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It is finally starting to feel like fall in Colorado, our first day in quite some time that we haven’t reached summer time temperatures.  As always, here is a recap of what I have been up to this week when I wasn’t blogging here: The Obligation to Desert Mediocrity: Waiting for Robin Hood-...

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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.

Shocking! The real purpose of your life! or What are we preparing for?

Posted by admin | Posted in Anastasis Academy, education reform, inspiration, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, professional development, Secondary Elementary, video | Posted on 26-11-2012

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Today @lancefinkbeiner shared this video with me.  It is too good not to share!  Now…how to make this the reality of what learning is really about in schools.  I can’t tell you how often in education that the answer for why something is done is, “we are preparing kids for…”  For example, we give 3 hours of homework to elementary students because we are “preparing them for middle school.”   In middle school we give additional homework and weekly tests because we are “preparing them for high school.”  High school has it’s own set of ridiculous standards in preparation for college.

My question: when are we preparing kids for life?  When are we preparing them to engage in the world around them?  When are we preparing them for healthy relationships with others?  When are we preparing them to ask good questions and seek answers?  When are we preparing them for what to do with failure?

The problem for preparing kids for the next system they will encounter is that the next system isn’t really the goal.  That goal is this imaginary place we call “success” and “perfection”.  Neither exist.  How do we prepare kids to live honest, meaningful lives?  THAT is what I am interested in preparing for.

Encyclopedia of Life: podcasts, videos, images, activities

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Create, Middle/High School, Podcasts, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), video, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 10-10-2011

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What it is:  The Encyclopedia of Life (eol) is a beautiful website that celebrates the biodiversity of life.  On the eol website, find podcasts where students can discover the diversity of life five minutes and one species at a time.  Students can dig deeper into their learning with extra features like “Meet the Scientist”, “Educational Materials” or “Extras”.  The “Extras” include Google Earth tours, videos, audio out-takes, images and contributions from listeners.  Podcasts can be subscribed to via RSS or iTunes.  The Encyclopedia of Life even provides a podcast guide for educators to use!

Teachers can create customized “Field Guides” on the eol website.  These guides are collections of text and images from the eol website to fit your classroom needs.

Students can participate in their very own BioBlitz activities where they are led in observation of biodiversity in their own backyard.

The Tools page has great extra interactives and tools for students to use as they learn about life on earth. Find tools such as a Cool Iris eol plugin, Google Earth Species quizzes and Life Desk where students can create and contribute to eol.

How to integrate Encyclopedia of Life into the classroom:  The Encyclopedia of Life is a gorgeous site for students to explore biodiversity.  Students can engage with audio, video, images and activities to learn more about life on Earth.

My favorite part of the site is the BioBlitz activities that lead students through discovering biodiversity in their own backyard.  These activities teach students to be careful observers, respectful of life and encourage curiosity and discovery.  Choose a BioBlitz activity to complete in the school yard with your students.  Use the eol site to learn about the different species you find.  Students will love the image and audio collections here!

Are you studying a specific species in your class? Create your own classroom field guides.  Better yet, put students in charge of this job.  Split students into groups, each group can create a field guide to share with the rest of the class based on a species. 

Tips: You have to login in order to create field guides on the Encyclopedia of Life.  All content can be viewed without a login.

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Encyclopedia of Life in  your classroom!

Planet Foss: Investigating Science by Taking Pictures

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Science, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 09-02-2011

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What it is: Planet Foss is a science photo sharing website for students.  Students are enlisted to help capture science in the real world through pictures and share them with other students around the world.   Students choose a science course to investigate, see what photo challenges exist within the course, and then take a picture of science as it happens.  Each course comes with several challenges; the challenges are all based around themes that tie into the FOSS investigations.   When students have taken their photos, they can upload them, tag them, and record observations about the science they captured in their picture.  Students can also head over to Planet FOSS just to check out the photos taken by other students, they can search by the date that the picture was uploaded, by tag, keyword, or search by location using a Google map. Courses on Planet FOSS include Chemical Interactions, Diversity of Life, Earth History, Electronics, Forces and Motion, Human Brain and Senses, Planetary Science, Populations and Ecosystems, and Weather and Water.

How to integrate Planet FOSS into the classroom: Planet FOSS is an excellent way to involve students in science exploration and discovery in the real world.  The great thing about the site is that it helps students discover the science that it all around them.  Through the photo challenges and investigations, students learn to view the world through a new lens and begin to understand that life is science.  That isn’t a concept I understood until I was out of school (for me science usually meant filling out a worksheet or memorizing science vocabulary-sad).  Don’t have access to digital cameras at school? Students can still use Planet FOSS by exploring other student photos.  The photos are a great way to introduce science concepts and illustrate concepts in a way that is more authentic than the textbook offerings.  As students view others photos, they can leave feedback about the photo, observation, or comment on the similarities or difference to where they live using a set of virtual “stickers”.

Tips: To protect student privacy, Planet FOSS does not accept any photos that includes pictures of students. Planet FOSS has a great introductory video that will have even the novice computer user uploading photos in no time!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Planet FOSS in your classroom