track of the clues and details as they are found. What a great way to teach scientific method, including forming a hypothesis and collecting data before analyzing whether your hypothesis proves correct! Use this site with younger gifted students during a "mystery" unit. Share the site during your lessons on the 17th century, as well.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Mathematics in Movies - Oliver Knill

Grades
6 to 12
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This site features engaging movie scenes (in Quicktime and Flash formats) that involve Math problems. Beside each clip and title is an explanation of the Math concept in the clip. ...more
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This site features engaging movie scenes (in Quicktime and Flash formats) that involve Math problems. Beside each clip and title is an explanation of the Math concept in the clip. Most are secondary level, but a few are for lower grades. If you click on the TITLE of the movie, you will be lead to a site to purchase, rate, and/or view the movie in its entirety. To avoid this confusion, be sure to click on the "Play the Flash Version or QuickTime" links. These links lead directly to the "math clip." Links at the bottom lead to other movie collections websites.

tag(s): logic (236), movies (71), patterns (87)

In the Classroom

Use the links "Begin of Lectures in College teaching" and "The end of lectures in college teaching" to identify effective and ineffective teaching elements at all levels. Use these clips for anticipatory set or activators at the start of a lesson or introduction of a concept. Share the video clips on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Discuss the concepts as a class or have students work in cooperative learning groups. See if students can identify any other movie or television show that has used math concepts. If time permits, have students create their own mini-dramas that include discussion of math concepts within the story.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Meet Amazing Americans - The Library of Congress

Grades
1 to 8
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This site offers some basic research on MANY "Amazing" Americans. Click to learn more about "Amazing" Leaders & Statesmen, U.S. Presidents, Activists & Reformers, Adventurers & Explorers,...more
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This site offers some basic research on MANY "Amazing" Americans. Click to learn more about "Amazing" Leaders & Statesmen, U.S. Presidents, Activists & Reformers, Adventurers & Explorers, Musicians & Composers, Writers & Artists, Industrialists & Entrepreneurs, Scientist & Inventors, or Athletes and Entertainers. Be prepared: when you click on one of the topics you may have a few people pop up OR more names than you can count! This is an excellent site for research, teaching students about American heroes, or using to enhance your social studies, science, or music curriculum. There are pictures, information, and even some interactives. There are also links to a Presidential Scavenger Hunt, a "Dynamite Presidents" interactive, and other "extras." Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): composers (21), explorers (63), inventors and inventions (94), presidents (131), scientists (69)

In the Classroom

This site could be used throughout the entire year. Why not highlight a "hero of the week." Share the information on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students write diary entries (or blogs) from the perspective of the "hero of the week." Use this site for individual research projects and have students create multimedia presentations about their hero: a Powerpoint, website, blog, wiki, or video. This site can be used in more than just social studies topics. Music classes, science classes, and gifted classes can also benefit from the many research areas.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Wonder How To - Wonder How To, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to ...more
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to comment on the videos, grade the videos, or submit your own "how to" video. Topics vary; some are appropriate for the classroom - others are definitely NOT appropriate. Some of the general topics that may be useful in the middle school or high school classroom include: alcohol, autos, motorcycles, and planes, business and money, computers and programming, diet and health, education (which features a variety of science experiments and more), film and theater, language (English, Chinese, Hungarian, Russian, Finnish, sign language, Polish, and countless others), music and instruments, travel, and several other topics. Within each of these general topics, there are thousands of specific "how to" videos.

Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.

Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): aircraft (23), business (58), money (182), russian (29), sign language (8)

In the Classroom

Use these fabulous "how to" videos for informative writing projects in speech, science, or even with your gifted students. The site does provide excellent research. You may want to link directly to the specific videos you want students to see in order to avoid other, less-desirable options. Share the "how to" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a new lesson. For a final project, have students create and submit their own "how to" video using YouTube or using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

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Sharp Brains - Sharpbrains

Grades
6 to 12
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How...more
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How Your Brain Works, Attention, Memory, Pattern Recognition and Planning, Visual Workouts, Visual Illusions, Language and Logic, and others. Some of the activities are quick (less than a minute) while others require more time. The activities could be used in many subject areas; there are language activities, math, general logic, and even some for physical education.

Be aware: each mind stretcher activity includes a blog. Some of the blog comments may not be appropriate, so be sure to READ any blogs that you plan to share. You may want to make these activities a group challenge, rather than individual exploration. Many are interactive and require Flash or Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): brain (72), logic (236), puzzles (203), stress (15)

In the Classroom

Start your class (any subject area) with a mind stretcher or include this as part of a psychology or biology lesson on how the brain works. Share the puzzle or challenge on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge your students to create their own logic activities and create a class "Logic" wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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AAA Math

Grades
K to 8
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Students can practice math skills independently (and in both English and Spanish) with this collection of challenging, interactive practice activities, organized by grade level and...more
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Students can practice math skills independently (and in both English and Spanish) with this collection of challenging, interactive practice activities, organized by grade level and topic. Click Spanish version at the top for your ESL/ELL students to have access to the same valuable resources! The website says the activities are designed for students in grades K through eight. Topics vary greatly and include algebra, statistics, counting, comparing, decimals, basic operations, exponents, fractions, and many others. Nearly every math topic taught in elementary or middle school, will be found at this site. Once you click on the general topic area, be prepared for a HUGE list of specific choices to explore. Each math concept is explained in a simple paragraph and then students are presented with practice activities about the specific concept. The practice activities are timed.

Be aware there are several advertisements at this website (all appropriate). But considering this site is free (and full of ready to go math activities), the advertisements are worth the minor annoyance.

tag(s): estimation (47), exponents (43), measurement (164), mental math (29), money (182), patterns (87), place value (52), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

This site has countless possibilities in the classroom. Use the descriptions and activities as an anticipatory set for a new topic in math class. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Set up a learning station for students and differentiate the activities for your lower and higher level math students. Provide this link on your class website for students to use to review at home.

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Puzzlers Paradise - Shelly Hazard

Grades
2 to 10
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This site offers some fabulous (and addicting) mind stretchers. There are both visual and verbal puzzles. There is also a puzzle archive featuring a variety of puzzles for various grade...more
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This site offers some fabulous (and addicting) mind stretchers. There are both visual and verbal puzzles. There is also a puzzle archive featuring a variety of puzzles for various grade levels. Some of the puzzles are interactive and you complete them online, while others are printable. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): logic (236), puzzles (203)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites. Use a logic puzzle as a class opener to "warm up" brains. Display the puzzle on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Print out the logic puzzles for students to complete for additional enrichment. Use this site with your gifted students. Provide a link to this site on your class website for students to use at home. Challenge your students to create some puzzlers of their own and share them on a class wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Remember The Milk - Remember the Milk.com

Grades
K to 12
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Your busy life needs a manager. Now you have one: RememberTheMilk.com (also known as RTM). Don't worry about missing a date; any or all of these applications or programs will ...more
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Your busy life needs a manager. Now you have one: RememberTheMilk.com (also known as RTM). Don't worry about missing a date; any or all of these applications or programs will remind you: email, SMS, and instant messenger (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype and Yahoo) are all supported. Set up a free account in minutes. Secondary students will embrace this tool to remind them of tests or assignments or sporting events. List making has made it to a whole new level.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (173), organizational skills (128), time (139)

In the Classroom

Read the Blog at this site to learn many cool ways to interact with your personal computer an devices using RTM. Learning support teachers and teachers of disorganized gifted students may want to "model" using such an online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Make a demo account for a "mythical" student and organize him/her together so students can see how it works. You will have to check school policies and access to some of the messaging tools, however, since some may be prohibited in your school. Learning support and gifted teachers will welcome this online tool as an engaging way for students to become better-organized. Give students a tech tool, and they just might try it!

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WayBack: Plast-O-Matic - PBS Kids GO!

Grades
3 to 8
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Come to this site to learn more about the fantastic invention: Plastic! Click on M.F.P.P.L. to visit an interactive that challenges students to manufacture pieces of missing...more
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Come to this site to learn more about the fantastic invention: Plastic! Click on M.F.P.P.L. to visit an interactive that challenges students to manufacture pieces of missing plastic. The challenge is to create all eighteen items. The

tag(s): 1950s (12), inventors and inventions (94), plastics (9)

In the Classroom

Use this site to teach your students about the importance of plastics in medicine, cooking, and everyday life. Have students try the interactive challenge with a partner. Use this site for research projects on inventions. Have students brainstorm a list of things that they use that are made from plastics. Try some of the science experience (Slime, Anyone) -- sure to excite your students, and possibly get them a bit messy.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Olympics Resources - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame...more
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame in your classroom.

tag(s): china (67), olympics (49)

In the Classroom

Use these Olympics resources to plan an entire unit during the Olympics or make them available as links from your teacher web page for enrichment if the Olympics fall during school breaks. Not enough time for an Olympics unit? Perhaps students can use these links to generate ideas and projects to share on an Olympics extra credit wiki. Teachers of gifted will find many ways to spark new projects usig these links.

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