Monday, December 30, 2013

Twenty Educational Games About Marine Life

NOAA's Games Planet Arcade offers twenty-five educational games for young students. The games are intended to help students learn about oceans, wildlife, and weather. Twenty of the games address topics related to marine life.

While the games are not terribly complex or fancy, they do offer some solid information for young students. For example, the Humpback Whale Migration game isn't much more than a board game that provides students with information about Humpback whales. As students move across the board they are stopped at spaces offering facts about the annual migrations of Humpback whales.

Sea Turtles and the Quest to Nest is one of the headline games of NOAA's Games Planet Arcade. The object of the game is to help a sea turtle avoid common obstacles on while navigating the ocean and the beach before laying her eggs and returning to the sea.

About half of the games are hosted on NOAA's website and the others are linked to the websites of PBS, National Geographic or the Environmental Protection Agency.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for some simple games to supplement a lesson on oceans, ocean wildlife, or weather, take a look at NOAA's Games Planet Arcade.

WWF Wildfinder - See the Ranges of 26,000+ Animals

One of my favorite free iPad apps of 2013 is the World Wildlife Fund's Together app. That app features interactive stories about endangered species around the world. The stories show you where the animals live and the threats facing them. If you and or your students don't have iPads, you can access similar information through WWF Wildfinder.

WWF Wildfinder is an interactive map through which you can see the distribution of more than 26,000 animals around the world. You can browse the map, search by region and ecosystem, or search for a specific animal. When you find an animal on the map you can open a tab of information about its habitat, whether or not its population is threatened, and view pictures of the animal.

Applications for Education
WWF Wildfinder could be a great resource for students to explore to learn about the species native to various eco-regions of the world. I would have students attempt to make correlations between maps of the distribution of a threatened species to maps about pollution and or population density.

How to Create Simple Comic Strips With Storyboard That

Storyboard That is a service that you and your students can use to create simple comic strips. I've reviewed it in the past and today I would like to share a demonstration of how to use it. The video below demonstrates how to use the basic functions of Storyboard That.


Storyboard That has free and paid plans. The free plan allows you to create three and six frame stories. The free plan also limits you to three storyboards per week. A paid classroom account offers options for managing student accounts, limiting sharing to classroom members only, and a classroom account offers more frames per storyboard.

Apply Today for a National Geographic Teaching Adventure

National Geographic Education is currently accepting applications for what looks like an awesome opportunity for twenty-five K-12 teachers in the U.S. and Canada. The 2014 Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program will take teachers on field work expeditions to interesting places around the world. Some of the places teachers could go through the program include Holland and Belgium, the British and Irish Isles, Arctic Svalbard, the High Arctic, Iceland, the Canadian Maritimes, the Atlantic Islands, and Antarctica.

Applications are due by January 5th. You can get the complete details of the program and see a sample application here.

After Kelly Wade Hines tipped me off to this opportunity, I shared this on the Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page last night, but I'm posting it here because I want to make sure that everyone who may be interested sees it.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

An Animated Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States

The Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond recently released a new feature called the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States. This new atlas contains more than 700 historical maps of the United States. The maps within the atlas are arranged into eighteen sections. As a student and teacher of history I was drawn to the sections devoted to population, territorial expansion, political parties and elections, and military history.

Many of the maps within the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States can be animated to show changes over time. For example, in the section on States, Territories, and Cities you can view individual maps for each decade from 1790 to 1930 or you can click the "animate" button to see the maps put together in a time lapse animation. All of the historical maps in the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States are displayed on top of a contemporary outline of the United States.

Many of the maps have interactive elements. For example, in the section on Political Parties and Opinions you can click on a county or state to see how people voted in that area.

To help students understand what they are seeing on each map, the Atlas of  the Historical Geography of the United States includes a text option that can be selected while viewing a map. Clicking the "text" box will display relevant information in the sidebar of the map.

Applications for Education
The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States is a treasure trove of resources for teachers and students of U.S. History. In looking through the maps I could see a number of activities in which students compare maps from two categories and try to develop correlations between them. For example, I might ask students to compare maps from the section on Transportation with maps from the section on Boundaries.

H/T to Google Maps Mania