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Sunday, April 10, 2016

An Interactive Build a Body Lesson

A few years ago Sponge Lab Biology won a National Science Foundation award for its interactive Build a Body activity. Spend a few minutes using Build a Body and it is easy to understand why it was recognized by the NSF.

In Sponge Lab Biology's Build a Body students construct a human body system-by-system. To build a body students drag and drop into place the organs and bones of a human body. Each organ and bone is accompanied by a description of the purpose of that bone or organ. The systems that students can build in the Build a Body activity are the skeletal, digestive, respiratory, nervous, excretory, and circulatory systems.

Build a Body has a case study menu in which students can read about diseases, disorders, and and other concerns that affect the human body. In each case study students are given a short description of the concern followed by a question that they should be able to answer after completing the Build a Body activity.

Applications for Education
Build a Body was designed with high school students in mind. Build a Body could be an excellent resource to pair with Biodigital Human or Healthline's Body Maps. Have students use the Body Maps and Biodigital Human to study the construction of the human body then use Build a Body to test their knowledge.

30 Days of Shakespeare Presented by the New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is marking the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death by publishing 30 recordings of NYPL staff members reading their favorite Shakespeare speeches, monologues, or sonnets. One recording per day will be published throughout the month of April.


April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. These recordings could provide a nice model for your own "poem a day" classroom project. You could have students each take a turn reading their favorite poems this month. SoundCloud makes it easy to record and assemble a playlist of spoken recordings. Take a look at the video below to learn how to record on SoundCloud.


H/T to Open Culture for the NYPL recordings.

Three Google Apps Updates You Might Have Missed Last Week

Last week Google added a convenient polling option to Google Classroom. That update proved to be a huge hit as comments that I saw about it on Facebook and Twitter included, "finally," "sweet," and "woo hoo!"

The update to Google Classroom wasn't the only update to Google Apps that should be of interest to teachers. Last week a new task reminders function was added to the browser-based version of Google Calendar. The new reminders option in Google Calendar will let you create task reminders within the browser-based version of Google Calendar. Reminder tasks that you don't complete on a given day will automatically forward to the next day until you complete the task.

Microsoft Outlook users will be happy to learn that the Google Drive plug-in for Microsoft Office now supports Outlook. Screenshots of the new features can be seen on the Google Apps Update Blog.

Learn more about Google Classroom and Google Apps for Education at the Practical Ed Tech Chromebook Camp this summer in Portland, Maine.