What it is: Plan It Green, the Big Switch is an online game/simulation from National Geographic that allows students to create their own energy-efficient city of the future. In the game, students build new energy technologies and advance energy research; gain points based on their eco-friendliness, energy production, and citizen happiness; compete with others for the highest city rating; tackle challenges and quests; and explore and build a diverse energy portfolio. Through Plan It Green, students begin to better understand various energy options and can experiment with different energy sources and see their impact through this game/simulation.
How to integrate Plan It Green, the Big Switch into the classroom: This game from National Geographic is a great way to help your students understand different kinds of energy, and think through the ways that the energy we rely on in our daily lives impact the environment. Use Plan It Green, the Big Switch as a provocation for an inquiry unit about energy. The game could be a great catalyst for further research and understanding of energy options and how our decisions impact the rest of the ecosystem. Students can test out theories in this SIM-City like game and watch the way their decisions impact citizens and the larger ecosystem.
Plan It Green would also be a great way to end a unit, after students have learned about different types of energy. This game would be a great simulation reflection to see how different decisions about energy play out.
If you don’t have access to a 1:1 environment, this would make a great center on classroom computers during a study on energy or even for whole-class play on an interactive whiteboard throughout a unit on energy.
I like the way Plan It Green puts students in control of decisions and shows them the consequences (or unintended consequences) of those decisions.
Tips: The downfall of Plan It Green is that it requires a Flash Player, so while students can register for the site using an iPad, actual play requires a Flash enabled browser.
What it is: I don’t know about you, but printers can be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, if you have one, your students are able to print out their work and finished projects; on the other, printers also make for a lot of wasted pages and ink when students (or teachers) are printing from the Internet. Print What You Like solves this problem by letting you format any web page for printing. No more pages of ads, empty space, and the extras that you didn’t want. Print What You Like works in three easy steps: 1. Go to Print What You Like and paste the URL of the page you want to print, 2. Edit the page, 3. Print it! Very easy and a great way to cut down on paper waste! I like that there is nothing to download with Print What You Like, it runs directly from your browser. You can make the page you are printing more readable by changing font size and typeface and removing the background. Print What You Like gives you the ability to combine multiple web pages by editing them and printing them as one document. You can even save your modified page as a PDF or HTML document…so cool! If you sign up for the service, you can even save the changes you make to a page so that other pages from the same site are automatically formatted the same (I’m thinking this would be great for recipe sites!).
How to integrate Print What You Like into your curriculum: Introduce students and other teachers to Print What You Like for printing web pages. Post instructions for using Print What You Like next to classroom computers, printers, and in the computer lab (I have attached the instructions card that I created for Print What You Like below. Feel free to print it out and use it in your classroom or computer lab). Make it even easier to use Print What You Like and add it to the bookmark bar in your favorite browser or add the bookmarklet editor directly to your browser.
Tips: If you have a website that students are constantly printing from, consider adding a printer friendly button that creates a printer friendly version of your website with the click of a button.
Please leave a comment and share how you are using Print What You Like in your classroom!
What it is: The Eco Zoo is an impressive 3d environment where students can meet different “animals” that will give them some ideas about taking care of the environment. Each of the critters has a virtual pop-up book that tells a little about the character. Each character has an environmental quirk, like one who is always turning off the lights to save energy, and has a little story that will get your students thinking about the environment. The site is available to view in both Japanese and English.
How to integrate The Eco Zoo into the classroom: The Eco Zoo is a great site to travel through as a class when you are studying the environment, ecology, or eco-friendly solutions. This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector connected computer. As a class, travel up the tree, visiting each animal along the way. Ask students to guess what environmental issue the animal is passionate about. Have students brainstorm ideas of ways that they could be friendlier to the environment as it relates to each animal. This would be a great site to guide classroom discussion and spark some new ideas.
The look of the site is very unique, students will love the virtual popup books! Students can also explore this site on their own on classroom computers or in a computer lab setting. As they view the different animals, students can create character cards about the animal, listing the environmental passion, and ideas of how they can be more environmentally friendly.
Tips: This site was created in Japan so some of the English is a little awkward, or the humor missed.
Leave a comment and share how you are using The Eco Zoo in your classroom.