Sunday, September 28, 2008

National Atlas Map Maker

National Atlas Map Maker is a good tool for creating a wide variety of maps. The map maker can be used to generate thematic representations of large collections of data. Users select data from different categories and the map maker generates a map representing the chosen data. National Atlas Map Maker is similar in concept to the Thematic Mapping Engine that utilizes data from the United Nations to generate thematic maps.

Applications for Education
National Atlas Map Maker could be used by students to create maps representing data sets across a wide range of topics. The map maker has obvious uses for Social Studies classes and could also be used in science and math courses. Teachers can also use the map maker to create sets of maps from which students try to figure out what the map says about the data.

American Presidents Lesson Plans

American Presidents Life Portraits is a C-Span series that originally aired a few years ago. The series profiled each of the US Presidents. The profiles were very well produced as each one struck a good balance between profiling the politics of each president and profiling the personal details of each president. (If you enjoyed HBO's Adams series, make sure you also watch C-Span's profile of Adams). Most of the original profiles can be watched online using Real Player. Each segment is also available for purchase.

Applications for Education
The suggested lesson plans that accompany American Presidents Life Portraits are appropriately matched to each video segment. The suggested lesson plans were written by real teachers who used the American Presidents Life Portraits series with students.

C-Span also has a few great activities that students can explore on their own or with teacher guidance. Career Paths to the Presidency lets students examine the various routes that presidents took to the White House. Shaping the Nation and the Presidency highlights eight key events that shaped the United States. Each of the eight events contains a video clip explaining the event's significance. The American Presidents timeline quiz is a fifty question interactive quiz.