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Here is Today: a web app to put time in perspective

  What it is:  Here is today is an interesting little web app that helps students visualize time in a new way.  Students start out by seeing a square and a title that says “here is today” with the current date.  When students click “okay” at the bottom, they are taken to a visual of the next step in.  Students can see where the day is falling within the month, the year, the century, the millennium, the epoch, the period, the era, the eon, the earth, life, oxidation, fish, insects, reptiles, mammals, birds, humans, and the universe.  Each stage of the graphic has an arrow pointing out how today (whatever day that happens to be) compares in the grander scheme of things.  Pretty cool! How to integrate Here is Today into the classroom:  Here is Today is an outstanding way to help students understand where they are in place in time.  They can see where they are and then compare it to the larger history of the world and universe.  Obviously, this is a natural fit into a history or biology class.  Here is Today would also make a great object lesson in math and be great for studying comparison and scale.  It would also make for a great philosophical discussion as we realize just how minute the moment we are living in really is. Here is Today is a great site for students to explore and inquire about independently.  What questions arise as they explore the site?  After students have investigated and come up with their own lines of inquiry, gather back as a classroom community and discuss those lines of inquiry and the thinking that led to them.  If you happen to follow the IB Primary Years Program, this fits in great to “Where are we in place and time” inquiry. Here is Today would also be a useful visual on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer where a class can observe and explore together during discussion.  The way that the site compares time is seriously smart. Here is Today could launch an interesting creative writing assignment.  Invite each student to explore the site and to choose a view.  The story should be written based on the point of view and time that they chose.  This could be a new way to explore setting, time and theme. Tips:  Here is Today reminds me a little bit of the Scale of Life site that I wrote about here.  Using these sites together could be pretty epic.  Talk about a great sense of our place in the universe! Are you using Here is Today in your classroom?  Share your experience in the comments below!

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512 Paths to the White House Interactive Infographic for the Election #election2012

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Government, Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 05-11-2012

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What it is: Tomorrow is Election day!  I couldn’t be more excited to see an end to the obnoxious political ads. Living in a swing state means that EVERY commercial I see is a political ad. At this point, all I have been convinced of is that the world may in fact be ending…the choices here are dire. One thing I am now passionate about: campaign reform. I digress.

512 Paths to the White House is a super cool interactive feature on the New York Times website.  Students can test out selecting a winner for the swing states and see the paths to victory available to either candidate.  Students can also mouse over the infographic and see what happens in the breakdown of each option.  According to the infographic, there are 5 paths to a tie.

How to integrate 512 Paths to the White House into the classroom: This really is a cool infographic to explore before the election.  Students can explore this infographic on classroom computers as an Election Day discovery center, as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, or individually on computers.

This site makes a wonderful opening to discussion about the electoral college, the election process for the US, and why the swing states determine the outcome of the election.  At the bottom of the page, there are some specific scenarios for students to explore.  These scenarios also open up great conversations about economies in different states, beliefs of each party, political advertising, liberal vs. conservative states, etc.

In the secondary math class, students can explore probability, statistics and unpack the data offered here.  It is pretty interesting to see the paths each candidate has to winning based on who wins each battleground state.

Tips: Follow up on Wednesday, November 7th with how accurate the 512 Paths to the White House was.  Students can use this tool as they watch the election to predict who the winner will be.

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  512 Paths to the White House in your classroom.

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Comments (2)

Dear Mrs. Tenkely,
I think that is a great learning tool. I would have loved to predict the swing states if I would have known about it. Hopefully, I will be teaching in the next election and can use that in my classroom. I bet the ads become so annoying because we are not even a swing state and they drove me crazy!

Hi! My name is Brittany Leavitt, and I am a student in EDM310 at the University of South Alabama. I was assigned to your blog through this class to read and comment on. I have never been very interested in politics myself, but I find this blog post extremely informative. I loved the infographic, and the different ways that you thought to use it in the classroom. Thanks for sharing! Hopefully, as a secondary educator in history, I can use this and similar things to get my students involved in elections and politics! Thanks for sharing!

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