Friday, July 26, 2019

Lewis & Clark in Google Earth - And Lesson Plans for K-12

This morning while browsing through Google Earth looking for a resource about sharks for Shark Week (I found it) I came across a Google Earth voyage about Lewis and Clark.

The Google Earth voyage titled Explorers: Lewis and Clark contains twelve multimedia placemarkers documenting the outbound and return journey of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Each stop in the voyage contains a gallery of pictures and or videos related to significant landmark on the expedition. The placemarks are displayed on the righthand side of the screen while the map is displayed to the left. You can drag the Google Earth Pegman to the map to see each of the locations in Street View instead of just in satellite imagery. Explorers: Lewis and Clark was constructed using media from the PBS series about the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Lesson Plans
The Smithsonian's Lewis and Clark page offers lesson plans for elementary grades and middle school grades. The elementary school lesson plan is titled Animal Encounters. Animal Encounters is a two part lesson in which students draw pictures and write descriptions of the animals Lewis and Clark encountered on their journey.

DocsTeach offers a detailed activity for high school students to complete by analyzing documents and maps related to Lewis and Clark's expedition. You can customize the activity for your students by creating a free DocsTeach account and then making an editable copy of the activity.

How to Design Posters and Print Them With a Standard Printer

I got my first "back to school" email this week which was a jolting reminder of just how quickly time flies during summer break. The "back to school" email that I received was from a classroom supplies and classroom decorations vendor. While I don't have a free alternative to glue sticks, pushpins, and paperclips, I do have an alternative to purchasing posters to display on the walls of your classroom. That alternative is to use Canva to design a poster and Block Posters to print the poster using a standard printer with standard size paper.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about using the combination of Canva and Block Posters. I made the following video to illustrate how easy it is to use this combination of tools.

Three Good Resources for Shark Week

This Sunday is the start of Discovery's annual Shark Week. A couple of weeks ago I shared SciShow Kids' Super Sharks lesson. That's a nice lesson for elementary school students. If you're looking for something for older students, take a look at the following resources.

The Global Fishing Watch map includes an animated layer that displays the movement of tagged sharks off of the east coast of the United States. The map contains records for 45 tagged sharks. You can find shark tracks by clicking on one of the small placemarkers on the map. When you select a shark you will see the entire path of travel for that shark. The timeline slider at the bottom of the map lets you select a timespan for the tracking of the shark. The play button on the timeline will replay the travel of the shark in the Atlantic ocean.

National Geographic has just released a new video titled Sharks 101. The video covers five key facts about sharks including the basics of shark size, the number of teeth a shark goes through in its life, the hyrdodynamic design of sharks, shark reproduction, and shark conservation. The video, particularly the section on shark conservation (staring at 3:43 in the video), does include images that some viewers might find disturbing.


Why Are Sharks so Awesome? is a TED-Ed lesson about sharks. This lesson is a bit more detailed than the National Geographic Sharks 101 video. The TED-Ed lesson delves into the physiology of sharks and the role of sharks as apex predators in the ecosystem.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Three More Recommended Resources for Teaching Civics and Government

Earlier this week I published a blog post in which I shared the resources that I shared with a reader who had emailed me seeking my recommended resources for teaching civics and government. I made that list completely from memory. This afternoon I dug into my archives to find a few more recommended resources for teaching civics and government. Here they are...


The Constitution Center's website features the U.S. Constitution divided into easily searchable sections. From the main page you can select and jump to a specific article or amendment. What I really like about the site is that you can choose an issue like privacy, civil rights, or health care and see how those issues are connected to the Constitution. The Constitution Center offers an extensive list of lesson plans for each of the Constitution's articles and amendments. Select an article or amendment then scroll to the bottom of the page to find the lesson plans. Alternatively, you can find all of the lesson plans listed here.

Google and the Comparative Constitution Project offer a neat site called Constitute. The site hosts the constitutions of 160 countries. You can search the site according to country and or constitutional theme. Searching by constitutional theme is the best aspect of the site. More than 300 themes are outlined on the site. Select a theme then select a country and the element of that country's constitute addressing your chosen theme will be highlighted. You can pin parts of the constitutions to compare them to each other.

Teaching the Constitution With Political Cartoons was a webinar hosted last fall by the National Archives' Docs Teach. It is still available to view for free. The webinar focuses on using Clifford K. Berryman cartoons from the U.S. Senate Collection in lessons designed to help students understand the nuanced aspects of the US Constitution. The webinar includes a good overview of how students should analyze political cartoons and guiding questions that you can give to your students. The last third of the webinar, around the 27 minute mark, is where the webinar transitions into demonstrating how to use the tools within DocsTeach.

Five More Handy Features of Google Keep

Last week I published a video that highlighted ten handy features of Google Keep. Since then a few people have emailed me to point out other features that I should have included in that video. So thanks to some reminders from Matt, Susan, and Kevin here are five more features Google Keep for teachers and students. In the following video you can learn how to use voice notes, dark mode, photo notes, image text, and highlight & save in Google Keep.


And if you missed last week's video about Google Keep, it's embedded below.