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World Spelling Day

What it is: World Spelling Day is brought to you by the same folks who hold World Math Day. This year (2011) World Spelling Day is taking place on March 3.  Don’t wait, sign your kids up now and they can start practicing!  World Spelling Day is a world-wide competition between students where they engage in live games of spelling.  Each game lasts for 60 seconds and students can play up to 100 games to earn points for their personal tally.  Students can play more than 100 games during the event but only 100 count toward the Spellometer.  Students who answer the most correct question will appear in the World Spelling Day Hall of Fame.  World Spelling Day has 5 levels to play and 20 games at each level.   Just like World Math Day school age students (4-18 years old), individual children, and homeschoolers can register and participate. Register as many or as few students as you want (for free!).  Even better, if you already registered for World Math Day, your login credentials will work on the World Spelling Day website! How to integrate World Spelling Day into the classroom: It couldn’t be easier to get your students involved, just sign them up by registering, pass out usernames and passwords and away you go.  Students can play in a computer lab setting (they like to try to login at exactly the same time so they can play against each other in games) or on classroom computers in 60 second rotations.  The 60 second time limit on games makes it easy to pass all of your students through a World Spelling Day center on classroom computers.  In addition, students can take their login information home with them to play at home.  World Spelling Day takes place every March, now that you know it is coming, plan to make it an Olympic type event in your classroom.  I have been known to hold opening ceremonies in my classroom prior to the event. Since your students are competing against students from around the world, why not use the competition to practice using a map and identifying countries?  Since I had a Promethean board, I did this digitally with a Google Map.  Each time a student competed against a country, they would come up to the board and put a “pin” in the map.  Don’t have an interactive whiteboard? The paper map and actual pins are just as fun! Tips: There is a free World Spelling Day app for the iPad, you can get it here. Please leave a comment and share how you are using World Spelling Day in your classroom!

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NASA’s Be a Martian

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 22-02-2010

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What it is: I have always been intrigued by space exploration.  NASA’s Be a Martian feeds this intrigue by giving an up close view of Mars exploration.  Here students can virtually explore and learn about the human-robotic partnership that makes virtual exploration possible.  Students can become citizens (this requires them to create an account) or explore with an “Anonymous Tourist Visa”, which is how I explored.  Students can send virtual postcard messages to the Spirit Rover in her new home.  After composing their own message, students are taken to a virtual Mars where postcards with messages rain down.  Students can click on a postcard to read what others around the world have written.  In the map room, students can watch a video detailing the history of mapping and learn how NASA scientists map today.  Students can become virtual map makers by matching up map image fragments, and counting craters.  In Two Moons Theater, students can watch videos starring NASA scientists, explorers, and Mars.    Students can ask and vote on questions that they would like to see answered in the Polling Place.  In Tourist Mars Atlas, students can explore the surface of Mars and learn that there is more to Mars than a giant expanse of tan.   

How to integrate NASA’s Be a Martian into the classroom: Feed your students curiosity about space exploration and Mars with this great interactive environment.  Students have the opportunity to learn about the work that NASA scientists do, practice their observation skills in map making, and learn some great history about space exploration, and map making.  I really like that NASA has included a place for students to ask and vote on questions that they would like answered.  What a neat way to help students understand that we don’t have all the answers and that scientists ask questions, explore, and experiment to learn more.  I think that younger students (primary elementary) would really enjoy the crater counting activity.  Do this activity as a class using an interactive whiteboard/projector or individually as a center.  This will help students to look for detail and practice counting together.  Older students will enjoy trying their hand at mapping Mars and learning more about the history.  Have students learn about the Spirit Rover and her job on Mars before sending a message.  Some of the postcards include location information, it might be fun to track the locations of the postcards in Google Earth with placemarkers.  Then, explore Mars using Google Earth or Google Space.  The Google tools complement this site nicely.

Tips: There is an impressive contest section on NASA’s Be a Martian site, the deadline for entries is April 16, 2010.  The contest challenges us to come up with videos about Mars, interactive software or games, or write an efficient image processing application.  NASA is including us all in the exploration of Mars.  These challenges would be outstanding for older students to take part in…talk about authentic learning!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using NASA’s Be a Martian in your classroom.

Comments (5)

What an excellent way of teaching and learning about space. Way cool!

This looks like a great site to use in the classroom or at home for kids who enjoy space. In my child’s school, they have a “Project Fair” each year and this would be a great idea to help with a project dealing with space.

Authentic learning indeed! It’s wonderful when entities like NASA encourage kids to become involved. AND acknowledge that we certainly don’t have all the answers.

This looks like so much fun. I’m so annoyed that these tools are available to these kids and I was stuck with poorly copied images from an out of date textbook. Great find and share.

I know, I am always bummed that I didn’t get to learn with these tools when I was a kid. That is probably why I geek out about them so much now…gives me a chance to learn like a kid!

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