Thursday, September 29, 2011

My American Farms - Games for Learning About Agriculture

My American Farm is a website produced in part by the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. The purpose of the site is to help students develop their knowledge of agriculture through online games. There are thirteen games that students can play for free. Each game addresses a set of math, science, and or social studies standards related to agriculture. Teachers can see the list of standards that correspond to each game by accessing this reference sheet (clicking the link will open a PDF) available through the educators' resources page of My American Farm.

The video below offers a three minute overview of everything My American Farm offers to students and teachers.

Applications for Education
Many students are disconnected from the process of food production. Through My American Farm young students can become familiar with some of the steps of getting food from fields to the dinner plate while learning some math and science content along the way.

Youngzine - News & More for Young Students

Youngzine is an online source of news, sports, and entertainment stories for elementary school students. Students will find stories to read and videos to watch in each of the information categories. Each news story is accompanied by a Google Map that has a placemark indicating where the story takes place.

Applications for Education
For elementary school or middle school teachers looking for current events materials that will suit their students' reading abilities, Youngzine could be a great resource. Youngzine also offers students the option to contribute their own reporting in the U-Write section. Students can sign-up individually to contribute to Youngzine's U-Write section or a teacher can register his or her entire class.

Interactive Shaded Relief Map of the World

Google is continuously working to improve Google Maps, but there are still some things that it lacks. For those times when I want more detail in my maps I'll switch over to using Google Earth. Unfortunately, not all of my readers have that same option. Therefore, I'd like to introduce you to Shaded Relief.

Shaded Relief is an interactive map built on top of Google Maps. As the name implies, Shaded Relief features shaded relief maps. Shaded Relief offers more than just that feature. On Shaded Relief you can quickly measure elevation, distance, and area in a variety of units. You can also use Shaded Relief to search for things like tracts of land leased by the government, cultivated land areas, or railroad causeways. The list of place types that you can search is quite extensive and can be as specific (use the exact name search) or general (use the "names like" search) as you want.

Applications for Education
Depending on what you're searching for or what land features you're trying to measure, Shaded Relief is a big step up from standard Google Maps. It's not as feature laden as Google Earth, but if you cannot use Google Earth in your school Shaded Relief could be a great alternative.