Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Week in Review - The Family Grows

Good morning from the Free Technology for Teachers world headquarters in Greenwood, Maine. This week my little family grew by one as I adopted another dog from Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. Max is a two year old Lab and Pointer mix. He and Morrison are getting along well even if Morrison doesn't quite understand all of Max's antics.

As I shared last week, my "family" of blogs grew this month too as I am now actively maintaining iPad Apps for School in addition to Android for Schools and Free Technology for Teachers. As of this morning more than 2,500 people have already subscribed to iPad Apps for School. Thank you all for continuing to support my blogging efforts through your Tweets, reTweets, Pins, comments, and emails.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Three Approaches to Classroom Blogging
2. Video - How to Create Infographics
3. How to Open and Edit Word Files in Google Drive
4. A Guided Tour Inside the International Space Station
5. How to Use Google Docs Offline
6. Common Curriculum Adds Support for Links and Files in Common Core Lesson Plans
7. Planwise Can Help Students Plan Their Financial Futures

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Friday, December 21, 2012

NASA Shows Us the Earth As Art

Earth As Art is a beautiful collection of NASA satellite imagery of places all over the globe. The collection is available to view in a PDF (link opens PDF) or in the NASA Earth As Art iPad app. Earth As Art includes nearly 150 pages of imagery and explanations of the imagery so that you know what you're looking at. Browsing through Earth As Art is a nice way to see some of the truly unique features of the Earth's physical geography.

H/T to Open Culture.

A Google Map of Plant and Animal Life Cycles

The USA National Phenology Network has built an interesting map of plant and animal life in the United States. The map allows you to see where various plants and animals have been observed and reported to USA NPN. You can search the map by animal, plant, or location. The map includes a timeslider that can be used to visual the life cycles of the plants and animals on the map. Users of the map can add climate overlays to it too. Click here to read the documentation on how to use all of the map's features.

Applications for Education
The USA National Phenology Network's map of plant and animal life could be useful for helping students see the biodiversity of the United States. Turn on the climate overlays to help students see the relationships between climate and plant and animal life.

Fun Snowy Activities for Students and Teachers

In my previous post I shared a video about the chemistry of snowflakes. Writing that post reminded me of some ideas that I've shared before for fun outdoor winter activities with students. A few of these could be tied into basic physics lessons.

NOVA, as a part of their program on Denali, has directions for building a snow cave and directions for building an Igloo.

Boys' Life offers a list of outdoor winter games as well as directions for building igloos and snow shelters.

Making your own snowshoes is an activity that can be done indoors with the final product enjoyed outdoors. Mother Earth News offers directions for making your own snowshoes. How Cast has video directions for making an emergency pair of snowshoes.

In the video below BBC Survival Expert Ray Mears teaches viewers how to make an igloo and what igloos were traditionally used for.


When I was about seven or eight I was given a copy of The American Boy's Handy Book(Amazon link). That book is filled with fun hands-on indoor and outdoor activities including an entire section devoted to snow forts and other snow-related activities.

The Cool Chemistry of Snowflakes

In my neighborhood we've had at least some new snow every day this week. Just a little north of me there has been nearly two feet of new snow this week. The latest video episode from Bytesize Science nicely matches this week's weather in Maine.

The latest episode of Bytesize Science explains how snowflakes are created. The two minute video is embedded below.


H/T to Open Culture.