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## Tuesday, June 16, 2009

### Decimal Squares - Games for Learning Place Values

Decimal Squares is a program for teaching place values and the use of decimals. Decimal Squares was developed by Professor Albert Bennett at the University of New Hampshire. The bulk of the program is a series of classroom materials and books that are available for purchase. One aspect of the Decimal Squares program that you can access for free is the games section.

The games section of Decimal Squares offers eight interactive games that students can use to develop their understanding of place values.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
The Sliding Block Puzzle Page
A Great Collection of K-8 Math Resources
Kids Numbers - Learning Math Step by Step

### How Cellphones, Twitter, Facebook Can Make History

In light of the recent elections in Iran, this TED Talk from Clay Shirky is quite appropriate to watch. In the talk he examines how text messaging and social networks empower citizens to report the news without state-run media censorship. The video is embedded below.

If you're looking for resources for teaching about the Iran election, Larry Ferlazzo has created two good lists.

Applications for Education
This TED Talk could be good for getting students to think about the positive things that they can accomplish using the technologies that they often think of as just fun tools.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
TED Talks in 40 Languages
Teaching With TED Talks
John Wooden on Winning vs. Success

### Forces of Nature - Cause Your Own Natural Disaster

Forces of Nature is a feature of National Geographic's website. There are four sections to the Forces of Nature. The sections focus on tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes. There are six parts to each section. In the last part of each section students can create their own natural disaster using the knowledge they've gained from the previous five parts about how a natural disaster is formed. The Forces of Nature also offers photo galleries and interactive maps about tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes.

Applications for Education
Forces of Nature's "cause your own disaster" activities could be useful for informal assessment in an Earth Science class. The interactive maps include timelines that could be used to make a connection between natural disasters and history.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Forces of Nature - Earth Science Resources
Stop Disasters - Disaster Simulation Game
Science Links You Might Have Missed

Image credit: Scott Benjamin

### Amusement Parks Physics - Design a Roller Coaster

Amusement Park Physics is an interactive lesson produced by Learner.org. In Amusement Park Physics students explore how a roller coaster works and how wood and steel can alter the ride. At the end of the roller coaster section students can design their own roller coaster and have it evaluated for safety and fun. (My design was rejected as unsafe and not fun).

In addition to exploring the workings of roller coasters students can explore the workings of carousels, bumper cars, pendulums, and free fall rides.

Applications for Education
Amusement Park Physics could be a good way to introduce students to physics. In years past my school used to take physics students on a field trip to an amusement park as a fun, educational, end-of-year trip. Amusement Parks Physics would have been a good resource for those students to explore before or after their trip.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Physics Games for Your Blog or Website
This is Phun - Physics Simulator
Physics 4 Kids