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Thursday, December 1, 2016

What Are Owl Pellets? - Learn by Watching and Doing

One of the cool things about living where I do, essentially the middle of nowhere by most standards, is getting to see lots of cool wildlife on a regular basis. That includes occasionally seeing owls when I'm walking my dogs at dawn and dusk. With owls come owl pellets that are fun to pick up and dissect. What is an owl pellet? That is the topic of the latest SciShow Kids video embedded below.


Unfortunately, most students don't get the experience of walking in the woods and finding owl pellets. You can order owl pellets from a science lab supply company or you could have your students virtually dissect an owl pellet. Kid Wings is a website all about birds. The site includes a virtual owl pellet dissection activity. In the virtual owl pellet dissection students pick apart an owl pellet, examine the bones inside it, then match those bones to the skeleton outline they've been provided. The names of the bones are read aloud to students when they click on the bones in the virtual activity.

What You Looked for Last Month

At the end of every month I take a look at two statistics for this blog. First, I look to see which posts were visited the most. I published that list yesterday. Second, I take a look at the terms people enter into the search box on this blog. During the last month the most frequently searched terms were "sushi," "word cloud," and "random name picker." Here's a bit of information related to those terms.

Sushi
Sushi Monster is a free iPad game from Scholastic that helps kids practice their addition and multiplication skills. This is the premise of Sushi Monster; students feed their Sushi Monsters by correctly choosing two numbers that when added or multiplied result in the number that the monster wants to eat. When the monster has been fully fed students move on to feeding a new monster. 

Vocab Sushi is designed to help students prepare for standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, GRE, LSAT, and more. When you register for an account, Vocab Sushi will ask you which test you are preparing to take. Based upon the test for which you're preparing, Vocab Sushi will give you a short quiz to evaluate your current skills. Then based on your score, Vocab Sushi will generate a list of words for you to learn. To help you learn the words in your study list(s) Vocab Sushi uses a combination of audio, visual, and text resources. Vocab Sushi provides games for practicing your vocabulary skills.

Word Cloud
ABCya’s Word Clouds iPad app makes it easy to quickly create word clouds on your iPad. To create a word cloud with Word Clouds by ABCya just type or paste text into the text field. After entering your text Word Clouds by ABCya will generate a visual representation of the most common words in your passage of text. You can customize the generated word cloud by choosing different fonts, different color schemes, and by excluding words from the word cloud. Your word clouds can be saved directly to your iPad’s camera roll.

In my video embedded below I demonstrate the features of WordClouds.com


Watch my video embedded below to learn how to make word clouds in Google Documents.



Random Name Picker
On Russel Tarr's Classtools.net you can find lots of great tools for your classroom. The Random Name Picker and the Fruit Machine are two of those tools that can be used in almost every classroom setting. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use both of those tools.

193 Short Timelapse Videos of Our Changing World

On Tuesday Google announced the publication of new Google Earth timelapse imagery. The new imagery shows the how the physical geography of the Earth has changed over the last 32 years. You can see this imagery on the Google Earth Engine website or you can view it as a series of 193 short videos on YouTube.

The new Google Earth timelapse imagery features cityscapes and landscapes. You can find imagery of cities like Miami and San Franscisco as well as imagery of things like the Columbia Glacier in Alaska.


Applications for Education
The fairly obvious use of this imagery is to prompt students to investigate the causes of changes to the land shown in the imagery. Or you could simply use it to show students the effects of erosion on a coast.