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Discovery’s Make a Quake

What it is: Our fifth graders are going to be reading stories about extreme nature next week.  To build background knowledge about extreme nature, I was on a hunt for some sites that would teach them about different natural occurrences and include an interactive where they could explore the occurrence first hand.  Discovery has an nice interactive on earthquakes called Make a Quake.  Students are able to create their own earthquake in a virtual simulator.  Students enter a simulator that lets them choose the kind of ground that their building is built on, the preventative measures that have been put in place, and the magnitude of the earthquake.  Then they begin the quake to test out different scenarios. How to integrate Discovery’s Make a Quake into the classroom: This is a great site to help students understand how different factors determine the impact of an earthquake.  Allow students to explore this interactive individually on classroom computers or in a computer lab setting.  Encourage them to take notes about what combination causes the most damage and which combination causes the least damage.  You could also complete this simulation as a class using an interactive whiteboard or a projector.  Invite students up to adjust the different factors (ground, prevention, magnitude).  Ask students to make predictions about what will happen to their building. Begin the quake to test their hypothesis. Tips: Students can learn more about past earthquakes by learning more about 1906: The Great Quake Cover-Up and view a photo gallery of earthquake destruction. Leave a comment and share how you are using Discovery’s Make a Quake  in your classroom.

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ESA Kids

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 02-04-2010

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What it is: The European Space Agency (ESA) has a great website for kids.  ESA Kids has fabulous, kid friendly information about the Universe (the story of the Universe, the sun, the planets and moons, the galaxies, comets and meteors), Life in Space (astronauts, space stations, life in space, exploration, are we alone?), Lift Off (launchers, orbits, mission control, spacecraft, new ways to space), Useful Space (TV and phone, know where you are, space spin-offs, weather, health), and Earth (climate change, natural disasters, protecting nature, water world).  This site is absolutely packed full of information and awesome images.  Students can “work in a lab” where they can build papercraft globes and spacecraft, try reading space maps, and learn fun space facts.  Students will also enjoy the space themed games and puzzles, online coloring book, quizzes, and downloads.  Each month, a new story about space is added to the News section, keeping students up to date about what is happening in space exploration.  

How to integrate ESA Kids into the classroom: When I am hunting for space related websites, I usually begin with NASA.  ESA Kids is being added to my must visit places for all things space.  The site is organized well, very kid friendly, and has fun activities that students can take part in.  Use ESA Kids for space research, when learning about the weather, climate change, and natural disasters.  After students have some background knowledge about space and space exploration, have them visit the Lab and choose a papercraft spacecraft to print and build.  Students can write a story about their spacecraft, including facts that they learned on the ESA Kids website.  They may even write a fictional story about their visit to space that includes factual elements that they learned in the Life in Space section.    Be sure to visit the Useful Space tab, I think students will be surprised at how many common items are linked to space and space exploration.

Tips: Be sure to visit this site often, the news is updated every month with current space events.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ESA Kids in your classroom.

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