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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

7 Good Resources for Teaching and Learning About Earth Day

Each of the last two mornings I've been inundated with spammy press releases pitching all manner of websites and products related to Earth Day. The upside of seeing all of those press releases is that it got me to look for some of the better resources for teaching and learning about Earth Day. Here are seven good ones.

Storyboard That's Earth Day Activities page offers eleven lesson plan ideas appropriate for elementary school and middle school classrooms. Some of the featured plans on Storyboard That's Earth Day Activity page include creating "cool Earth facts" storyboards, creating comics about how to help the Earth, and creating public service announcements about pollution and pollution prevention.

Glacier Works is a non-profit organization studying the shrinking glaciers of the Himalaya and the impact of glacier melt on the people of the region. One of the neat features of the Glacier Works website is the panoramic before and after images. The panoramas show images of the glaciers from the 1920's side-by-side with recent images. You can quickly compare the two views by sliding your cursor across the panoramas.

ARMAP is a comprehensive resource of interactive, online maps of Arctic research. ARMAP's resources include files for use in Google Earth as well as ArcGIS explorer. You can also access 2D maps directly on the ARMAP website. ARMAP provides map layers and placemarks about a wide range of topics related to Arctic research. Before opening the general ARMAP map, visit the map gallery for a primer on the type of resources that can found on ARMAP. You should also check out the links section of ARMAP to visit the sources of much of the ARMAP content.

National Geographic has some other great resources for learning about environmental science and Earth  Day. On the National Geographic website students can learn about the Green House Effect through an interactive lesson. After learning about global warming in the Green House Effect interactive lesson, students can learn about alternative energy through the Wind Power interactive lesson.

Breathing Earth is an interactive map demonstrating CO2 emissions, birth rates, and death rates globally and by individual countries. From the moment that you first visit Breathing Earth it starts counting the number of births occurring worldwide. Placing your cursor over any country on the map reveals information about birthrate, death rate, and rate of CO2 emissions. One of the additional resources linked to Breathing Earth is an ecological footprint calculator. Using this calculator students can calculate their personal footprints, take quizzes, and learn about the ecological footprints of various businesses.

Google offers tours in its Explore Climate Change series. The tours explore the actions of organizations to prevent or adapt to climate change in different parts of the world. These tours include the World Wildlife Foundation's efforts in the peatland swamps of Borneo, Greenpeace's actions to prevent deforestation of the Amazon, and Conservation International's efforts to reduce deforestation in Madagascar. The tours can be viewed three ways, in Google Earth, in the Google Browser plug-in, or through YouTube.

My Garbology, produced by Nature Bridge, is an interactive game that teaches students about sorting garbage for recycling, reusing, and composting. Students sort garbage into four bins according to where they think each piece of garbage should go. When a piece of garbage is sorted correctly a series of short animations explains why it should be there.  For example, a banana peel should be sorted into the compost bin. When the banana peel is placed into the compost bin students watch and hear a series of animations explaining how composting works.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on this blog. 

Duolingo Tinycards - Create and Study Flashcards

Duolingo is a free service that is best known for helping students learn a new language. That's not all Duolingo can be used for. Students can use Duolingo's Tinycards service to study just about any topic. Tinycards are essentially multimedia flashcards with a few quiz questions interspersed between them. The idea being that students will flip through a few digital flashcards then answer a question or two to test their recall of the topic at hand. In the following video I provide an overview of how students can use Duolingo's Tinycards.



How to Use Incognito Mode In Google Chrome - And Why You Might Use It

In many of my webinars I will use Google Chrome's incognito mode to demonstrate how a page like a Formative quiz or a Padlet wall will look to students. I do this so that I don't have to sign-out of my teacher view only to have to sign-in again a few minutes later when I want to show the teacher view again. In other words, incognito mode thinks that I’m a new user and doesn’t have my saved usernames and passwords so I’m able to show sites and documents as they appear when I’m not signed into them. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to use Google Chrome's incognito mode.