Did you ever want to explore the International Space Station (ISS) and the the lives and activities of its crew members? Check out the "How the Crew Lives" section which offers videos and articles describing how they eat, sleep, and exercise. Another great area is the "How it Works" section which provides a clickable scale model that explains ISS parts, including the solar array, the radiator, the Soyuz spacecraft, and the Japanese Experiment Module. The "360 Tour" completes the interactive experience with photos, video, and animations.
Here's a great site to learn more about Rosa Parks. Her courage and commitment to the civil rights movement is unwavering. This site includes her two-page arrest record
, for quietly refusing to move to the back of the bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on Dec. 1, 1955. There is also an illustration of where she dared to sit, a place reserved for white people. Read the background reasons for provoking her arrest, and see how her actions set off a boycott and social revolution that soon spread across the South.
lluminations is a website from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. You'll find terrific lesson plans for pre-K through high school. This particular one uses buttons to teach the concepts of before, after, and between for lower elementary children. It also can be used as a review of ordinal and cardinal numbers. The lesson begins with students singing and playing London Bridge practicing using positional words. You’ll need to provide bags of buttons for the students to place on a 10 Strip activity sheet which you can print off from the site. Lots of suggestions are given on different ways to use the buttons for counting, and also for color recognition.
The Northern Nevada Writing Project offers dozens of lesson plans and activities to aid in teaching writing. Here is a lesson on prefixes, suffixes, and roots using, among other resources, the lyrics of the song Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. This lesson plan includes a rap song about prefixes, suffixes, and roots, notes about root words, and add-ons, and a work sheet of commonly used prefixes to get any group of students in the groove. There is also a graphic organizer tied to the song Unwritten. Try this one out on your middle school students.
The PhET™ project at the University of Colorado can offer the classroom teacher or online student a base for interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena. Do take time to visit the Teacher Tips section, which provides simulation guidelines and activities for use in K-12 classrooms. Topics covered include activity sheet design, reflection rubric, approach to guided inquiry, and specific activities such as "Build a Molecule" and "Gravity and Orbits.
This site will get your brain ticking by answering questions about the December solstice that began on December 21. Check out the chart that can be used to find out what the exact time is near your home. See a diagram of the tilt of the earth on the winter solstice and watch the earth rotate showing sunlight on the earth. Enjoy the photographs and diagrams that explain why the earth has seasons.
NOAA provides a comprehensive site that hosts information on ocean currents. There are three factors that drive these currents. Included is a tutorial that reviews specific currents, causes of currents, how they are measured, and the effect they have on the lives of people living close by. There is also a podcast the explains the difference between tides and currents. Check out the slide show that explains how seawater gets saltier and what that means for global currents. Be sure to read about how global climate change affects this global conveyor belt.
Here's a great interactive game
from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. It's a great way for students to work with fractions by combining like pairs. Students move markers across the board based on the cards that are flipped over. The goal is to move all the markers from one side to the other using the fewest amount of cards. The instructions are clear and offer good examples. The exploration section asks questions about what the player discovers after playing several rounds. You can also find a lesson plan for using a fractional clothesline for enrichment.
If you're interested in learning sign language then check out this long list of words in an ASL dictionary. There you can click on a word, and a lesson will pop up to ensure you thoroughly understand it. For example, clicking on “alligator” goes to a page of grassland, water, and zoo animals. Take note of the drawings that will ensure you know how to make the sign for each word. In addition, there is a written description of how to sign each. The word list includes nouns, verbs, adjectives, and conjunctions. You'll get a thorough introduction to signing in both American Sign Language and Signed English.
Check out this exhibit from the National Museum of Australia providing a look into the history, geography, culture, and the importance of astronomy to Port Macquarie in New South Wales. There are three sections of the exhibit that are filled with individual pictures, primary sources, and information about the resources. One section explores the Hastings River that flows into the ocean at Port Macquarie. See photographs from the early 20th century that document the culture of the indigenous people living in the area, the Birpai. Don't forget the mini videos!
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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.