Monday, December 17, 2012

Wonderville - Science and Tech Games for Kids

Wonderville is a great website for kids developed by the Science Alberta Foundation. On Wonderville students can find games, videos, comics, and hands-on activities for learning about science and technology. The gallery of activities, games, videos, and comics is divided into three categories; fun science, awesome tech, and cool jobs.

A couple of the Wonderville games that I like are Reaction Action and Medieval Levers. In Medieval Levers students watch a short animated video about the physics of levers before trying to build their own catapults to use to attack the castle. In Reaction Action students learn about combustible gasses. The object of the game is to collect combustible gasses that can be used to create energy.

Applications for Education
Wonderville's games, comics, and videos can be used by elementary and middle school students on their own. The hands-on activities could be used by teachers as the basis for an elementary school science lesson plan. The hands-on activities include experiments in which students need to record observations.

View Mars in 3D and How To Make 3D Glasses

Mars 3D is a NASA website that features a gallery of images of Mars that can be viewed with 3D glasses. The gallery contains dozens of images to explore in 3D. If you don't have 3D glasses NASA directions for making your own 3D glasses at home or at school. NASA provides a PDF to print as the template for the glasses and the rest of the materials are easily found in stores if you don't already have them.

Applications for Education
Mars 3D could provide a fun way for students to explore and learn about Mars. Additionally, the process of making their own 3D glasses could be a good way for students to learn about the technology of 3D imagery.

The Lincoln Learning Hub

Seeing Steven Spielberg's new film about Abraham Lincoln is on my list of things to do during the upcoming holiday vacation. If you have that on your vacation list too and or you have already seen it, you many also want to check out the Lincoln Learning Hub.

The Lincoln Learning Hub is the official DreamWorks companion site to Lincoln. There are four main features of the Lincoln Learning Hub. Those features are a timeline, What Would Lincoln Do, Team of Rivals, and Who's Who of Congress. The timeline is nothing to write home about, but the other three features are good.

In What Would Lincoln Do? students are given four scenarios that happened after Lincoln's death. Students are given some information about each scenario, some background on Lincoln, and then they have to guess what Lincoln would do before seeing an expert's opinion. Students can find out how Lincoln might have voted on women's suffrage, how he would handle the war on terror, if he would have used an Atomic bomb during WWII, and how he would have handled Reconstruction.

In Team of Rivals students try to reconstruct Lincoln's cabinet by reading short biographies of politicians before placing them into a cabinet role.

The Who's Who of Congress activity shows students short biographies of important Congressmen who had to vote on the 13th Amendment. After reading the biographies students have to determine how each of the featured Congressmen would have voted.


Applications for Education
Even if your students don't see the new Lincoln movie, the Lincoln Learning Center could be a good place for students to learn a bit Lincoln's political ideals. If your students do see the film the Lincoln Learning Center activities could help them gain a better understanding of Lincoln's decisions. 

12 Simple Image Editing Tools

Quick Picture Tools is a free service that offers twelve tools for editing and enhancing your pictures. Some of the things that you can do with Quick Picture Tools include cropping images, combining images, adding text to images, and creating calendar wall paper for your computer. Each of the tools provides the option to resize images and adjust the overall quality of your original image before you use it for a collage, calendar, or mini poster.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a set of image editing tools that your students can use without having to register for a service, take a look at Quick Picture Tools. Quick Picture Tools could be used by students for editing and enhancing images before placing them into a slideshow or video project.

Video - Why The Solar System Can Exist

Last week I discovered the Minute Physics YouTube channel and I have watched a bunch of clips since then. One video that I watched this morning is Why The Solar System Can Exist. This short video explains why the planets stay in orbit without crashing into each other or spinning off without any direction. Take a look at the video below.