Tuesday, June 25, 2013

K-5 Rocks - Lessons About Fossils and Rocks

The American Geosciences Institute produces K-5 GeoSource which is a site that hosts lesson plans and other educational resources for teachers. K-5 GeoSource has a very Web 1.0 look to it, but if you do a little digging you'll find some helpful materials. A few of the resources that I looked at were this free chart about types of rocks (link opens PDF), a science fair project guide, and a short Earth scientist career guide.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, K-5 GeoSource isn't the fanciest site you'll find on the web and it lacks any kind of interactive element for students. If you just need to find some ideas to use in your classroom, K-5 GeoSource could be worth bookmarking. The most useful aspect of the site might be the science fair project guide that you and your students could work through to plan a hands-on Earth science project.

EldonReader - Another Google Reader Alternative

The space created closure of Google Reader (just five days left before it's gone for good) is quickly being filled by lots of companies trying to be the "best" Google Reader alternative. EldonReader is the latest entry into this market that I've tried. EldonReader is a free service for organizing and reading your favorite RSS feeds. The display of your RSS subscriptions is very similar to that of Google Reader.

You can import your Google Reader feeds into EldonReader with just a couple of clicks. To import your Google Reader feeds just click the "Import Google Reader" link in the left hand column of your Eldon Reader homepage then authorize Eldon Reader to access your Google Account.

EldonReader makes it easy to discover new content to subscribe to. EldonReader features suggested content in a digital magazine rack display in your laptop's web browser or on your Android tablet (not available as an iOS app, yet). You can also discover new content by simply entering a search term in the EldonReader search box.

EldonReader isn't the slickest alternative you'll find to Google Reader, that prize goes to FlipBoard, but it could be good for folks who want a simple interface like that found in Google Reader.

Math Chimp Presents Freddy's Fractions - A Fractions Game for Kids

Math Chimp is a free site full of math games, videos, and other math review materials for elementary school and middle school students. Recently, Math Chimp released a new game called Freddy's Fractions. In Freddy's Fractions students help a sea turtle named Freddy find fractions that are larger or smaller than the one that is presented at the beginning of each level. Freddy's Fractions is available to play in a web browser. Freddy's Fractions is also available as a free Android app and as a free iPhone app.

Applications for Education
Freddy's Fractions is just one of many activities available through Math Chimp. Like most educational games the games could be used as fun review activities, but they don't offer much in the way of instruction. That said, the nice thing about Freddy's Fractions is that it is available on three platforms which is handy in a BYOD environment or any classroom environment in which you have a mix of devices being used by students.

Free Tiiu Pix - Hundreds of Free Pictures for Student Use

Free Tiiu Pix is a site maintained by a retired teacher, Tiiu Roiser. The purpose of the site is to provide students with hundreds of free, high resolution images that they can use in their presentations. In addition to the free images Ms. Roiser provides some good advice to students about designing and delivering better PowerPoint presentations.

Free Tiiu Pix has a good system of categories and labels that will help students quickly find images that are suitable for their presentations. There are sixteen main categories on the site and dozens of subcategories. The two largest categories are the plants and animals categories.

Applications for Education
Finding free, high resolution images for a presentation can sometimes consume as much of a student's time as drafting the outline of a presentation. Having a resource like Free Tiiu Pix bookmarked could save students a lot of time. If you have a "resources" section on your class blog or website consider putting Free Tiiu Pix on it.