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Scotch: Science Fair Central

  What it is:   Scotch Science Fair Central is a website collaboration between Scotch brand products from 3M and Discovery Education.  The site is a wealth of free resources for creating innovative science fair projects.  The site leads students step by step through creating a science fair project starting with choosing a project idea.   Students can search through multiple science topics in life sciences, earth science, or physical science.  Within each of these topics is several subcategories and then ideas based on a testable question, what is tested, and what data is collected.  This site is very comprehensive and will have your students thinking like a scientist in no time!  The site then leads students through the steps of differentiating their project between investigations and inventions so they can choose the appropriate project type.  Step two actually leads them through the investigation or invention process depending on which project type was chosen.  Step three takes students through the process of creating the actual presentation portion of the science fair project.  There is a great section of parent resources as well as a section for science fair coordinators. How to integrate Scotch: Science Fair Central into the classroom:  Science fair projects have the potential to teach students a lot.  They learn organization, responsibility, the scientific process, observation, testing, inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking.  Science fair projects are extremelly worthwhile when they are accompanied by a quality process that students can follow.  I remember years when the science fair meant quickly pulling something ‘scientific’ together (two cans with a string in between to show sound travel) with very little gained from the project.  This was due in part to being assigned a science fair project without understanding the basis of how scientists work and think.  Scotch: Science Fair Central solves this dilemma because students are led step-by-step through the scientific process and along the way learn how a scientist thinks.  Before you assign a science fair project, spend a day in the computer lab with students and let them go through this site and begin to plan their science fair project.  I love how this site is organized into different types of science because it gives every student the opportunity to find a project that they are interested in and motivated by.  If you don’t have access to the lab, set up a science fair planning center on your classroom computers or guide your students through the site with a computer and projector.  If you are a science teacher, take a look at this great resource and use the planning guide to plan a school science fair.   Tips:  Be sure to send this site home to parents, they will appreciate the parent section as they help their child at home.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Scotch: Science Fair Central in your classroom.

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We Choose the Moon

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, History, inspiration, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), video, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 18-02-2011

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What it is: This site has been around for a few years, I am constantly using it with students and assumed (wrongly) that I had shared it on iLearn Technology.  I think sometimes I use a site so often that I think that it is common knowledge or that I have already posted about it.  I’m redeeming myself today and sharing the truly INCREDIBLE site, We Choose the Moon.  The site drops students right into history where they get to witness, and take part in the Apollo 11 launch and mission.  Time travel might not exist yet, but I’m telling you, this site is the next best thing.  Students actually hear all of the chatter from Mission Control, control the launch, view all 11 stages of the mission, read mission transmission, and follow the mission  in “real-time”.  I cannot say enough about how truly awesome this experience is for students.  At each stage, students can explore more in-depth by looking through actual pictures from the mission, videos (including JFK’s We Choose the Moon speech), and a “map” of the stages Apollo 11 took to get to the moon.  I wasn’t alive to witness this piece of history first hand, but I can tell you that this interactive gives me goosebumps, makes me appreciate the giant leap that our country took, and makes me swell with pride. Not something a textbook can deliver.

How to integrate We Choose the Moon into the classroom: We Choose the Moon plops students right in the middle of the action.  Students can experience this solo in a one-to-one computer lab setting where each has access to their own computer.  Students can explore at their own pace and “rabbit trail” for more information as needed.  My favorite use of this site is as a whole class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  The site has such a sense of nostalgia and it gives the opportunity to remember how the nation stopped and focused on the monumental moment in time.  Children everywhere were riveted to their TV sets watching men being launched into space to travel to the moon. Students born after the era of the space race have a hard time recognizing just what an event this was.  Viewing the site as a class gives students the opportunity to discuss the fashion, technology, and viewpoints of the day.  It gives students the opportunity to “witness” history first hand as if they have traveled back in time.  Take time to look through the photos, watch the videos, and reflect with students.  Turn the interactive into a creative writing opportunity where students choose a view-point (of JFK, a child, an astronaut, someone in mission control, etc.) and write about their reflections and thoughts as they witness and are a part of this history.

Don’t be afraid to let your students “rabbit trail”, click here to see where students I worked with took the learning.

If you have students who are still crazy for more “moon” experience, check out Google Moon and NASA’s Moon virtual tour.  I cannot get over how amazing technology is!  Do you ever just stop and marvel at what we have at our finger tips? Wow.

Tips: Do you have parents or teachers who fail to see the brilliance of technology in the classroom?  I defy any parent or educator to experience a site like this and not have their minds changed.  This is one of those sites that upon stumbling on, I immediately sent to my dad.  He LOVED it.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using We Choose the Moon in your classroom

Comments (6)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ktenkely, CT. CT said: We Choose the Moon.. http://ilearntechnology.com/?p=3671 […]

Oh yeah I love that site! It’s a great example of using the potential of the web to engage students. Thanks for sharing it!!

Isn’t it? So fantastic!

I have never before seen this site. I’m so glad you posted about it.

I’m glad I did too Jacqui, hope you can use it with students!

[…] 1. We Choose the Moon- An interactive that drops students right into history where they get to witness, and take part in, the Apollo 11 launch and mission. […]

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