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ESA Kids

What it is: The European Space Agency (ESA) has a great website for kids.  ESA Kids has fabulous, kid friendly information about the Universe (the story of the Universe, the sun, the planets and moons, the galaxies, comets and meteors), Life in Space (astronauts, space stations, life in space, exploration, are we alone?), Lift Off (launchers, orbits, mission control, spacecraft, new ways to space), Useful Space (TV and phone, know where you are, space spin-offs, weather, health), and Earth (climate change, natural disasters, protecting nature, water world).  This site is absolutely packed full of information and awesome images.  Students can “work in a lab” where they can build papercraft globes and spacecraft, try reading space maps, and learn fun space facts.  Students will also enjoy the space themed games and puzzles, online coloring book, quizzes, and downloads.  Each month, a new story about space is added to the News section, keeping students up to date about what is happening in space exploration.   How to integrate ESA Kids into the classroom: When I am hunting for space related websites, I usually begin with NASA.  ESA Kids is being added to my must visit places for all things space.  The site is organized well, very kid friendly, and has fun activities that students can take part in.  Use ESA Kids for space research, when learning about the weather, climate change, and natural disasters.  After students have some background knowledge about space and space exploration, have them visit the Lab and choose a papercraft spacecraft to print and build.  Students can write a story about their spacecraft, including facts that they learned on the ESA Kids website.  They may even write a fictional story about their visit to space that includes factual elements that they learned in the Life in Space section.    Be sure to visit the Useful Space tab, I think students will be surprised at how many common items are linked to space and space exploration. Tips: Be sure to visit this site often, the news is updated every month with current space events. Please leave a comment and share how you are using ESA Kids in your classroom.

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TimeMaps- History of World 3500BC to 2005AD in interactive maps

Posted by admin | Posted in Evaluate, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 05-04-2012

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What it is:  TimeMaps is a fantastic site I learned about from an email I received today.  TimeMaps lets students look at every nation, empire and civilization as one story through maps. This is the history of the world from 3500BC to 2005AD!  There are pinpoints on the Atlas that let students drill down into specific areas, nations and civilizations.  Students get a story about what is happening in this portion of the world, as well as opportunities to explore even further.  Below the map, students can change the date on an interactive timeline.

I really like TimeMap as a way to explore history.  As I have mentioned in the past, history was not my subject in school.  I made good grades, but was never interested by it.  It wasn’t until I was adult, that I began to appreciate history.   In school, history was always just presented as a collection of facts.  I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around how they were all related or why I should take up valuable brain space memorizing them.  As an adult, I came to realize that history is really all about stories.  I love stories!  TimeMap’s brilliance is in the way it unfolds the stories in history with the visual of the map.  Not only are students getting a good understanding of how civilizations shaped the world, they are also learning geography.

How to integrate Time Maps into the classroom: The best way for students to interact with this site is to just give them the freedom to explore.  I know for most, this isn’t always an option.  There are certain time periods and portions of the world that you are responsible teaching in your grade level.  For those that fall into that category, let students go to those specific places within TimeMap. 
If you have an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, you can explore as a whole class, reading the stories together.  The nice thing about this option, is that you can pull in other videos, music and resources for the whole class to experience.  How great would it be to combine this site with History for Music Lovers on YouTube?  TimeMap will give students context for other exploration.
TimeMap can be set up on classroom computers for students to visit as a supplement to the other work they are doing.  It can act as a research center for students to visit as they are working and learning.
If you teach World History, students could use TimeMap as a place to gather information.  Each student could select a different civilization from one time period or explore the same place and the change throughout time.  Students can create trading cards, videos, comics, non-fiction, a song, etc. to present their findings to the class.  It would be fun to have a movie premier night or a read-in comic day to view all of the students projects.
Tips: I’m really impressed by the comprehensiveness of this site.  The only thing that would make it better are images and video embedded with the map!

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

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