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Extreme Planet Makeover: make a planet

What it is: NASA has some really fantastic resources and activities for use in the classroom.  This week I am creating a customized integrated technology plan for a local elementary/middle school.  One of the subjects we are integrating tech into is astronomy.  NASA was, of course, my first stop for finding some resources we could use.  While I was there I came across Extreme Planet Makeover where students can try their hand at making their very own planet.  In this fun interactive, students can control the look and habitability of their own world.  Students use the controls available to adjust the planetary attributes.  They can change things like size, distance from star, star type, planet age, and even start their planet based on different presets.  As students are adjusting their extreme planet, they will start to understand the differences between earth and the other planets in our solar system.  When students are finished, they can download a picture of their custom world. How to integrate Extreme Planet Makeover into the classroom: Extreme Planet Makeover is a neat simulation where students can design a custom planet.  As they create their own custom planet, they will begin to notice what makes a planet habitable or not, and the unique features that must be in place for life.  Extreme Planet Makeover can be used with the whole class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  Invite each student to make an adjustment to the planet. With each adjustment, students can describe the ways that the planet has changed.  The finished class planet can be used as the base for a creative writing prompt. Set up Extreme Planet Makeover as a center activity where students can create a planet and download to save. The finished planets can be shared on a class photo stream, website, or blog where students can compare and contrast the features of each planet. In a one to one or computer lab setting, students can each create a planet that they use for a compare/contrast to an actual planet in the solar system and as a creative writing prompt.  Who lives on this planet? What galaxy is their planet in? How do you get there? Tips: One of the features I really appreciate about the Extreme Planet Makeover is the explanations that pop up over each planet attribute.  Students learn about how atmosphere, size, different stars, the distance from the star, and the age effect a planet. Please leave a comment and share how you are using Extreme Planet Makeover in your classroom.

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Museum Box

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, History, inspiration, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 06-01-2009

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What it is:    Museum Box is a website that I heard about through a tweet on Twitter a few weeks ago that is really impressing me today (that is saying a lot since today is MacWorld and they are announcing big things!).  Museum Box is based on the work of Thomas Clarkson who collected items in a box to help him in his argument for the abolition of slavery.  He collected items in a box to demonstrate to others the fine craftsmanship and abilities of the African culture.  He used his box as a sort of travelling museum to aid him in his debate.  The Museum Box website provides a place for students to collect information and arguments in a virtual museum box of their own.  They can collect items to provide a description or add to an argument of a historical event, place, or time period.  Students can add images, text, sounds, video, external links, etc. to each compartment of the box helping them form their own virtual museum.  The Museum Box can be shared as a presentation, saved, or printed.  After a box has been created, students can view one anothers boxes and leave comments about the box.  You really have to check this one out!  So neat for history and literature classes!


How to integrate Museum Box into the classroom:  Use Museum Box as a medium for students to learn about and collect information about a historical event, person, or time period.  Because students can upload their own content to Museum Box, you might also have them create a box all about them.  This would be a great way for students to get to know each other at the beginning of the year.  Museum box is a neat way to share information about geography, students can make a box all about a place including items in their box that are unique to that place.  The ability to incorporate text, sounds, images, video, and uploaded items makes Museum Box especially impressive!  After students have created boxes, spend time viewing other’s boxes and leaving comments about the box.  This is kind of like a science fair atmosphere for history, geography, and literature.   Yet another tool I wish I had in school!


Tips:  Introduce Museum Box to your students by learning about Thomas Clarkson, he is a very interesting historical figure that I had never heard of!


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

Comments (1)

Hi Kelly,
Just wanted you to know that I recommended this website to a few teachers after seeing it here and they flipped over it! One is going to use it immediately as the wrap-up activity for a WWI project her class is just finishing and several others are collaborating on a unit about a BC gold rush town called Barkerville. In addition, another teacher just finished a unit on Underground to Canada and another just finished up a wiki on To Kill a Mockingbird, so Clarkson’s story and box will make a nice addition to their units. Thanks so much for posting these excellent resources. You might not always hear from us, but I assure you we’re very appreciative of all your great, practical ideas.

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