As stewards of the Earth’s trees, it’s helpful for us to know about the growth processes of trees, their role in the forest world, and how we humans can improve their quality. In this interactive activity adapted from the National Arbor Day Foundation, explore the intricate life of a tree. Begin with the protective bark on the outside, and then explore deep inside each layer to find out how the structure of each part affects its overall function in the tree. Then, by "reading" the tree's rings, learn how climate and other natural events affect a tree's growth.
Billions and billions of galaxies populate the universe. The Hubble Space Telescope has unmasked many of them in two of the clearest, most distant views ever obtained, called the Hubble Deep Fields. One view peers northward; the other southward. Scientists have used mathematics to unlock many galactic secrets hidden in these two views. In this activity, students use sample statistics based on actual HDF data to unravel some cosmic mysteries. Complete with interactive animations and data log sheets for eager learners and data collectors, this cosmic exercise will engage all types of learners
Take your students on a virtual field trip to the Folger Shakespeare Library as they embark on their first exposure to Shakespearean works. Students can engage in a deeper understanding of Romeo and Juliet by spending a few days reading, re-reading, and dramatizing the prologue itself. Students will learn about the play's meaning, get to know the style and language of the text, and make inferences about the play's central questions. Watch your students transform into actors right before your eyes, and simultaneously, build adequate background knowledge to support their understanding of Romeo and Juliet.
In this game, students create the right conditions to grow a plant, gathering resources and providing protection from threats. The game challenges students to think critically as they balance their resources and assess their environment in order to maintain their plant's health.
Use this interactive website to explore what defines a shape as three dimensional and what polyhedras, prisms, and pyramids are. Once you have explored what makes a shape 3D, explore polyhedras with a description alongside pictures that explain them. Then click prisms to get an up close look at different prisms as well as the nets that create those prisms. When finished with prisms, click pyramids to explore the different pyramids and their nets. You will also explore what a face, edge, and vertice of a shape is and how many of those each given shape contains.
Climate Reanalyzer is a data exploration access site, developed by the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine, which provides an intuitive platform for visualizing a variety of weather and climate datasets and models. Using interfaces for reanalysis and historical station data, the Climate Reanalyzer allows students to access real-time, meaningful climate data to perform many different types of data analysis functions as they investigate climate. The most visited page is the “Today’s Summary” which features several weather parameters, including temperature departure for the current day relative to a climate baseline.
This interactive site provides numerous ways of exploring the 2016 election process. Find out about the election process in each of the states, the major issues being discussed in this election and candidates’ positions on them, and the various stages of the election process. In addition to original content, this PBS resource provides links to Crash Course videos, Annenberg Learner resources, and We the Voters films to help students understand and get involved in the political process. The Debate Toolkit will help students listen critically to the presidential debates, and learn how to discuss their own political views intelligently and respectfully.
Participate in the building of an American city from colonial days through the 1890s to learn how areas of our country, and Detroit in particular, made the transition from agriculture to industry. Begin as a farmer coming to New France, and see how your family progresses through generations, based on choices you make along the way.
In this online simulation, players build an energy-efficient, model city. Take the tutorial to learn all of the game features. Players are guided to understand how to develop a sense of community by helping neighbors, and can connect with friends to share ideas and help each other. Learn about renewable energy, sustainable living, and eco-friendly technology. Find out about the decisions and trade-offs that must be made in planning a city, such as what kind of power station to build, and whether to build bike paths or plant more trees. Take a Quest to improve your city’s rating, and discover how some features such as parks help to protect a city. The site requires free registration in order to save your work, which also allows you to choose an avatar and a name for your city.
Developed by two ambitious middle grade teachers with the help of the astrophysics center of NASA, A Song For All Seasons is an activity which pairs the work of Italian composer, Antonio Vivaldi with a lesson on the earth's relationship to the sun. Like many artists throughout history, Vivaldi was inspired by the natural world surrounding him and wrote a group of four violin concerti, each giving musical expression to one season. In this interactive activity, students listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, examine the chart provided on the earth’s orbit, and try their hand at deciding which season Vivaldi was trying to portray. Interactive, inspiring, integrative!
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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.