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Planet in Action

  What it is:    I just learned about this site from @jdornberg on Twitter; even though I have a long list of sites waiting for a post, I had to write one on Planet in Action right now.  This is an incredible site that uses Google Earth as a basis for interactive journeys around the earth.  Students can take a virtual helicopter ride above the Grand Canyon, explore Mount St. Helen, sail a virtual ship in Port of Rotterdam, take a helicopter tour of Manhattan, or Disneyland Paris.  As students explore, they can grab a snapshot and create their own virtual post card.   How to integrate Planet in Action into the classroom:   Virtual field trips just got a lot more realistic thanks to Planet in Action!  Planet in Action will take students on a tour of the different virtual places or students can take control and explore on their own.  This is an amazing site to use when studying famous landmarks or places.  Use this site with an interactive whiteboard or a projector-connected-computer.  Take your whole class on a virtual field trip to places that they are studying in class.  This is an outstanding way to bring some life to lessons.  Watch the recorded tour and discuss different landmarks as you see them.  Then ‘hire’ a helicopter ‘pilot’ who can navigate the trip for the class.  Allow students to play tour guide and explore.  Create postcards and virtual tours that can be saved and re-played.  In the computer lab setting, each student can create a virtual tour that can be shared with classmates (complete with a postcard greeting!).  In addition to the virtual tour, students can navigate by using a Google Map to see exactly where they are in the virtual tour.  In the Port of Rotterdam instead of flying using a virtual helicopter, students will actually sail a ship.  Students can choose their ship, blow the whistle, and navigate from port to port seeing actual images from Google Earth.  Your students will want to spend hours learning and exploring here!  Integrate Planet in Action into other learning opportunities, after exploring the world virtually, students could create a brochure for the place they visisted, write a postcard, or even create a short travel video. Tips:  This site takes a few minutest to load, be patient, it is well worth it! Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Planet in Action in your classroom.

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NASA @ Home and City space is everywhere you look

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 27-04-2011

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What it is: NASA has such cool exploratory websites for kids. NASA @ Home and City is no exception.  On this site, students get to explore 3D environments where they discover common household and city items that have roots in space exploration.  Students can click on various objects in the house or city to learn more about how space travel impacted the items creation or use.  Each item has a brief description and a short video included.  If students are particularly interested in an item, they can click to learn more about it on NASA’s Spinoff database site.  Students can take part in a Spinoff challenge where they explore technologies and answer questions; when all have been answered, students will unlock special downloads.

How to integrate NASA @ Home and City into the classroom: NASA @ Home and City is a great place for students to learn more about space as well as how the science and discoveries made in space impact their daily lives.  I love the way this site encourages students to discover and uncover learning.   NASA @ Home and City would be a great website for students to visit in partners or small groups on classroom computers.  Each student can take a turn exploring for the group and acting as guide.

If you don’t have access to classroom computers, explore the site as a class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  There is enough content for each student to have a turn directing the exploration.  The  3D feel of the house and city would be fun on the big screen!

I like that this site is appropriate for a wide range of age and developmental levels.  Young students will enjoy exploring and viewing the videos for information, while older students can really dig deeper with the Spinoff challenge and additional information links.

Tips: Make sure to rotate around the home and city, there is more to explore!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  NASA @ Home and City in your classroom!


Comments (3)

Thank you for locating such great resources. I really appreciate your suggestions for how one might use them in the classroom.
I plan to direct small groups of students to this site, have them do some guided exploration and reading, then complete response tasks. Response tasks will be matched to the abilities of the groups.

Kelly, here is the NASA’syoutube video that goes along with the NASA @ Home and City site: http://youtu.be/S2QyMybXioc.

This video explains in a little more detail many of the space technologies from the @ Home and City website. I use the parts of video as both an introduction to the lesson, and as an extension for those students who want to know more.

Thank you Ryan, outstanding!

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