TeachersFirst - Featured Sites: Week of Nov 17, 2019

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 go to the Featured Sites Archive

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Realism - Realism Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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Realism is your virtual science lab, available to use at any time and anywhere. Engage students with 3D virtual experiments to learn about thermochemistry with a coffee cup calculator,...more
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Realism is your virtual science lab, available to use at any time and anywhere. Engage students with 3D virtual experiments to learn about thermochemistry with a coffee cup calculator, learn about Hooke's Law with springs and weight, and more. Free individual accounts include access to all labs and lesson plans aligned to Next Generation Science Standards.

tag(s): acids and bases (13), chemicals (51), newton (26), rockets (18), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Add Realism to your other resources for teaching science content; it provides an excellent alternative for teachers with a lack of resources at school or as an option for a virtual lab for your students to explore anywhere. Consider incorporating this site along with other activities into a complete unit using ActivelyLearn, reviewed here. ActivelyLearn includes many features and resources for building custom learning opportunities for your students using their data bank of resources along with those you add on your own. In addition, ActivelyLearn provides you with immediate feedback to use for assessment. As students explore the different lab activities, ask them to use Google Docs or Microsoft Word to document data collected during the experiment, including screenshots captured during the lab. Have students share their work and reflections on activities using a portfolio creation tool like Dropr, reviewed here. Encourage students to show creativity within their portfolio by adding a variety of elements using tools offered in Dropr, including images, music, video, and more to share their learning process.

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PictureStem Project - Tamara Moore, Kristina Tank, and Elizabeth Gajdzik

Grades
K to 3
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The PictureStem Project offers STEM teaching units for grades K-2 incorporating the engineering process and correlated to science standards. These three units - one each for grades...more
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The PictureStem Project offers STEM teaching units for grades K-2 incorporating the engineering process and correlated to science standards. These three units - one each for grades K, 1, and 2 include modular features that contain content within different lessons throughout the school day. Each lesson within a unit provides science concepts based upon literary connections using picture books. Select any unit to view and download the entire unit including printables.

tag(s): animal homes (67), animals (324), engineering (129), geometric shapes (172), main idea (9), measurement (179), numbers (191), patterns (89), phonics (68), preK (281), reading comprehension (131), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Enjoy these free, high-quality STEM units to use in your elementary classroom. As you teach lessons found on this site, enhance learning using a portfolio-creation tool like Seesaw, reviewed here, to share student work and reflections. Upload images of student projects then use Seesaw to add video reflections, students' written responses, and more. Share Seesaw portfolios with parents during parent/teacher conferences to demonstrate student learning. If you are unable to use the complete units in your classroom, be sure to look through the many lessons to "mine" for shorter activities that work in your teaching situation.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Learn to Code with el Chavo - Roberto Gomez Bolanos

Grades
K to 6
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Learn to Code with el Chavo teaches basic coding concepts beginning with movement and spatial reasoning. Each of the 60 levels includes increasingly challenging activities. Use the...more
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Learn to Code with el Chavo teaches basic coding concepts beginning with movement and spatial reasoning. Each of the 60 levels includes increasingly challenging activities. Use the hints to help solve problems if needed. Choose from options to play in English or Spanish.

tag(s): coding (76), computers (105), DAT device agnostic tool (171), engineering (129), logic (252), problem solving (293), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to learn basic coding skills. Students will quickly catch on to this program when allowed to experiment while viewing their results. Learn to Code with el Chavo is great for differentiating for students with different abilities and learning styles. Set up a computer center for students to practice with the program and share with parents to use at home. Encourage students to go beyond game play and reflect upon their learning through use of a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here. Pose a question for student response asking them to discuss difficult portions of an activity and how they solved the problem. Start another response with a question asking students to provide tips and hints for their classmates. As students become more proficient with coding use Scratch, reviewed here, in your learning centers for students to create their own games and activities. Transform learning by challenging students who are proficient to use Snap!, reviewed here, to create video tutorials using a tool like FlexClip, reviewed here.

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CodeSpark Academy for Teachers - CodeSpark

Grades
K to 5
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Teach students to code with the free, engaging activities and curriculum from CodeSpark. Available free to verified teachers and librarians, this program provides all you need to set...more
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Teach students to code with the free, engaging activities and curriculum from CodeSpark. Available free to verified teachers and librarians, this program provides all you need to set up and manage your classroom and monitor student progress. CodeSpark adds new content each month providing an ongoing resource for coding activities for your students.

tag(s): coding (76), differentiation (51), logic (252), OER (26), problem solving (293), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Even if you aren't familiar with coding, use CodeSpark Academy as the perfect opportunity for you and your students to "get your feet wet" with coding skills. After sharing and demonstrating the site with students on your interactive board, add a link to CodeSpark on student computers. If you don't have enough computers in your classroom, take advantage of the free Unplugged activities available on your Teacher Dashboard for use as a coding center. Don't forget to use this site to find ideas for your Hour of Code activities. Instead of sharing pictures of students participating in CodeSpark activities on your class newsletter, record and share videos of students engaged in problem-solving discussions and enjoying learning how to code.

Have students share their thinking process through blogging as a reflection on their learning and include their writing, images, and video in a digital portfolio using a tool like bulb, reviewed here. As students become more proficient in coding, introduce new programs that provide additional learning opportunities such as Scratch, reviewed here. Scratch includes many different activities for creating games, stories, and animations through coding. Have student experts share their secrets for successful coding by creating video explainers with Rocketium, reviewed here. Add these videos to your other resources available for student access.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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STEAM Art Lessons - Tricia Fuglestad

Grades
K to 8
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Do you need inspiration for art and technology-rich STEAM lessons? Take a look at the many ideas on this site created by art teacher Tricia Fuglestad. Lesson topics include ideas ...more
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Do you need inspiration for art and technology-rich STEAM lessons? Take a look at the many ideas on this site created by art teacher Tricia Fuglestad. Lesson topics include ideas based on famous works of art like Edvard Munch's The Scream and Gilbert Stuart's George Washington portrait. Each lesson consists of a link to the blog post describing the lesson, many of these also include a video overview of the activity. Editor's Note: Some links in the lessons go to a paid site to purchase lesson materials such as PowerPoints. The free lesson ideas and suggestions on this site are sufficient for creating and teaching these ideas without having to buy anything additional.

tag(s): black history (60), coding (76), creativity (115), digital storytelling (147), dr seuss (11), drawing (73), environment (319), graphic design (42), great depression (28), literacy (105), nutrition (156), photography (145), poetry (221), problem solving (293), qr codes (18), read across america (6), STEM (209), stories and storytelling (34), symmetry (49)

In the Classroom

If you feel that you are strong in the arts but not technology (or the other way around), find a teaching partner that complements your strength and work together to teach lessons from this site. Use ideas from here in your classroom makerspace. Download the browser extension, Surfmark, reviewed here, to add notes and questions as you prepare to teach lessons from this blog. Surfmark offers the ability to collaborate and share with others through the addition of written and audio notes to any web page. Use lesson activities found on this site as a replacement for traditional research projects, book reports, or written reports. Have students use a blogging tool like Edublog, reviewed here, to share images and videos of their work from start to finish and to reflect upon learning. Have older students extend learning through the use of Symbaloo Learning Paths, reviewed here. Ask them to research and find additional information on the topic of your lesson and create a learning path for other students to complete. For younger students, create a Symbaloo Learning Path for students to complete as a center activity to complement your STEAM learning activities.

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Babble Dabble Do - Ana Dziengel

Grades
K to 6
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Connect the arts and sciences through hands-on exploration with creative projects shared on Babble Dabble Do. Begin by selecting one of the four categories - art, science, engineering,...more
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Connect the arts and sciences through hands-on exploration with creative projects shared on Babble Dabble Do. Begin by selecting one of the four categories - art, science, engineering, or design for kids. Each topic includes many ideas for projects for preschoolers and up. Project ideas all include step-by-step directions with pictures, many also include videos.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): design (88), engineering (129), makerspace (26), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Be sure to add this to your toolbox of ideas for teaching STEAM topics and for ideas to use in classroom makerspaces. In addition to adding this site to your favorite bookmarks, consider creating a board on Pinterest, reviewed here, of sites with ideas for STEAM projects. Share the board with your peers and collaborate on adding STEAM sites as a group. Extend learning throughout and after project activities as you include student work as part of a portfolio on Seesaw, reviewed here. Seesaw offers tools for all ages of students to create digital portfolios including written or audio reflections on work. Instead of just sharing images of student creations on your Facebook page or school web page, help students enhance their learning by creating digital books using WriteReader, reviewed here, to share online for family and friends. WriteReader is a site specially created for use with younger students to share their writing and images.

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ArchKIDecture

Grades
4 to 7
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Explore the resources offered at ArchKIDecture - you'll find a list of books, links to other resources, lessons, and project ideas. A few project ideas include drawing a floor plan,...more
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Explore the resources offered at ArchKIDecture - you'll find a list of books, links to other resources, lessons, and project ideas. A few project ideas include drawing a floor plan, building a toothpick structure, and building a geodesic dome. All projects include a materials list. Sign up for the free newsletter to receive notice of new project ideas.

tag(s): architecture (83), book lists (128), makerspace (26)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site for use when implementing STEAM activities or makerspaces. Introduce this activity with a projector or on an interactive whiteboard to show students how to navigate the site. Then, in your flipped or blended classroom (or at a computer center), have students, or small groups of students, explore on their own. Allow them to choose a book (creating book groups?) or a project to explore. Ask students to create their own concept maps to record their learning and understanding using MindMup, reviewed here. Challenge students to use their concept maps to share what they learned with peers by making an interactive infographic using Gennial.ly, reviewed here. Genial.ly allows students to insert videos, hyperlinks, & maps that are interactive.

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Design Thinking - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Explore this curated list, all related to design thinking. Design thinking focuses more on understanding problems and developing creative solutions for people than on implementing generic...more
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Explore this curated list, all related to design thinking. Design thinking focuses more on understanding problems and developing creative solutions for people than on implementing generic solutions. Design thinking goes through phases of collecting feedback and data, using the data to identify the problems to be solved, developing prototypes, and testing solutions. Feedback from key stakeholders should be used often. The above phases are iterative and cyclical, using feedback and changing the design to solve the problem. In design thinking, failure isn't an end, it's an opportunity to refine and create something better. Design thinking focuses on divergent thinking -- generating and exploring as many ideas as possible before narrowing down to a solution.

tag(s): architecture (83), circuits (22), creativity (115), data (156), problem solving (293), STEM (209), thinking skills (13)

In the Classroom

Share these resources on your class website or your interactive whiteboard (where appropriate). Use these tools to deepen your students' understanding of this complex topic. There are tools here for all ages, although most are designed for secondary students.

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Cabinet of Curiosities - Philippe Cousteau Jr.

Grades
6 to 12
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Cabinet of Curiosities is a site created by the grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau to introduce STEM careers to young people. Links within the cabinet take you to eight...more
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Cabinet of Curiosities is a site created by the grandson of famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau to introduce STEM careers to young people. Links within the cabinet take you to eight different categories including short video explanations by professionals within the field. Click on any image within the cabinet to view a short description of an item used for a STEM career and one or more videos. If your district blocks YouTube, then they may not be viewable.

tag(s): anthropology (13), careers (148), communication (14), ecology (134), engineering (129), marine biology (36), oceans (163), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save to use when exploring career options with students. Ask students to use information found on this site and others to create an infographic sharing information about a chosen career. Canva Infographic Maker, reviewed here, offers many templates for creating infographics. To increase student knowledge of options within STEM careers, have groups of students create a weekly podcast sharing different career fields. Buzzsprout, reviewed here, is an online tool to use when creating and hosting podcasts.

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Siemens STEM Day - Siemens Foundation and Discovery Education

Grades
K to 12
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Created to support the annual National Day of STEM on May 16, this site offers student tools for all grade levels for use throughout the year. Choose activities by grade ...more
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Created to support the annual National Day of STEM on May 16, this site offers student tools for all grade levels for use throughout the year. Choose activities by grade level and STEM topic or career path. Options also include sorting by difficulty, most downloaded, or newest activities. Download activities in PDF format that include correlation to science standards, background information, and complete lesson directions. Check out the educator section for 5-minute thematic refreshers to support and help you prepare your STEM lessons.

tag(s): dna (64), ecosystems (90), energy (213), environment (319), erosion (19), fossils (44), genetics (90), human body (132), nutrition (156), oceans (163), rocks (52), senses (32), STEM (209), structures (22)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site for STEM activities and support throughout the year. Reduce your planning time by using the free lessons available on the site. Before starting activities, have students create a word cloud of terms they know using a site such as Word Clouds for Kids, reviewed here, for younger students, or Wordle, reviewed here, for older students.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Roots of STEM: Books and ideas for real world problem solving in your classroom - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 6
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This collection of books and activity ideas offers approaches to problem solving and assists you in taking some of the mystery out of STEM education for the elementary grades. Find...more
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This collection of books and activity ideas offers approaches to problem solving and assists you in taking some of the mystery out of STEM education for the elementary grades. Find entry points to explore problem-solving and resources to apply in your own classroom. You will find many ideas in this article from the Help! I lost my library/media specialist! series.

tag(s): commoncore (88), reading lists (77), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Start with the books as part of your reading lessons, and you have already given STEM a way to take root in your class! Incorporate STEM in accordance with Common Core reading/math or Next Gen Science standards using the many suggestions here. This article will help you begin with whole group lessons and move through the entire problem-solving process. Perhaps you will want to work together on a project with your grade level team.

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Teaching NGSS Engineering Design Through Media - PBS LearningMedia

Grades
K to 12
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Teaching NGSS Engineering Design Through Media offers a large collection of media-based resources to bring engineering (and Next Gen Science) to students at all grade levels. Think...more
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Teaching NGSS Engineering Design Through Media offers a large collection of media-based resources to bring engineering (and Next Gen Science) to students at all grade levels. Think of design as problem solving by applying science and math. Begin browsing by choosing from grade level options for descriptions of activities including grade level and type of resource offered. Each activity includes additional resource links, correlations to Next Gen Science Standards, and support materials. Discover the most popular resources by viewing the number of times other users designated them as favorites. Learn about wind powered vehicles, mechanical arms, designing a skyscraper, and much more. Everything on the site is free; however, after viewing three resources you will be prompted to create your free account. Account creation offers the ability to save and favorite resources.

tag(s): architecture (83), energy (213), engineering (129), problem solving (293), robotics (24), STEM (209), structures (22)

In the Classroom

Use this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard to discuss and informally assess prior knowledge as you start your study of many different STEM-based topics. Use this site for enrichment or to help non-readers understanding concepts through video. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Enhance learning and have students create a word cloud of the important terms they learn from this site using a tool such as WordItOut reviewed here. To extend learning have students create a multimedia infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Teach Engineering Resources for K-12 - University of Colorado Boulder

Grades
K to 12
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Engineering Resources is a K-12 website that contains a multitude of information including lessons correlating to national and state standards. Search for activities and ideas by grade...more
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Engineering Resources is a K-12 website that contains a multitude of information including lessons correlating to national and state standards. Search for activities and ideas by grade level and curriculum topic using the Search and Advanced Search buttons. Narrow choices provided in the curriculum section by filtering options to include lessons, activities, complete units, and more. Maker Challenges offer a variety of experiences for hands-on learning with topics including titles like A Doghouse Design Project and Create and Control a Popsicle Stick Finger Robot. Other site options allow you to search by educational standards and provide information and resources for teaching engineering to students in grades K-12.

tag(s): amazon (9), architecture (83), bridges (12), cells (103), density (25), engineering (129), environment (319), forces (47), friction (13), heart (41), human body (132), latitude (12), light (57), longitude (12), map skills (77), marine biology (36), mars (42), medicine (64), motion (69), pollution (67), robotics (24), rockets (18), simple machines (34), space (232), STEM (209)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site as a resource for finding STEM lessons and activities for all grade levels. Collaborate with your peers using a bookmarking tool like SearchTeam, reviewed here, to share all of your resources. SearchTeam offers you the ability to add notes to shared resources making it easy to discuss and add comments to items shared. Instead of having students write journal entries during science or maker lab activities, enhance student learning by using a video response tool like FlipGrid, reviewed here, to have students respond to essential questions and comment on their peers' observations. As a culminating activity to a unit, ask students to create an explainer video answering essential questions to the unit topic. Biteable, reviewed here, is an easy to use tool for creating animated video explainers.

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