TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Oct 11, 2009

Here are this week's features. Clicking the tags in the description area of each listing will present a list of other resources with this topic. | Click here to return to the Featured Sites Archive

 

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The Museum of Underwater Archaeology - The Museum of Underwater Archaeology

Grades
4 to 12
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Many museum sites are little more than a set of on-line directions to get to the brick-and-mortar museum and a few promotional photographs. This site, however, is designed to be ...more
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Many museum sites are little more than a set of on-line directions to get to the brick-and-mortar museum and a few promotional photographs. This site, however, is designed to be used as an online museum. You can start by searching the museum by geographic location or keyword. You can also search by time period from the "Teaching Kit" area. Or click on one of the featured exhibits which range from excavations of the CSS Alabama, the remains of an 18th century fleet sunk in New York's Lake George, to the HMS Serapis. A link to a "teachers' kit" gives information about ordering (free with the exception of shipping costs) a hands-on set of materials to keep and get free updates for as long as they would like to use it. For younger students, there is a slide show that introduces the concepts of underwater archaeology in an interactive whiteboard-friendly format (see featured exhibit: A Children's Introduction).

tag(s): oceans (163)

In the Classroom

Who isn't fascinated by treasure buried under the seas? This site will help you sneak in history lessons by engaging students in the process of underwater archaeology. The site also makes a strong effort to integrate various curriculum areas from art to biology along with the historical importance of various excavations. Students might also want to follow one of the underwater blogs with information about ongoing projects. Have cooperative learning groups create a multimedia project related to one of the blog stories. For visual students, use an online poster creator such as Padlet, reviewed here. Have students use a tool such as Zeemaps, reviewed here. Zeemaps allows students to create audio recordings AND choose a location (on a map) where the story takes place.

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Our Documents - 100 Milestone Documents - National Archives

Grades
6 to 12
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone"...more
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This site, a collaborative effort among the National Archives, National History Day and USA Freedom Corps, highlights the most important documents in US history. Each of these "milestone" documents is detailed and photographed on a separate page; the photo can be enlarged for presentation on an interactive whiteboard. What is most helpful for teachers, however, is the link to tools for educators: a downloadable sourcebook, suggestions for using the documents to meet specific national social studies, economics, English, arts, civics, history, geography and technology standards, and lesson plans. This site was clearly designed with teachers in mind!

tag(s): history day (24), primary sources (99)

In the Classroom

The use of primary sources in teaching has been greatly increased by our digital access to documents like these. Peruse the list of "milestone" documents, and commit to using the photographs on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) when the document comes up in a lesson or discussion. For teachers who are supporting student projects for National History Day, this site also has a link to specific tips, although it appears the site has not been kept up to date with current information on individual competitions. Challenge cooperative learning groups to investigate one of the documents and create a multimedia project of their choice. Looking for some inspiration? How about having groups create a podcast using PodOmatic (reviewed here). Or have students create online posters on paper or do it together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard (reviewed here) or PicLits (reviewed here). Have students narrate a photo of the document (using a FREE and LEGAL photo) using a site such as Thinglink, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Futures Channel: Real World Movies - The Futures Channel

Grades
4 to 12
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Looking to show math, science, and STEM in real life? Look no further! This site has real world applications in video form. The clips tend to be five minutes or ...more
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Looking to show math, science, and STEM in real life? Look no further! This site has real world applications in video form. The clips tend to be five minutes or less. Videos are arranged into topic areas such as architecture, sports and many others. Learn about bicycle design, wind sails, recycling, creating an advertising team, and MUCH more. It is a good collection of video clips focused on the real math and science behind jobs that people do in real life.

tag(s): agriculture (57), architecture (84), business (55), environment (322), sports (101), STEM (201), transportation (47)

In the Classroom

The clips are brief which makes them ideal for introductions to math lessons or science lessons utilizing the interactive whiteboard or projector. Also, a lesson could be developed in math showing students what a clip of math in a real world movie looks like, and then have students use research to create their own short video clips. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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E-learning for kids - e-learning for kids

Grades
K to 6
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Check out this site offering FREE learning courses to students in science, language arts, English language, math, health and life skills, and computer skills. Choose from a wide variety...more
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Check out this site offering FREE learning courses to students in science, language arts, English language, math, health and life skills, and computer skills. Choose from a wide variety of different learning experiences in the subject areas for earning in a fun and engaging way. Each subject area has countless interactives ready to go! Detailed instructions are provided for each activity. You can control sound easily from the screen.

tag(s): body systems (59), fractions (231), human body (131), matter (63), measurement (179), money (185), nutrition (156), sorting (12)

In the Classroom

Use these "courses" as reinforcement of concepts, to uncover misconceptions, and to explore interesting topics. Share the activities on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Create learning centers focuses on the specific content of the activities. Have cooperative learning groups (or individual students) explore specific topics and report back to the class. For example, have each group view the activities for a specific body part (blood, brain, hearing, immune system, heart and circulation, skeleton, skin, teeth, and more) and create a multimedia presentation. Have cooperative learning groups create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. Provide this link on your class website for families to explore together.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Brainstormer - Andrew Bosley

Grades
6 to 12
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Stumped for different ways to get students to write a unique story or think about plot development? Spin the wheel on Brainstormer: a free word generator that can offer unique ...more
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Stumped for different ways to get students to write a unique story or think about plot development? Spin the wheel on Brainstormer: a free word generator that can offer unique ways to develop prompts. Click the center button to let the wheel spin. Three words will be chosen that can be used to develop a story or to get over writer's block.

tag(s): writing (359)

In the Classroom

After clicking the wheel, use the three words to develop your own prompt or give students the option to use the words in any way that they see fit. Alternately, use the three words to create posters or other multimedia pieces. As a class, use the Brainstormer on your interactive whiteboard to develop a story map/plot diagram using the conflict suggested by a class "spin." Help students to appreciate narrative patterns from the author's side. Have students click on the button on individual computers to create a variety of writing prompts in your classroom. Share the stories by having students read them aloud during a podcast, created using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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GeneBoy - Dolan DNA Learning Center

Grades
9 to 12
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GeneBoy is the application creator's genetic version of a "GameBoy." It is an interactive science tool of variations that can be made with gene sequencing. To use the site, select ...more
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GeneBoy is the application creator's genetic version of a "GameBoy." It is an interactive science tool of variations that can be made with gene sequencing. To use the site, select a sequence from the left side of the GeneBoy, or use the "your sequence" button to copy and paste your own sequence into the application. To copy the original sequence, press clone on the bottom of the screen. The sequence can then be analyzed or manipulated through the tools on the right.

Need some help navigating this site? Check out the "How To" button to learn how to use Gene Boy.

tag(s): dna (64), genetics (88), sequencing (29)

In the Classroom

This web application would be useful in higher level to advanced biology courses and college level biology courses. The application could be used in the classroom with students working in pairs or independently on laptops. Be sure to demonstrate the site on your interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Goosebumps: The Science of Fear - California Science Center

Grades
3 to 10
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Explore the science of fear with this fun and interesting site. Click on "Explore Fear Online." View "Fear and the Brain" to understand how the brain responds to fear. Learn ...more
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Explore the science of fear with this fun and interesting site. Click on "Explore Fear Online." View "Fear and the Brain" to understand how the brain responds to fear. Learn animal responses in "Fear in the Wild." Other links include "Fear and the Media," "The Fun Side of Fear," and "Dealing with Fear." Each link includes several more specific topics. There is also a Parent's Guide with some of the topics.

tag(s): brain (67), emotions (40), psychology (63), stress (12)

In the Classroom

Brainstorm situations that cause fear and identify how the brain processes this information. Explore the similarities of fear responses with the feelings when riding thrill rides. Identify as a class how people respond to fear and ways fear can help you. Creative writing students can explore different ways that people show fear so their writing can describe what fear LOOKS like instead of simply saying, "he was afraid." Why not include this site when studying Poe's tales of terror or as a curriculum-related activity during Halloween season? Check out the "Dealing with Fear" section to help students struggling with anxieties and worry. Emotional or autistic support teachers and school counselors may also find this site helpful in allowing students to understand their body's reactions to fear. Health and psychology classes can use this site to explore the physiology of fear.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Google Earth in the Classroom - Joe Wood

Grades
K to 12
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links...more
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Google Earth, reviewed here, is a fabulous teaching tool. This teacher-created wiki supplements it with Google Earth Resources galore. Find links to lesson plans and files for using Google Earth in your classroom for many subjects. See a tutorial video on Google Earth, find directions for making files, and more. Ideas for using Google Earth by subject even include links to ready-made files so you need not start out by creating from scratch. See what other teachers have done and let it inspire you and your students to do more. Learn how to make kmz (placemarker) files.

tag(s): globe (16), landforms (47), landmarks (24), maps (294)

In the Classroom

Make this site part of your personal professional development or pair up with a teaching buddy to learn more about Google Earth (GE) and plan activities for your classrooms. Share the link with your students, as well, so your class can become GE experts together. Even if your access to GE is limited to a single class computer, work together with a small team of student "GEniuses" to prepare class placemarker files, then have the team teach other students, as well. If your school has personal professional development plans or allows teacher to suggest topics for professional workshops, include this link, along with other GE resources from TeachersFirst, as your inservice day agenda.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Google Earth - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is available on all web browsers. Find landforms, geographic locations features,...more
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Bring the world into your classroom with Google Earth. This interactive view of the Earth (and more) is available on all web browsers. Find landforms, geographic locations features, pictures, and more from around the world using this satellite-powered software. As you spin the globe, you can tilt to view locations at an angle to show elevation, click to play a "tour" or "fly" from one location to another, or simply open tours and placemarker files created by others. Once you are comfortable, try making tours and placemarkers of your own.

tag(s): climate (97), earth (224), landforms (47), landmarks (24), news (257), oceans (163)

In the Classroom

Use tutorials from this site to learn more, or try some Google Earth files from TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission to get a taste of what the program can do. Get started by exploring the different LAYERS available in the left side and searching a location you know. Locate and try the tools to drag, tilt, zoom, and even measure distance. Extensive user forums are available through the help menus.

Placemarker files created by you "live" on the computer where you make or save them and are not shared on the web. Note that your computer will ask whether you wish to save your "temporary places" (any places you have marked during a session) each time you close Google Earth. If many students use that computer, you may find you have a disorganized mess of saved places. Be sure to direct students to either name their saved places logically and file them into folders or NOT to save them to My Places! Students and teachers can create placemarker (.kmz or .kml) files and share them as email attachments, files on a USB "stick," or any other means you would use to share a file, just like a Word document.

Another practical tip: if students are using Google Earth on several machines at the same time, you may put a heavy load on your school network. Plan accordingly, perhaps having groups alternate their Google Earth time if it becomes sluggish.

Use Google Earth to teach geography or simply give location context to class readings or current events, especially on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Ex. you can tilt to show the peaks scaled by Lewis and Clark or volcanoes that rise in the Aleutians. Have students show the locations of historic events or literary settings and create placemarkers with links to learn more. Placemarker text is editable by going to the placemarker's "properties" or "info," so students can enter the text description, place title, and any inks they want to include, such as a link to a certain passage of text, an image of a character, or news image/article for a current events map. Students who know html code can get even more sophisticated in what they include in placemarkers. Have students/groups create and play a "tour" of critical locations for global warming, a comparison of volcanoes, or a family history of immigration. Navigate the important locations in a work of literature using Google Lit Trips or search the web for placemarker files connected to civil war battles, natural resources, and more. Turn layers on and off to look at population centers and transportation systems. Teach the concept of scale/proportion using a tactile experience on an interactive whiteboard and the scale and measurement tools. See more ideas at the teacher-created Google Earth 101 wiki reviewed here. Even if you do not venture into creating your own placemarker files, there are many already made and available for use by teachers and students. TeachersFirst's Globetracker's Mission includes a weekly file to follow the Mission.

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