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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Gold Rush Lesson Plans

Discovery's popular television show Discovery's television show Gold Rush Alaska is debuts a new season this week. Seeing a preview of the new season gave me the idea for this list of lesson plans for teaching about the original gold rushes in North America.

The National Parks Service offers fifteen lesson plans about the Klondike Gold Rush. The lessons are designed for use with students in grades two through eight. You can view the lessons online or download them as PDFs. The lessons are combination of online and offline activities.

EdSitement offers a very in-depth, six part lesson plan for teaching about the Klondike Gold Rush. The lessons are designed for middle school and high school students. An emphasis is placed on using primary documents and images to inform writing.

PBS has a website built as a companion to their American Experience television program about the Gold Rush. You can use many of the resources on the website without watching the program. The Strike it Rich game, the interactive map, and the timeline can all be used without watching the American Experience Gold Rush episodes.

The Oakland Museum of Calfornia has a great set of resources for teaching about the California Gold Rush. On the museum's website you will find lesson plans for elementary school, middle school, and high school use. The virtual exhibit includes art and images about the gold rush as well as narratives about gold rush participants. After exploring the online exhibit students can take a quiz about the California Gold Rush.

Harcourt School Publishers has a free website that is designed to accompany their elementary school textbooks. On the website students can scroll through a series of drawings about Sutter's Mill (the place where gold was discovered setting off the gold rush). Clicking on each image reveals a box of text summarizing the significance of that image. Harcourt School Publishers also has a short timeline of the gold rush.

Explore NASA's Influence On Your Daily Life

Most students and adults only think of satellites and space shuttles when we think of NASA. NASA @ Home and City might make you think about NASA a little bit differently than you have in the past.

NASA @ Home and City is a virtual tour of NASA-related science in our homes and cities. Students visiting NASA @ Home and City can rotate buildings and take a look inside to discover everyday items whose development has been influenced by technology developed at NASA. Each item within a building has a narrated explanation of how that items was influenced by NASA technology. For example, students can take a look inside the bathroom of a house to learn how cosmetics have been influenced by technology used at NASA.

Beyond the explanations, students can explore NASA @ Home and City's Spinoff Archives. The Spinoff Archives allow students to read further about each of the elements they see in the virtual buildings. After going through the virtual tours and reading the Spinoff Archives students can take the Spinoff Challenge to test their knowledge of NASA @ Home and City.

Applications for Education
NASA @ Home and City could be a great way for students to see that science, particularly space science, is all around them even when they don't realize it.

How Do Vitamins Work? - A TED-Ed Lesson

How Do Vitamins Work? is a new TED-Ed lesson that could be used in a science class and or health class. The lesson includes an explanation of how our bodies absorb vitamins and the differences between lipid-soluble and water-soluble vitamins. Check out the "dig deeper" section of the lesson to find additional resources that you could use to introduce the topic to your students.

New Features Added to Google Classroom

If you're using Google Classroom, you may have noticed some new features added today. There are new features for students, for teachers, and for adminstrators in Google Classroom.

Students in your Google Classroom classes now have the option to mark assignments as done even if there is not a document or file to submit. For example, if you assign "read chapter 5" to your students they can mark that assignment as done after completing the reading.

Teachers can now set different permissions for their classes and students in Google Classroom. Teachers can mute individual students in the comment stream or prevent an entire class from commenting. Along the same line, teachers now have the option to sort students by first or last name. Finally, teachers now have the option to download all grades for an assignment at once.

Google Groups can now integrate with Google Classroom. Administrators now have the ability to pre-populate classes using existing Google Groups.

Video - How to Embed Remind (101) Messages Into Blogger and Google Sites

Remind (formerly known as Remind 101) is a great tool to use to reach students and their parents via text messages. But not all parents and not all students will want to opt-in to receive messages on their phones. If you embed your Remind text messages into your blog, those parents and students who choose not to receive messages on their phones can still see the information that you're sending through Remind. In the video below I demonstrate how to embed Remind messages into Blogger and Google Sites.