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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Ginger Ale, Stomach Aches, and Placebos

Over the weekend and through the first part of this week I was stricken with a flu-like bug that had me doing nothing more than sleeping and occasionally throwing up. As you might guess, I ate a lot of saltines and drank a lot of ginger ale to settle my stomach. It worked, but it also got me wondering about why ginger ale is effective relieving an upset stomach. A quick search of that question on YouTube led me to a Mental Floss video titled Does Ginger Ale Really Help With Stomach Aches?


If you watched the video above, you know that the evidence that ginger ale truly does settle your stomach is inconclusive. That said, if it makes you feel better when you're sick, drink it. And that is a good lead-in to this TED-ED lesson about the power of the placebo effect.

Last Week to Get Six Practical Ed Tech Webinars

One of the ways that I'm able to keep Free Technology for Teachers going is through the sale of my in-person workshops and professional development webinars on Practical Ed Tech. I hosted webinars throughout the 2018-19 school year. The most popular of those webinars are available on-demand.

I'm offering the 2018-19 school year webinars on sale for the rest of July. During the sale you can save as much as 67% compared to the regular price. You can purchase the webinars individually for $15 each or all six in one package for $50. Purchase all of the webinars right here

After July the webinars will not be available to purchase as they will be replaced by new live webinars in the 2019-2020 school year starting in August.

Three Recommended Resources for Teaching Civics and Government

Yesterday I received an email from a reader who was looking for my recommendation for a few resources for teaching a government or civics course. The following are the recommendations that I made.

iCivics is an excellent source of educational games related to various topics in civics and government. iCivics has steadily grown over the years to now offer twenty-one educational games for students. All of the games require students to take on a decision making role. To succeed in the games students have to apply their understanding of the rules and functions local, state, or Federal government. Some games require an understanding of the U.S. court system and or the Constitution.

Case Maker is a free service designed for middle school social studies teachers and their students. Case Maker uses primary sources from the Library of Congress as the basis of activities in which students have to build a case in response to real civics scenarios. For example, the first cast that I tried was about anger toward immigrants. In that scenario students had to use evidence in the form of primary sources to support the claim that many of those who are angry toward immigrants come from families that were once immigrants themselves.

Let's Talk Politics is an Alexa app designed for reviewing and learning about U.S. government. Let's Talk Politics is an interactive game in which Alexa asks you questions about the U.S. political system and you speak your answers. The app provides explanations of the correct answers after you reply to each question. Unlike typical online games in which students pick a level to play, Let's Talk Politics adjusts the difficulty of t the game in response to how players are answering questions. Watch the following video to see a demonstration of Let's Talk Politics.