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Consumer Reports Blogs - Consumer Reports

Grades
6 to 12
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Teens spend a lot of money. And they influence the spending of a lot more. Marketing companies know this and pitch their products mercilessly to the teen age demographic. With ...more
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Teens spend a lot of money. And they influence the spending of a lot more. Marketing companies know this and pitch their products mercilessly to the teen age demographic. With their high need for acceptance and affiliation, teens are also very susceptible to these marketing pitches. This site, part of the well-respected Consumer Reports site, offers commentary in several areas of interest to teens: electronics, cars, money, and shopping. Each topic area includes a full post and a blog. There are also links to news, forums, and videos. Offered without the hype, these reviews and observations may help teens cut through the marketing to learn to make intelligent consumer decisions, and learn to manage their money responsibly.

In order to comment on the blog, you must enter your name and email address. Rather than using your personal or work email, consider creating a Gmail account. 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.

tag(s): advertising (33), business (57), safety (90)

In the Classroom

Family and consumer science, business, or "Life 101" classes might ask students to research common teen purchases using this site as a resource. Similarly, economics or psychology classes might consider the impact of marketing on purchasing, and how advertisers target and influence their audience. Follow up by having students generate their own blog entry on a product comparison they do as a project.
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25+ Tools for Accounting and Budgeting - Sean P. Aune

Grades
7 to 12
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This blog, created by Sean P. Aune, offers a collection of Web 2.0 tools which could be useful in business education, math, family and consumer science, or economics classes. Some ...more
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This blog, created by Sean P. Aune, offers a collection of Web 2.0 tools which could be useful in business education, math, family and consumer science, or economics classes. Some of the sites offer ways to save money, create a budget, analyze your expenses, find hidden fees, and more. The four main areas of the site include Business Accounting, Personal Accounting, Personal Budgeting, and Shared Accounting. Each link on the blog includes a brief description of the site.

Be certain to consider your school's Acceptable Use Policy before creating any STUDENT accounts on any of the tools. There are comments (students can both read or add comments), so be sure to supervise their navigating or do this as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector. For tips on using Web 2.0 sites in your class visit the TeachersFirst Edge Tips. Some of these tools require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (57), counting (110), money (184)

In the Classroom

Use this site to help your students learn how to budget their money and expenses. Read through the descriptions of the 25+ tools and find out which ones may be useful in your subject area. Have students choose one of the tools to create a monthly budget a week or so prior to the start of the month. Have students keep calculations (using the site) throughout their "budgeted month" and see how well they can stick to their own budget. You may want to include this link on your class website so students can access the tools at home. You could also assign students to try more than one tool and compare them. Since students are used to using web tools for everything, challenge them to make the decision about which tool is best.
 
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Zunal WebQuest Maker - FREE - Zafer Unal, PhD

Grades
2 to 12
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Have you been pining to include pertinent webquests in your curriculum? This site allows you to view already created webquests and/or use their online tool to create your own webquest...more
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Have you been pining to include pertinent webquests in your curriculum? This site allows you to view already created webquests and/or use their online tool to create your own webquest without HTML code or web editor software. This site walks you through a tutorial on creating your own webquest for the parameters YOU want. The tutorial includes planning, building, and getting your webquest published. Best of all-- it is free. This site also includes ready-made webquests in nearly every subject area (math, art, music, social studies, science, etc.) submitted by others like you. There are webquests for all grade level. The webquests are free to use and many include reviews by other educators. An easy to follow webquest matrix is available, with all of the subjects and grade levels. You are also able to do a webquest search for a specific topic. Nearly all of the webquests are in English, but a few are in other languages. Note: the quality of webquests is completely determined by others using the site to create webquests, so PREVIEW before using any webquest in class.

tag(s): calories (10), colors (77), money (184), presidents (125), pyramids (28)

In the Classroom

Search the multitude of webquests that are "ready to go" at this site. If you are looking for a more personal touch, you can create your own webquest for each class, tailored to what you want to cover or want students to research. This site also provides a place to post a personal portfolio of your work (if you choose to include any student work, you must have written permission to do so from the student and his or her parent). You might also want students to create webquests as final products of group research projects. Be sure to provide a meaningful rubric for the essential features.

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ZIPskinny - ZIPskinny

Grades
6 to 12
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first ...more
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A useful little site for research or idle curiosity, this site offers some basic demographic data about the communities that make up each U.S. ZIP code. The ZIP code, first developed in 1963 to assist the U.S. Postal Service with automated mail delivery, has become a powerful demographic symbol and is frequently used by researchers to compare U.S. communities. This site, which ties its data to information gathered in the 2000 census, offers no commentary--just the facts ma'am--and includes statistics on education, income, population, race, gender, and marital status. There is a utility for comparing any ZIP code with up to 20 other ZIP codes. Students may be interested in the specific data provided for each public school within a given ZIP code. Our reviewers did notice that some ZIP codes are not included at this time. Serious researchers are cautioned, the data comes from the 2000 census, and may be outdated. This historical census data may provide a good comparison with other, more recent years or for students to make predictions for an upcoming census based on past trends. There is a lot of advertising on the site, although the majority of it is in the form of text links rather than annoying pictures or dancing silhouettes.

tag(s): census (19), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

Teachers or students seeking some basic demographic data about their own town or city, or wishing to compare it with another location, will find this site useful. Civics, government, or economics lessons could be enriched with local data which might be compared to the more general information offered by textbooks in answer to the question "How do we compare to this?" Math teachers and reading teachers who teach graphical data analysis might get some mileage out of using the graphs and tables from their own towns or communities for computations rather than using generic information from a textbook. Project the graphs on a whiteboard and have students manipulate to explain the meaning of changes in the visuals. Think of the higher level thinking questions you could generate during a political year! Of course, the terminally curious can probably waste a good hour or two just noodling with the data.

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Math Online Clips - ThinkPort

Grades
6 to 12
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This wonderful site has an extensive list of free video clips about various mathematical and economics topics. Topics include investing, budgeting, credit, averaging, coordinates, home...more
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This wonderful site has an extensive list of free video clips about various mathematical and economics topics. Topics include investing, budgeting, credit, averaging, coordinates, home ownership, international currency, everyday math for parents, and many other topics. Users can open them with Windows Media or Real Player (the listings tell which one is needed). Get them from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.. This site MUST have a high speed connection! It can be slow to load during "peak" times (11 a.m. to 2 pm Eastern time in the U.S.). Be patient while clips download, even on a peppy network. While the videos are downloading, you may not think anything is happening. TURN OFF your pop-up blocker (including the ones built into the Google and Yahoo toolbars) so you can see the video pop-up windows.

tag(s): coordinates (30), money (184)

In the Classroom

Preview the video clips before recommending them to students or using in class, since the quality of video and audio varies significantly. Downloaded files will open much faster, too! Remember to turn up speakers for group viewing or provide headphones at your center. Share this link with parents on your web page or in your newsletter to encourage math practice at home.
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Catalog Choice - Ecology Center

Grades
6 to 12
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This is an environmental site and should NOT be confused with catalogchoice.COM, a consumer site FULL of advertising. Catalog Choice(.org) provides free membership to "opt out" of catalogs....more
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This is an environmental site and should NOT be confused with catalogchoice.COM, a consumer site FULL of advertising. Catalog Choice(.org) provides free membership to "opt out" of catalogs. Their self-described mission is "a free service that allows you to decide what gets in your mailbox. Use it to reduce your mailbox clutter, while helping save natural resources." If you teach consumer skills, basic economics, or environmental issues, this site is a real world place to visit with your students as part of your class discussions on marketing, advertising, and environmental issues caused by junk mail.

tag(s): advertising (33), earth (224), earth day (104), environment (320)

In the Classroom

If you teach about advertising techniques or information literacy, project both the .org and the .com sites on a screen or whiteboard so students can use a critical eye to see what the .com site is trying to do! Invite your science class to share the .ORG site at home and start an "uncatalog" drive to save some trees. Keep a running total of the number of catalogs your class has stopped and have students research the number of trees you have saved. As part of Earth Day or with your environmental club, share this resource with the entire school community. Encourage students to create tree-safe electronic "ads" for catalog choice (.ORG) that you can share on your class web page. Note: the site requires a free membership, so students should join together with a parent, especially since most catalogs are probably addressed to the adults in the house. Do not permit sharing of personal information (name and address) by students on the site!

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Gapminder - Gapminder

Grades
7 to 12
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to ...more
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Gapminder is an interactive site designed to present world demographic information in a highly visual way. Using either a world map, or a chart with "bubbles" sized according to each country's population, users can track 30 years of change in a wide variety of economic and social indicators (for example, population size, percentage of GNP dedicated to military spending, proportion of girls in school, infant mortality). Math teachers can use the site to demonstrate data analysis skills with meaningful data. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): data (155), demographics (19)

In the Classroom

The site would be best used on an interactive whiteboard, although computer-savvy students could access it individually. The world data presented might supplement lessons in economics, civics, world cultures, current events or modern history. Teachers should plan to spend a chunk of time previewing the site before using, however, as the interface is not entirely intuitive. There is a tutorial, but it will take some experimentation to discover the various ways to manipulate the data and present it graphically. There is also this page of ideas specifically for teachers. You can compare individual countries, or zoom into geographic regions. "Mature" teachers who learned bar graphs and pie charts may find the choices a little overwhelming, but with a little noodling around, will be able to graphically illustrate concepts in ways never before possible.br br Challenge your students to retrieve and use some of the data in support of an essay thesis, oral presentation, or debate.
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Social Studies for Kids

Grades
1 to 8
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government,...more
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This is a general "go-to" website all about social studies. There is information about current events, culture, holidays, languages, religion, economics, geography, maps, government, U.S. presidents, timelines, and many other social studies topics. The highlight of this website is the Current Events segment. This is an easy way to incorporate age-appropriate current events in your classroom.
Note: an annoying audio ad plays when you first enter the site. Turn OFF your sound!

tag(s): holidays (138), maps (292), presidents (125), renaissance (32), timelines (57)

In the Classroom

Use the current events segment as weekly discussion starter or assignment in your social studies class. Share this link on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class. To really build a stronger sense of current events, start a class year-long current events "log" on a wiki and have a differnet student write a "week in review" each week throughout the year, based on the current events provided here or others he/she may know about. Reading teachers may also want to use the articles on this site to teach informational text reading skills on an interactive whiteboard. Reading levels are challenging for grades 1-3. Teachers will need to provide help by reading aloud or partnering readers.

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Big Apple History - PBS Kids

Grades
5 to 9
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PBS has created this wonderful website that presents the history of New York City. The history goes back as far as before the 1600s and runs through the 1960s. The ...more
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PBS has created this wonderful website that presents the history of New York City. The history goes back as far as before the 1600s and runs through the 1960s. The main topics of the website include New York Living, Business and Politics, Arts and Entertainment, Building the Big Apple, Early New York, and Coming to America. The topics each include an interactive timeline that can be used to share historical information with students. As you scroll across the timeline small descriptions appear at the bottom. If you click on the text you are directed to a mock news article about the topic. Lesson plans are also accessible by clicking on the "Parents and Teachers" link (find this link at the very bottom of the page). There are well over 30 excellent lesson plans (most include interactive elements). Some examples of the lesson plan topics include "History or Mis-Story", "Engineer a Solution", "United we Stand?", and "Get Rich Quick". There is even a link to learn more about the history of your own city (see the "Parents and Teachers" link). This website requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): great depression (27), harlem (8), jazz (16), new york (26), stock market (14), timelines (57)

In the Classroom

Get your interactive whiteboards ready for this timeline adventure! Don't forget to utilize the FREE lesson plans. What an excellent way to teach the history of New York City, the stock market, and economics all in one lesson (see "Get Rich Quick")! If you teach about local history, inspire your students by sharing this site first, then have them create a wiki about your town!
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World News - WN Network

Grades
4 to 12
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An ...more
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This is a wonderful compilation site of news from all over the world. Users can read the home page or search news of a specific geographic region. An excellent plus here is the ability to choose to read the news in a variety of languages. World Photos today, multimedia, global weather, and sports are just a few of the many attractive sections that add to this site's appeal.

tag(s): news (258)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your school's foreign language teachers. Have students do comparisons between English and foreign language versions of the news. If you teach writing, you can find controversial topics as writing prompts for persuasive writing among the articles, as well, and have students find facts to support their positions. Make this site available from your teacher web page for current events assignments. Reading teachers will want to use the articles on an interactive whiteboard to teach main idea and summarizing: highlight key words to use in a main idea or summary sentence you write together below the article.

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NationMaster - Luke Metcalfe

Grades
6 to 12
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Created in response to the CIA Factbook and other data sources, NationMaster draws together data from multiple sources so students (and adults) can compare and contrast using the tools...more
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Created in response to the CIA Factbook and other data sources, NationMaster draws together data from multiple sources so students (and adults) can compare and contrast using the tools of the web site itself. Use pulldowns to select a statistic to compare, such as Education, and the specific statistic you wish to look at (Average years of schooling of adults, for example). You will see the actual data as well as a bar graph or switch to a colored world map representing the data. The site makes working with data more student-friendly. You will have to ignore some of the ads along the top and left side of the page.

tag(s): data (155), statistics (125)

In the Classroom

Provide this resource as a link on your teacher web page or in class for supporting data to be used in discussions or debates. In math classes, use the data to create and compare alternate graphical representations of real-world data. In geography classes, use the site tools to see correlations provided for many types of data. World language classes can study and compare the various nations that speak the language they are studying. If you are lucky enough to have an interactive whiteboard, highlight data and create graphs for comparisons on the board using the board tools and spreadsheet software, as well.

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CIA World Factbook - Central Intelligence Agency

Grades
6 to 12
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Get the facts fast. Use a simple pull-down to find a country of the world and learn all about its significant data. The information is separated into categories:Introduction, Geography,...more
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Get the facts fast. Use a simple pull-down to find a country of the world and learn all about its significant data. The information is separated into categories:Introduction, Geography, People, Government, Economy, Communications, Transportation, Military, and Transnational Issues. All the information is presented in a dry, factual format (mostly numbers) but provides an excellent way to compare countries, draw inferences, and predict trends, hypothesize cause/effect, and more. By researching the data, your class can look for possible connections between demographics and economics, for example.

tag(s): data (155), demographics (19), population (63)

In the Classroom

Provide this resource as a link on your teacher web page or in class for supporting data to be used in discussions or debates. In math classes, use the data to create and compare graphical representations of real-world data. In geography classes, use the information to draw connections between physical features of a nation and its economy. World language classes can compare the various nations that speak the language they are studying.

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Acceptance Speech by Doris Voitier - Doris Voitier/ John F. Kennedy Memorial Library Foundation

Grades
K to 12
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Doris Voitier, Superintendent of the St. Bernard Parish Schools in New Orleans area gave this speech in acceptance of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's Profiles in Courage Award...more
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Doris Voitier, Superintendent of the St. Bernard Parish Schools in New Orleans area gave this speech in acceptance of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's Profiles in Courage Award in 2007. Her account of the challenges during and after Hurricane Katrina and the response by the staff of the St. Bernard Parish schools is awe-inspiring and heartening to educators. Her oral history also provides a powerful view of FEMA and the U.S. government from the eyes of hurricane survivors and local public officials.

TeachersFirst is fortunate to have Doris Voitier as a member of the board of directors of our parent company and is proud to congratulate her on this prestigious award.

tag(s): hurricanes (40)

In the Classroom

Educators anywhere will respond to this account on a very personal level. In the classroom, however, this account can also spark discussion about the role of the government in natural disasters, the structure and functions of local government agencies, such as the schools, and the very nature of local economies. Share this real-life story as the beginning of a class discussion on history, government, or economics at the local, state, and federal level.

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NOVA--World in the Balance - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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This is a companion site to a PBS series on the forces world wide that are affecting global population. There is a wealth of information here on historical trends ...more
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This is a companion site to a PBS series on the forces world wide that are affecting global population. There is a wealth of information here on historical trends in population growth, the impact of population on the environment, and the continuing imbalance between the rich and the poor in the world. There are flash-enabled slide shows illustrating global population growth over history, and the impact of that growth on the environment. Don't miss the population counter that starts when you load the home page. It shows how many babies are born in the world since the page first loaded, and the impact is startling! A teacher's guide gives further information about using the resources in the classroom.

tag(s): demographics (19), environment (320), population (63)

In the Classroom

Several excellent interactives might make a strong visual impact if used on an interactive whiteboard. There is an interactive quiz that might be a good discussion starter, and matching "game" that shows demographic trends in four contrasting countries: the US, Japan, Kenya and India. These interactives give impact to discussions of the global economy, world wide environmental changes and the balance of power between "developing" and "developed" countries. Put the population counter up on a projector as student enter the room to activate prior knowledge or provide an anticipatory set.
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American Experience The Gold Rush - PBS

Grades
6 to 12
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling...more
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From a PBS American Experience episode on the Gold Rush, this site includes a good timeline for the Gold Rush, transcripts of interviews concerning the immigrant contribution to settling California and pursing gold, lesson plans focused on history, economics, geography and civics. There is a nice Flash-powered simulation game in which students can choose a character to navigate the rigors of the Gold Rush. Characters include a Chinese immigrant and a woman.

tag(s): california (26), civil war (140), gold rush (19), immigration (61), lincoln (82), migration (58)

In the Classroom

The Gold Rush era in American history usually gets folded into a discussion of immigration or western expansion. The timeline helps put the discussion into a broader context that includes the Civil War. The simulation game would be a good extension activity for students who master material more quickly, or for students to do at home.
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My Wonderful World - National Geographic and partners

Grades
6 to 12
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After miserable results on a world geography test, National Geographic launched this site as part of a campaign to re-ignite interest and provide resources for students, teachers, and...more
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After miserable results on a world geography test, National Geographic launched this site as part of a campaign to re-ignite interest and provide resources for students, teachers, and parents to learn more about geography. The site is designed blog-style, with many places to comment or join into discussion. There are separate sections for educators (start a geography club, evaluate your school's program, etc.), parents, and kids. Be sure to try the Test Your Global IQ link. There are also many links for further materials and ideas to bolster your instruction in geography.

In the Classroom

Try putting the Global IQ Test up on a projector to "pretest" your class or include it on your teacher web page for extra challenge.

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Be A Historian - Industrialization - Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area

Grades
5 to 10
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. ...more
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This teacher friendly site has it all - thinking questions, facts, research activities and more! This site is designed for grades 6-8, but could be useful in grades 5-10. The students are taken back to the late 1800s by authentic pictures and creative learning activities. Topics include working women, railroads and other forms of transportation and mass production.

tag(s): industrialization (14)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive graphic organizers for students to complete individual or guided learning experiences. These would also work well on an interactive whiteboard.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Quintessential Careers - Quintessential Careers

Grades
7 to 12
1 Favorites 0  Comments
A thorough site on planning for a career. Includes timelines, options, many links to different career paths and college planning resources, even a cover letter generator. the site does...more
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A thorough site on planning for a career. Includes timelines, options, many links to different career paths and college planning resources, even a cover letter generator. the site does have some advertising, but it is tolerable (turn on your pop-up blocker). Special Education teachers working with students on transition planning will also find this site helpful in providing a structured approach.

tag(s): careers (145), college (49), financial aid (16)

In the Classroom

Mark this one in the Favorites on a classroom computer or make it available for students to use independently after you share it for basic navigation tips. You may even want to assign certain tasks on the site as part of your careers unit.

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World Mapper - University of Sheffield

Grades
6 to 12
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What would a world map look like if countries and continents were sized not by land area, but by population, number of elderly, various type of imports, or emigration? ...more
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What would a world map look like if countries and continents were sized not by land area, but by population, number of elderly, various type of imports, or emigration? This site presents dozens of cartograms - or density-equalizing maps - in which each country is resized according to a specific variable. Each map is accompanied by a downloadable Excel file and a printable poster.

tag(s): immigration (61), maps (292), migration (58), population (63)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector. The population maps would be extremely useful for any class discussion on the world use of resources, and the financial disparities that exist among nations. Use the animations provided on the interactive whiteboard or projector to show students the demographic differences between nations. World Mapper is an wonderful addition to any geography,civics or social studies class, particularly during units on the UN, natural resources, world conflict, and economic disparity.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Time Value of Money - National Council on Economic Education

Grades
6 to 12
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Give your students some real-world experience with the concept of interest rates over time. This authentic lesson plan puts students in the driver's seat as they contemplate lending...more
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Give your students some real-world experience with the concept of interest rates over time. This authentic lesson plan puts students in the driver's seat as they contemplate lending money to a sibling. Is it more lucrative to demand payment at once, or accept a series of installments? Great basic introduction to a vital economic concept. Aligned to National Standards.

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