Monday, June 15, 2009

The 1900 House - Exploring Life in the Victorian Era

The 1900 House was a PBS television series that air a few years ago. The show is no longer on the air (you can purchase it on DVD still), but the companion website is still live and quite useful. The 1900 House website offers virtual tours complete with video clips of a Victorian Era house. To complement the virtual tours of the house, PBS offers two lesson plans designed to get students to compare their lives today with how they would have lived at the turn of the 20th Century.

Applications for Education
The 1900 House lesson plans are designed for middle school use. Our Town 1900 asks students to search their own towns about where people lived and the type of work they did in their towns at the turn of the 20th Century. The Living Without Technology lesson plan challenges students to live without modern conveniences for 24 hours to experience life as they would have 100 years ago.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
PBS Launches a New Video Portal
Three Ways to Watch NOVA Online
Scavenger Hunt Through History

XP Math - Math Games, Videos, and More

XP Math is a good place to find math games, math videos, math worksheets, and math e-books. The games section of XP Math offers games for basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and probability. Create an account on XP Math and you can keep track of your scores. In the teacher resources section of XP Math you can find eleven e-books about teaching mathematics. The highlight of the XP Math worksheets is 1001 Math Problems. XP Math's video section offers three videos, two of which are divided into six to ten segments a piece. These videos are geared toward an elementary and middle school audience.

Applications for Education
XP Math is a good resource for locating mathematics activities that students can use on their own. The games section allows students to record their scores to measure their progress. The teacher resource and worksheet sections provide mathematics teachers with activities they can use when they can't get their students online.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Kids Numbers - Learning Math Step by Step
The Math Arcade on Fun Brain
200+ Free Mathematics Books

Flags of the World from Taking it Global

Taking it Global, an organization for youth interested in global issues, has a small games section that includes a game based on the flags of the world. Flags of the World asks students to match flags to their respective countries. After matching each flag to its country students can click the "learn more" link to find more information about that country.

Taking it Global is also the producer of Ayiti: The Cost of Life game which was featured here a six weeks ago.

Applications for Education
Flags of the World is a simple game suitable for elementary school social studies classes.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Jeopardy PowerPoint Game Template
World Food Programme - Lesson Plans and Games
Hello World - Language Games for Kids

Psykopaint - Free Image Editor

Psykopaint is a new image editing tool that uses the color schemes in your existing images to provide you with a custom palate of colors for touching-up your images. You can also use Psykopaint to draw on an image.

To use Psykopaint just upload an image (their doesn't seem to be a size restriction) and begin editing. You can adjust the color saturation of an image, blur the edges of your image or the objects within your images. Psykopaint provides a good selection of brushes and color blending tools to get your image looking exactly the way you want it to look.

Applications for Education
Psykopaint is an easy-to-use tool that students can use touch-up and alter their digital photographs. Psykopaint might be useful for teaching students about blending colors and altering saturation levels.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
LIFE - Your World In Pictures
Photovisi - Simple, Quick Collage Builder
Photoshop Express

Widgenie - Quickly Create Charts Out of Spreadsheets

If you or your students do any work with data sets and spreadsheets you should take a look at Widgenie. Widgenie provides a set of tools that allows you to easily take data from a spreadsheet and turn it into bar charts, pie charts, line charts, area charts, and tabular charts. You can import data from Excel spreadsheets, Google spreadsheets, or any CSV file. If you just want to test out Widgenie you can use their sample data sets.

Applications for Education
Widgenie could be a good tool for students who need to make visual representations of data that they have collected. Students can share their Widgenie charts in your classroom blog, wiki, or use them as visual aids in oral presentations.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
iCharts - Create Interactive Charts Online
Flashcards and Word Searches Using Google Spreadsheets

Exploring Alternative Energy Sources

Through a post on Google Maps Mania I learned today of some good maps for exploring the feasibility of using alternative energy sources in the United States. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers mapped data about alternative energy use and alternative energy availability in the United States. Google Maps Mania highlighted the NREL's transportation atlas that features the locations of alternative energy fueling stations and the density of alternative energy vehicles.

I explored the NREL's website and found that there were many good visuals and articles about alternative energy sources in the United States. Of particular interest to me was the section on Wind Power. In this section I found wind resource maps that depict the estimated availability of energy from wind in each state. The NREL's website also links to maps about geothermal energy and solar energy.

Applications for Education
The NREL's resource maps and transportation atlas are good reference materials to have when creating a lesson on alternative energy sources. You could have students examine the maps and write up proposals for alternative energy use in your state.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Coal Mining Practices Outlined in Google Earth
NEED - National Energy Education Development