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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hands-on Science Activities for K-12

The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has a great selection of hands-on activities that teachers can use offline in their classrooms. There are activities for twelve topics. Activities for every grade level from pre-K through high school and beyond can be found on the website. To find an activity for your classroom select your grade level then select the topic(s) you want your students to learn about through hands-on activities.

Applications for Education
A couple of the activities that I liked when I was browsing the catalog were making and flying helicopters and making recycled paper. All of the activities on the site include the standards addressed, the materials needed, and directions for carrying out the activity for the first time.

Enter to Win IdeaPaint and Evernote Premium

I don't often pass along contest information, but in this case the contest I'm sharing awards two products that I really believe in. IdeaPaint and Evernote have teamed up to offer a nice little prize package of 250 Evernote premium accounts and 300 square feet of IdeaPaint paint along with markers and erasers. To enter all you need to do is complete the form on this page by August 20th. A promo video for the contest is embedded below.

Applications for Education
I've written about using Evernote in schools a couple of times in the past. My most recent posts about using Evernote can be found here and here. As the video above points out, Evernote can be use to take and store pictures of handwritten notes and drawings. If you have sketches, diagrams, or equations written on paper that you want to store online, give Evernote a try. Perhaps you have students who complete their mathematics homework assignments on paper. Instead of collecting and keeping track of those papers, try capturing images of them and organizing them online in Evernote.

VIDquik Offers Quick Video Calling

VIDquik is a new video calling system that does not require you to install any special software (you will need to make sure that Flash is up to date on your computer). To make a video call with VIDquik just click "video conf" on the homepage, enter your email address, and enter the email address of the person you wish to video call. VIDquik connect you as soon as the other person receives the email. VIDquik does give you the option to text chat while video calling.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a free and easy-to-use alternative to Skype, give VIDquik a try. You could use the service to connect your classroom with their e-penpals in another part of the world.

The Tenement Museum

The Tenement Museum can best be described as an interactive virtual museum. Students select a male or female character for their passport from Europe to Ellis Island. Once at Ellis Island students learn about the process of legal immigration. Eventually students make it to the Orchard Street tenement where they have to choose an occupation as well as make choices regarding living conditions. At the very end of the exhibit, students can write a post card to their friends and family back in Europe. Throughout the journey, students see short video clips featuring "Victoria Confino" who explains to students what they are seeing and reading.

Applications for Education
The Tenement Museum is a great resource for teaching elementary and middle school students about life as an immigrant living in turn-of-the-20th century United States cities.

Watch the News and Remix the News on Link TV


Know the News on Link TV allows students to create their own short news clips. On Know the News students can access Link TV's library of news and mix them together to create a unique news show. Link TV's news library contains segments from major news outlets around the world. The process of creating a news video is fairly straight-forward. Watch and select video clips to place on a timeline, organize the clips through a drag and drop feature, then add text narrations using the video text editor. After previewing the video it can be published on the Know the News network.

Applications for Education
Know the News provides teachers with a good tool for teaching lessons about media bias, accuracy in news reporting, and global perspectives of an event.
The terms of service for Link TV's Know the News video editor require users to be at least thirteen years old. Therefore, this probably a tool best reserved for high school and college students.

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