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Crypto Kids

What it is: Crypto Kids is a website created by the National Security Agency all about creating and breaking codes.  This is a fantastic critical thinking website that also taps into math, linguistics, engineering, and analyzing skills.  I found Crypto Kids while I was hunting for an activity for students to learn more about codes as part of our Treasures reading series.  Crypto Kids turns out to be an excellent site for all elementary classrooms.  Students learn all about cryptology, the National Security Agency, and ciphers.  Students get the chance to meet the characters of Crypto Kids which include: Crypto Cat, Decipher Dog, Rosetta Stone, Slate, Joules, T. Top, and the leader CSS Sam.  Students can play logic games to test out their code breaking skills.  There are three levels of game play beginner, intermediate, and advanced.   As students play games, they will learn Morse Code, complete brainteasers that involve math and logic, create their own cipher machines, crack Yardleygrams and cryptograms, and learn some words in different languages.  Students can then learn more about careers that use cryptograms and code breaking at the National Security Agency. How to integrate Crypto Kids into the classroom: Crypto Kids is packed full of thinking and logic games and activities, many of which involve mathematical problem solving.  Crypto Kids games and activities are a great way to get your students thinking critically before math class.  Put one of the brain teasers up on the projector connected computer or interactive whiteboard for students to solve as a warm up activity.  Crypto Kids games are short enough that they could be used as a math center activity on classroom computers.  Students can visit the center in pairs or small groups and work on solving cryptograms together.  The Yardleygrams are stories that must be solved, these are fun to solve as a whole class. Since I was using this site to build background knowledge about codes with my students, we focused on what secret codes were, how they were used, and cracked some codes for practice.  As an extension activity, I had students read the descriptions of the characters on Crypto Kids and write a short story about the character.  These turned out great!  Students have to use the character qualities that are written and craft a story about the character, paying attention to how they think the character would act and what special skills they could use to solve a problem. Tips: Check out the Teacher/Parent section of the site for some additional resources. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Crypto Kids in your classroom.

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NASA Space Place

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Podcasts, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, video, Websites | Posted on 14-01-2010

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What it is: NASA has hundreds of excellent educational resources online.  NASA Space Place is another awesome site for elementary kids to explore science and space.  The Space Place has fun online games, animations, projects, and fun facts about Earth, space and technology.  Space Place Live is an animated talk show where all the guests are real scientists and engineers who work on space and Earth missions.  Students can find out what it is like to work for NASA, how the scientist or engineer got started, and what they like to do for fun.  There are currently 7 episodes that students can enjoy topics include: solar wind, satellites, weather, space missions, telescopes, engineering, the birth of stars, Mars, robots, and black holes.  Even though the show is animated, the experts involved are the actual experts.  NASA Space Place has a variety of on and offline games with everything from scrambled pictures, to world puzzles, crazy quizzes and board games.  Students can learn more about weather, space, satellites, the environment, (and much more) through game play.  There are a variety of projects and experiments on the site with step by step directions for students.  These are great for the classroom, science fair, or at home on a rainy day.  Space Place makes finding games, animations, and projects related to your curriculum easy arranging the site by subjects.  Use Space Place when you are learning about planets and the solar system, stars, galaxies, and black holes, laws of the universe (light, motion, gravity), the Earth, and space technology.  Space Place has several storybooks that can be viewed on or offline.

How to integrate NASA Space Place into the classroom: Because of the wealth of resources on this site, there are a variety of ways to use it in your classroom.  The animations are a neat way to bring expert scientists and engineers into your classroom.  Share an animated video a week as your students explore the solar system and universe.  The games reinforce learning, use them as a center activity on the classroom computers as they relate to your curriculum.  Many of the games encourage exploration and trial and error (these are my favorite kind of learning games for students).  Students can explore the Amazing Facts section of the site and then complete the trivia game to test out their understanding.  In the project section, you will find experiments and science crafts. Choose some of these to complete as a class or assign each student a different project to test and share with the class.  Projects would also make an excellent stop during science fair time.  Use the Space Place Storybooks as animated flipbooks online as a class with a projector/interactive whiteboard, or print them out for your classroom library.  The books could be used as an online reading center on your classroom computers as well.  These stories are sure to capture your students imagination!

Tips: Be sure to check out the educator page on NASA Space Place, it is packed full of good ideas, newsletters, printable images of space for bulletin boards, space related articles, math related articles, printable posters, and podcasts to download.  With the renewed push for STEM education, there has never been a better time to include sites like NASA Space Place to excite and engage your students.

Leave a comment and share how you are using Nasa Interactive Timeline in your classroom.

Comments (1)

Fun way to learn about space.

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