It's almost summer and a great time to check out the 3M and Discovery Education Wind Energy Virtual Lab. Use 21st Century skills as you harness renewable energy. Design, build, and test wind turbines. Choose different locations, blade shapes, and materials to enhance virtual wind turbine creations. Share input/output charts that contain design specs.
Cool organization and eportfolio tool; watch out for privacy features
Pros: Nice features for creating eportfolios, sharing class materials, and finding student and teacher resources.
Cons: Sometimes-complex tools and limited visual appeal might hinder interest, and binders are public with a free account.
Bottom Line: A good tool for its organizational, storage, and digital publishing features.
Untangle robust math problems for all ages; plenty of teaching support
Pros: The site's approach to problem-solving challenges kids to think mathematically, giving them the tools to do so.
Cons: Visual presentation needs to better adapt to its audience, with less text and easier "click" targets for younger kids in particular.
Bottom Line: It's an excellent classroom companion that can be implemented quickly with little adjustment and a high probability of success.
Learn more about chance and probability with this interactive mathematics resource. The user moves their toad along the vines by exploring the outcomes resulting from tossing a coin, rolling a die, and using a spinner to perform single and double event probabilities.
Kid conservationist's paradise with great images, vids, animals galore
Pros: Bring Back the Wild lesson plans are well-written with tons of inquiry and exploration.
Cons: Although they're not a huge part of the site, games don't really prioritize learning.
Bottom Line: Great ecology lesson plans and videos are rich with engrossing animal goodies, but the accompanying games don't teach much science.
April 14, 1912, Newsflash! The Unsinkable Titanic Has Sunk! Read all about It! This website allows you to do just that. Check out a timeline from sailing to the raising of a section of the hull in 1998, statistics of passengers by class and lifeboats, and the astronomy that night. Read interesting facts about the ship including stories written years prior to the tragedy with very similar events, ticket prices, lifeboats, menus, and quotes from passengers and crew. Read personal memories from people from different classes, survivors, families of deceased, and lists of the dead. Check out the discovery of the sunken ship and newer information why it sank. Sign their guest book and check out the many links for more information.
Quiver Education - 3D
Coloring App Augmented reality app adds some interactivity and learning to coloring
Pros: One-time purchase price includes all sheets.
Cons: Only works with Quiver Education sheets, so students and teachers can't make their own custom AR sheets.
Bottom Line: This can make a great occasional lesson supplement, but ultimately the lack of customization and light learning hold it back.
Clear typing instruction with detailed statistics and fun encouragement
Pros: Students get effective, entertaining typing instruction with helpful performance data.
Cons: There's no way to assign custom lessons to students, and the ads are distracting.
Bottom Line: Typing.com is a great go-to for teachers with clear, extensive instruction and practice and easily trackable metrics -- all available for free on the Web.
Happy Big Wind Day! Let's celebrate the benefits of wind with this hands-on science experiment! In this science fair project, you'll blow on different kinds of pinwheels with a blow-dryer and see how far away you can get before they stop spinning. This will give you clues about how sensitive the pinwheels are to wind, and why. The next time you see a wind turbine you will have a better understanding of how wind creates energy.
A fresh way to capture, document, and share student learning
Pros: Teachers can use mobile devices to document student learning and share information instantly with parents and students.
Cons: Lacks some tools for creation, like drawing tools and voice recording.
Bottom Line: Multimedia documentation tools help communicate learning and expand assessment, and the addition of a gradebook sets this tool apart; still, student experience could use some polish.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.