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Geo Mysteries

What it is: Geo-mysteries are fun interactive mysteries about rocks, fossils, and minerals from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  Students can choose one of three Geo-mysteries to solve: The Mystery of the Floating Rock, The Mystery of the Broken Necklace, and The Mystery of the Golden Cube.  Students work to help Rex the dinosaur solve the geography mystery by watching a short video clip, and then going through simulated experiments to solve the mystery.  These are great short activities that will help your students understand properties of rocks, fossils, and minerals.  Kids will have fun working as a detective to solve the mysteries. How to integrate Geo Mysteries into the classroom: Geo Mysteries is a fun twist to learning about rocks, minerals and fossils.  What I love about the site, is the way it makes students problem solvers and guides them through using clues and critical thinking to solve a mystery.  This is a good site to use as a center during science, two or three students could visit the center at a time working to solve a mystery.  After each group of students has been through the center, the whole class can come together and share their findings.  If you have access to a projector or an interactive whiteboard, you can complete the mystery as a whole class.  Invite students up to the board to interact with the material.   This is also a great site for students to work through individually in a computer lab setting.  In the computer lab setting, students can work through the material at their own pace. Tips: The Geo Timeline on the Geo Mysteries site is fantastic, make sure to check it out and point it out for your students to explore. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Geo Mysteries in your classroom.

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Piktochart: Create your own infographics

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Art, Create, Evaluate, Geography, Government, History, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Technology, web tools, Websites | Posted on 09-10-2012

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What it is:  Piktochart is a great web app that makes it easy to create your own infographics.  Piktochart has free and premium options.  With the free version, there are a handful of themes to choose from.  Premium themes are also available, if you are so inclined.  After you choose a theme, the next job is to change the mood and edit the information on the chart.  Students can add shapes, graphics (uploaded), theme graphics, and text to the infographic.  Students can add a chart where they manually input data or upload a cvc file.  This is especially helpful if they have been data collecting in another program.   There are some features that are only available to pro users.  Not to worry, there are enough available for free that you can make a pretty rockin’ infographic that gets the point (or data) across.

How to integrate Piktochart into the classroom: Piktochart is a superb way for students to work on those statistics/probability standards.  Being a visual learner myself, I love the way that infographics seem to make data easier to digest.  Piktochart can be used to display any type of statistical or mathematical data in new ways.  Students can show what they are learning in history, about the world population (miniature earth), science, in the book they are reading, geography statistics, etc.

The way that infographics allow students to blend learning across the subject areas is fantastic.  It isn’t just math; it is math, and art, and science/social studies/history/geography/technology.  Any time we can help students recognize the overlaps that exist in learning and subject area, it is a win!

A few weeks ago, students at Anastasis discovered that America’s biggest export is trash. They started digging and found statistics about the amount of trash Americans throw away each day (7lbs/person) and how much was recycled vs. what ended up in a landfill.  They also looked at statistics of what receiving countries like China and India did with the waste being imported.  It was fascinating!  Students created infographics showing what they had discovered in their research.  It was eye-opening when they translated that trash per person into a year’s worth of trash and figured out how many football stadiums that it would fill.  When they could see it graphically, it had an impact on their thinking.  The result was: “it is up to us to change this…”

Pretty amazing when the conclusion to learning is transformation…change.

Tips: In the free version:  Basic themes, 5 image uploads, Piktochart’s watermark. Pro version ($29.00/mo): 80 themes (and growing), additional customization, more image uploads, no watermark.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Piktochart in your classroom.

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