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Zoo Whiz

What it is:  Zoo Whiz is a new education site that encourages kids to be “whizzes” in math, reading and word development.  There are levels and content for students from 5 to 15 years old.  There are over 11,200 interactive activities to help unleash the whiz in every child.  The games and activities go beyond simple drill and skill to build higher order thinking skills and problem solving strategies.  The activities build fluency in math, reading and word development.  Zoo Whiz has kids practice math, reading and word skills through a series of activities and games that gets progressively difficult.  As students play games, they earn Zoo Whiz “money” that will allow them to purchase animals to build up their zoo.  Young students will really enjoy this aspect of Zoo Whiz! In the math sections, students will learn: Numeration: integers, operations, money Addition & subtraction Multiplication & division Fractions & decimals: ratio, percentages Patterns & algebra: patterns, relationships Data: recording, displaying and interpreting data Measurement: length, area, volume/capacity, mass, time Space & geometry: 2D, 3D, position, angle, transformations, symmetry Currently Zoo Whiz is in public beta.  There are still some areas that are being developed and released.  There are two versions of Zoo Whiz: a free account and a premium account that provides students with additional content and abilities within the game.  In the public beta, both versions are free.  While the site may have curricular material for students up to age 15+, I’m not sure a 15 year old student would spend any amount of time on this site.  It is definitely more geared for the under 10 crowd. How to integrate Zoo Whiz into the classroom: Zoo Whiz is a fun new way for students to hone their math, reading and word skills.  Because every student has their own login, they can practice the subjects at their own level and at their own pace.  The site makes a great center activity, providing students extra practice for basic, key skills.  I like the way Zoo Whiz activities present concepts in a variety of ways to ensure that students have a real understanding of a concept (instead of memorization of a fact alone).  Zoo Whiz is a great place for students to build fluency. I like the way that Zoo Whiz has set up the school and classroom accounts to be linked with a home account.  This makes it easy for both parents and teachers to stay aware of what skills students are working on, where they are successful, and where they could use some additional help. Students will enjoy earning money to purchase animals for their zoo. If you don’t have the opportunity for students to play these games individually, consider using a projector-connected computer or an interactive whiteboard to play the games as a class.  Create one class account for students to play from.  Students can take turns helping the class earn money for their zoo and decide which animals should be added.   When I had only one computer in the classroom, I turned activities like Zoo Whiz into a class game.  Sometimes I would split the kids into teams to see which team could earn the most points and others we would work collaboratively to get to a benchmark that we predetermined.  Either way, all students should be involved in game play. Tips: I learned about Zoo Whiz from iLearn Technology reader, Tania.  Thank you Tania!  Zoo Whiz looks like a fun addition to the classroom.  Be sure to let parents know about Zoo Whiz, this could be a fun way to continue practice at home. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Zoo Whiz in  your classroom!

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Science of Everyday Life

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Technology, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 16-05-2013

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What it is:
Discovery Education and 3M have partnered to bring the science of everyday life into your classroom.  This fantastic collection of resources is for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade.  On the site you will find videos and interactives that help kids learn about the science around them and make connections to what they are learning in school.  Lessons are inquiry based and encourage exploration in life science, physical science, earth science and technology/innovation.  Virtual labs are interactive flash-based labs where students can discover more about science like wind energy.  At the Innovation HQ portion of the site, students can travel through time and look at innovations that they use in their every day life and “meet” 3M scientists. On the Student page, students can see a young inventors hall of fame.

How to integrate Science of Everyday Life into the classroom:  The Science of Everyday Life is packed FULL of great videos, lesson ideas, virtual interactives and student activities.  I really appreciate that the approach to lessons is inquiry based!  The lessons include great resources and encourage students to ask questions and dig deeper.  The virtual investigations and labs are also really well done.

Content is separated out by grade level, quickly find exactly what best fits your classroom needs!

The travel through time feature is really neat for students to explore.  This could be done as a class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard or used as a center exploration or individual activity in a 1:1 or lab setting.  Split students into smaller teams or have them explore a specific time period independently.  The timeline gives some basic information, and would be a great launching point for further investigation.  Students could turn this into a larger project where they connect the innovation from history with innovations today.  What learning had to take place in the past, in order for the innovation that we have today?  This would make a great compare/contrast activity for students.

Because Discovery Education is involved, you can anticipate high quality videos and related resources.

Tips:  The resources and interactives on the Science of Everyday Life are largely Java and Flash based.  If you are running these resources off an iPad, you will want to use an app like Rover (which allows you to view Flash), Photon, iSwifter, etc.

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Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  Science of Everyday Life in your classroom.

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