Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The BBC Teaches Kids About Rocks

Rocks & Weathering is a great animated site produced by the BBC. The site using interactive animations to teach students all about rocks. The site illustrates and explains how sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks form. In each stage of the site, students can "create" rocks and "inspect" rocks with a virtual magnifying glass. Students "create" rocks by compacting sediment or by adding water to cool lava. After creating rocks, students can then "destroy" rocks by adding elements of weather.

Applications for Education
Rocks & Weathering looks like it could be a great site as part of an elementary school science lesson. I wouldn't use it as a replacement for all of the materials you currently use to teach about rock formation, but it certainly is worth using as a supplemental resource. The site is equally well suited to use on a touch screen/ interactive whiteboard or a standard computer screen with a mouse.

Thanks to Kelly Tenkely for sharing this great resource on her blog last month. - Drag & Drop Diagram Creation

JGraph is a UK company that develops and supports graph visualization software and web services. One of the free services they offer is a diagram creation tool called offers a drag and drop interface for creating diagrams using clip art and pre-drawn shapes. Using the service does not require registration and all of your diagrams can be saved to your local computer in your choice of four formats (xml, png, jpg, or svg).
Applications for Education could be a good tool for students to use to create flowcharts of a process or concept. Students could also use to create mindmaps that use images instead of just words and lines. As registration is not required in order to use the service you can have students using it quickly without losing instructional time to walking students through a registration process.

Salman Khan - Let's Use Video to Reinvent Education

Salman Khan, founder of the wildly popular Khan Academy, recently gave a talk at TED. As you might expect, Khan does tell the story of how he started the academy but that's not the main point of his talk. In his talk he gives examples of how teachers are using Khan Academy to use classroom time more effectively, provide more data to teachers about their students, and provide students with more individualized instruction. Khan concludes his talk with how technology can be used to humanize classrooms and learning worldwide. Watch the video below, I think you'll get some good ideas from it.

If you like Salman Khan's talk, you'll probably like Dan Meyer's Math Class Needs a Makeover too.

H/T to Donelle O'Brien and Cory Plough.

National Financial Capability Challenge

Image Credit: Hammer51012
The National Financial Capability Challenge is an online test for high school students to test their knowledge of personal finance terms and concepts. The test was developed by the President's Advisory Council  on Financial Literacy. The challenge is open to students in the United States ages 13-19. The test is online now through April 8, 2011. To help students prepare to take the test the NFCC has published an educator toolkit that links out to thirty different lessons and activities designed to help students gain knowledge of personal finance.

The Charles Schwab Foundation is giving out twenty $1,000 scholarships to students in the top ten percent of students taking the test nationwide. Additionally, the Charles Schwab Foundation will give five $1,000 scholarships to students who score in the top ten percent and attend school in low-income areas. The Schwab Foundation will also give matching grants to the schools of the students who receive scholarships. Read more about the scholarships and grants here.

Applications for Education
Whether they're going into the workforce, into the military, or going to college after high school, financial literacy is something that all students should have. The lessons and activities included in the NFCC educator toolkit could help you make sure that your students have that financial literacy. In addition to the NFCC resources, I highly recommend the Financial Basics series of videos produced by Common Craft.