TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Jul 29, 2012

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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Forensics - Nancy Clark

Grades
7 to 12
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This teacher-created Forensics site is a stunning compilation of ideas, resources, and laboratory activities to keep you supplied in forensic thinking for a good long time....more
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This teacher-created Forensics site is a stunning compilation of ideas, resources, and laboratory activities to keep you supplied in forensic thinking for a good long time. Lesson plans, worksheets, and even puzzles are available for downloading and printing here. Fuel your interest in forensics and increase your scientific background knowledge at the same time.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): forensics (15)

In the Classroom

Whether teaching a course that is purely forensic science or seeking a hook to capture student interest in science through the topic of forensics, this resource is extremely useful. Why do all that searching for yourself? Nancy Clark has taken the time and done all the work. Science and language arts teachers can team up together to use this site. Most students love a compelling mystery and the chance to solve it! There is nonfiction reading here that will fit both curricula. The science teacher can answer questions about DNA, fingerprinting, etc., and the language arts teacher can help students with strategies for reading nonfiction. First, try something short like a video clip, and if you like it, dig deeper and incorporate more into your lessons. The lessons here would integrate nicely into biology or chemistry. Looking for more? Try this TeachersFirst Exclusive unit for more science inquiry lessons using forensics.

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House History Timeline - History, Art & Archives United States House of Representatives

Grades
8 to 12
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Use The Congressional Timeline to look each Congress's activity beginning with the 73rd (in 1933) up until the present. We sometimes forget "Congress" is not a single entity, and ...more
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Use The Congressional Timeline to look each Congress's activity beginning with the 73rd (in 1933) up until the present. We sometimes forget "Congress" is not a single entity, and there have been over 110 Congresses since the founding of the United States. This is a fairly bare bones site, but with some helpful components. The most interesting is the ability to compare the actions of congress along the top timeline, with major events in history along the bottom timeline. What happened? What did Congress do? The events are all click-able and provide either a brief explanation or links to further information. Another useful function is the ability to filter results by keyword, which eliminates everything not associated with that keyword from the timelines. Also helpful is the ability to highlight events along the timelines by keyword. The keyword fields are completely open, so you will need to experiment a little with your word choice in order to return the most useful results. The timeline is also convenient for research in that it reduces legislative activity to an easy to access summary.

tag(s): branches of government (57), congress (37)

In the Classroom

Although this site is not the most visually exciting, it would still be useful on an interactive whiteboard, particularly when you are discussing a defined time period. Select the relevant Congress, then compare the legislative activity with world events. For example, choose a Congress during wartime, and highlight events related to war or the military. As elections approach, use the timelines to compare the activities of a previous Congress during "election season" to see if there are patterns of Congressional behavior.

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The HTML5 Gendered Advertising Remixer - Jonathan McIntosh

Grades
6 to 12
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Do advertisers market to boys and girls differently? The answer is obvious: Yes! Beyond that, how does that affect children's development and society in general? This site does not...more
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Do advertisers market to boys and girls differently? The answer is obvious: Yes! Beyond that, how does that affect children's development and society in general? This site does not offer a specific answer to those questions, but can make distinctions between boy-girl-centric advertising painfully clear. It is a simple concept: run the audio portion of an ad targeting boys under the video of an ad targeted to girls, or vice versa. Then consider what this "mashup" now communicates. The directions ask you to drag and drop icons; do not drag them to the big open box in the center of the page. Instead, drop one ad on the "audio" icon, and the other ad on the "video" icon; the mashup plays in the middle. If you go to the home page for the project, there are other "mashups" available focused on certain kinds of toys and advertising. You can view in either HTML 5 or Flash.

tag(s): advertising (23), consumers (14), media literacy (88), psychology (65), sociology (23), women (105)

In the Classroom

One of the truisms about analyzing culture is that it is difficult to see the impact of cultural norms and practices from the inside. Students will probably agree that advertising targets boys differently than girls, but they may have serious difficulty considering what impact it has had on them. This site may help them see the subtle messages in advertising, and how those messages constrain or empower them. Project the mashups on an interactive whiteboard and then ask students how the audio changes the message on the video portion. Reverse the two and ask the same question. What does this say about the girls' gender roles? What does this say about boys' gender roles? What does this say about the impact of play on learning adult roles? Have student groups create digital "collections" of examples of gender-targeted ads using a tool such as Evernote (reviewed herehttp://www.teachersfirst.com/single.cfm?id=10550) or turn them into mosaics of ad images using Mosaic Maker (reviewed here). Note: Since students are specifically studying advertising and critiquing the ads, it would not be a copyright violation to add images as part of a media project to illustrate gender targeting.

Comments

This is fascinating but somewhat difficult to know how to use. A rich resource. I found the key to making it usable was the list of questions for discussion which are here: http://www.genderremixer.com/curriculum/ Sandra, , Grades: 0 - 5

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Art of Science - Jonathan Harris and Grady Klein, Princeton University

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers a highly visual way to draw people of any age into science and a fascination with materials, living things, and forces that make up our world. The ...more
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This site offers a highly visual way to draw people of any age into science and a fascination with materials, living things, and forces that make up our world. The collections are the result of an annual competition at Princeton University and were produced as a result of actual scientific research. Click on each image to view a description of the background of the image. Click on other years at the bottom of the screen. These images are simply stunning!

tag(s): images (249), photography (129)

In the Classroom

Share these images as inspiration to begin a related curriculum unit or to draw students into the powerful world of scientific discovery. Explore and discuss "What is science?" by viewing these images. Consider taking up close pictures of what your students see when they are looking at their labs in your science class. Include the arts in your science class by asking your arts-oriented students to talk about why the images are artistically appealing as an avenue into the world of science. Challenge students to watch for similar art/science photos-- or perhaps take their own -- and add them to a class art or science wiki page. Invite your art teacher (if you have one) to share these photos in art class, as well.

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Think - Cathy Sheafor

Grades
K to 8
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This blog shares many creative activities to encourage thinking outside the box. The activities use many easy to find materials. If you want to make a sculpture out of Twinkies, ...more
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This blog shares many creative activities to encourage thinking outside the box. The activities use many easy to find materials. If you want to make a sculpture out of Twinkies, or create a one man band, then this site is for you. Find links to other creative thinking blogs, too. Promote 21st century design thinking and innovation with activities that look like pure "fun." The sidebar include links to many engineering sites and activities to connect creativity as an important aspect of design and science. Don't miss the sidebar tips to parents and teachers, as well.

tag(s): creativity (94), critical thinking (104)

In the Classroom

Use this site to create a "think outside of the box" space in your classroom. Keep the area stocked with materials and activity sheets. Use the area as a place for students to go when they finish up work. Better yet, make design thinking part of your science curriculum by tying in some of these challenges with curriculum topics such as gravity, forces, materials, and more. Set one Friday a month aside as "think outside of the box" day, and use the activities from the site. Send home an activity as extra credit homework and create a museum of student's creations. Make this link available on your class web page for parents to access during school breaks or snow days.

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