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Monday, March 30, 2020

A Map Coloring Challenge

Last week Maps Mania shared a collection of online and printable map activities for kids and adults. At the bottom of that collection was a link to Mathigon's map coloring challenge. The challenge is to use as few colors as possible to color in all 50 U.S. states without the same color touching two states at the same time. For example, if I color New Hampshire purple, I can't use purple on Vermont, Maine, New York, or Massachusetts but I could use purple on Pennsylvania.

Mathigon's map coloring challenge can be completed online where they offer the same challenge for coloring maps of South America, England, and Germany. But if you send your students to that page they'll be able to quickly click to see the solution to the challenge. So what I'd do instead is print a blank map from a site like Printable World Map then have students try the challenge. Another option would be to upload an outline map to a service like Google's Jamboard to color the map online. Watch my video below to learn how that process works.

C-SPAN Classroom Offers New Lessons on the Economic Impact of COVID-19

C-SPAN Classroom is a free resource that anyone who teaches U.S. History or civics should have bookmarked. I've written about many of their great resources and programs over the years including their annual student video contest and annual summer workshops for teachers.

C-SPAN Classroom recently published a new lesson plan that includes a set of resources for helping students explore and learn about the current and possible future economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The resources include eight video clips, an analysis template, and a brainstorming activity for students to complete individually or in online groups.

Application in Online Classrooms
The lesson features eighteen vocabulary words that high school students have probably heard but will need to review in the context of the lesson and the current COVID-19 pandemic. I might use Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams to create a discussion forum in which students go beyond basic definitions and discuss the terms in current context. After that discussion takes place then I'd have students join me in an online meeting (Hangouts, Zoom, Teams would all be fine) to talk about the videos and or the brainstorming they did in the discussion forum.

Create Video-based Lessons a Little Faster With This Chrome Extension

A couple of weeks ago when I got the notice that my school would be closing I made a video about how to use EDpuzzle to create video-based lessons without having to create your own recordings. I first shared it with my colleagues and then included it in my Practical Ed Tech newsletter. One thing that I didn't mention in the video because I forgot about it, was the existence of an EDpuzzle Chrome extension.

EDpuzzle's Chrome extension lets you quickly jump from watching a video on YouTube to creating and editing a lesson in your EDpuzzle account. It even works if you use a different Google account for Chrome than you do for Google Classroom or EDpuzzle. With the EDpuzzle Chrome extension installed you will see a little "edit with edpuzzle" button appear next to the title of any video that you watch on YouTube. As soon as you click that button you'll be taken into the lesson editor in your EDpuzzle account. It's not a game-changing feature, but it is a convenient one. Watch my short video below for a demonstration of how the EDpuzzle Chrome extension works.


And here's my complete overview of how to use EDpuzzle.