Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Two More Election Resources

Okay, so I was wrong in my last post when I said that it could be my last post about the 2008 Election. Well, I just found two more resources worth sharing with readers.

MSNBC has a quiz about the race for the White House. The 30 question quiz requires players to think back to the beginning of the primary season to recall the events that have transpired over the last ten months.

Also from MSNBC is the widget embedded below. The widget will track the election results and display the results on a map as they trickle in.

Applications for Education
The quiz and the map can both be useful in the classroom tomorrow. The quiz is a good way to start a conversation about the electoral process. The quiz is also a good vehicle for making students look back at the last year, kind of a modern history project. The map is a useful tool for discussing with students why some parts of the country or some states voted for one candidate or other.

My List of Election Lesson Resources

Personally, I feel worn out by all of the campaign commercials and campaign news coverage. Therefore, this could be the last post I make about the 2008 election season. It's been a long campaign throughout which I have posted various resources that I've found to be of use when teaching lessons about the election. The following is a list of the most popular resources that I posted over the last nine months.

Election Process Explained by Common Craft
Electoral College Teaching Resources
Free Stanford University Political Science Course
2008 US Presidential Election Maps
American Presidents Lesson Plans
Two for Next Tuesday
A Lesson Plan for After the Election

Throughout the last couple of months two great places for election lesson resources have been Larry Ferlazzo's blog and Jeffery Hill's blog. In fact, today Jeffery Hill posted another great video to help people understand the election process in the United States. The video is embedded below.

An Introduction to Calculus from Princeton

For college bound students getting a taste of collegiate level courses before graduating from high school can advantageous. Through programs like MIT's Open Courseware, iTunes U, and the ever-expanding YouTube channels containing lectures high school students have many opportunities to get a preview of college without spending a dime. These opportunities are also a great way for teachers to challenge the highest achieving students.

Add to the list of free courses, Princeton University's Introduction to Calculus. The course offers 24 two hour lectures designed to accompany the book The Calculus Lifesaver. Each lecture was recorded in MAT 103 and MAT 104 during the 2006/2007 academic year.

Applications for Education
While students aren't actually taking Princeton's course, the online lectures are a great resource for teachers of high achieving math students. The online lectures could be a supplement to a high school class or could be used as the backbone for an independent study opportunity at the high school level.

Where I Live... Another Use for Animoto

I just had an idea for using Animoto in the classroom that I think anyone interested in globally connecting classrooms may have an interest in. For those of you unfamiliar with Animoto, it is a free program that mixes your images and music together to create music videos. You can read more about Animoto here or here.

Here's my idea; have students collect images of the community they live in and put them into an Animoto show. Students should select images that they believe best represents their community. Then connect with another school willing to share Animoto movies about their local community. Connecting to another school could be accomplished through a general inquiry on Twitter or through a service like ePals. This project could be particularly interesting if you can connect with a school that is a different climate or a different hemisphere than your school. If anyone has done this or think you may try it, please send me an email. I have four students that will be creating Animoto videos next week and putting them up on a blog. When they're done I'll post the link.

Here is a short Animoto video I made about the mountains near my home.

Learn World Geography and Help the World

Free Poverty is a game similar in concept to the popular Free Rice game. In Free Rice you test your vocabulary and donate rice to charity, in Free Poverty you test your Geography knowledge and donate water to charity. I learned about the game yesterday on Fred Delventhal's blog then immediately tried it out with one of my classes. My students enjoyed playing Free Poverty as much as I did.

Here is how Free Poverty works; players are given a city and country to locate on a map by clicking their mouse on the appropriate location. If you place your mouse on the exact location, Free Poverty donates 10 cups of water to places in need of clean, potable water. If you don't get the answer exactly correct then Free Poverty donates up to nine cups of water depending on the relative accuracy of your answer.

Applications for Education
Free Poverty is a great way for students to learn and development knowledge of geography. Based on my informal testing with students, the game has an addictive quality that will keep students interested in playing and learning.