Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Five Resources for Teaching About Earthquakes

The earthquake that shook central Italy is the leading segment of today's CNN Student News. The segment and offers only a brief overview of the earthquake. A better resource for learning about the earthquake is the BBC's interactive map of the region. On the map you will find videos and images of the damage caused by the earthquake.

For learning about earthquakes in general, the BBC has an animated guide to earthquakes. National Geographic offers an in-depth lesson plan for teaching elementary school students about earthquakes and volcanoes. National Geographic also has some excellent educational films about earthquakes, but if you do not have the budget to purchase them you may want to try Snag Films where you can watch full length documentaries like Violent Earth for free.

A previous resource that I have shared is Viewing Earthquakes in Google Earth. These Google Earth files allow you to see current and historical data about earthquakes. There is also a virtual tour of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake available in Google Earth.

Larry Ferlazzo has assembled a good list of resources for learning about the earthquake in Italy that you should also check out.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!

Ten Problem Solving Games for K-8 Students

Over the weekend I explored a good website called Math and Reading Help for Kids. Math and Reading Help for Kids has a small collection of problem solving and logic games that could be good for elementary school and possibly middle school use. The tasks that the games ask students to perform include identifying differences between objects, moving shapes to solve simple logic problems, and typing accurately.

Math and Reading Help for Kids has some good articles about and tutorials for helping kids learn reading, writing, and arithmetic. The website also has some good articles for parents about helping their students at home.

Applications for Education
The games on Math and Reading Help for Kids are best suited to use by elementary school students although there may be some cases in which middle school students could benefit from the games.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Mind 360
Sharendipity - Create and Share Games
Physics Games for Your Blog or Website

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Monday, April 6, 2009

One Minute Wonders - Educational Videos for Kids

One Minute Wonders from the BBC are short videos that explore all of the amazing things that happen in one minute. There are thirteen episodes of One Minute Wonders. Each episode consists of twenty short videos. Every episode has a corresponding quiz. Each quiz has five questions that continue to loop until the player gets all of the answers correct or time expires.

Applications for Education
One Minute Wonders are great, short videos for elementary school students. The quizzes give students the chance to test the knowledge they acquire through the videos. These videos could be used by students individually or could be shown to a class on a whiteboard.

Here are a couple of related resources that may be of interest to you:
20+ Educational Alternatives to YouTube
Six More Educational Alternatives to YouTube

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Links You Might Have Missed - College Planning

This is the tenth installment of the "Links You Might Have Missed" series. All of the posts in this series contain ten popular links from different subject areas and blog topics. Today's topic is planning for and paying for college. The previous installments in this series featured links for Science, Math, History, Language Arts, Foreign Language, Geography, Google Earth, Digital Presentation, and Internet Search refinement.

1. My College Calendar Helps Students Organize Applications
2. Funding Mount Education
3. Ask About College Provides Advice for Applicants
4. Green Note - Peer to Peer Microlending for Student Loans
5. The U - College Campus Reviews by Students
6. College Grazing Helps Students Focus College Search
7. Edu Pursuit - College Search by Location
8. Unigo - College Reviews and Planning Advice from Students
9. College Crunch - Resources for College and Career Planning
10. University Parent Connection - College Planning Advice for Parents

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Phone.io - Podcasting With Drop.io

I am a big fan of Drop.io for its simple yet powerful file hosting and file sharing capabilities. I've been using Drop.io for the last 18 months for all kinds of things including sharing presentations, posting outlines, collecting student work, and recording voice messages. Recently, I began using the Drop.io bookmarklet to save my daily Twitter finds. Last week Drop.io unveiled some new improvements to its voice recording options in the form of the Phone.io applet.

The new Phone.io applet makes it easier than it was with the original Drop.io voice service to push your voice recordings to iTunes or embed your voice recording as an MP3 into blogs and websites. To record your voice message, simply set up a "drop" then call the phone number assigned to your drop. It's very simple, but for a visual explanation of Phone.io watch this screencast. If you need a quick way to set up a conference call, Phone.io does that too although it doesn't record the conference call.

Applications for Education
Since Gcast changed from a free model to a minimum $99 fee service, some teachers have been looking for new ways to record short podcasts. Phone.io provides a simple, free platform for creating short podcasts. The storage limit is 100mb. I didn't come close to using up all 100mb even when I had 20 minutes of voice in one drop. If you do find you need more space, Drop.io is giving a 15% discount on storage to people moving over from Gcast.

When all of my students had laptops - hopefully, they will again next year- I used Drop.io to record my substitute teacher plans for the students to listen to. By doing that I was able to eliminate the excuse of "the sub didn't tell us to do that."

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Tour Mount Redoubt in Google Earth

If you're a Geography teacher or in any other way use Google Earth in your classroom, the Google Earth Blog should be in your RSS reader. At least once a week I find something posted on the Google Earth Blog that can be incorporated into a classroom.

Today on the Google Earth Blog I found a link to a tour of Mount Redoubt in Alaska. As you probably know, Mount Redoubt recently erupted sending plumes of ash more than 50,000 feet above sea level. The Google Earth Tour of Mount Redoubt is narrated.

Staying with the volcano topic, I found a couple of other resources that might be handy for science teachers. Through Google Maps Mania I found a link to this Google Map of more than 1500 volcanoes. Each placemark on the map contains some basic information about the volcano.

The Alaska Volcano Observatory has extremely detailed information about all of the volcanoes in Alaska including Mount Redoubt. The Mount Redoubt page includes images, charts, and maps about the current volcanic activity.

Embedded below is a short video about Mount Redoubt's recent eruption.


Applications for Education
The Google Earth tour of Mount Redoubt along with the other resources listed above could be good for use in a science classroom. The video and tour of Mount Redoubt could be used at most grade levels while the Alaska Volcano Observatory is probably a resource best utilized by high school students.

A related resource that may be of interest to you is Forces of Nature Earth Science Resources. You may also want to check out Snag Films where you can watch National Geographic's Violent Earth for free.

FREE National Geographic map with purchases $65+!