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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

300+ Free Economics Lessons, Videos, and Educational Games

Econ Ed Link hosts hundreds of lesson plans and interactive games for teaching students about a wide range of topics in economics. Teachers can search the lesson plan index by grade level, concept, standard, or length of lesson (one class period vs. multiple class periods). Most of the lessons attempt to provide "real world" context.

The interactive section of Econ Ed Link many pages of videos and games. The videos and games can be used as stand-alone activities or as part of lesson plan. For example, Developing Good Credit Habits is a game appropriate for middle school and high school students. Students earn money by correctly answering questions about credit scores, interest rates, and spending practices. The purpose of the game is to purchase items and pay expenses without damaging your credit score.

Here's a relatively recent addition to Econ Ed Link's library of educational videos.



Applications for Education
Econ Ed Link offers lesson plans appropriate for all K-12 students. Many of the lessons are designed for use not only in the classroom but in the home as well. The parent section of Econ Ed Link offers good material that you can send home with your students to get parents involved in students' learning about personal economics.

Project Feeder Watch - Contribute to Tracking Bird Migrations

Project Feeder Watch is a public project administered by the Cornell Ornithology Lab and Bird Studies Canada. Project Feeder Watch collects data from backyard bird observers across the United States and Canada. Data is collected from November through April. The data collected is used for a variety of purposes including providing the public with information about the birds that can be found in their areas at various times during the year. The Project Feeder Watch map room allows you to select a species and see its migration pattern mapped over the course of a year.

Applications for EducationProject Feeder Watch is a public project. You and your students can contribute to the project by counting birds at a site near your school or even in your school yard.

Teachers could use the migration information available from Project Feeder Watch to develop a simple lesson in statistical analysis and predictions. You could have students look at the migration data for a bird that appears in their area and try to predict when the first one of those birds will be spotted outside of your classroom windows.

USGS Multimedia Gallery - Excellent Public Domain Images and Videos

Today, I want to make sure that you're aware of some other great materials available through the USGS Multimedia Gallery. The USGS Multimedia Gallery contains large collections of educational videos, animations, podcasts, and image galleries. You can search each collection by topic, keyword tag, or year of creation. RSS feeds are available for each gallery. In addition to the videos in the USGS Multimedia Gallery you can find many videos on the official USGS YouTube channel.

Applications for Education
If you need images or videos to help you deliver a lesson to your Earth Science students, the USGS Multimedia Gallery should be one of the first places you visit. Likewise students developing multimedia presentations for their Earth Science classes would be well-served to visit the USGS Multimedia Gallery.

5 Ways to Use Comics in Social Studies Lessons

Creating cartoons and comic strips can be a fun way for students to show their understanding of events and concepts. For the student who is intimidated (or bored) by the idea of writing yet another essay or making another PowerPoint presentation, creating a comic strip is a welcome change. Here are five ideas for using comics in social studies lessons. 

1. Create short biographies of historical figures. Have students select a key moment from a person’s life. Then ask your students to illustrate that moment. For example, students studying John F. Kennedy could use Make Beliefs Comix to illustrate a conversation between JFK and Bobby Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis. If you want students to illustrate conversations in languages other than English, Make Beliefs Comix is a great choice as it supports six languages in addition to English.

2. Illustrate a timeline of an event or series of events. Rather than simply writing summaries of key events have students create illustrations of the events. ToonyTool is a good tool for making single frame comics that your students could save and then add to a timeline.

3. How might history have been different if the communication technology we have today was available 200, 300, or 500 years ago? Ask your students to think about that question and then illustrate the outcome. Students can use some of the wireframes available in Storyboard That or the SMS Generator from ClassTools.net to simulate text message and or email exchanges between historical characters like George Washington and Ben Franklin.

4. Diagram and explain branches of government. Creating this storyboard is a good way for students to show what they know about all of the powers and responsibilities of each branch of government. You could have students do this in Google Slides by following this model or by using one of the branching templates in Storyboard That.

5. Create political cartoons. This is the obvious use for cartoons in social studies classes. Cartoons for the Classroom offers excellent, free lesson plans for using political cartoons. Single frame comic creation tools like ToonyTool are adequate for making political cartoons.

Disclosure: Storyboard That is an advertiser on FreeTech4Teachers.com

Monday, January 15, 2018

X Degrees of Separation - The Connections Between Artworks

The big news over the last few days about Google's Arts & Culture app has focused on people using the app to find their doppelgangers in the museum collections digitized by Google. While it is a neat feature, there are other Google Arts & Culture experiments worth trying. One of those is called X Degrees of Separation.

X Degrees of Separation lets you select two works of art in the Google Arts & Culture collection and then see works that can connect them. The purpose of X Degrees of Separation appears to be to show viewers how cultures can be connected through art. Each image that appears in the connections is linked to an individual page that will include a bit of information about the work. Depending upon the work that you've selected you may not get much more information than the artist's name and the museum in which the work is displayed. None-the-less, X Degrees of Separation is an interesting project.

Applications for Education
X Degrees of Separation could be a good jumping-off point for an art history lesson. Have students pick two artworks and see the connections. Since the connections are displayed as just images with minimal background information, have students research the connecting works and then create explanations of how the works are connected.