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The Road to the Capitol

What it is: The Road to the Capitol has to be one of the coolest sites I have seen to help kids understand government and the campaign and election process.  Students are immediately greeted by a newspaper headline “Congressman Retires: who will represent the US on Capitol Hill?”.  Students are then taken to a TV ad of one of the candidates running for congress, Roberta Glass.  Roberta thinks that kids have too much freedom and should be banned from freely accessing media like movies, TV, video games, and the computer.  Students are offered the opportunity to run against Roberta Glass in the election.  Students must register as a candidate in the election and are then introduced to their campaign manager.  Students make 5 campaign stops in their local congressional district.  At each stop, it is their job to help citizens understand the importance of protecting freedom.  Students can stop at campaign headquarters at any time to get briefed for each campaign event.  At the Campaign Headquarters, students click on important topics to get briefed on such as: Justice and Equality, Rights to Privacy, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Religion.  When students choose a topic, they are taken to subtopics that lead them to rich resources where they can delve deeper into the topic and learning.  Along the campaign trail, students have to make their own commercial, give a speech, talk to students about the freedom of expression, answer questions in a press conference, and debate Roberta Glass head to head.  I can’t stress enough what an awesome interactive site this is.  Every webquest should involve kids in the story and process the way this one does! How to integrate The Road to the Capitol into the classroom: This is an incredible self-guided learning experience.  Students will learn about our democratic system in depth by completing this activity.  The Road to the Capitol is really best experienced by individual students in a computer lab setting where they have plenty of time to research and complete each stop along the campaign trail.  If you don’t have access to a computer lab, the activity could be completed as a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  To make The Road to the Capitol a more in-depth project, have students take campaign notes along the way in a word processing program.  They can later sum up what they learned and recorded in their notes by copying the notes and pasting them into a word cloud program like Wordle.  Students could create short campaign commercials based on the commercial they created in the game.  These can be recorded with PhotoBooth on a Mac or with a video camera.  Students could also create a campaign poster using a word processing or publishing program. At the beginning of this interactive, you will see the campaign commercial of Roberta Glass.  The commercial talks about taking away kids freedoms, I imagine that some passionate discussion about the commercial could follow. Tips: Really, go check out this website.  You won’t be disappointed!  Press the “Stop” button on the game to get the teacher/parent pdf guide. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Road to the Capitol in your classroom.

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Learning Box Base 10 Blocks: Virtual math manipulative

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 07-09-2011

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What it is:  Today while I was doing a quick Google search for a place I could buy a set of base 10 blocks, I came across this AWESOME digital version by accident.  What a happy accident!  Learning Box has a virtual version of base 10 blocks that builds in a fun practice game.  Students are given a target number and drag base 10 blocks onto the paper to represent that number.  As students add blocks, a counter at the bottom of the page shows how many blocks are currently on the paper.  This is a great way for students to digitally practice place value, counting by hundreds, tens and ones.

The outcome of my shopping trip for base 10 blocks: the digital version is MUCH cheaper (read:free) than the physical version (not free).  While I understand the value of the physical blocks, the digital version is a fantastic alternative for classrooms without the budget for each student to have a set or for students to continue practice at home.

How to integrate Learning Box Base 10 into the classroom:  The Learning Box Base 10 blocks are a great example of a virtual manipulative.  They help students visually represent numbers and place value.  I like the way the slider and cups on the bottom of the page help track student progress as they drag blocks to the paper. When students get the target number, they don’t start with a blank slate, instead a new target number is given and students have to figure out which blocks to add or subtract. You can adjust the level of difficulty and place values practiced by clicking on the 1, 10, and 100 circle to the left of the paper.

Learning Box Base 10 would make a great center activity in the one or two computer classroom.  Students can use the digital manipulatives with the built in game or to help them represent real-world problems.

Start a whole-class game with the Learning Box Base 10 blocks using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Students can take turns at the board solving the problem and “phone a friend” if they need some additional support.

Tips: This Learning Box activity is flash based…I’m hoping that someone comes out with an app of manipulatives for the iPad (hint, hint).

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Learning Box Base 10 Blocks in  your classroom!

Comments (8)

[…] Read this article: Learning Box Base 10 Blocks: Virtual math manipulative […]

Kelly, I LOVE the Learning Box base 10 blocks and have used them with my first and second grade classes when they were learning about place value and doing addition with regrouping. I found that site and others with similar virtual base 10 blocks on http://www.internet4classrooms.com in the math skillbuilders for second grade. The kids have a great time using these and they work great for differentiation.

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[…] iLearn Technology » Blog Archive » Learning Box Base 10 Blocks: Virtual math manipulative […]

[…] the home page to entice me.  As I entered this blog I was greeted by a screen shot of digital base ten blocks… “I must read more” is my only thought!  Kelly Tenkely is the creater of the iLearn […]

I have used electronic base 10 blocks in my third grade classroom for a couple of years now. I was amazed at how much better they grasped place value, as well as constructing and deconstructing large numbers with this tool. The kids were so excited to be able to use the smartboard and the electronic base 10 blocks to make numbers. I think the hand on component of this technology really reinforces the concept and increases students’ understanding and retention of place value. Thanks for sharing!

Love that your kids responded so well to the virtual! I’m always hesitant to go JUST virtual because I know some kids really love holding the blocks in their hands…they are so darn expensive that this is a great alternative!

Fantastic! Thanks for sharing these Debra.

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