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    What it is: The popular children’s series, Berenstain Bears goes 21st century with their very own website. Students can visit the art gallery, read biographies of each of the bears, print out activities, read interactive story books, visit Barn theater for some Berenstain Bear videos,...

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Physics Central: Nikola Tesla and the Electric Fair

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Download, Evaluate, Interactive book, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 09-01-2013

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What it is: Physics Central is a fantastic website full of…you guessed it, physics! There are fantastic sections for students to explore science, activity books, experiments and activities.  Students can learn more about physics in action (physics as found in the world around us), meet physicists, and learn about physics research.  Physics Central will ignite a students curiosity in: sound, electricity and magnetism, force and motion, light and optics, material science, quantum mechanics, space and the universe, and thermodynamics and heat.  My favorite find on Physics Central so far (I’m sure there will be many more favorites the longer I explore) is the Nikola Tesla and the Electric Fair section.  Here, students will find a downloadable kit that includes a manual, comic book, and four related activities.

How to integrate Physics Central into the classroom: Physics has always been among my favorite sciences.  There is something about it that is fascinating to me. Physics Central is packed full of great resources to enrich your classroom.  The comics are a fun way to learn about famous scientists, inventors and events in science history.  The complementing activities bring the comics to life and invite students along on the journey of discovery.

Work with your students on a “PhysicsQuest” like Nikola Tesla and the Electric Fair and see what they come up with. Compare their results with the actual solutions (posted on the site).  Join the current PhysicsQuest with your students to help students recognize the fun and relevance of science.  You can register now for the Spectra: Turbulent Times quest.

Tips: Start a PhysicsQuest with your students, as an after school club, or as a home extension investigation.

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

E is for Explore: discovery, science, math, art, literacy, social studies and more!

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Art, Blogs, Create, Evaluate, Fun & Games, Inquiry, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 07-01-2013

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E is for Explore!

 

Happy New Year!!  I have to say, I wasn’t heart broken to see 2012 go and welcome a year of new beginnings.  2012 felt…hard. And uninspired.  I think that is what happens when you see a dream realized and then comes the part where you are in the middle of it, making it work and doing the HARD work.  2012 wasn’t a year I felt particularly creative. I miss that, it is part of my essence.  I’ve been so incredibly busy, just working to keep everything going, that I had nothing left over.  I’m hoping that 2013 is a different story. Step 1: the first post of 2013.  Here is to creativity and passion!

What it is: I discovered a new blog that I am absolutely loving!  It is hard to beat a place where exploration is not only welcome, but encouraged.  E is for Explore is that place.  Here you will find new learning activities and a fantastic collection of ideas from other sources.  There is a handy-dandy index that helps you find just what you need quickly and easily.  I’ve been working on collecting resources for this inquiry unit and E is for Explore has been an absolute treasure trove.  Topics include discovery/exploration, science/engineering, mathematics, art, literacy, social studies and seasons/holidays.

How to integrate E is for Explore into the classroom:  E is for Explore is a great tool for unit, center, and inquiry planning.  I am really enjoying the huge bank of hands-on activities and projects all designed to encourage exploration in learning. The wide range of activities will keep sparking curiosity in a variety of disciplines.

As I plan out inquiry units and gather resources, I am always on the lookout for activities that will encourage students to explore and spark new curiosities.  E for Explore made this process infinitely easier, bringing me an easy-to-search collection of activities, with great instructions, all in one place.  Many of the activities are manageable enough for a center activity within the classroom…great for differentiation and individualization!

I shared E is for Explore with some of our students, they had a great time looking through the science experiments and learning about how to make mini robots and floam.  This would be SO much better than a small tic-tac-toe board for students to choose an activity from.  Students can explore the entire site and choose an exploration that is of interest to them and complete it accordingly.

Tips: My hope is that iLearn Technology does for you what E if for Explore did for me.  Did you know that you can search by keyword (at the top of my website) or through a multi-category search (in the sidebar on the right)?  Choose as many variables as you want and see what you can find!  I categorize every post by keywords, Bloom’s Taxonomy level, Grade Level, Resource Type, and Subject Area.  After 7 years of free resources, I’ve amassed quite a collection of awesome, free classroom tools.  Go ahead, give it a try and see what new fun finds you come across!

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using  E is for Explore 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.

Pinterest Classroom Inspiration Roundup

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Art, Character Education, Classroom Management, Create, Fun & Games, inspiration, Language Arts, Math, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 21-05-2012

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Holy Smokes. It has been a CRAZY couple of weeks.  Don’t let anyone tell you that starting a school is an insane amount of work; that is a piece of cake compared to ending your first school year!  Blogging has obviously taken a back seat.  It feels strange not to blog every day after making that a habit over the last 4 years.

Today is dedicated to Pinterest.  I find so many fantastic things that spark ideas for must-dos at Anastasis. I’m sharing a few of  them here. I hope they spark some ideas for your classrooms!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year we did some composting, this was followed by planting seedlings in newspaper just like this.  Each student made a newspaper “pot” for their seeds. We love that it is biodegradable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are ending the year at Anastasis with a Storyline Expo. This is a showcase of student work throughout the year. We wanted to show a progression of learning and a timeline seemed like a great way to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are making preparations for our first field day.  Water noodle target practice looked like a great activity.  What are we most excited about? A food truck for lunch.  We are cool like that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have spent a good majority of the year sharing wishes and dreams. For our storyline expo, we are creating silhouettes of students sharing what they love about our school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have done SO many hands on experiments throughout the year.  This one was particularly neat to visualize weather in a cup.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We took pictures of all the kids “holding-on” to rope like this.  They made great bookmarks for our first ever read-in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every student created a poster with this quote on it. It so perfectly summarizes what we believe about students and learning.

 

 

 

 

 

This is SUCH a great way to practice equations and algebra. Each number on the clock is represented by an equation. Our students made some unique “geeky” clocks this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We really wanted students to find freedom in their learning this year.  Creating unique thumbprints with information and thoughts from each student was a great way to kick this thought process off.  They turned out great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words we live by daily!

 

 

To see the originals of these images (and many more), visit my Pinterest Classroom Inspiration page. Pinterest is my guilty pleasure, I add to it even when I don’t have time to blog!   If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, I highly recommend it.  Fair warning: it is addicting!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Science Fix: Video demos and experiments

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Science, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video | Posted on 16-02-2011

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What it is: Science Fix is a fantastic video blog that I learned about from my friend and PLN colleague Kyle Pace. The videos are all recorded science experiments and demos from middle school science teacher Darren Fix.  The majority of the videos are chemistry related but there is also some good physics videos in there as well.  The videos are hosted on YouTube so if you don’t have access, you may have to use one of those tricky ways to download and save from home. (See Tips below for ways to do that.)

How to integrate Science Fix into the classroom: Science Fix is a great place to find demos and science experiment videos to share with your students. These videos will help your students better visualize and understand the concepts that they are learning in your class.  We don’t all have robust resource budgets, sometimes we have to pick and choose what we will be able to demo for our class live. These videos are a big help in bringing those experiments to our classrooms when budgets don’t allow us to do it live.  There are great descriptions and additional links and resources along with each video.

Tips: For those of you who don’t have access to YouTube in your building, you can still use these awesome videos in your classrooms with a little bit of pre-planning.  Download and save YouTube videos so that you can show them at school without accessing the YouTube site. UseKeepVidYouTube DownloaderHDKick YouTubeSaveVid, or Zamzar.  Some of these tools will even let you download at school if you know the YouTube url.  The downloaded video should have no trouble playing at school!

You can follow ScienceFix on Twitter here.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science Fix in your classroom!

Science Bob

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Video Tutorials, Websites | Posted on 09-09-2009

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science bob

What it is: Science Bob is a great resource library for the elementary science classroom.  It is an excellent place for students to explore science concepts.  Students can get some fun science fair ideas, experiments (that can be done offline), research helpers, science questions/answers, and science videos.

How to integrate Science Bob into the classroom: Science Bob is a great anticipatory site to use with students.  Videos can be watched as a class to introduce a new science topic or just to build a little excitement in the science class.  Let students explore the experiment section and choose an experiment to perform.  Each student can choose a different experiment to test at home.  Hold a class science day where students can share the experiment with the class.  Let them be the science ‘expert’.  As students conduct experiments, they can practice going through the scientific method.  Science Bob is a great stop for parents and students looking for science fair projects.  Start each science class with a fun science fact in the science question and answer section.  This is a great site to get your students excited about science and ready to learn more.

Tips: The “research” section of Science Bob is packed full of other amazing science websites.  They are organized by topic for simple searching.

I am often asked where I learn about all of these educational websites.  I have a variety of sources (RSS feeds, searches, books) but my favorite source is my OUTSTANDING PLN on Twitter.  If you aren’t on Twitter, I highly recommend it.  I have created a page where you can see all of the wonderful people in my PLN on Twitter.  This is a great place to start your own Twitter powerhouse.

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

Selenia Science Comics

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Interactive book, Interactive Whiteboard, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 14-04-2009

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What it is:  Selenia Science Comics is a fun way for students to learn about science concepts through investigations linked to comics.  The comics and investigations focus on science inquiry and materials and their properties.  Downloadable resources are provided with information on learning outcomes, background to support scientific inquiry, scientific principles behind the experiments, guidance on the investigation, and an equipment list.  Each of the investigations is linked to a online comic that poses a problem which the student is invited to solve.  There are six  comics with investigations including investigating dissolving, cooling, glue, leaks, air resistance, and hardness.  The site also features online games for students to play including wordsearches, quizzes, picture Sudoku, and spot the difference (like hidden pictures).  

How to integrate Selenia Science Comics into the classroom:  These Science Comics are an excellent way to get your students interested in science and thinking like a scientist.  Through fun comics, investigations, and experiments students learn about key science concepts in a way that will grab their attention and make science exciting.  Students can read the comics individually, in groups, or as a whole class with a projector or an interacitve whiteboard.  Following the comics, discuss what the problem to be solved is, gather ideas for solving, and perform an investigation as a whole class or in groups to solve the problems.  This solve the mystery approach to science is perfect for students inquisitive minds!  Wordsearches and Quizzes on the Science Comics site are fun for students to complete in a computer lab setting or as a center on classroom computers.  Students can play the picture Sudoku or Spot the Difference individually or broken into teams as a class with an interactive whiteboard.  After students have seen the Selenia Science Comics and performed a few investigations, they can visit a site like Kerpoof or Animoto and create their own science comics about other concepts they are learning.  

 

Tips: Be sure to visit the teacher page for great ideas and downloads of Investigations.

 

 

Leave a comment and tell us how you are using Selenia Science Concepts in your classroom.

Ology

Posted by admin | Posted in Fun & Games, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Websites | Posted on 09-01-2009

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What it is:  Ology is an outstanding free website from the American Museum of Natural History where students can learn about archaeology, astronomy, biodiversity, earth, Einstein, genetics, marine biology, water, and paleontology.  The site is user friendly for kids and has an attractive interface that students will enjoy.  Each subject has polls, inside stories on the subject, experiments, book lists of related books, interactive games and activities, “make it” ideas, interviews, a snapshot of scientists at work, and more.  

 

How to integrate Ology into the classroom:   I like to uses sites like Ology for scavenger hunts.  I give students a list of facts that I want them to find while exploring the website and have them take part in a virtual scavenger hunt following the clues.  Activities like this build research skills.  This is a great site for using in any science class.  The online reading is wonderful and the suggestion for books related to the subject is a nice addition.  Students can explore the site during science and share what they learn with the class.  The experiments and make it ideas would be fun to learn about and create as a class.  Ology is an excellent addition to any science class!

 

Tips: Does your school hold an annual science fair?  Share this site with parents for suggestion of science experiments and as a launching point.  

 

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

Crayon Physics

Posted by admin | Posted in Interactive Whiteboard, Math, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 07-05-2008

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What it is: Crayon Physics is a freeware puzzle game. The object of the game is to guide a ball to a star. Students do not have direct control of the ball, but interact with it by drawing shapes with the mouse to get the ball to roll from one platform to another. Any object that students draw reacts as it would if it were subject to gravity. There are some great physics lessons to be taught with this game! Crayon Physics is a Windows only download right now…(I know, bummer for those of us who are Mac users! Not to worry, I have found a Mac version that I will be posting tomorrow.)

How to integrate Crayon Physics into the classroom: Allow students to interact with Crayon Physics to learn about principles of gravity, energy, force, velocity, etc. The game is very entertaining and even mildly addictive. Your students will love learning physics with Crayon Physics. It will bring your class and all those formulas to life for your students.

Tips: Take a look at the video above for a good look at Crayon Physics in action.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Crayon Physics in your classroom.

Science Buddies

Posted by admin | Posted in Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 01-04-2008

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What it is: This is one of those websites that makes me wish I was still a student! Science Buddies is revolutionizing the science fair project by helping kids discover their secret science passions. Students fill out a survey/questionnaire and based on their answers, Science Buddies gives them some topics that might be of interest to that student. Students can select the topic that most resonates with them and see a collection of related science fair project ideas and experiments. Very neat!

How to integrate Science Buddies into your curriculum: This is an awesome site that will help students discover that they do indeed like science. The questionnaire is the perfect way to help your students discover the science topics that will hold their interest. Use science buddies at the beginning of the school year to discover what your students science interests are…this may help direct your science studies for the year! Students can use Science Buddies to help them prepare for a school or class science fair.

Tips: Make sure to visit the teacher section of Science Buddies for some great downloads. Print out scientific method posters, guides on how to run a successful science fair and much more. This really is a must visit site!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Science Buddies in your classroom.