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February Inservice

We had a renewal inservice today that was OUTSTANDING!!!  Professor Sid Buzzel was our teacher today, I have written about and linked to his teaching in the past.  His topic today was: the most important qualification for a teacher.  I wrote a blog post about it over at my other blog, Confident Teacher.

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Inquiry, magic, and blended learning: Anastasis Academy

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, collaboration, Create, education reform, Evaluate, inspiration, iPod, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, web tools, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 01-03-2014

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It’s hard to describe to people all of the magic that happens at Anastasis on a daily basis. It really does feel like something special, a magical quality of falling down the rabbit hole into another world where school is fun and challenging and wonderful. The learning that happens here is very organic, it lacks a formulaic approach. So when people ask us how they can do what we do, it isn’t a simple answer.

Anastasis learners are in a continual state of growth, discovery, and creativity. We are just wrapping up an Inquiry unit about “How the World Works.” As a school, we are preschool through eighth grade. All of our students engage the same big guided inquiry for a 5 week block. Although the driving inquiry is the same for all students, I break down the unit into some key concept lines of inquiry by age level. We have a primary, intermediate, and jr. high key concepts that provide entry points into learning at a developmental appropriate level. Our primary kids looked at How the World Works from the inquiry prompting that: people have daily habits and use time to help guide their day, week, month, and year. This gave them the opportunity to explore calendars, time, seasons, patterns in growth of crops, school habits, moon phases, sun, etc. Our intermediate students looked at How the World Works from the inquiry prompting that: predictable patterns help us explore objects in the sky and their connection to our life on Earth. This allowed our students to explore movement of the solar system, moon phases, constellations, galaxies, history of humans understanding of patterns in the universe, technologies that help us understand patterns, how the patterns in space impact life on earth, how animals and plants rely on patterns. Our Jr. High students explored How the World Works from the prompting that: Food comes from many places and goes through many changes on its journey to us. They discovered more about where produce comes from, what GMOs are, what the role of the FDA is, what chemical additives food has, farm to table, organic vs. non-organic, responsibilities of humans in food production and consumption, how food production has changed over time, practices for mass production of meat, what happens when our food resources have been exhausted?

The nice thing about having ALL students in the same big guided inquiry during a block, is the incredible overlaps in learning that occur between classes. This provides truly amazing opportunities for our students to learn from and with each other. We take advantage of that overlap as often as possible!

For each inquiry block I give teachers an inquiry guide with the driving inquiry question, the key concept, and the individual lines of inquiry that could be explored. This is a launching spot. I also provide resources for students and teachers on a Pinterest board. This board gets added to throughout the inquiry block as I know which lines of inquiry students are exploring (they often come up with great lines of inquiry that I haven’t considered). This becomes our “curriculum.” It is always evolving and growing based on the needs of students. Teachers send me requests for books, videos, apps, and hands on materials that they need throughout the block (I LOVE Amazon Prime!). The Pinterest boards are shared with students via QR codes that are hanging throughout the school. At any point in time, they can use their iPad to snap a picture and instantly they have access to a library of materials and ideas that they can explore related to the inquiry block. If you are interested in what this look like, you can check out the boards here:

This is the point that the magic I mentioned above starts to happen. Our teaching staff is awesome. They are some of the most creative, innovative, forward-thinking people I know. Even better: they provide the space for kids to be curious and expertly help them navigate that curiosity for new learning. This block offers such a rich picture of what learning looks like at Anastasis that I just have to share it. Notice that EVERY level of Bloom’s Taxonomy is addressed in this process, every subject woven into their learning naturally.

The students in Team Weissman began this block with a field trip to a local observatory. This was a really neat trip that I had the privilege of attending with them. Our students got a private tour of the observatory, complete with a history lesson of Colorado’s landscape when the observatory was built, the changes it’s gone through, the building history, and the science. The kids LOVED exploring each part of the building and learning about all of the little “secrets” around the observatory and why it was built the way that it was. They got to go into the basement to see how the base of the telescope is actually free-standing and not attached to the building. They got to open the ceiling. They got to explore each separate part of the telescope and ask questions and learn from an expert. The observatory expert’s passion was contagious. The spark for inquiry was lit in those moments. When the students were back at school, they each chose a line of inquiry that they wanted to know more about. They chose to learn about moon phases, galaxies, planets, constellations, Fibonacci, fractals, waves, plant life, etc. Each student snapped a picture of the QR code for this block to begin digging through resources. This was a great spring-board for discovery. As students dug into discovery, they chose different projects and ideas of how they could share their learning with others. This led to the building of a planetarium that the whole school could tour through to learn more about the universe, green house design, art work to teach about the relationship of plants/fractals/Fibonacci, a telescope, a black hole demonstration, a planetary model, a genius art demonstration of moon phases for the planetarium, and a model of different types of waves.

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Prototype Lab-Anastasis Academy

Anastasis Academy- Planetarium

Planetarium tours: Anastasis Academy

Pattern study: Anastasis Academy

Student Created Greenhouse: Anastasis Academy

Prototype Lab: Anastasis Academy

 

There was a lot of research that happened in this unit. One student showed me how she was using multiple devices to compare sources as she did her research…brilliant!

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Throughout the 5 weeks I heard exclamations of excitement, pride in what students had created, excitement as they saw what other students in the class were doing. Completely fantastic, magical moments of learning! This week, the students invited every other class in the school to be a part of their learning. They gave each class a tour of the universe in the planetarium and each presented their findings over the last 5 weeks. They also walked them through how patterns in the universe are mimicked here on earth in their greenhouse (made with pvc and shower curtains!).

Inside the planetarium: Planets

Inside the planetarium: Black Holes

Anastasis is a 1:1 BYOD school. Each of our students has an iPad (the only supply on their supply list) in addition, sometimes they bring a phone or iPod as well. You know what? As awesome as the technology is, it fades into the background. It really is just another tool for learning that we use at Anastasis. It helps tremendously with research, connecting with experts all over the world, typing out and recording ideas. What I love about this last unit is that none of the students chose to show their learning through technology. Each of them chose something tangible to demonstrate learning. The use of technology was brilliant. Truly hybrid learning! The students who worked on the planetarium used an app called Sky Guide to figure out exactly where in the sky each constellation and galaxy was so that their planetarium would be a true picture of what it would be like to look up into the night sky. After building the planetarium, the kids decided which way they would align it in the classroom. Then, using the Sky Guide app, they would get in, find out where the constellation was in relation to where they were standing. They poked holes in the plastic in the shape of the constellation and labeled it with a piece of tape. A brilliant coming together of technology and creativity!

I wish I could bottle up the excitement that the whole school had as they watched the planetarium being built. The amazing anticipation of getting to see the finished product. The sneak peeks they tried to take. This was a school community learning and exploring together.

As Team Weissman worked on this, students in Team Baldwin each chose a pattern that they wanted to learn something more about. They connected to experts, researched, and came up with really incredible questions. The outcome of this was also student created projects to show others what they had learned. These kids also held an expo day to let others in the school see their learning. They got to be the expert. Students explored everything from patterns in the circulatory system, to service animals, to electricity, to dub step, to patterns in baking, the moon, coding, and plant growth. When I asked the kids what they liked best about their projects, the common answer was: getting to talk to my expert. Connecting students with an adult expert (usually using technology) was so meaningful and lasting. They were proud to share with others what they were now an expert in.

Patterns in baking: Anastasis Academy

Electricity study: Anastasis Academy

 

The Jr. High was so impacted by what they learned about where our food comes from, that they created a conference for Anastasis students and parents. They had sessions, round table discussion, asked parent experts to come in and share, and invited a keynote speaker. They also invited other classes in on their learning by asking them to share learning they’ve done throughout the year at their expo. The round table discussion among the students was hands down my favorite part of the day. Hearing these kids challenge each other’s opinions about GMO’s, Monsanto, being a localvore, food production, health, etc. was incredible. They were well researched, thoughtful and considerate of different opinions. They referred back to field trips they had to Growhaus and a local meat market. They started out in the community with experiential learning, used technology to learn more, and finished by inviting community to learn with them.

Hydroponics: Anastasis Academy

Primary students shared their greenhouse:

Anastasis Jr. High Round Table discussion

 

This is what learning looks like. It is hard work, there is challenge. There is also beauty and excitement and pride.

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.

I’ve been nominated for a Bammy Award for Educational Blogger.  I’d appreciate your vote to help spread the word about iLearn Technology.  Vote here.  Thank you for your continued support!!

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

National Center for Atmospheric Research

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Inquiry, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 17-12-2012

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What it is: Today Anastasis students were lucky enough to visit the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.  It was a truly fantastic experience (if you ever find yourself in Colorado, it is worth a visit! Open free everyday!).  The center has some fantastic interactive exhibits, much like what you find at Exploratorium in California.  In addition to the physical location, the National Center for Atmospheric Research has some wonderful online games, activities and resources for the classroom.

In the Interactives and Simulations for weather, climate and atmospheric science section you will find:

  • A virtual laboratory for creating a weather balloon.
  • A simple virtual climate model.
  • The build a tree dendrochronology activity where students can explore past climates.
  • Compare IPCC scenarios interactive where students forecast carbon dioxide levels.
  • The climate sensitivity calculator.
  • The Earth’s Energy balance virtual lab.
  • Compare solar eclipse photos activity.
  • Solar eclipse memory
  • Sun-earth connections memory
  •  Clouds memory
  • Atmospheric chemistry memory
 In the classroom activities section, you will find:
  • Paleoclimates and Pollen where students can study pollen.
  • Model a moving glacier where students make a model of a glacier and create an experiment to study movement.
  • Glaciers then and now where students study pictures of glaciers taken in the 1900′s and compare them to pictures of the glaciers today.
  • The systems game where students observe a system.
  • Looking into surface Albedo where students inquire into how color affects the way that the sun interacts with Earth’s surface.
  • Feeling the heat where students investigate which parts of their school yard have a higher temperature.
  • CO2 How much do you spew where students analyze energy consumption.
  • The nitrogen cycle game where students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle.
  • The water cycle 0-18 and ice cores where students look at proxy data to determine past climate.
In addition to the fantastic activities on the site, students can learn more about the sun and space weather, weather, atmosphere and climate on the NCAR website.

How to integrate the National Center for Atmospheric Research into the classroom: If you are studying weather, climate or atmospheric research with your students this is a must stop site.  It is FULL of great activities, virtual labs and easy-to read and understand information.  Really, take a few minutes to dig in.  Today, when we visited we got to explore some of these virtual labs and games first hand.  Our students watched a short video introducing them to NCAR and what scientists do there.  Next we entered into a classroom where the fun began!

Today we learned about the North and South Poles.  The fine people at NCAR had made globe paddles that had the north pole on one side and the south pole on the other (glued to giant tongue depressors).  They gave the students different facts about the north and south pole and students had to hold up their paddles with the correct answers.  Next, students learned about how polar bears were equipped for the COLD temperatures.  There were tubs of ice water on the table.  Students were asked to place their hands inside the ice water.  We timed how long they lasted in the cold water.  Next, students put their hands in a “blubber” paw and tried the experiment again.  The hand inside the layer of blubber could stay in the cold for a long time with no discomfort.  These blubber paws were actually made with 2 ziplock baggies with Crisco in between the layers and duct-tape at the top of the baggies so that they were sealed together around openings where the two baggies came together.  This left a Crisco pocket that formed the paw.  Students also learned about penguins and how they find their mate in hundreds and hundreds of penguins.  Penguins have particular sounds that help alert their mate.  The penguins can distinguish between the particular sounds that each penguin makes to find their mate.  Students simulated this by each taking a film canister with an object/objects in it.  The students had to shake their canister and find their match using the sound alone.  They had a ball with this!  They also practiced transferring a styrofoam egg from one pair of feet to another without using their hands the way that the penguin does.  Our students also did the glacier matching project (listed above) where they worked in teams to match the original pictures to the new pictures.  Some of these were really challenging as the second picture had NO glacier to be seen!  The kids learned that every glacier in the world is shrinking with the exception of two glaciers in Norway.  Fascinating!

Our classroom today…can’t beat the view!

 

Touching clouds!

 

Our students got to follow the activities above with an exploration of weather, climate, and atmosphere science exhibits.  You could easily recreate the activities above and follow up with virtual simulations, videos and games.  These could be set up as centers for students to explore (the virtual centers on classroom computers).  There is SO much here that exploration of all that the NCAR site has to offer could take days.  The simulations and games would also be appropriate on an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer where students can explore and interact as a whole class.  Allow students to take turns playing scientist.

Tips: While we were at NCAR, our guide, Tim, told us that NCAR was originally established in the 1960s to learn how to control the weather.  This brought up a great discussion about what could happen if humans could control the weather, and what unintended consequences might come along with that.  This would make for a great creative writing exercise or comic strip.  Our students came up with some insightful thoughts on this topic!

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

Google World Wonders Project

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, History, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 04-06-2012

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What it is:  Google has a way-cool new project called the World Wonders Project.  Thanks to Google, you can now wander the Earth with your students virtually to discover some of the most famous sites on earth.  The site makes a great addition to the history and geography classroom and opens your classroom to the wider world.  Not only are wonders of the modern world available, students can also explore wonders of the ancient world.  Using the street-view technology from Google maps, Google has made wonders of the world available to all of us at any time.  Themes include archaeological sites, architecture, cities and towns, historic sites, monuments and memorials, palaces and castles, parks and gardens, places of worship, regions and landscapes, and wonders of nature. When you explore a site, you get Google’s street view of the site, information about the site, YouTube videos related to the site and Getty images of the site.  The result is a truly rich experience that will make your students feel like they have jet-setted around the world.

How to integrate Google World Wonders Project into the classroom: Google World Wonders Project is a fantastic way to help make your students more globally aware.  The World Wonders Project lets students really explore and discover the world from the comfort of their classroom.  Aside from actually getting to visit these places in person with your students, this is the next best thing!  Understanding the world and features of the world that we live in is the first step in becoming more globally minded.  Seeing different architecture and landmarks from around the world helps students to better understand the cultures and people who call those places home.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Google World Wonders Project is worth a hundred times more.  Students can envision geography and history because they have a picture (that they can interact with), video, a story and a slideshow of Getty images.  History comes to life when students can “put themselves” in the shoes of those who lived it.  Geography is so much more tangible when it isn’t just a label on a map.

Building up global citizens is crucial.  Below are three steps that can’t be skipped if students are truly to be globally minded:

Step 1: Encourage students to be global minded

Educational globe trotting is impossible without this important step.  Students have to understand the overlaps in humanity. They have to be willing and open to learn not only about their own cultures, but also the perspectives, values, traditions and cultures of others.
Being global minded means that students know how to show empathy and compassion for others. It means that they know how to respect others ideas.  Building global mindedness can feel like a chicken and egg scenario. Connecting your students with others globally is a great way to build global mindedness.Global mindedness truly begins in your classroom.  Build a culture of caring, compassion, empathy and respect and it is easier to transfer to the wider world.  Reflect often with students about feelings and attitudes.  When students recognized the shared humanity in their own classroom, it is easier to understand that shared humanity in light of a larger world.

Step 2: Encourage students to be inquirers

Students who are inquirers are curious, they are willing and open to discover new learning.  Kids are naturally curious, unfortunately in school we tend to “undo” this natural curiosity.  We allow students only one line of inquiry (the one they have been given). We keep kids from asking additional questions (we don’t have time for that).  We teach kids that there is one right answer (the one the teacher has).  Without an inquisitive nature, being global minded becomes just another assignment to do.  Deep connections with others aren’t made.

Step 3: Teach students to communicate effectively

It baffles me that this isn’t a larger focus in our schools.  Communication makes everything else we do in life possible.  Students have to learn how to represent their ideas and learning clearly with confidence.  They must learn how to work with others, pausing long enough to hear the ideas of others.
There are two extremes that I often see in communication: 1. The student doesn’t believe that their ideas are worthy of words.  They are shy or afraid of how they will be received.  2.  The student finally gets the floor and doesn’t want to give it up.  They want to talk and will go around and around with their ideas without letting anyone else get a word in edgewise.  There is a balance here.

Google World Wonders is one way to help students understand other cultures, ideas and times.  It can be explored by students individually on classroom or computer lab computers, or explored as a class using a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard.  If you teach young students, make this an experience.  Set up your classroom like an airplane. Take tickets, have students “pack”, serve an inflight meal, watch an inflight video about the place being visited, create a Flight Day.  When you land in your destination, students can explore the Google World Wonder assigned.

Google has some great teacher guides and educational packages to use with the World Wonders project.  Check them out on the Education page!

Tips: I am leading a session in Adams 12 tomorrow about Global education.  You can see the website I created with links I am sharing here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Google World Wonders Project in  your classroom!

A Plethora of habitat websites and activities

Posted by admin | Posted in Create, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 19-01-2012

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This post is going to be formatted a little differently than most are-so fair warning. :)  I do a lot of digging for resources and tools for our inquiry block at Anastasis Academy.  I thought it might be about time I shared the love here!  If you find it useful, I may include some more of these kinds of posts periodically.

Right now our students are learning about how the world works.  They are inquiring into animal habitats and needs.

Websites:

  1. Draw a habitat- my favorite from PBS!
  2. Plant and Animal Habitats from BBC has students working with the Sarah Jane Adventures team to complete a habitat interactive activity where students match aliens with the best habitat based on clues about both creature and habitat.
  3. Learn about habitats with this virtual text from BBC.
  4. Create a butterfly habitat by adding and removing plants.
  5. Explore the Deep Sea habitat with this interactive from National Geographic.
  6. Explore the Antarctica habitat with National Geographic’s Critter Cam.
  7. Build an online habitat with Switch Zoo.
  8. Design a Habitat with ARKive education.
  9. The Great Habitat Match with the Magic School Bus Gang.
  10. Walk in the Forest helps students learn about layers of habitats in the forest.
  11. Animal Homes (this is a good one for kindergarten or younger).
  12. Frog habitats- students help a frog find a new home.
  13. e-Learning for kids habitat interactive.

Activities:

  • Remember cootie catchers? Or fortune tellers?  They are easily folded out of a regular 8.5×11″ piece of paper.  Students can use cootie catchers to show their knowledge, and quiz each other, about habitats.  Ask students to each choose a different habitat to create their cootie catcher about.  Each flap can have a different word that describes the habitat (for example: desert might say “dry”, “barren”, “extreme temperatures”, “low vegetation”).  The next flap can have a type of animal that lives in that type of habitat.  The last flap can include a fact about why that habitat is perfect for the animal.  To play with the cootie catcher, one student chooses a word and the other spells the word out while opening and closing the cootie catcher.  The first student chooses a new word and the second student spells the word out while manipulating the cootie catcher.  On the final turn, the student chooses a flap to be opened to reveal the fact.
  • Create a complete ecosystem: photosynthesis, rain, decomposition, life cycles  http://cranberrycorner.blogspot.com/2010/07/summer-fun-ecosystem-edition.html 

There are SO many fun ways to explore habitats and animals…if you have outdoor space at your school, send students outside to explore the habitats they walk right by every day.

33 Space Websites to Celebrate the Launch of Endeavour

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Knowledge (remember), Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 16-05-2011

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Did your students get to see the shuttle launch this morning?  What a great way to start a Monday!  Seeing a launch never gets old for me, there is always a sense of wonder and anticipation during count down and launch.  To celebrate the launch of Endeavour, I thought I would share some of my favorite space websites.  In no particular order:

1. We Choose the Moon- An interactive that drops students right into history where they get to witness, and take part in, the Apollo 11 launch and mission.

2. NASA Clickable Spacesuit- An interactive for students to learn about the parts of a spacesuit.

3. Planet Quest: Alien Safari- An interactive exploration adventure that encourages students to find bizarre and extreme organisms that live on Earth.

4. Eyes on Earth 3D- Lets students track missions as they are happening with the satellites that are collecting information about Earth from space.

5. Moon Zoo- Gives students the chance to study the lunar surface while contributing to real science.

6. NASA @ Home and City- Students explore 3D environments where they discover common household and city items that have roots in space exploration.

7. Solar System Scope- A 3D real-time look at celestial positions with planets and constellations in the night sky.

8. NASA’s 50th Anniversary Flash Feature- Best. Website. Ever. An incredible interactive timeline that highlights each decade in the United States space program from 1950 to 2000.

9. European Space Agency- Kid-friendly information about the universe, life in space, lift off, useful space, earth, and more.

10. NASA’s Be a Martian- Students virtually explore and learn about the human-robotic partnership that makes virtual exploration of Mars possible.

11. NASA Space Place- Fun online games, animations, projects, and fun facts about Earth, space and technology.

12. NASA Interactive Timeline-  A multimedia timeline that begins in 500BC and follows the search for extrasolar planets to modern discoveries.

13. Moon in Google Earth-  Take tours of landing sites narrated by Apollo astronauts, view 3D models of landed spacecraft, zoom into 360* photos of astronaut footprints and watch rate footage of the Apollo missions.

14. NASA Images- Find amazing images of the universe, solar system, earth, aeronautics and astronauts.

15. Google Sky- Students get up close and personal with the solar system, constellations, the Hubble Telescope, backyard astronomy, Chandra X-ray Showcase, GALEX Ultraviolet Showcase and the Spitzer infrared Showcase.

16. Buzz Lightyear in Orbit- Teaches students about the next space mission with Atlantis.

17. Station Spacewalk Game- Play the role of an astronaut and repair the ISS.

18. NASA 101- Learn about what NASA does.

19. NASA Anatomy: How Space Technology Improves Human Health- Students learn about how NASA impacts daily life and health.

20. Apollo 11 Launch- Step into the moonshoes of Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong while discovering the lunar landing.

21. Spooky Space Sounds- Listen to real sounds from space.

22. Hubble Celebrates 20 years- View imagery from the Hubble Telescope and learn about history of the Hubble.

23. Galaxy Zoo- Explore the universe and really help scientists.

24. Climate Time Machine- Take an interactive tour through Earth’s climate history.

25. NASA Edge- Students look behind the scenes at NASA with entertaining and informative videos.

26. NASA 360*- Learn about NASA’s past, present and future and how NASA has improved life on earth with these videos.

27. NASA e-clips- Learn about innovative applications of science, technology, , engineering and math through short NASA videos.

28. TEDx NASA- Inspiring talks from TEDx NASA.

29. NASA @ Twitter- Students can follow NASA on Twitter to get up-to-date information on space exploration and discovery.

30. Your Age on Other Worlds- Students can find out how old they would be on other planets.

31. iWas Wondering Astro Game- A scavenger hunt in outer space.

32. Study Jams Solar System- Students view a video and slide show about the solar system.

33. Pipo Club- Travel through the Universe with Pipo.

 

Planet Quest: Alien Safari

Posted by admin | Posted in Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), video, Websites | Posted on 10-05-2011

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What it is: Planet Quest Alien Safari is an interactive exploration adventure that encourages students to click on “life zones” around the world to find bizarre and extreme organisms that live on Earth.  Students will also learn about what the extreme organisms reveal about finding life in space.  As students explore they will learn about organisms that can live without sunlight, those with the highest radiation dose, those that are the most acidic, those that live the furthest underground, those with the strangest habitat and those that are the hottest.  Students click on a life zone on the 3D Earth to begin a video introduction to the organism.

How to integrate Planet Quest: Alien Safari into the classroom: Planet Quest Alien Safari is going to be a popular one with your boys.  My students got a kick out of “discovering” new organisms.  Use Alien Safari when discussing different life forms, classifying organisms or studying space.  My students wanted to do more than just explore the organisms, they wanted to write stories about them.  Students wrote creative stories imagining what kind of super hero the organism would be, or making them into super villains (As I said, the boys have fun with this one!).

Ask students to make predictions about the organisms based on where they are found, what does their geographic location tell us about the organism?

Tips: The music on this site gets a little OLD (at least for me, the kids may disagree) I had the kids use headphones when they were accessing this site independently.  If you are using it with the whole class and an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer, you can turn the music off in the bottom right corner.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Planet Quest: Alien Safari in your classroom!

Eyes on the Earth 3D

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Geography, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 06-05-2011

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What it is: I’m still on my NASA/space kick, this time with Eyes on the Earth 3D from NASA.  This is a neat website that lets students track missions as they are happening with the satellites that are collecting information about the Earth from space.  Students can learn about the earth by choosing a mission to follow, zoom in and out of the globe, view satellite paths, view city and location labels on the map, replace the sun with an “artificial light” and see the view from Earth’s surface.  As students click on the satellite, they will be able to view and discover more information about the mission.  Students can choose to view the 3D Earth in real-time or speed up/slow down the Earth with a time control.  Students can choose to learn more at any time by viewing the official mission home page linked at the bottom of each page.

How to integrate Eyes on the Earth 3D into the classroom: This is a way for students to assume the role of NASA scientist to learn more about the Earth and collect data.  Students can view real data about sea levels, the Arctic sea ice minimum, carbon dioxide readings, global temperature and the ozone hole.  Students can study each mission to gain a better understanding of  what NASA scientists do and study.  If you teach younger students, the 3D globe is a great way to help students understand continents, oceans and earth rotation.

One of the features that I enjoy about Eyes on the Earth 3D is the ability to view the Earth from the satellite view or the satellite from the Earth view.  This will help young students better visualize and understand how satellites work and orbit the Earth.

If your students are studying satellites or NASA missions, assign each student a different mission to study in-depth.  Students can present what they have learned to the class as an oral presentation using the Eyes on the Earth 3D site as a visual.

Tips: Missions can be viewed by what their focus is: atmosphere, oceans or land.  If you are studying any of these, the missions would be a nice tie in.  Students can read or hear about all of this data but I think it is just as important to understand where it all came from and how it was collected.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using  Eyes on the Earth 3D in your classroom!

 

WICKED Science Interactives

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Knowledge (remember), Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 06-04-2011

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What it is: I found WICKED Science interactive through a tweet from my friend @kathleen_morrisWICKED Science interactives help students understand the earth- what it looks like, what it is made of, and how it works.  Students can explore the earth’s surface, examine features of the earth’s crust, explore the rock cycle, discover what the earth is made of in a lab, learn about heat and pressure, and look at different descriptions of the earth.

How to integrate the WICKED Science Interactives into the classroom: I like that these interactives invite students to explore and question.  They don’t offer all of the answers and lead students mindlessly through a predetermined solution, but instead give students just enough information to ask more questions.  Students observe and interact with the activities and have opportunities to think and problem solve their way to learning.  For this reason, WICKED interactives would make a great introductory learning activity.  Students can begin inquiring about the earth during the interactive and follow-up by digging into the concepts deeper elsewhere.  These interactives would be great for whole class use on a projector-connected computer or interactive whiteboard or for small-group/partner use on classroom computers.  Each interactive gives students more information about the earth and invites further investigation.

Tips: WICKED Science Interactives requires the Shockwave plugin to view the interactives.  The plugin can be downloaded from the site if needed.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using the WICKED Science Interactives in your classroom!

Landform Detectives

Posted by admin | Posted in Geography, History, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, video, Virtual Field Trips, Websites | Posted on 19-07-2010

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What it is: Today I was searching for websites and games that would enhance and enrich the Treasures curriculum.  MacMillan Mcgraw Hill’s reading curriculum is lacking (in my opinion) in the activities that it uses to help students learn grammar, vocabulary, spelling, etc.  Most of the suggested activities are not those that require any deep thinking (or in some cases any thinking at all) and usually involve some sort of copying out of the dictionary or filling out a worksheet type undertaking.  These don’t impress me at all.  So, last year I went through all of the Treasures curriculum, pulled out all of the essential learning and skills that needed to be gained.  I have since been on the hunt for engaging activities and games that will help students learn, practice, and create with the essential learning at the core.  Therein lies the rub.  As I scour the Internet for games and activities what I usually come up with is more worksheets.  The problem is, they aren’t labeled worksheet.  They are labeled “game” or “interactive”.  They aren’t really games or interactive (any child would tell you that!), they are multiple choice online worksheets.  I refuse to subject students to them.  Today I made the following comment on Twitter: “Dear educational game makers, an online multiple choice quiz is not a game, it is a worksheet. Please stop pretending it’s a game. Thank you.” I was delighted to get the following message back from Filament Games: “Dear @ktenkely. We know, and in fact couldn’t agree more. And thank YOU.”

I had to explore just who this Filament Games was.  From their Twitter bio: “Filament Games is a game production studio dedicated to creating next generation learning games that combine best practices in commercial game development.”  I am delighted to say, they make incredible educational games that in no way resemble a worksheet!  Bravo!
Landform Detectives is just one of the offerings from Filament Games (I’ll explore the others in separate posts).  In Landform Detectives, “a violent volcanic explosion immediately and forever alters the landscape.  Elsewhere, raindrops gradually pick patterns out of the rock over the course of thousands of years.  Can you recreate some of Earth’s most amazing geological features by uncovering the natural processes that shaped them?”  Now that is what I am talking about!  An engaging game that asks students to use what they know about natural disasters, weather, and the creation of landforms to discover and recreate how they were formed.

How to integrate Landform Detectives into the classroom: Your students will travel the world to unlock the secrets of the Earth’s strangest and most awe-inspiring landforms as they play Landform Detectives.  Students will gain a new appreciation for mountains, valleys, and rivers as they solve the mystery of how they got to be that way and think about how long it takes for those processes to happen.  Your students will transform into geologists as they discover the suspects like ice, water, wind, and sand in the story of our Earth.  As your students travel the globe, they will encounter animated simulations, virtual scientist (Dr. Bob) who can give them more information, and an opportunity to recreate the formation of the landform.  This is an incredible way for students to “see” first hand just how landforms are created.  The site would be best in a computer lab 1 to 1 setting where each student can explore and discover at their own pace.  If you don’t have access to a computer lab, you could also use a projector connected computer or interactive whiteboard to travel the globe together.  If this is the case, allow students to take turns leading and guiding the exploration.  Hypothesize together about how the landforms came to be and how you might recreate them.  Then put those hypotheses to the test and try them out.  Discuss the outcome, did it look like the students expected? Why or why not?

This really is an incredible way to learn about the Earth sciences.  There is just no way that a static text-book can compare to the rich game and media experience that Landform Detectives offers.

Tips: Students can watch a briefing from scientists who share their understanding of weathering and erosion to monitor changes in soils that are used to grow plants for food and fuel.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Landform Detectives in your classroom.