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Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Category Archives: Science

Space Shuttle Delivered to the Smithsonian

Here’s a great video of the Space Shuttle being delivered to the Smithsonian Institute.

Check out the Smithsonian’s YouTube Channel for hundreds of other educational videos.

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The Space Place – from NASA

NASA has created a great new site for kids to learn more about Earth, the Solar System, The Universe, and much more. Within each section of The Space Place, there are games, activities, videos, interactives, and a wealth of information written so that kids will grasp it.  There’s a great Parents & Educators section with activities and information to help guide students through the site. The amount of information within The Space Place is mind boggling – students can return over and over and still find something new that they had not seen before.

 

Great Sites to Learn About Outer Space

This week I’m highlighting three great sites about space and our solar system.

Solar System Scope

Solar System Scope is an amazing site that allows you to zoom around our solar system and view the planets and the Sun in amazing detail. To see the orbits in action, you can click play at the bottom of the screen and watch the rotation and revolutions of the planets as they make their journeys around the Sun.  With Solar System Scope, students really get a feel of the size of the solar system and how long it takes the outer planets to make their orbits. There are also controls that allow you to switch from heliocentric, to geocentric, and panoramic views. You can also toggle on and off the stars and constellations.

50 Years of NASA

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, NASA launched a nice interactive sitethat showcases all of the developments that have occurred over the last 5 decades in space travel and exploration. There are tons of places to explore to learn all about the space agency, its missions, details of specific rockets, and information about astronauts and leaders in the industry. My favorite part of the site is when you use the decade slider at the bottom of the page, there are different audio devices of the time that play top hits from that era. Man the 80s rocked! Thanks to @ktenkely and her great blog for the find!

Google Sky / Moon / Mars

Google has teamed up with astronomers from some of the largest observatories in the world to create Google Sky. This is a great tool to learn about constellations, planets, and solar systems. Just as in Google Maps, you can easily pan around and zoom in, and you have the ability to view the sky in infrared, microwave, or historical. Make sure to click on Moon and Marsto see some stellar (you knew that was coming) views of these far off places.

Happy exploring! 

The Greatest and Greenest Earth Day Sites for Kids – Part II

April 22 is Earth Day and in recognition of this, I’m dedicating two posts of the greatest Earth Day sites for kids and teachers. Part I can be found here. As Earth’s population nears 7 billion, teaching awareness of our environment to children has never been more important.

Environmental Kids Club

Environmental Kids Club is a site made by the US Environmental Protection Agency.  One thing I really like about this site is that it has Daily Actions, an Environmental Tip of the Day, and a Question of the Week. There are also sections about air, water, garbage & recycling, plants & animals, you & your environment, an art room, a science room, a game room, and many other additional resources for kids and teachers.

National Audubon Society

The National Audubon Society’s education section has fun activities for kids where they can play games, watch videos of wildlife and see live webcams of nesting birds. There is also an adoption center where classes can learn about endangered animals, and how they can help.  In the educator section, there are links to activities, lesson plans, and tips on how to bring nature into your classroom.

Environmental Education for Kids (EEK)

From the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, EEK is a very kid-friendly site with links to information on all kinds of animals (would be a great resource for animal research), environmental issues, and a section devoted to cool things to do and read about. The Teacher Page has activities, resources, event calendar, and a news section that will help teachers keep their students informed about environmental issues.

Cool Science Sites for Kids

In celebration of Robert Bunsen’s 200th birthday, I’m dedicating this post to four cool science sites for kids.  If you’d like to see some of my other favorite science sites, click here.

1. Periodic Table of Videos

The Periodic Table of Videos is a site created and maintained by The University of Nottingham. Clicking on any of the 118 chemical elements brings you to informational videos all about that element. A great site for self-directed learning!

2. Catch the Science Bug


The educational goals of Catch the Science Bug are to, “Increase science literacy and raise environmental consciousness by adhering to national standards and guidelines for content and use different teaching methods to engage all types of learners, and encourage life-long learning by featuring scientists who model this behavior.” The site has big goals, but it hits them pretty well. By using the Science Files section, students can learn about various scientific concepts by reading, watching videos, and completing activities.

3. Science Bob

Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites.  Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).

4. Bunsen Burner Flip Chart (Promethean)

Here’s a simple flip chart that you can download for free from Promthean Planet to illustrate the flame types of a Bunsen Burner depending on valve position.  There is also a series of photographs to identify element flame tests. (Note: You must be logged in to Promethean Planet to download the chart).

Physics Games for Kids

Physicsgames.net is a fantastic site geared toward teaching kids (and adults) about the universal properties of physics through fun, interactive games. There are over 200 games available for play. Here are my top 3:

1. Cargo Bridge

Cargo Bridge is a structural-design game where players get to design a bridge using different materials of various strength that will span a gap. The bridge has to be structurally sound enough for the movers to bring cargo of increasing weight across the bridge.

2. Magic Pen

Magic Pen is a fun game with a simple (yet difficult) concept: Get the ball to the flag. You are able to draw shapes to drop on the ball to get it moving in a specific direction. All properties of gravity and force are present (ie, the larger the mass, the more force it will apply).

3. Fantastic Contraption

Fantastic Contraption is another great game with a seemingly simple concept: build a machine that will go from point A to point B. You have a variety of tools that do specific tasks to add to your machine that enable motion and stability.

9 Great Science Fair Sites

Science fairs have been going on for quite some time now. I still remember making a working electromagnetic telegraph with my dad in his garage when I was just a lad, strolling into my school gymnasium with my 3-fold poster-board tucked proudly under my arm, and knowing without a doubt that I’d be walking away with that 1st prize blue ribbon (until I saw Scott Johnson’s 5-foot tall tornado simulator).

If your school is planning on having a science fair, or if your students are simply interested in learning more by doing, here’s a list of great science fair resources to get you experimenting.

Discovery Science Fair Central

Science Fair CentralEasy to search using the Idea Finder, Discovery’s Science Fair Central has hundreds of resources and projects to get young scientists motivate and focused. The interactive Display Board help section is a must-see.

Science Fairs

This site has been around since 1995 and is designed to aid students in the most difficult aspect of their science fair experience; getting an idea.

Science Buddies

Great resource for idea finding divided into topics. There’s also a Topic Selection Wizard that guides you through a series of questions to help students narrow down their selection based on their likes and interests. After going through the wizard, there are follow-up resources to get students moving in the right direction.

Science Fair Adventure

Fantastic resource with comprehensive listings that feature science fair projects across several distinct categories, including chemistryphysicsbiology, and many more. Each project is listed in an easy to follow manner with step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the project.

Science Bob

Fun site – Science Bob has a lot of activities and experiments for students to try out.

All Science Fair Projects

Nice resource with different ways to search for science fair ideas. Probably the most useful is the Browse section which allows students to find ideas in 10 different categories.

100 Cool Science Experiments

Kids love watching videos and this site has (as the title suggests) has 100 great videos all about science experiments!

Parents Guide to Science Fairs

We’ve all seen it – the amazing exact replication of a nuclear reactor with flashing lights, sounds, and real smoke. The projects that didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that they were created by, well, a rocket scientist. This site helps parents define their roles in helping their child with his or her science fair project.

PBS Science Fair

PBS has a nice spin on science fair idea generating. Students click on a spinner and new topics appear with a link that takes them to more information about the topic that they chose. There’s even videos of the project in action!

Happy experimenting!

Insect Life Cycles

As part of our science curriculum we teach a unit called “Structures of Life.” A great resource to use for this unit is the cuddly mealworm (which are actually larva, not worms). They’re easy to care for, the metamorphic phase is relatively short (each stage takes a few weeks), and let’s face it, they’re downright cute.

Resources

Here are some resources I use when having my students do research on the life cycle of a mealworm.

  • All about Mealworms – Enchanted Learning. Great site for information gathering about your loveable mealworm.
  • More Mealworm Info – Good facts here from the University of Arizona
  • Mealworm Webquest– Lots of facts and pictures here from Golden Lake Elementary School.
  • Insect Brainpop – “Diversity of Life” (This movie  now requires a Brainpop subscription)
  • Images of Insects — Lots of good images and facts from the Iowa State University’s Department of Entomology.
  • FossWeb – Great collection of information for teachers and students

Ideas

Some projects that I’ve done in the past with my third grade students include Movies, PowerPoints, Webquests, Collaboration Project with High School Biology Classes, Creating Mini-books, Microscope Explorations, and Interviews with Entomologists.

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