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Investigating the First Thanksgiving

What it is: Investigating the First Thanksgiving is a fun interactive where kids are the historians.  Students explore all the clues to learn about the first thanksgiving (really a harvest festival).  This site provides great primary source material for kids to sort through.  First they explore a section called Fact vs. Myth where they match pictures and descriptions.  Each section includes an expert video that talks students through the section and explains a little about the first Thanksgiving.  In the next section, students explore the Wampanoag people and learn about their different celebrations and traditions throughout the year.  Then, students visit an English Colonist village and learn more about life for the pilgrims.  Students can then learn about the events that happened prior to 1621 and what led up to the harvest celebration.  The timeline in this section clearly shows what events were happening from the colonists point of view and what events were happening from the Wampanoag point of view. Finally, students can share what they have learned on a virtual informational poster where they can type the text of the poster.  Students can print their completed poster at the end. How to integrate Investigating the First Thanksgiving into the classroom: Investigating the first Thanksgiving is an outstanding activity that involves students and makes them the historian.  Use this site to teach students the history of Thanksgiving but also how history changes.  This site does a great job of teaching students the difference between “the past” and “history”.  It makes the distinction that the past is always true but history (the way we interpret the past) can change based on additional information and resources.  You can go through the Investigating the First Thanksgiving interactive as a class on the interactive whiteboard, inviting student “historians” to come up and help guide the class through the activities.  Or as a center or individually on classroom or lab computers.  Finish the posters together as a class, filling in information, or each students can complete the final project.  If you do complete as a class, give a copy of the final to each student. Tips: There is a great teacher guide that accompanies this site and offers great ideas for using the interactive in the classroom. Leave a comment and share how you are using Investigating the First Thanksgiving  in your classroom.

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Buzz Lightyear in Orbit

Posted by admin | Posted in Math, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 17-06-2008

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What it is: Buzz Lightyear in Orbit is part of NASA’s website for kids. The site uses the popular Toy Story character, Buzz Lightyear, to teach kids about the next space mission with Atlantis. It also introduces kids to the Discovery team and the mission that has just been completed. Kids can go on 5 space “missions” of their own by playing some fun educational games on the site. Games are math and science based and separated into grade level. Grades k-2 can play games appropriate for that age group and grades 3-5 can play at a more difficult level.

How to integrate Buzz Lightyear in Orbit into the classroom:
Use Buzz Lightyear in Orbit as part of your space unit or even as a current events topic. Students can read and learn about the current space missions on the Buzz Lightyear home page. The games are great for reinforcing math and science skills that you are teaching in conjunction with or even separate from the space unit. Your students will love the fun look and feel of this site and especially the familiar Buzz Lightyear character.

Tips: At the bottom of the game screen, you can download worksheets that correspond perfectly with the games and information on the site!

Leave a comment and share how you are using Buzz Lightyear in Orbit in your classroom!

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