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Rocks and Weathering Animation

What it is: Every year our third grade students do a unit on Rocks and Minerals so I am always on the lookout for fun ways for students to learn and engage. Bitesize from BBC is full of brilliant games and interactives for kids, I use them often but hadn’t run across this one before.  The Rocks and Weathering interactive really is fantastic.  The video is animated and asks for students participation throughout. It does a wonderful job of breaking down, what can be complex concepts, into manageable, well illustrated parts.   The video has some nice features that make it accessible to every student including the ability to turn subtitles on or off and sound on or off.  I like the way the animation prompts students to ask questions and to discover answers through “hands-on” models that may not be possible in real life (for example compressing over a long period of time to create sedimentary rock).  The understanding that students gain about the different types of rocks is the best I have seen in any of the rocks/minerals materials I have found. How to integrate Rocks and Weathering Animation into the classroom: The Rocks and Weathering Animation from BBC is a fantastic introduction to any elementary Rocks and Minerals unit.  The interactive nature of the animation makes it perfect for whole class viewing with an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  Pause the animation throughout to further discuss and inquire throughout the animation as a class.  Invite students up to the board or computer for the interactive bits as the rocks and minerals “expert”.  The animation would also be great as a center activity on classroom computers.  Students could visit the computers to view and interact with the animation in small groups while other students read, complete experiments, or other research.  Students can also visit the site individually in a lab setting.  If students view the animation individually, be sure to give them time to discuss what they learn and ask additional questions that they had with other students.  This type of reflection has been SO beneficial in my experience.  I always let students keep a notepad application or physical notepad handy to jot down questions and thoughts they have as they view videos like this one. As an extension activity, have your students blog, create a stop-motion film about rocks and weathering, or create an interactive presentation with Prezi or Glogster. Tips: Students can view and re-view the animation at their own pace using the pause, back and forward buttons. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Rocks and Weathering Animation in your classroom!

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Codecademy: Learn how to code

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Create, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Websites | Posted on 05-01-2012

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What it is:  Codecademy makes learning to code a snap.  It is an interactive, fun way to learn coding one step at a time.  The site will prepare students to program websites, games and apps.  Learn independently or with friends, keeping track of their progress and comparing it with yours.  Students can track and share their progress to see how much they have learned and to stay motivated.  The platform could not be simpler to use and after just a few lessons…I’m starting to really understand and get the hang of programming.  I think that is pretty impressive considering that I have never had a lesson before now (not entirely true, a few years ago I went through the learn C in 24 hours course…I could follow along but didn’t really understand what I was doing.)!
How to integrate Codecademy into the classroom: With the popularity of apps, I have students who are just itching to learn how to program.  It is great to see boys and girls of all ages excited about learning how to code.  Codecademy is something that you can use to learn right along with your students.  You don’t have to be the expert because Codecademy guides everyone step-by-step through lessons and lets everyone move at a pace that is comfortable to them.  If your students can read, they can learn to code with Codecademy.  Today, a fourth grader at Anastasis started going through Codecademy lessons and quickly surpassed me.  His excitement was evident as he figured out variables in lines of code, how to set off an alert or command.  What I love about using Codecademy as a class or school is that students can work together, encourage and challenge each other.  When students hit certain lessons, they unlock new badges to display.
Codeacademy’s obvious use is to learn how to code.  For students who are passionate about gaming, websites, and programming this is a great sandbox to learn in.  Students get immediate feedback about the code they are writing.  Start a class club where students learn how to code together.  Use some time each week to learn to code with students, you could set the goal of learning to code together over the course of the year.
Codecademy is great for students who are reluctant to read but love technology.  This reading is for a purpose and students love it!  With Codecademy, getting an online education has never been so much fun!
Tips: Codecademy has created a new site called Code Year.  Make your New Year’s resolution to learn to code and sign up for Code Year.  Each week, you will get a new interactive lesson delivered to you via email.  By the end of the year you (or your students) will be lean, mean coding machines!  So cool!  I’m taking the challenge with several interested students and am looking forward to learning something new this year!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Code Year in  your classroom!

Comments (3)

LOVE THIS! I know HTML but have always wanted to learn other code. My son just learned Java in HS and he wants to learn C now. Great resource! Thanks for sharing!

Love it! Needed this site back in 1996–when I was learning HTML! Great tool to teach kids behind the scene web activity and start creating cool sites.


Love your tips on integrating it into the classroom. There’s really a lot of room for improvement in teaching computer skills, especially programming, in the classroom and I hope teachers put this to good use.

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