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Number Gym

Number Gym is math software that can be purchased for the math classroom.  However, they have a number of free online activities (examples of their software) that are perfect in the math classroom.  I want to review each of these freebie mini-math games: Exploring Fractions What it is:   Exploring Fractions is an interactive way for students to learn about fractions.  Students see the fractions represented graphically and numerically.  As students change the numerator and denominator of the fraction, they see the graphic change accordingly. How to integrate Exploring Fractions into the classroom:  Exploring Fractions is a great interactive site to teach your students about fractions.  This is a wonderful website to use with an interactive whiteboard for whole class fraction instruction.  Invite students up to the whiteboard to take turns adjusting the numerator and denominator of the fractions.  Have students observe the graphic changes taking place and describe the changes as a class.  Exploring Fractions is also very useful as a math center on the classroom computers.  As students are learning about fractions, they can visit the computer as a visual manipulation center.   Tips:  All parts of the Exploring Fractions website can be hidden (hide the numerator, denominator, or graphic).  This is a nice feature for having students “fill in” the missing information.   Mr G’s Place Value Chart What it is:   Mr G’s Place Value Chart is a great mini-site to teach students about place values.  The chart has a thousands, hundreds, tenths, and ones column.  Students can drag counters up and down the chart to create numbers.  Every portion of the Place Value Chart can be hidden from view depending on what you are using the chart for. How to integrate Mr G’s Place Value Chart into the classroom:  The Place Value Chart is an excellent visual manipulative to teach students about place value.  Each time a student moves a counter, the number at the top of the screen adjusts accordingly.  Use the Place Value Chart to teach your whole class with an interactive whiteboard.  Call students one at a time to adjust the number with counters.  Encourage students who are at their seats to observe how the numbers change.  Hide the number at the top and have students move counters and say what the number is aloud as a class.  This is also a great mini-site to set up as a math center in the one or two computer classroom.  As students are working on place value, they can visit the math center for a visual manipulative.     Tips:  Hide the columns that are not being used to teach with so students aren’t confused by all the ‘extras’.   Bond Builder What it is:   Bond Builder is a mini-game that gives students a ‘dot spotter’ that looks like a dice, students add the numbers on the dot spotter and drag it to the correct sum on a dial.  They are timed as they drag the dot spotter cards to the correct location. How to integrate Bond Builder into the classroom:  Bond Builder is a fun basic addition or counting reinforcement game. This game could be played as a center activity in the one or two computer classroom or whole class with an interactive whiteboard.  See who can get the fastest time and practice those addition facts at the same time!     Tips:  There are two levels of dot spotters (really just different sets of dot spotter cards).     Table Extender What it is:   Table Extender is a multiplication game that gives students a challenging multiplication problem and asks them to drag the problem on top of the correct answer.  Students are timed as they go through the various challenges. How to integrate Table Extender into the classroom:   Table Extender is a  good way to get students practicing their multiplication.  It makes them think quickly and attempt to beat their own fastest times.  Split students into teams and take turns sending students to the interactive whiteboard to solve the problems.  This mini-game would also make for good practice as a computer center in the classroom.     Tips:  There are three different levels of Table Extender for students to work on. Getting to Grips with Graphs: Trigonometry What it is:   Getting to Grips with Graphs: Trigonometry lets students explore the equation y=aSin(bx*+c*) through adjustments to a, b, and c in graphical form. How to integrate Getting to Grips with Graphs: Trigonometry into the classroom:   This mini-site is a wonderful visual representation of Sin.  Students can adjust a, b, and c and watch the affect of changing numbers on a graph.  Use an interactive whiteboard and call students up to change the values of a, b, and c.  Encourage other students to observe and describe the changes of each value that is adjusted.   Tips:  The scale of the graph can be changed to fit your classroom needs. Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Number Gym  in your classroom.

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National Center for Atmospheric Research

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Inquiry, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 17-12-2012

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What it is: Today Anastasis students were lucky enough to visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.  It was a truly fantastic experience (if you ever find yourself in Colorado, it is worth a visit! Open free everyday!).  The center has some fantastic interactive exhibits, much like what you find at Exploratorium in California.  In addition to the physical location, the National Center for Atmospheric Research has some wonderful online games, activities and resources for the classroom.

In the Interactives and Simulations for weather, climate and atmospheric science section you will find:

  • A virtual laboratory for creating a weather balloon.
  • A simple virtual climate model.
  • The build a tree dendrochronology activity where students can explore past climates.
  • Compare IPCC scenarios interactive where students forecast carbon dioxide levels.
  • The climate sensitivity calculator.
  • The Earth’s Energy balance virtual lab.
  • Compare solar eclipse photos activity.
  • Solar eclipse memory
  • Sun-earth connections memory
  •  Clouds memory
  • Atmospheric chemistry memory
 In the classroom activities section, you will find:
  • Paleoclimates and Pollen where students can study pollen.
  • Model a moving glacier where students make a model of a glacier and create an experiment to study movement.
  • Glaciers then and now where students study pictures of glaciers taken in the 1900’s and compare them to pictures of the glaciers today.
  • The systems game where students observe a system.
  • Looking into surface Albedo where students inquire into how color affects the way that the sun interacts with Earth’s surface.
  • Feeling the heat where students investigate which parts of their school yard have a higher temperature.
  • CO2 How much do you spew where students analyze energy consumption.
  • The nitrogen cycle game where students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle.
  • The water cycle 0-18 and ice cores where students look at proxy data to determine past climate.
In addition to the fantastic activities on the site, students can learn more about the sun and space weather, weather, atmosphere and climate on the NCAR website.

How to integrate the National Center for Atmospheric Research into the classroom: If you are studying weather, climate or atmospheric research with your students this is a must stop site.  It is FULL of great activities, virtual labs and easy-to read and understand information.  Really, take a few minutes to dig in.  Today, when we visited we got to explore some of these virtual labs and games first hand.  Our students watched a short video introducing them to NCAR and what scientists do there.  Next we entered into a classroom where the fun began!

Today we learned about the North and South Poles.  The fine people at NCAR had made globe paddles that had the north pole on one side and the south pole on the other (glued to giant tongue depressors).  They gave the students different facts about the north and south pole and students had to hold up their paddles with the correct answers.  Next, students learned about how polar bears were equipped for the COLD temperatures.  There were tubs of ice water on the table.  Students were asked to place their hands inside the ice water.  We timed how long they lasted in the cold water.  Next, students put their hands in a “blubber” paw and tried the experiment again.  The hand inside the layer of blubber could stay in the cold for a long time with no discomfort.  These blubber paws were actually made with 2 ziplock baggies with Crisco in between the layers and duct-tape at the top of the baggies so that they were sealed together around openings where the two baggies came together.  This left a Crisco pocket that formed the paw.  Students also learned about penguins and how they find their mate in hundreds and hundreds of penguins.  Penguins have particular sounds that help alert their mate.  The penguins can distinguish between the particular sounds that each penguin makes to find their mate.  Students simulated this by each taking a film canister with an object/objects in it.  The students had to shake their canister and find their match using the sound alone.  They had a ball with this!  They also practiced transferring a styrofoam egg from one pair of feet to another without using their hands the way that the penguin does.  Our students also did the glacier matching project (listed above) where they worked in teams to match the original pictures to the new pictures.  Some of these were really challenging as the second picture had NO glacier to be seen!  The kids learned that every glacier in the world is shrinking with the exception of two glaciers in Norway.  Fascinating!

Our classroom today…can’t beat the view!

 

Touching clouds!

 

Our students got to follow the activities above with an exploration of weather, climate, and atmosphere science exhibits.  You could easily recreate the activities above and follow up with virtual simulations, videos and games.  These could be set up as centers for students to explore (the virtual centers on classroom computers).  There is SO much here that exploration of all that the NCAR site has to offer could take days.  The simulations and games would also be appropriate on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer where students can explore and interact as a whole class.  Allow students to take turns playing scientist.

Tips: While we were at NCAR, our guide, Tim, told us that NCAR was originally established in the 1960s to learn how to control the weather.  This brought up a great discussion about what could happen if humans could control the weather, and what unintended consequences might come along with that.  This would make for a great creative writing exercise or comic strip.  Our students came up with some insightful thoughts on this topic!

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

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