TeachersFirst's Problem-Based Learning

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Problem-based learning is a curriculum design method that offers learners challenging, open-ended problems. The hands-on learning activities offer investigations of real-world problems. Problem-based learning allows students to develop lifelong learning skills, gain work-place readiness, and improve team-work and cooperative learning strategies. View this collection to begin your journey with problem-based learning in your classroom. 

  

 

 

 

 

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The Museum of Science Engineering Curriculum - The Museum of Science

Grades
K to 12
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The Museum of Science shares a series of engineering curriculums for students in preschool through high school. Each program includes educator resources, hands-on learning units, and...more
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The Museum of Science shares a series of engineering curriculums for students in preschool through high school. Each program includes educator resources, hands-on learning units, and process guides to take students through the problem-solving process. Many of the units include correlations to Common Core Standards, and all include activities using real-world design concepts.

tag(s): engineering (108), preK (229), Problem Based Learning (7), problem solving (230), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of these free resources to bring hands-on STEM activities into any classroom. Some of the curriculums are designed for after-school and summer programs; however, they are easily adaptable to use for in-class activities. Enhance activities by encouraging students to document and share their learning through a variety of methods. Take pictures of each activity as they progress and use a blogging tool like Edublogs, reviewed here, to share images and document the learning taking place. Have students share the story of their activity using a digital book creation tool like Book Creator, reviewed here, to explain the activity and their approach to problem-solving. For younger students, use WriteReader, reviewed here. Both options include areas for adding student writing and images; Book Creator includes additional options for creating images and adding links to outside resources. For older students, consider asking them to create explainer videos using Biteable, reviewed here.
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The Big6 - Mike Eisenberg and Bob Berkowitz

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K to 12
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The Big6 provides training and resources based on the Big6 model for problem-solving and decision making. This site also includes information for incorporating the Super3 model into...more
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The Big6 provides training and resources based on the Big6 model for problem-solving and decision making. This site also includes information for incorporating the Super3 model into the decision making process for younger students. Follow the Big6 blog as a means to stay current on the latest ideas and information related to using the Big6 model in and away from the classroom. The Big6 Resources link shares detailed information on the Big6 model along with an overview of incorporating the model as a structured month by month program. The included instructional materials include handouts, presentations, videos, and additional support materials for users to learn about and teach the Big6 model strategies.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): problem solving (230), teaching strategies (33)

In the Classroom

Share ideas from this site with peers as part of your professional development sessions. Consider creating a monthly building-wide schedule using the suggestions provided on the site. Include your ideas with parents through your website to teach them along with you and your students on methods for working through any type of decision. Use technology resources to reinforce and reflect upon the Big6 and Super3 decision-making processes. For example, use Canva Infographic Creator, reviewed here to create digital posters for each of the strategies. Include suggestions on ways for students to be successful within each strategy. Provide resources for students to match strategies such as planning. Read Write Think, reviewed here has a large number of student interactives including a Bio Cube, Book Cover Guide, and an Essay Map that provides students assistance in planning writing assignments. As students learn about and become familiar with the Big6 and Super3 process, ask them to share their ideas and reflect upon learning using blogs created with Edublog, reviewed here. Have students share their knowledge with others using a video explainer tool like My Simpleshow, reviewed here. Be sure to share student reflections and explainers on your class website for parents and others to view!
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You CAN Do the Rubik's Cube Program - You Can Do the Cube

Grades
K to 12
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Can you solve the Rubik's Cube? This campaign is based on the goal of teaching 8-18-year-olds how to solve the Rubik's Cube and gain a sense of accomplishment and pride. ...more
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Can you solve the Rubik's Cube? This campaign is based on the goal of teaching 8-18-year-olds how to solve the Rubik's Cube and gain a sense of accomplishment and pride. Guides share the secrets to solving the cubes in 2X2, 3X3, and 4X4 formats. In addition, the site contains guides for lesser-known versions of the Rubik's Cube. The Educator's Guides include lessons aligned to Common Core Standards as well as STEM/STEAM Standards. Use the information on the site to borrow a class set of Rubik's Cubes for free through their Cube Lending Program, just pay return shipping.

tag(s): critical thinking (102), logic (177), problem solving (230), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lessons and classroom lending program to bring Rubik's Cube problem-solving activities into your classroom. This resource may be the perfect solution for students who struggle academically to achieve success uniquely. Prepare students for the cubes' arrival by brainstorming ideas on how to solve cubes (keep in mind there are different versions). Find a YouTube video with master Rubik's Cube solvers to promote interest in the activities. When the cubes arrive, use them as a problem-solving center by providing the solution guides for students to follow. As students become proficient in solving the puzzle, enhance their learning by asking them to use a video explainer tool like Biteable, reviewed here, to share their tips and successes. Challenge students to share their cube-solving speed by posting a chart for each of them to add their fastest times.
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OER Commons - OER Commons and ISKME

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K to 12
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OER (Open Educational Resources) Commons is a digital public library and collaboration platform for educators, including K-12 and universities. The collection includes complete courses,...more
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OER (Open Educational Resources) Commons is a digital public library and collaboration platform for educators, including K-12 and universities. The collection includes complete courses, textbooks, mini-lessons, and simulations, as well as lesson plans, workbooks, collections for Project based and Problem Based Learning, and more. In addition to the content on the site, OER Commons also includes features for building interactive lessons and modules and media documents. Registration isn't required; however, free signup on the website provides you the option to save materials, create and collaborate with groups, and align resources to standards.

tag(s): OER (32), preK (229), Problem Based Learning (7), Project Based Learning (9), Teacher Utilities (110)

In the Classroom

Bookmark OER Commons to use as your first stop in lesson planning. Take advantage of the search filters to narrow down the content and grade-level information to suit your needs. This website is also an excellent resource for finding materials to differentiate instruction. Use higher-level activities to challenge gifted students, and search for content to use for remediation. As you gather resources into a collection or lesson plans, be sure to think about ways to incorporate technology in meaningful ways to enhance and extend learning.
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Outrider - Outrider Foundation

Grades
8 to 12
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Outrider shares information and interactives exploring the topics of nuclear war and climate change. Within the section devoted to nuclear war, browse through stories explaining the...more
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Outrider shares information and interactives exploring the topics of nuclear war and climate change. Within the section devoted to nuclear war, browse through stories explaining the importance of NATO, a timeline of nuclear history, and explore the interactive demonstration of the impact of an atomic bomb blast in your location. The climate change portion of the site includes an interactive demonstrating the effects of climate change nationally and locally. Also, this portion contains articles and timelines of climate history.

tag(s): atomic bomb (8), climate (81), climate change (69), nuclear energy (21), weather (167)

In the Classroom

Include this site with your resources for teaching both of these timely topics. Collaborate with your students and extend learning by bookmarking and saving additional resources using Netboard, reviewed here. In addition to saving bookmarks, Netboard includes the option for adding notes to shared resources. Encourage students to use this feature to describe useful information found on any website. As students explore these topics, use FlipGrid, reviewed here, to enhance learning by creating video response questions for student discussion. Encourage students to redefine their learning and problem solve solutions by creating video explainers describing the problem and proposed solutions using a video explainer tool like My Simpleshow, reviewed here.

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Expii Solve - Expii, Inc.

Grades
8 to 12
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Solve interactive math and science puzzles based on current events with Expii Solve. Choose from over 70 sets of questions with topics including the Super Bowl, Star Wars, holidays,...more
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Solve interactive math and science puzzles based on current events with Expii Solve. Choose from over 70 sets of questions with topics including the Super Bowl, Star Wars, holidays, and more. Each topic includes a set of five problems with each question increasing in difficulty. If you need help, use links to tutorials at the bottom of each question. Registration isn't required; however, registering allows you to track progress in completing puzzles.

tag(s): cultures (97), holidays (122), logic (177), problem solving (230)

In the Classroom

Be sure to save these puzzles for use throughout the school year. Use these problems as a substitute for your typical homework assignments. Include questions as part of math or science centers. Replace pencil and paper journals or notebooks by having students blog about their learning and understanding using Tumblr, reviewed here. Ask groups of students to work on topics together then share their results with the class. To enhance student learning and understanding, consider instituting a recurring podcast for students to share problems and discuss problem-solving strategies. Use a site such as podOmatic, reviewed here.

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Global Problem Solvers - Cisco

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4 to 8
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Global Problem Solvers is a free program designed as a supplemental resource for grades 4-8 to teach global social responsibility. The program features two seasons of materials with...more
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Global Problem Solvers is a free program designed as a supplemental resource for grades 4-8 to teach global social responsibility. The program features two seasons of materials with seven episodes per season. Within each episode, Global Problem Solvers travels the world through videos solving problems while encouraging participants to become problem-solvers and critical thinkers. The series includes teacher's guides for both seasons, storyboards, and scripts.

tag(s): character education (64), critical thinking (102), cross cultural understanding (139), Problem Based Learning (7), problem solving (230), sociology (22)

In the Classroom

Include the videos and materials with your current lessons using problem-solving skills. View videos together as a class and have students work in groups to discuss questions found in the teacher's guide. This resource lends itself to problem based learning: Have students find an image of a current global problem and use Thinglink, reviewed here, to add text, videos, and audio to discuss the problem and address possible solutions. Explore global issues further in depth with Google My Maps, reviewed here. Add pins onto Google Maps to share specific problems around the world and have students post their ideas for helping those in need.
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UL Xplorlabs - Underwriters Laboratories

Grades
7 to 12
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Xplorerlabs provides free STEM learning activities for middle school educators through exploration modules and hands-on learning all correlated to Next Generation Science Standards....more
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Xplorerlabs provides free STEM learning activities for middle school educators through exploration modules and hands-on learning all correlated to Next Generation Science Standards. Begin each module with a short overview of the topic then follow each step to investigate and solve through evidence-based collaboration. Each module requires one to two class periods to complete. In addition to learning modules, Xplorerlabs also includes Xtensions including additional experiments and challenges. All of the experiments on the site include student and teacher guides for download.

tag(s): electricity (62), energy (142), fire (23), fire safety (14), heat (14), problem solving (230), STEM (215)

In the Classroom

You and your students will benefit from this site's free materials to include in your science lab activities to teach content, problem-solving, and scientific investigation techniques. As students begin activities replace paper and pencil and use a digital graphic organizer such as one found at TUZZit, reviewed here, to organize questions and gather information. Upon completion of experiments, enhance learning and have students share their work using Printing Press, reviewed here, to create a one-page newspaper or brochure including images and text. At the end of your unit, have students use Biteable, reviewed here, to redefine their learning and create an explainer video sharing and demonstrating the results of their lab activities.
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Beautiful.AI - Beautiful Slides, Inc

Grades
6 to 12
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Build dynamic, animated presentations easily with Beautiful.AI's smart templates and designs. Use your images or choose from the site's database of millions of stock photos and icons....more
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Build dynamic, animated presentations easily with Beautiful.AI's smart templates and designs. Use your images or choose from the site's database of millions of stock photos and icons. Beautiful.AI places images automatically in the most visually appealing place on a slide; however, it also offers additional choices for placement. Use the share option to add collaborators, or share through public and private options. Export finished presentations as a PDF or PowerPoint when completed.

tag(s): slides (47)

In the Classroom

Share Beautiful.AI with students to use for presentations as an alternative to Google Slides or PowerPoint. Use this tool for your flipped or blended learning lessons and student multimedia presentations. Challenge your writers to create short stories that include their artwork, and publish with slides. Beautiful.AI is a great resource for your BYOD classroom.

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Google My Maps - Google

Grades
4 to 12
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You may already be familiar with Google Maps, reviewed here, but Google My Maps takes working with maps a step further. Use Google My Maps to create...more
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You may already be familiar with Google Maps, reviewed here, but Google My Maps takes working with maps a step further. Use Google My Maps to create custom maps with features you add. Add points or shapes to any location, use the embedded search to find places then save to your map, import information from spreadsheets, and customize your map with colored icons and your uploaded images and videos. Collaborate on your project just like you would with Google Documents, then embed maps into your website or blog.

tag(s): maps (216), virtual field trips (66)

In the Classroom

Share Google My Maps on an interactive whiteboard or projector to create virtual trips for many situations. Create a trip to biomes around the world, visit places mentioned within books, map out battlefield locations for different wars, or find and save different kinds of landforms on your map. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. Embed completed maps onto your class webpage or blog for students to view when reviewing for tests or quizzes. Have older students complete their own Google My Map project to create their own virtual field trips. This site is perfect to use in conjunction with TeachersFirst Reading Treks to follow the adventures of characters in the featured stories. Not ready to create your own maps? Use the explore feature on the site to find many examples of maps made by others.

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TED-Ed Clubs - Lessons Worth Sharing - TEDEd

Grades
4 to 12
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TED-Ed Clubs provide a platform for students aged 8-18 across the world to explore ideas, share information, and participate in global conversations. Begin by applying to start a club...more
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TED-Ed Clubs provide a platform for students aged 8-18 across the world to explore ideas, share information, and participate in global conversations. Begin by applying to start a club to discuss thoughts and ideas of interest to your group through the leadership of an adult facilitator. Each club is open to up to 50 members. Clubs provide 13 meetings beginning with three sessions exploring TED Talks, following that, students learn how to frame and share ideas. At the conclusion, participants upload their final talk to the TED-Ed YouTube Channel. The videos are hosted on YouTube.

tag(s): collaboration (75), creativity (90), critical thinking (102), logic (177), problem solving (230)

In the Classroom

Facilitate a TED-Ed Club to promote problem-solving skills and creative thinking in any subject. Challenge students to pursue ideas of interest to them in the classroom. Create a club as an after-school activity for like-minded students, or as enrichment for gifted learners. TED-Ed Club provides an outlet for some quieter students with interests other than what is offered in the curriculum, encourage these students to share their interests and passions through the guidelines provided in the clubs.

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Instructables - Project Based Engineering for Kids - Autodesk, Inc.

Grades
K to 8
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Discover a collection of problem-based learning engineering lessons for building models in the areas of physics and structural and mechanical engineering. For each topic, a video with...more
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Discover a collection of problem-based learning engineering lessons for building models in the areas of physics and structural and mechanical engineering. For each topic, a video with step by step construction directions accompanies a necessary list of materials. Create your project, and let the explorations begin. Explore ideas given for basic explanations or ideas to test for some of the buildable models. Create a collection, share, or add some ideas for activities. Topic ideas include slingshot rockets, rubber band helicopters, extending grabber, simple pneumatic machine, cork shooter, catapults, slingshot cars, truss bridges, simple sail car, marble roller coaster, gliding car, tower tornado, and crash test cars, among others. Share this awesome find on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Tumblr, or email. If your district blocks YouTube, the videos may not be viewable.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): engineering (108), makerspace (33), Problem Based Learning (7)

In the Classroom

Bring out the "inner engineer" in each of your students! During physical science units, visit this collection to get directions for students to build simple models to supplement content. You might want to visit the accompanying site How to Teach Project Based Engineering to Kids before getting started. Students can work in small groups to create a project. Different groups can demonstrate different laws of physics. Add this to your class website as a do-at-home project to encourage exploration at home. During language arts when focusing on using concise, clear, language, listen to the directions and use as a model. Enhance learning by having students write the scripts for creating other models using Google Docs or Microsoft Word. Using these online documents affords many benefits, including the ability to add comments, highlight information, and add links to online information. Extend learning by having students create a multimedia presentation featuring the directions and construction of the student model using Thinglink, reviewed here. With Thinglink students can annotate, narrate, and add related links to an image. In gifted and talented classes or pull out programs, consider for a beginning of a deeper understanding of the concepts. Move forward with virtual field trips to see the "real" machines at work. Find ideas for after school clubs, camps, and more.

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The Wonderment - Kidnected World

Grades
3 to 9
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Enjoy and challenge creativity and problem-solving skills in a world of wonder. Once you sign up for Wonderment, a social platform for kids, choose a bot or secret identity. Given ...more
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Enjoy and challenge creativity and problem-solving skills in a world of wonder. Once you sign up for Wonderment, a social platform for kids, choose a bot or secret identity. Given a choice to follow many different paths, kids determine the subject of interest. The paths are real-world problems from around the globe. View a video, story, or idea. Design a response using text, photos, or a video. Join a chat to allow comments or ask questions to make global connections. After each posting, special points are added to make the bot design more elaborate. A personal Wondermeter rises with each response. Through donations, this non-profit brings technology to children around the world. A call for adults to serve as mentors to respond to each child challenges adults to join in the fun and make the world a better place. Register with email. Children under 13 need parent or teacher approval to participate. Watch the two short videos to see an explanation for The Wonderment and How It Works.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (139), enrichment (9), gifted (65), listening (70), Problem Based Learning (7), problem solving (230), social media (44), social networking (83), social skills (24), speaking (21)

In the Classroom

Wonderment is a problem based learning adventure for each student around the world to communicate and collaborate with other students. This venue allows great lesson ideas for digital citizenship and digital footprints. Begin by choosing a path for the entire class and feature on an interactive whiteboard or with a projector. Have students work in small groups to choose their best response. Discussions after can focus on creativity, problem solving, and collaboration between the group and others from around the world. In a gifted class, use as a way to challenge kids to break through the "right answer" and find the "best answer." Use this as a model for finding authentic needs in your community. Be sure to share a link to this tool on your class blog, website, or Edmodo account. Use this tool as the answer for the parents who always want more challenge and enrichment for their students at home. Be sure to share at a staff meeting to spread the wonder for other students and adults.

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Holt Interactive Graphic Organizers - Holt

Grades
2 to 12
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Interactive Graphic Organizers help to gather thoughts, visualize, understand, or organize. Find interactive graphic organizers from categories such as identifying/organizing details,...more
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Interactive Graphic Organizers help to gather thoughts, visualize, understand, or organize. Find interactive graphic organizers from categories such as identifying/organizing details, order and sequence, cause and effect, process diagrams, persuasive position support, vocabulary, and many others. The selected organizer will download in PDF format. The features of the form are: interactive form fields, highlighting, adding mark-up, commenting, and saving it all. Find accompanying teaching notes for each organizer by clicking on the link in the paragraph at the top of the page. The teacher guide has detailed lessons and suggested uses.

tag(s): concept mapping (16), graphic organizers (37)

In the Classroom

Mark this site on your class web page, put it on your task bar, and add to all student computers. Demonstrate by using and creating your customized graphic organizer. Turn it into PDF format and save or print. Get students in the habit of using graphic organizers to improve achievement, organization, and details.
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Environmental Education for Kids - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Grades
1 to 6
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Find interesting ways to incorporate environmental education into your science curriculum. Begin at the Critter Corner and explore the many fascinating topics: Amphibians, Birds, Fish,...more
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Find interesting ways to incorporate environmental education into your science curriculum. Begin at the Critter Corner and explore the many fascinating topics: Amphibians, Birds, Fish, Insects, Mammals, Other Invertebrates, Reptiles, and Endangered Species. Visit Nature Notes to learn about Habitats, Phenology, and more. Our Earth section features Alien Invaders, Endangered Species, Air Around Us, Recycling, and Water Wonders. Cool Stuff includes Rainy Day Activities, Big Fish Stories, and videos on EEK! Get a Job is a section about environment-related careers. The teacher section gives detailed lesson plans by subject and grade level with resources.

tag(s): air (112), animals (268), birds (47), careers (132), classification (23), earth (178), endangered species (31), environment (232), fish (21), habitats (84), insects (65), recycling (46), water (107)

In the Classroom

Plan to use Environmental Education in more than science class. For language arts, find detailed information about animals, plants, habitats, conservation, and Earth to use as practice with informational texts. Add this resource to your gifted curriculum for a problem based learning project on invasive or endangered species. Help find solutions to the existing problems in your area. Write letters to government officials offering ways to help the environment in your area.

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Timeline JS - Northwestern University Knight Lab

Grades
K to 12
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Create beautiful interactive timelines quickly and easily. Begin with a Google spreadsheet from the template provided. Add from a variety of media sources such as Twitter, Google Maps,...more
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Create beautiful interactive timelines quickly and easily. Begin with a Google spreadsheet from the template provided. Add from a variety of media sources such as Twitter, Google Maps, YouTube, and much more. When finished, publish to the web, and share using links or embed code. Be sure to check out the example link for suggestions and ideas for use. The tutorial video is hosted on YouTube. If your district blocks YouTube, it may not be viewable.

tag(s): timelines (47)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to share timelines about historical events, research literature, learn about different decades and events throughout the world, and more. Transform student learning by having them create timelines for research projects. Use a whole class Google account or individual Google apps accounts if you have them. Use this tool to make a timeline of your school year. Create author biographies, animal life cycles, or timelines of events and causes of wars. Challenge students to create a timeline of the plot of a novel, interspersed with the ways themes appear throughout the novel. If you teach chemistry, have students create illustrated sequences explaining oxidation or reduction (or both). Have elementary students interview grandparents and create a class timeline about their grandparents for Grandparents' Day. Why not create a timeline highlighting students' family events for a special gift for Mother's Day, Father's Day, or other holidays? You may need to assign students to do some investigative work first (years of births, marriages, vacations, etc.). In world language classes, have students create a timeline of their family in the language to master with vocabulary about relatives, jobs, and more (and verb tenses!). Students learn about photo selection, detail writing, chronological order, and photo digitization while creating the timelines of their choice. Making a timeline is also a good way to review the history and cultural developments.

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Koshland Science Museum Challenges - Koshland Museum of Science

Grades
4 to 12
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Empower your students to get involved and solve some of the world's pressing problems. Join Koshland's Museum of Science Challenges. Join in by learning new skills, thinking critically,...more
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Empower your students to get involved and solve some of the world's pressing problems. Join Koshland's Museum of Science Challenges. Join in by learning new skills, thinking critically, and solving a problem. Challenges include background information. Look at the past challenges and discover the critical thinking and unique problem solving that won. Peek into future challenges to lead your students in new directions. Find resources, lesson plans, activities, virtual field trips, and web quests. Share your challenges and solutions on Facebook.

tag(s): brain (53), climate change (69), critical thinking (102), diseases (74), dna (49), energy (142), light (46), pollution (53), problem solving (230), space (208), water (107)

In the Classroom

In your classroom, offer challenges first as a problem based learning situation. Have students discover the background information and thought processes involved. Using these skills, apply to your own community. Start challenges at your school, community, state, or country level. Create a challenges competition at your school. Explore the teacher resources that apply to your classes.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Curriki - EnterpriseDB Postgre SQL company

Grades
K to 12
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Curriki is a nonprofit organization that encourages teachers and learners' to collaborate in developing quality educational materials in a global community. Click Solutions from the...more
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Curriki is a nonprofit organization that encourages teachers and learners' to collaborate in developing quality educational materials in a global community. Click Solutions from the top menu and slide to CurikiStudio to find resources like questions, photos/images, multimedia, and more for interactive lesson creation. Next under Solutions is CurrikiGo, where you will publish your lessons, etc. Last on the dropdown list is the CurrikiLibrary, where you can search by subject area, grade level, or resource type (interactive, video, or podcast). For a thorough summary of Curriki click the Explore a CurrikiStudio Activity. Join different groups for a more involved way to explore new areas in online learning, subject area interests, or focus questions. Create collections of your resources to keep private or share with others. This site focuses on providing free access to teachers, schools, students, or parents to many new creative ideas for in-class learning, digital learning, and hybrid or blended learning in a global community. Free membership includes monthly newsletters. Follow Curriki on Facebook, Twitter, or blogs.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): graphic organizers (37), literacy (82), OER (32), operations (93), resources (87), rubrics (30), Teacher Utilities (110)

In the Classroom

Curriki has several ways to benefit teachers and students. Use Curriki as a resource listed on your website to have extra opportunities for additional practice or enrichment for parents and students. If you have a blended classroom, Curriki is the perfect tool to use for your students to access assignments. Use as a way to organize your digital resources. The lesson plan and Webquest templates are user friendly and promote best practices. While growing in your professional development by connecting with teachers worldwide, let your class learn with other classes worldwide. Curriki encourages you to think critically about your own lessons, and also the lessons suggested.

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