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Sharp Brains - Sharpbrains

Grades
6 to 12
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How...more
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How Your Brain Works, Attention, Memory, Pattern Recognition and Planning, Visual Workouts, Visual Illusions, Language and Logic, and others. Some of the activities are quick (less than a minute) while others require more time. The activities could be used in many subject areas; there are language activities, math, general logic, and even some for physical education.

Be aware: each mind stretcher activity includes a blog. Some of the blog comments may not be appropriate, so be sure to READ any blogs that you plan to share. You may want to make these activities a group challenge, rather than individual exploration. Many are interactive and require Flash or Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): brain (66), logic (244), puzzles (204), stress (13)

In the Classroom

Start your class (any subject area) with a mind stretcher or include this as part of a psychology or biology lesson on how the brain works. Share the puzzle or challenge on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge your students to create their own logic activities and create a class "Logic" wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Puzzlers Paradise - Shelly Hazard

Grades
2 to 10
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This site offers some fabulous (and addicting) mind stretchers. There are both visual and verbal puzzles. There is also a puzzle archive featuring a variety of puzzles for various grade...more
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This site offers some fabulous (and addicting) mind stretchers. There are both visual and verbal puzzles. There is also a puzzle archive featuring a variety of puzzles for various grade levels. Some of the puzzles are interactive and you complete them online, while others are printable. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): logic (244), puzzles (204)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites. Use a logic puzzle as a class opener to "warm up" brains. Display the puzzle on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Print out the logic puzzles for students to complete for additional enrichment. Use this site with your gifted students. Provide a link to this site on your class website for students to use at home. Challenge your students to create some puzzlers of their own and share them on a class wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Up and Down Words - Merriam Webster

Grades
3 to 10
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In this activity, students learn word combinations and idioms. In a ladder sequence, students find the second half of a word combo by reading its definition and adding the second ...more
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In this activity, students learn word combinations and idioms. In a ladder sequence, students find the second half of a word combo by reading its definition and adding the second word.That, in turn, becomes the first part of the next answer. The goal is to get to the 7th word combo whose second half started the game. Clickable hints assist students with the first letter missing word. You are able to click on the clues (to get more letters) as often as needed to solve the puzzle. There are new puzzles every weekday and archived puzzles from previous dates. There are two difficulty levels. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): grammar (210), idioms (43), puzzles (204), spelling (166)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use this site for vocabulary enhancement and understanding of idioms. Speech and language teachers may want to use it to teach word combinations, as well. Students can easily play this game in pairs. Since teachers can also print the blank activity, you can use it for a desk activity or homework assignment. After students get used to this idea, have them make their own word ladders on the interactive whiteboard, as a sequence of animated PowerPoint slides, or collaboratively as a graphic organizer using an online tool such as Gliffy or Mindomo.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles - Alexander Bogomolny

Grades
3 to 12
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Although we don't usually highlight a site that is simply a list, this list is worth mentioning. There are literally hundreds of math activities at this site (all Java applets). ...more
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Although we don't usually highlight a site that is simply a list, this list is worth mentioning. There are literally hundreds of math activities at this site (all Java applets). The activities are divided up into the following categories: Arithmetic, Math Games & Puzzles, Logic, Fractals & Chaos, Fallacies, Calculus, Combinatorial Games, Algebra, Visual Illusions, Computer Math Magic, Combinatorics, Geometry, Eye Opener Series, Social Science, Mathematical Droodles, and Analog Devices. Each category has numerous interactive activities included. The site is frequently updated. There are some small advertisements at the site. This site is simple to use and offers a wealth of options for many grade levels. The activities are not time-consuming and offer simple explanations with the applets.

tag(s): angles (87), logic (244), money (184), puzzles (204)

In the Classroom

Use these applets on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a lesson in math class. Have students work independently on the logic and puzzle activities. These activities are ideal for gifted students (for advancement and/or enrichment) or extra practice for struggling students. Provide this link on your class website, so students can explore at home or as review.

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What's Special About This Number - Erich Friedman

Grades
4 to 12
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This unusual website shares the "uniqueness" of a multitude of numbers. The numbers range from 0 - 9,999. This website teaches you what the only even prime number is, what ...more
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This unusual website shares the "uniqueness" of a multitude of numbers. The numbers range from 0 - 9,999. This website teaches you what the only even prime number is, what a narcissistic number is, what the smallest number with 14 divisors is, and a LOT of other interesting mind-stretching information. The highlight of this website is the ability to click on math terms to learn more about the topic.

tag(s): angles (87), median (23), numbers (194), roman numerals (9), vocabulary (315)

In the Classroom

This is one of those sites that you have see to appreciate. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard. In more advanced classes, project a number on the screen as students walk in. Have students try to figure out what might make this number "special." Have students share their responses. This is a great "number of the day/mind-stretcher of the day" activity.

Or have students work on individual computers. Choose several of the numbers that relate to a topic that you are teaching (such as the square root), and have individual students learn about the number and then teach the class what they learned. Extend the idea by having students create "what's special" PowerPoint slides or wiki pages about favorite numbers. What better way to develop true number sense and excitement about math as a mental game.

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Paper Models of Polyhedra - Gijs Korthals Altes

Grades
6 to 10
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This simple, "hands-on" website offers PDF files of numerous paper models of polyhedra. The files are ready to print and share with your students. The various geometric solids include...more
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This simple, "hands-on" website offers PDF files of numerous paper models of polyhedra. The files are ready to print and share with your students. The various geometric solids include platonic solids, Archimedean solids, Kepler-Poinsot polyhedra, and numerous others. The files are available in PDF format and require Adobe. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): paper folding (4), visual thinking (10)

In the Classroom

Why not print a pattern onto cardstock or other thick paper. Then project the image (that you printed for your students) onto a projection screen or interactive whiteboard, while students work independently at their seats. Before you pass out the paper copies, have them view the projected image and predict what it will be.

These shapes can also serve as creative study aids for all subject areas, especially for students who need engaging ways to review. Have students write key terms and questions on the "faces" before assembling the figures, then "roll" them as a study game, testing each other to define or explain terms.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Grain Strain - sciencemuseum

Grades
4 to 10
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This interactive website challenges students to design a contraption that will catch 50 pieces of grain. There is a chain that drops the grain, and a bucket at the bottom ...more
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This interactive website challenges students to design a contraption that will catch 50 pieces of grain. There is a chain that drops the grain, and a bucket at the bottom of the screen. Students have their choice of 5-6 chains running in various directions. What a fabulous way to integrate science, math, creativity, and problem solving. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page. NOTE: this British science museum is very popular. The site opens slowly at certain times of the school day and evening in Britain.

tag(s): logic (244), machines (27), simple machines (35)

In the Classroom

This is a wonderful website to incorporate into a science unit about levers, gears, and simple machines. Or use this website as a mind stretcher for the entire class.

Share this creative website on an interactive whiteboard (or projector). Be sure to turn up the volume, students will enjoy the background music and sounds provided at this website.(You may end up turning it OFF after a while, too!). Or have students work in pairs on laptops to solve a level and analyze their success, including drawing and labeling the parts of their machine.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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National Library of Virtual Manipulatives - Utah State University

Grades
K to 12
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This celebrated collection of countless interactive math activities was created by Utah State University. Use the simple grid to find activities by grade level (pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and...more
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This celebrated collection of countless interactive math activities was created by Utah State University. Use the simple grid to find activities by grade level (pre-K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12)and topic: numbers & operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis & probability. Specific virtual manipulatives include attribute blocks, geoboards, pattern blocks, algebra tiles, and numerous others. Nearly all of the activities require JAVA. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): charts and graphs (196), probability (137), tangrams (13)

In the Classroom

What a perfect tool to help your visual learners connect the dots in math class. All activities are perfect for an interactive whiteboard or projector. This is also an excellent resource to use for re-teaching skills, additional practice, enrichment activities, or even advanced activities for your gifted students. Learning support teachers will appreciate the alternative way to present math topics in a "hands-on" format. Be sure to include this website as a link on your classroom web page.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The x plus y files - Issue 11 - Symmetry +

Grades
3 to 12
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This issue of "x plus y" offers math teachers some intriguing ideas and activities to incorporate into class lessons at all levels. There are challenging logic puzzles, but also some...more
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This issue of "x plus y" offers math teachers some intriguing ideas and activities to incorporate into class lessons at all levels. There are challenging logic puzzles, but also some basic math activities and information. For example, the site offers "multiple tricks" that provide easy methods for students to figure out the multiples of 7, 9, etc. There are eight specific activities provided including: Mathletics, An Open and Shut Case Concluded, Puzzling Scales, Guard Duty, Multiple Tricks, Alphanumeric, Squares and Quadrilaterals, and Shepherd's Problem.

tag(s): logic (244), mental math (30), multiples (31), number sense (94)

In the Classroom

These activities are all ideal for a projection screen. Why not display one of the activities on a large screen as a brain stretcher activity at the beginning of class. If you are working on building mental math skills, some of the tips for teaching multiples will be handy. Why not ask the students to make posters with the tricks.

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Fill-It-In Outline Mathematics - Alexander Bogomolny

Grades
1 to 10
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This website is truly a rare find - combining math and reading skills. Although the main page is aesthetically plain, the activities are very challenging. Most are set-up as word ...more
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This website is truly a rare find - combining math and reading skills. Although the main page is aesthetically plain, the activities are very challenging. Most are set-up as word problems that require reading, comprehension, math skills, and more. The "outline math problems" provide students with 3-5 choices. You simply click on the blank and the choices for the answers are provided. There are activities for primary grades (such as basic addition practice) as well as advanced activities for secondary grades (such as geometry concepts). Many of the activities require JAVA. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): angles (87), logic (244), multiples (31)

In the Classroom

These activities are perfect for an interactive whiteboard (or projector). You could also provide a link to this website in your class newsletter or on your class web page. Many of the activities would provide excellent at-home practice and/or enrichment. Challenge your students to answer a question of the week for extra credit.

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Planet Science - NESTA

Grades
K to 12
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This MUST SEE interactive science website features eight specific areas. The "News" section includes weekly news updates and features. "Wired" has challenging interactive games for...more
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This MUST SEE interactive science website features eight specific areas. The "News" section includes weekly news updates and features. "Wired" has challenging interactive games for grades 4-12. "Sci-Teach" provides countless resources for teachers of all grades. "Out There" takes you to the "back garden of science delights," including inventors, sound, vampires, and the flu. "Parents" has useful ideas - even science experiments for children's parties. "Under 11s" is geared for younger students, an excellent collection!. The activities teach traditional science topics using new multimedia. The "Next Steps" link challenges students to think about their future careers (both science and non-science). There are printable pages and interactive activities for elementary, middle, and high school students. The "Library" link features countless online science resources.

Nearly every one of the activities requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): inventors and inventions (89), planets (131), sports (98), water (131)

In the Classroom

Nearly all of the activities are ideal for interactive whiteboards (or projectors). This site is so rich it may be overwhelming. If you are an elementary teacher, start at the "Under 11s" link. Otherwise, visit the "Sci-Teach" link first for some excellent ideas, resources, and science fun. Preview this site before starting any science unit to find related activites and extensions.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Math Teasers - NCES

Grades
5 to 12
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This site offers a monthly math brain teaser problem to test your math/statistical knowledge. Solutions to the questions are hidden behind a clickable bar so you can share the question...more
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This site offers a monthly math brain teaser problem to test your math/statistical knowledge. Solutions to the questions are hidden behind a clickable bar so you can share the question on a projector without revealing the answer. Previous math teasers and solutions can be found in the archives.

tag(s): brain (66), statistics (126)

In the Classroom

Be sure to include this site on your teacher web page for students to access both in and outside of class. Use the challenge as an extra credit opportunity or a prompt for "math blogging."

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Launchball - sciencemuseum

Grades
3 to 12
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Beware - your students may get addicted to this science activity! Launchball challenges students to use batteries, solar power, magnets, and other types of virtual energy to move a...more
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Beware - your students may get addicted to this science activity! Launchball challenges students to use batteries, solar power, magnets, and other types of virtual energy to move a ball from a starting point to an ending point. There are numerous levels (up to 30). The program also offers hints and provides science facts throughout the activity. This mind stretcher allows students to play the game of virtual physics or create and share their own Launchball game. Users are able to sign-in and receive a password (free of charge). This allows users to return to the same game and save their conquests. This site requires FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): electricity (93), energy (210)

In the Classroom

Introduce your students to this unique, mind-stretching activity using an interactive whiteboard. Then allow your students to work individually or in groups to navigate the activities and eventually create their own Launchball games to challenge classmates. What an exciting way to learn about energy! Use a single class log-in for safety's sake and to monitor student appropriateness, if necessary.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Inventing Modern America: Games - Lemelson-MIT

Grades
5 to 12
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Students dream about becoming an inventor. This site shows that even the smallest item in life, such as the paper clip, was once invented by 'someone.' You can ...more
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Students dream about becoming an inventor. This site shows that even the smallest item in life, such as the paper clip, was once invented by 'someone.' You can promote creativity and encourage 'thinking outside the box' through this site. Play the 'Which Came First' game at this site to see if you can guess which invention came first, especially in conjunction with a social studies class on the inventors and industrial revolution. (Warning: It's harder than you think!) Or you may opt to play the 'Invention Connection' game, a challenging activity that builds higher level thinking through attribute listing and looking for common characteristics of diverse inventions. For pure information and inspiration, click on the five featured inventors to find video footage and other information about their lives and inventions. You will need the Shockwave plug-in to play the 'Invention Connection' game.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (89)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard to play the games in science class as you talk about inventions, engineering, and the inquiry process that drives them or as an interdisciplinary connection in your lessons on inventions and the Industrial Revolution.
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Cool Math - Coolmath.com

Grades
K to 12
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This all-inclusive math website contains activities for all grades (K-12). The website also features countless lesson plans, math problems, math games, and a math dictionary. There...more
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This all-inclusive math website contains activities for all grades (K-12). The website also features countless lesson plans, math problems, math games, and a math dictionary. There are links for students, teachers, and parents. This resource provides excellent introduction lesson plans and highly creative games and activities. Be warned - this website does have some advertisements, but the content is wonderful. If you are looking for a way to review, re-teach, or introduce a math concept, take a few minutes to visit this website.

tag(s): addition (224), decimals (125), logic (244), puzzles (204)

In the Classroom

Provide this link in your class newsletter or share the link on your class web page for students to use this resource for additional practice at home. Use selected activities as a center on your single classroom computer or for whole-class practice.

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Braingle: Brain Teasers, Puzzles, Riddles and More - Braingle

Grades
3 to 12
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Exercise your gray matter by solving one of the 12,000 'braingles' at this site. It purports to be the largest collection of puzzles, riddles, mind games, etc, on the ...more
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Exercise your gray matter by solving one of the 12,000 'braingles' at this site. It purports to be the largest collection of puzzles, riddles, mind games, etc, on the Internet. Once you explore the site, you trust their word. The site is mobile phone and wii-friendly. Don't miss the section with SAT vocab (in Mentalrobics). There are articles on study skills and strategies such as clearing your mind before studying, "chunking" when reading, or various strategies to memorize material. Engage students into math and reading exercises through the endless riddles and puzzles at this site. They won't even be aware they are 'reading' or 'solving math.'

tag(s): brain (66), puzzles (204), riddles (16), vocabulary (315)

In the Classroom

Start class with a "warm-up" brain teaser. Or include this link on your teacher web page (with a caution about parental supervision for younger ones). Site creators claim the entire site is family-friendly, safe for classroom use. Portions of the site require membership, and the membership level that displays ads is free. You may want to set up a CLASS account and use it under controlled circumstances since there are forums and chat rooms, however. Or ask your tech folks to block the portion of the site that includes "community" in the URL (http://www.braingle.com/community/) to avoid having to deal with forums, chat rooms, etc.(If you are lucky enough to have such helpful tech support, make them cookies once in awhile!)
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Word Games - east of the web

Grades
2 to 12
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This interactive website provides hours of mind stretching fun. The mind challenges include cryptoquote, popword, eight letters, define time, storyman, wordsearch, and codeword. Some...more
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This interactive website provides hours of mind stretching fun. The mind challenges include cryptoquote, popword, eight letters, define time, storyman, wordsearch, and codeword. Some of these challenges are perfect for spelling practice, learning new vocabulary, problem solving and basic math practice. Each activity provides instructions for the user to explain the purpose of the activity. Many of the activities also have various difficulty levels to differentiate the activity for a variety of learning levels. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): puzzles (204)

In the Classroom

This website is "interactive whiteboard ready." Students will love these mind stretching challenges and teachers will love the easy-to-use format of the activities. Put a game up on the whiteboard as students are taking their seats to focus attention and minds on WORDS before you start class. ESL teachers may find these games will help students practice language skills more readily. If you don't have time to utilize this challenge in class, provide the link in your class's newsletter or on your teacher web page.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Inventing Modern America: Invention Connection - The Lemelson - MIT Program

Grades
4 to 10
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This website helps to "connect" the dots of inventions. The "Invention Connection" challenges students to trace the paths and interconnections of many inventions. Students can complete...more
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This website helps to "connect" the dots of inventions. The "Invention Connection" challenges students to trace the paths and interconnections of many inventions. Students can complete this activity over and over again and learn about new inventions each time. The text portions may require some explanation to elementary students. This site requires Flash, get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): evolution (101), industrial revolution (26), inventors and inventions (89)

In the Classroom

Use this wonderful resource during your inventions/inventors units. This activity helps students to understand the connections between numerous inventions and forces then to think about unusual commonalities between unlike objects. This invention activity is perfect for an interactive whiteboard. You may want to have a separate window open to "look up" some of the more esoteric inventions that show up, since they may not be familiar to you and your students.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Math Presentations - Jefferson County Schools

Grades
K to 12
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If you are teaching a new math concept or want to review an already-introduced math skill, you must visit this website. The site provides free PowerPoint presentations on numerous...more
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If you are teaching a new math concept or want to review an already-introduced math skill, you must visit this website. The site provides free PowerPoint presentations on numerous math topics. There are presentations for grades K-5 and 6-12. There are over 100 math topics available. Use these free resources to help simplify the complexities of mathematics in your classroom. You may need PowerPoint software on your computer to view these files, depending upon how the site creators saved them. Roll your mouse over the words slowly to see which shows can be played directly from the site and which you must download to your computer to run from there. This site has heavy advertising at the top of the landing page. Scroll down to find the presentations.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): addition (224), air (145), division (159), logic (244), multiplication (209), subtraction (186), vision (79)

In the Classroom

Try these ready-to-go PowerPoint presentations on an interactive whiteboard or projector in your classroom. Some may also be well-suited for individual students to run on a single classroom computer for remediation or review. There are games, resources and a lot of information. The site includes a disclaimer asking to be notified if users find any unauthorized, copyrighted material. TeachersFirst recommends that you NOT download copies but instead use them online, just in case.

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Substitute Survival: Tools You Can Use - Education World

Grades
K to 12
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This website provides substitutes with practical advice on surviving in a classroom. Most of the tips, websites and lesson ideas are more suitable for elementary or middle school,...more
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This website provides substitutes with practical advice on surviving in a classroom. Most of the tips, websites and lesson ideas are more suitable for elementary or middle school, but many of the tips are practical in any classroom, any grade and any subject matter. New teachers and those headed into student teaching would be wise to read it, as well.

tag(s): substitutes (17)

In the Classroom

Substitutes - don't go into the trenches empty handed, print out this useful survival guide (or make it a TeachersFirst Favorite so you can find it anytime) and be prepared for the unexpected!

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