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Science Animation Gallery

What it is: Sumanas, Inc has created a complete animation gallery for science.  Each animation comes with a written summary description, a narrated animation, a step-through tutorial (understanding the concept through a series of steps), and a quiz.  There are a variety of main topics, each with several related animation modules.  In the gallery you will find General Biology, Molecular Biology, General Biotechnology, Microbiology, Biopsychology/Neuroscience, Ecology, Astronomy, Statistics, Chemistry, and Environmental Science.  There is also a Science in Focus section for animations that explain science topics that are in the news (stem cells, malaria, gene therapy, ulcers, antibiotic resistance, and anthrax).  These are great for current event science conversations and understandings. How to integrate Science Animation Gallery into the classroom: The Science Animation Gallery takes what can be difficult to understand concepts, and animates them in a way that breaks down the concept into manageable parts. Many of the science concepts are more appropriate for middle and high school students, but some sections, like Astronomy, include animations that are useful for elementary students (moon phases). Students can use the animations to explore science concepts that they are interested in learning more about, or to further delve into a topic just touched on in curriculum.  Many of the animations would make a great launching point for science experiments and inquiry units. Use the animations to introduce a whole class to a new concept or topic using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer.  At the end of the animation, you can instantly check for learning using the quiz at the end (it would work well with a student response system, voters). Use the feedback from the quiz to guide the learning and next steps for students.  Students could also visit the gallery as a science discovery center in the one or two computer classroom.  I really like the different options offered by the animations, students can listen to a narrated version of the animation or navigate through the animation at their own pace using the step-by-step.  The narrated animation is brilliant, science has so many unfamiliar vocabulary words and terms that struggling readers can often get bogged down in just sorting out the words. With the narrated animation, the focus is on the concept being taught and the vocabulary is learned more naturally without stifling the learning. Encourage your students to watch for science in the news.  The news has been full of it lately! Use those current event topics and dig in a little deeper with the Science in Focus animations. So often students hear about stem cells or gene therapy and don’t really know what they are referring to (adults either for that matter!) take the opportunity to teach students about the science concepts fueling those news stories. There are some additional links and resources related to each animation in the Science in Focus section. Tips: Some of the animations are available for download and can be played on an iDevice or in iTunes. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science Animation Gallery in your classroom

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Inklewriter: interactive story designer

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Evaluate, Government, History, Interactive book, iPod, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 05-02-2013

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What it is: Inklewriter is a great digital tool that lets students (and teachers if you are so inclined) write and publish interactive stories.  Inklewriter lets students create choose-your-own-adventure type stories, story lines can come with choices and then be linked back together.  Inklewriter makes this process easier by keeping track of which story paths have been finished and which still need work.  There is no set-up required, no programming language to learn and no diagrams.  Inklewriter is free to use and easy to share with the world when it is published.  When a story is finished, it can even be converted to Kindle format!

I found the Inklewriter format to be pretty intuitive and easy to use.  I think intermediate elementary and older will have no trouble using this tool for creative and informative writing.

How to integrate Inklewriter into the classroom: Inklewriter is a great digital tool for creative writing.  Students can explore multiple plot lines and what-if scenarios in their fictional writing.  I also like the idea of using Inklewriter to ask kids to explore the “what-ifs” in history.  What if we lost/won this war/battle?  What if the other guy (or girl) had been elected president?  What if the Berlin wall hadn’t come down?   These types of stories are fantastic opportunities for students to explore their curiosities and, in the process, learn more about the event they are exploring.  After all, you have to know something about how an event actually went in order to write alternate endings.

Inklewriter would be a fun way for students to come up with alternate endings to a novel they are reading.  Our students wrote a variety of endings for The Giver.  Each student wrote a different ending that picked up from the last chapter of the book.  Inklewriter would have been a great tool to use for all of these endings to be available in one place.  Students could copy/paste the last paragraph of the actual book and then offer their alternative endings as options.

In science, students could use Inklewriter as a tool to record their hypothesis. Students can write out the objective and steps in their experiment and make a new “alternate ending” for their various hypothesis.

In math, students could create story problems where they lead others down the path to discover the correct answer.

Tips: These interactive stories are MADE for your tablet devices…if you have some in your classroom, take advantage of them!

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

Comments (2)

Iv’e never seen anything like the InkleWriter! It is a very unique and interesting way to tell a story! With all of the link words and phrases, it can really keep a reader on his or her toes. It is easy enough for students to use and can help them to write better, and come up with unique story lines. Thank you for sharing this program with the world! I enjoyed reading about the InkleWriter.

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