Friday, April 23, 2010

10 Resources for Teaching & Learning About WWII

Next week my US History students will be beginning their studies of World War II. I spent some time this week going through some of the resources that I've used in the past and the resources that I've mentioned in the past on Free Technology for Teachers.

The event that brought the US into WWII was the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Here's a video containing President Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor Address also known as "a date that will live in infamy" speech.

Snag Films offers three films about the bombing of Pearl Harbor including this one hosted by Tom Brokaw.

The National Parks Service offers lesson plans about Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona.

Google Earth has a layer that features aerial imagery of 35 European cities bombed during WWII. Among these cities are Warsaw, Lyon, Naples, and Stuttgart. To view this imagery and compare it to modern imagery, locate a city in Google Earth then use the timeline slider to view the historical imagery.

The Science and Technology of WWII provides students and teachers with lesson plans, timelines, essays, images, and learning activities about the scientific and technological developments that took place during WWII. The darkroom section of the website contains thirteen categories of images of WWII scientific and technology developments. The timeline on the website allows students to explore the scientific, technological, and political steps in the development of the atomic bomb. The learning activities section of The Science and Technology of WWII gives students the opportunity to learn about and send coded messages.

Conflict History is a good example of what can be accomplished by mixing Google Maps with a timeline. Conflict History provides a timeline at the bottom of a Google Map. Select a range of dates on the timeline and placemarks representing conflicts appear on the map. For example, if you select the years 1941-1945, every conflict that happened around the world in those years appears on the map. For major conflicts such as World War II, individual campaigns and battles appear on the map.

The World at War is an interactive timeline about FDR's decisions during WWII. Click on any of the key decisions listed to learn more about those decisions. The decisions are interspersed amongst other key events of WWII. None of the events are terribly detailed, but the timeline does provide a nice general overview.

World War Two: Europe and North Africa 1939-1945 Map is a narrated overview of the main events in those areas. What I like about this video is that it provides visual, geographic context for the events discussed by the narrator. Watch the video below.

World War Two: Asia and the Pacific 1941-1945 Map
uses the same concept as the video above to illustrate the Pacific theater of WWII.

The BBC's World Wars In-depth series contains some great audio, visual, animated, and text resources for learning about WWII from start to finish. WWII In-depth contains a timeline overview of the war. From there you can jump-off in a number of directions to explore details about WWII.

Sleedo - Search the Web and Donate Rice

Most people are familiar with the word game Free Rice that donates rice to the poor for every correct response to word games. Sleedo is using a similar model to raise revenue for rice donations. Sleedo is a search engine (using the Google custom search service) that donates money to the World Food Programme when people do their Internet searches through Sleedo.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a way for your students to help a good cause in the course of an Internet search exercise, consider directing them to Sleedo.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
How Web Search Works
Real-Time Search Options
Lesson Plans for Teaching Web Search Strategies

Is It Better to Rent or Buy? Interactive Infographic

The New York Times has a new interactive infographic designed to help people determine when it makes financial sense to buy a home rather than rent a home. Users of the interactive infographic can enter variable data such as home price, interest rates, rent prices, rental rate increases, and housing market changes to determine when it's best to buy a home rather than rent. Users can also account for information like insurance rates, condo fees, and opportunity costs.

Applications for Education
Consumer economics is one of the topics that I really think high schools need to teach more often. My school eliminated it as a course quite a while ago, but I still try to work it into my Civics curriculum. While most high school students won't be buying a home anytime soon, the Buy vs. Rent interactive infographic could still be useful for demonstrating the concepts of inflation, interest rates, and market changes.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
The History of Credit Cards in the United States
Two Cool Economics Infographics
FDR and the Banking System

Engineering Interact - Physics Games for Kids

Engineering Interact is a site for elementary school students designed by the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Engineering Interact offers five games designed to teach students physics concepts. The games address concepts related to light, sound, motion, electricity, and space travel. Each of the five games presents students with a scenario in which they have to "help" someone solve a problem. The games require students to learn and analyze the information presented to them.

Thanks to Casey Mayfield for sharing the link to Engineering Interact on Twitter.

Applications for Education
Engineering Interact is a fun learning environment for elementary school students. Unlike a lot of educational games that are simple "drilling" exercises, the games on Engineering Interact require students to evaluate information.

Engineering Interact offers teachers a resource section in which they can find the concepts and questions present in each game without the game environment. This could be helpful to teachers who are trying to plan a pre-game or post-game lesson. Engineering Interact also offers a list of external resources for further learning about the concepts addressed in the games.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
10 Sources of Educational Science Games
Five Sources of Fun Mathematics Games
Ten Problem Solving Games for K-8 Students

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