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Kids’ Science Challenge

  What it is:  Kids’ Science Challenge is a nationwide competition for 3rd- 6th graders to submit experiment ideas and problems for real scientists and engineers to solve.  Teachers or after school science programs can enter their classes for this contest that will inspire students to find the fun in science.  The deadline for entry is January 31st, 2009 so get this one in before the holiday break!  The grand prize winner will win a visit with the scientist or engineer to work with them to solve the question or problem proposed, along with possible appearances in Kids’ Science Challenge videos and Pulse of the Planet radio programs.  Other prizes include: a tour of the flavor lab, Ben and Jerry’s ice cream party, science kits, Kids’ Science Encyclopedia and Science books, visit to the SETI institute, telescope, personal planetariums, celestial seeker, a visit to a skateboard engineering workshop, a visit to your school from a pro-skater, a week at camp Woodyard, a skateboard, a physics workshop, a research cruise, kayak, handheld digital microscope, and more!  If that isn’t incentive to give it a try, I don’t know what is!  The first 1000 entrants get a free science activity kit.  The Kids’ Science Challenge website is a great place to explore even if you won’t be able to participate in the challenge.  Students are introduced to real scientists through video, can play science games, and find additional activities including downloadable science projects.     How to integrate Kids’ Science Challenge into the classroom:  Invite your students to explore the Kids’ Science Challenge website and then journal some original questions, problems, or experiment ideas that are related to one of the four fields of science including flavor science, water quality, skateboard engineering, and the search for life in outer space.  This is a great opportunity to use technology creatively to present the questions and problems that students have and want solved.  Think blogs, websites, video, or podcast.     Tips:  Be sure to check out the great lesson plans for the k-12 classroom to use for each of the scientific fields explored on this site.  The lesson plans are aligned to National Science Education Standards.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Kids’ Science Challenge 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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