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The Road to the Capitol

What it is: The Road to the Capitol has to be one of the coolest sites I have seen to help kids understand government and the campaign and election process.  Students are immediately greeted by a newspaper headline “Congressman Retires: who will represent the US on Capitol Hill?”.  Students are then taken to a TV ad of one of the candidates running for congress, Roberta Glass.  Roberta thinks that kids have too much freedom and should be banned from freely accessing media like movies, TV, video games, and the computer.  Students are offered the opportunity to run against Roberta Glass in the election.  Students must register as a candidate in the election and are then introduced to their campaign manager.  Students make 5 campaign stops in their local congressional district.  At each stop, it is their job to help citizens understand the importance of protecting freedom.  Students can stop at campaign headquarters at any time to get briefed for each campaign event.  At the Campaign Headquarters, students click on important topics to get briefed on such as: Justice and Equality, Rights to Privacy, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom of Expression, and Freedom of Religion.  When students choose a topic, they are taken to subtopics that lead them to rich resources where they can delve deeper into the topic and learning.  Along the campaign trail, students have to make their own commercial, give a speech, talk to students about the freedom of expression, answer questions in a press conference, and debate Roberta Glass head to head.  I can’t stress enough what an awesome interactive site this is.  Every webquest should involve kids in the story and process the way this one does! How to integrate The Road to the Capitol into the classroom: This is an incredible self-guided learning experience.  Students will learn about our democratic system in depth by completing this activity.  The Road to the Capitol is really best experienced by individual students in a computer lab setting where they have plenty of time to research and complete each stop along the campaign trail.  If you don’t have access to a computer lab, the activity could be completed as a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer.  To make The Road to the Capitol a more in-depth project, have students take campaign notes along the way in a word processing program.  They can later sum up what they learned and recorded in their notes by copying the notes and pasting them into a word cloud program like Wordle.  Students could create short campaign commercials based on the commercial they created in the game.  These can be recorded with PhotoBooth on a Mac or with a video camera.  Students could also create a campaign poster using a word processing or publishing program. At the beginning of this interactive, you will see the campaign commercial of Roberta Glass.  The commercial talks about taking away kids freedoms, I imagine that some passionate discussion about the commercial could follow. Tips: Really, go check out this website.  You won’t be disappointed!  Press the “Stop” button on the game to get the teacher/parent pdf guide. Please leave a comment and share how you are using The Road to the Capitol 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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