Thursday, July 26, 2012

How to Make a Meerkat

National Geographic Education has a fun puppet building activity that I recently Stumbled Upon. Build a Meerkat is a lesson designed for students in pre-K through grade 4. In the lesson students create a meerkat puppet using the templates and directions provided by National Geographic. The point of the lesson is to get students to analyze how a meerkat's body is adapted to its habitat.

Applications for Education
The concept behind Build a Meerkat could be applied to a lot of other animals as well as to plants.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Make Fitness Fun with Google Maps

In the past I've written about using Google Maps in a physical education and or health education class to have students map walking and biking routes in their communities. Today, on Google Maps Mania I read about another use of Google Maps that could be incorporated into a physical education class.

Real Indoor is an interesting use of Google Maps Street View. The purpose of the site is to provide you with a Street View course that you can view while pedaling on a stationary bike. The view changes as you pedal. To have the view change at about the same pace at which you are pedaling you do have to enter some information about your stationary bicycle and enter your weight. Real Indoor will work for any places that have Street View imagery. For example, you could virtually pedal from San Francisco to Oakland. Or you could virtually pedal from Portland, Maine to Boston, Massachusetts.

Applications for Education
When I read about Real Indoor my mind instantly went to the bike room that the students in my district's high school use. Rather than turning on the bike room's TV, project a route on to a wall or screen. Perhaps I'd challenge students to see if they could virtually pedal to Florida for spring break.

Manage Group Tasks Online & Offline With WeDoIst

ToDoIst and its sister service WeDoIst are task management tools that I've covered a couple of times in the past. Most recently I included them in this list of group project management tools for students. Today, ToDoIst and WeDoIst released an update that enables users to manage their task lists online and offline. Now users can manage their task lists even without an Internet connection and when they reconnect to the web their changes are synched to their accounts.

Applications for Education
The user interface of one task management tool might appeal to one person while not appealing at all to another. It is for that reason that I like to provide my students with a list of task management tools to try. That said, what I like about Todoist is that it provides a variety of ways for students to access their to-do lists through the web, with desktop clients, and through mobile devices.

Bad Math in the Real World

A couple of years ago I stopped into a McDonald's restaurant to grab a quick snack. At the counter there was a sign advertising two apple pies for 99 cents. It sounded like a good deal until I looked up at the big menu board and noticed that the price for one apple pie was only 49 cents. I wish I had taken a picture of the two signs. When I shared this story on Twitter, Danny Nicholson replied with a link to his Bad Maths Flickr group.

The Bad Maths Flickr group contains lots of examples of bad math spotted in stores and other public places.

Applications for Education
The Bad Maths Flickr group could be a good place to find some images that contain simple mathematics problems for your students to solve. For example, ask students to find the flaw in the math of this grocery store offer or this offer for cat food.

Try Pearltrees for iPhone and iPad

Pearltrees is a nice tool for visually organizing pictures, links, and videos that you find on the web. Pearltrees are webs of the links, images, and videos that you find and organize. You can arrange and re-arrange your webs in as many ways and as many times as you like. I previously wrote about the web version of Pearltrees last November. Today, I received an email from Pearltrees announcing their new iPhone app.

The Pearltrees iPhone app is a free app that allows you to organize your links, images, and videos just as you would on the web version of Pearltrees. I don't have an iPhone, but I do have an iPad that I tried used Pearltrees on. The Pearltrees iPhone app appears to function the same way as the iPad app.

Applications for Education
Whether they use it on the web or use the iOS apps, Pearltrees can be a good tool for students to use to visually organize their findings around a topic. The iOS apps for Pearltrees takes that same visual organization element and puts it on a touch screen device.