Wednesday, March 16, 2011

5 Periodic Table Games

Sheppard Software offers hundreds of free online games and quizzes for all grade levels and most content areas. I reviewed Sheppard Software a few years ago, but was reminded of it this evening by reading one of Dianne Krause's blog posts that linked to the Periodic Table games on Sheppard Software.

Sheppard Software offers five periodic table games that escalate in difficulty as students progress through each level. Each game asks students to identify elements by name and or atomic number. The easiest game asks students to click on the named element on th periodic table. In the easy level each element's name is pronounced for the player. The harder games ask students to identify elements just by their atomic numbers.

Applications for Education
There is debate as to whether or not students should have to memorize the periodic table. Whether you think that's right or wrong to have students do that, there are still lots of schools that make that a curriculum requirement. If that is the case in your school, the Sheppard Software periodic table games could be useful study tools for your chemistry students.

Audio Slideshow - Mapping Africa

I love the In Pictures section of the BBC News website because not only does it host great collections of images about current world events, it also hosts audio slideshows about a wide range of current and historical topics. One of the audio slideshows that I recently discovered and enjoyed watching is Mapping Africa. Mapping Africa is a five minute narrated overview of the changing map of Africa from the 14th Century through today. The slideshow features explanations of the features of different historical maps of Africa.

Applications for Education
World History textbooks have made progress in including more information about the history of Africa, but there is always more that could be included. Mapping Africa could be a good multimedia resource to supplement the content about found in a typical high school World History textbook.

New Discussion Features in Google Docs

Google Docs has had a commenting system for almost a year now. That system is a good one that I use for commenting on my students' writing. In fact, I just finished commenting on half a dozen essays.

Today, Google announced an enhancement to the Google Docs commenting system. The enhancement is being called "discussions." Discussions will allow document collaborators to have threaded conversations in the margins of a document. By including the @ symbol before a collaborator's name you can reply directly to that person. Another option in discussions is the option to be notified via email of replies to your comments in Google Docs.

Right now discussions in Google Docs is only available for new documents. If you created a document prior to this morning, it won't have the discussion feature enabled. Watch the video below to learn more about Google Docs discussions.

Applications for Education
Discussions in Google Docs could be a great tool to use when editing students' writing. Discussions could also be very handy for groups students that are working together to create a document. Students will be able to track each other's changes and comments and reply directly to each other.

Word Girl Definition Competition

Word Girl, the popular Scholastic animated character, is hosting a live definition competition on April 27. The competition will be broadcast live on the web and your classroom could be invited to participate on the spot. The Definition Competition will ask students to answer questions about word usage, definitions, and reading comprehension. Just for registering and entering you'll also be eligible for randomly chosen prizes. Read all of the rules pertaining to the contest here.

Applications for Education
Preparing for the Definition Competition could be a fun way to get students excited about Language Arts. To help your students prepare for the Word Girl Definition Competition Scholastic offers webcast event kit to all registered teachers. You can register on the Definition Competition homepage.