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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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Send Your Name to Mars

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 30-03-2009

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What it is:  This is your chance to send your students to Mars!  Okay, maybe not literally but you can send their names to Mars.  NASA has done this before, you may have sent your names to the moon in the past.  Now you and your students have the opportunity to send their names to Mars by way of a microchip on the Mars Science Laboratory rover heading to Mars in 2011.

How to integrate Send Your Name to Mars into the classroom:  This is a great way to get your students excited about a space unit!  Students can start the space unit by sending their name in to be put on the microchip going to Mars and print out the “official” certificate.   Follow up this activity by exploring the NASA website or NASA Kids to learn more about the Mars Science Laboratory rover and the mission.  If you don’t have access to a computer for each student, you could send your class name to Mars and explore the NASA site as a class using a projector.  As an extension activity, you can have students write about what they think it would be like to go to Mars.

 

Tips:  Take a look at the participation map, it is interesting to see who is going to Mars!

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Send Your Name to Mars in your classroom.

Comments (1)

[…] I have to admit I’ve had students in my classes who I would occasionally like to send to Mars, but NASA has a neat activity where you really can send them there! As NASA’s site says “This is your chance to go to Mars! Fill in your information below and your name will be included with others on a microchip on the Mars Science Laboratory rover heading to Mars in 2011!”  Students can then print-out the official certificate, and explore the site to learn more about the Mars Mission (thanks to iLearn Technology for the tip). […]

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