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The Hobby Shop

What it is:  The Hobby Shop is an amazing interactive site where students can learn about science.  Students can learn about a compound microscope, dissecting microscope, catapults, chemistry, and rockets.  Each section of the hobby shop is completely interactive and has students discovering learning through virtual experimentation.  Students can look through microscopes, each step of the way they are taught how to do things like prepare petri dishes, and clean up properly afterward.  In the chemistry lab students can create an ingredient found in chalk, make a chemical used in photography, make liquids change colors, or test chemicals for electrical conductivity.  Students are led through each step of an experiment just as they would do it in an actual lab.  There is an interactive periodic table of elements that students can use to learn about different elements.  Students can create their own rocket in the rocket lab choosing the body, nose cone, and fins of a rocket and then test it out.  Students can also test out catapults with water balloons. How to integrate Hobby Shop into the classroom: Hobby Shop is a wonderful place for students to experiment and interact with science in preparation for doing the experiment in class.  It is interactive enough to take the place of experiments where the science budget doesn’t allow for a class set of materials.  I am SO impressed with the way that this site leads students through each step of the process to complete an experiment.  Use this site with the whole class using an interactive whiteboard, invite students to come up to the board and conduct the experiment.  This site is also perfect for use as a science center in the one or two computer classroom or for individual use in a computer lab environment.     Tips:  Check out the Teacher Resources for standard alingment, correlating worksheets, and other pdf files.   Leave a comment and tell us how you are using The Hobby Shop in your classroom.

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Algebra Lab

Posted by admin | Posted in Apply, Knowledge (remember), Math, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 01-10-2012

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What it is:  Algebra Lab may not be much to look at graphically speaking, but the resources here are pretty stupendous!  Algebra Lab was created by Mainland High School teachers in partnership with Georgia Southern University and a host of student assistance.  The site includes really well done lessons, activities, practice pages (online), study aids, glossary, and word problems.  Algebra Lab is like a free, living textbook.  It has enough substance to help students work their way through algebra, while understanding the connections to how that algebra is used in a practical sense.  I didn’t appreciate Algebra until I took physics and chemistry.  When I saw what those equations I learned were actually used for, I could appreciate the learning requirements in algebra.  Algebra Lab does a beautiful job of helping students learn algebra within a context so that they really get a grasp of what these numbers are doing.

How to integrate Algebra Lab into your curriculum: I have enjoyed watching the debate over Algebra unfold in the last year or so.  One side of the argument asks if it is really necessary that EVERY child be required to take algebra.  The other side argues that algebra has great thinking skills that it develops, it gives students additional tools to understand the world through math.  I’m not sure where I land on this debate.  I don’t know that I believe that algebra should be a requirement for every child, and yet I think that my exposure to algebra was valuable.  Maybe the debate just needs to be reframed…HOW should algebra be taught?  I’m all for things being taught within context.  If you can teach any subject in a way that sheds light on other learning it is valuable.  I love when students make the connections between something like ratios and a site like Miniature Earth.  They not only get excited about the math (yes, really) they see a purpose for wanting to learn more about how it works.  Sometimes I think our job of teachers is really to help students see the overlaps that occur in learning so that they can make connections and have a cause to want to dig deeper.

I digress…

Algebra Lab is a great resource for math (and non-math) teachers.  Here you will find lessons, activities, word problems and practice opportunities for students.  Students can directly access the site, or you (the teacher) can pull ideas out to use within any other teaching you are doing.  The site is great for students to explore on their own (blended learning algebra style) or with guidance from a teacher.  As a non-math teacher, I appreciate the way the site helps me think like a math teacher.  It reminds me how all of these pieces connect to other learning.

Tips: If you have a one-to-one setting, students can practice directly on the website for immediate feedback.  Very helpful!

***Want to do your part as a CHANGE MAKER in personalized education?  Check out, support and spread the word about the Learning Genome Project!

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

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