Thursday, November 8, 2018

This Is What an Astronaut's Camera Sees

What an Astronaut's Camera Sees is an impressive narrated video of images of Earth as captured from space. The video is narrated by Dr. Justin Wilkinson from NASA. The video includes images of deserts in Africa, Sicily, the Kamchatka Peninsula, China, the Zagros Mountains, Australia, the Great Salt Lake, and the Andes Mountains. The video is embedded below.


You can read the transcript of the narration below the video on YouTube. This video is part of YouTube user SpaceRip's channel. Explore SpaceRip's channel to find more excellent space videos.

Applications for Education
Here's an idea for a small geography project based on this video. Show the video to students then have them try to locate the same places in Google Earth. Then have students research the unique geographic features of each of the places featured in What an Astronaut's Camera Sees.

A Good Tool for Writing Reflections on Stories

Scholastic's Character Scrapbook offers a good template that elementary school students can use to write about and reflect on the characters in their favorite stories. The template is quite simple to use. Students enter the name of a story and the name of their favorite character on the first page. On the next pages students list ten attributes of the character. The Character Scrapbook also allows students to create pictures of their favorite characters.

As you can see in the image above, Scholastic's Character Scrapbook doesn't limit students to human characters. Students can write about and create images of animal characters too.

Applications for Education
Scholastic's Character Scrapbook could be a great tool for getting students to think about their favorite stories. The Character Scrapbook has an easy print option so that you can print and display all of your students' works in your classroom.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

How GPS Works

From finding a place to eat in a new city to navigating a detour to geocaching, GPS is an amazing technology. But just how does GPS work? NASA's eClips channel on YouTube has a good student-friendly explanation of how GPS works.


Applications for Education
Geocaching is a fun activity for students to do to learn about latitude and longitude, to discover geological features, learn or relearn basic math concepts, and to practice good digital citizenship. Seven years ago Jen Lefebvre, née Deyenberg wrote a great overview of geocaching in an education context. You can read that blog post here. When Jen wrote that post you had to use handheld GPS units to go on geocaching activities. Today, you can simply use the Geocaching Android app or iOS apps.

Knoema - Huge Collections of Data Maps and Charts

Knoema is a service that offers a huge collection of data sets and maps for public use. Knoema offers data maps and charts for almost every country in the world. There are dozens of data categories to pick from. Some of the data categories that you will find include GPD Per Capita, Government Debt, Migration, Housing, Energy Consumption, and Agricultural Production.

To find a data map or chart on Knoema to use with your students first select a data set then choose a country from the drop-down menu tied to each data set. Each data set, map, and chart can be exported downloaded and or embedded into a blog post or webpage.


Applications for Education
The obvious fit for Knoema is in a social studies setting in which students are comparing economic indicators. Knoema's library of data sets and visualizations is vast enough to include data sets and visualizations to include environmental science data.

Visme - Great Tools for Making Flowcharts and Mind Maps

Visme is a graphic design tool that I've been using off and on for the last five years. Back when I started using Visme it was known as EWC Presenter and it was a good tool for designing slides and infographics. Recently, Visme added new flowchart design templates and tools. The flowcharts that you make on Visme can be downloaded as PDFs, shared via email and social media, or embedded into blog posts. If you use any of the online sharing options, you can include interactive elements in your flowcharts. Watch the following video to learn how to quickly create flowcharts and mind maps on Visme.


Applications for Education
I have had students make flowcharts in civics classes to show how laws are created. I've also had students make mind maps to show connections between interest groups.