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Frontline: Breaking the Bank - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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A website connected to an episode of Frontline, this site looks at the recent collapse of several large "superbanks," and how these bank failures have been connected to the general...more
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A website connected to an episode of Frontline, this site looks at the recent collapse of several large "superbanks," and how these bank failures have been connected to the general economic downturn. Many PBS shows' sites are built around the concept of having students "watch the show and discuss"; these require teachers to buy or find a copy of episode. However, this site includes access to the full episode (requires Flash), which can be viewed as a whole or in sections. The resource list is very comprehensive and would give students who are researching national or global economics many good sources. Finally, there is analysis, set up in Q&A format that stands alone, and could be used if you don't want to use classtime to view the video episode.

tag(s): banks (11), money (193), recession (3)

In the Classroom

Although this site deals with the 2008-2009 banking crisis at a level that is probably more in-depth than most teachers have the opportunity to deal with, it would be useful for an economics class or a recent American history class. You might consider some portions of it during a discussion of the Great Depression in the 1930s, to help students connect that economic time with the present. Finally, this might be a good resource site for students who are interested or who are working on more comprehensive projects. Why not have students create a multimedia presentation of their own demonstrating their understanding of the connection between the bank failures and the economic downturn. Have students create (and respond) on class wikis. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.
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Swine Flu: What you Need to Know - Nemours

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K to 12
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Nemours' balanced approach makes this explanation of swine flu very helpful for parents, teachers, and kids alike. Not only does the article share the basic facts and simple strategies...more
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Nemours' balanced approach makes this explanation of swine flu very helpful for parents, teachers, and kids alike. Not only does the article share the basic facts and simple strategies fo staying healthy. Included are links to related articles for kids and for teens. In the lower area of the page (just below the clickable page numbers), look for "More on this topic" and click on the tab "For Kids" or "For Teens." The common-sense approach will help prevent spread of the disease and reassure frightened students in terms they can understand.

In the Classroom

Share this resource with your building principal and with parents to help control any panic about a possible pandemic.

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Kidscoop - Kid Scoop

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1 to 6
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This website accompanies Kidscoop, a feature in many local newspapers, but it is not necessary to have this section in your paper to enjoy the benefits of the site. Find ...more
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This website accompanies Kidscoop, a feature in many local newspapers, but it is not necessary to have this section in your paper to enjoy the benefits of the site. Find activities for kids, parents, and teachers that focus on the real news of the day. Interactive activities for kids include news summaries with pictures, word searches, book reviews, quizzes and polls of the week among many other activities. Teacher offerings include links to Newspapers in Education materials already familiar to many educators. Also, there are lesson plan banks, coupons, activity ideas to use with newspapers, weblinks, etc. Take some time to explore this great resource! Other offerings include a free subscription to a weekly newsletter and weekly writing prompts. Although many resources are available for purchase, there is plenty of free content that will be useful. Some features require Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): news (261), newspapers (94)

In the Classroom

Find classroom follow-ups for leading news stories. Have your children write their own stories and create their own activities using these as models. Use the writing prompts to help children better grasp important news issues. Why not create an online newspaper for your class on a wiki? Learn more about wikis at TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through

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Immigration Explorer - NY Times

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers an interactive map that displays the population and ethnicity of the counties of the United States. Readers can select various ethnic groups and find out where they...more
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This site offers an interactive map that displays the population and ethnicity of the counties of the United States. Readers can select various ethnic groups and find out where they settled. A drop down menu has lists of immigrant groups. The color coded map of the U.S. displays settlement locations for specified groups. Separate countries available include many Asian and European countries. African countries are not listed separately, unfortunately. Another feature allows students to move the timeline marker to show immigration in different years. The timeline includes the 1880s through the 2000s. This interactive map does require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

Share this map on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Use with your ESL/ELL students to show the class where most settlers from their specific countries go. Talk about your American students' origins and check to see where their ancestors may have settled. Use this interactive map to teach about various kinds of map making and map keys. Use this site to reinforce your students' understanding of timelines. Have cooperative learning groups investigate a specific decade. Challenge the groups to create multimedia presentations to share with the class: blog post from a settler during their "decade" or maybe an interactive timeline of a fictitious settler family using a tool such as TimeRime (explained here).
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Banned Books Week - American Library Association

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3 to 12
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To celebrate America's history of the freedom to read, the American Library Association sets aside one week every year to celebrate that freedom by bringing the most important banned...more
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To celebrate America's history of the freedom to read, the American Library Association sets aside one week every year to celebrate that freedom by bringing the most important banned books to the attention of everyone. Traditionally the last week of September, in 2009 it is being held September 26 - October 3rd. Go to the website and vote for your favorite banned book and have your older students do the same! Find out what books have been most frequently challenged. Find out about the history of book burning, print out posters for your classroom, and find out how support of this week adds to the intellectual freedom of all readers: students, teachers, librarians, and other adults.

In the Classroom

Compare the banned book list with your curriculum. Find out how many of your students' favorite books (like To Kill a Mockingbird) have been on the list.

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Pixcetera - AOL

Grades
2 to 12
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This is a great source for a massive number of pictures on the web, especially recent pictures. Students and teachers can search for pictures, video, news photos, a specific topic ...more
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This is a great source for a massive number of pictures on the web, especially recent pictures. Students and teachers can search for pictures, video, news photos, a specific topic etc. and have many pictures to choose from. The pictures are well organized and easy to search. They are displayed in Flash, however, so you cannot download them or use them elsewhere. You CAN link to a gallery of images or display it on a projector or computer screen. To get the link for a gallery, click share, choose "email" and copy the link that appears in the email that pops open.

Be aware: this site does include some unobtrusive advertisements. Some of the slideshows and videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): news (261), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Include this site in assignments students have to prepare for presentations. Look for photos of any recent news event, even events obscure enough not to be included in American newspapers. Share an image or gallery of images on your projector or interactive whiteboard in a world language class as you discuss it in the language and learn about the culture and news in far off places. Link to certain galleries from your class web page or from student presentations to show examples of concepts and life in other places. Save this site in your favorites, for students to easily access during research projects. Use the photos as a writing prompt in current events or writing classes. Or create a visual current events "quiz" by displaying a gallery of mages and asking students to explain the background of the story. Speech or ESL/ELL teachers can also share images and ask student to talk about or describe them. Let the students select the image they wish to discuss!
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Google News - Google

Grades
K to 12
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Google News provides a quick way to find news stories from all over the globe, including print media, television, and web articles on any topic you enter. Use Google search ...more
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Google News provides a quick way to find news stories from all over the globe, including print media, television, and web articles on any topic you enter. Use Google search terms just as you would for a general Internet search. you can also customize your Google News page to "serve up" topics of interest to you, assuming you have an iGoogle account.

tag(s): news (261)

In the Classroom

Set up specialized Google News searches for topics relevant to what you teach: biodiversity, current events topics that connect to your curriculum, or even your school name. Set Google News as the computer's home page and you have an instant "connection" to the real world right in your classroom. You can also customize Google News to education topics of interest to you for professional growth, such as special education, autism, NCLB, etc. Social studies teachers will also want to compare news articles collected on Google News for a current topic to help students see that news coverage is not always balanced. Ask students to compare articles from within the U.S. and those on the same topic written in other countries or by varied sources.

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Earth Day Network Footprint Calculator - Earthday Network

Grades
6 to 12
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This quick quiz provides the user with his or her ecological "footprint." Based on the answers given, the student can see how much space his or her lifestyle takes ...more
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This quick quiz provides the user with his or her ecological "footprint." Based on the answers given, the student can see how much space his or her lifestyle takes up in the world (based on foot eaten, modes of transportation, size of house etc.) and how that compares to others in the world. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): conservation (127), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317)

In the Classroom

This would be a great Earth Day activity, although younger students may not know how to answer some of the questions (the square footage of their house, the size of their hometown). The information gives students very concrete feedback about the environmental impact of their life on the planet. Taking the quiz takes only a few minutes, but the discussion it yields could easily fill a whole class period! If individual computers aren't available, share the site on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
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Horse Racing & KY Derby - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
5 to 12
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Explore vocabulary and word activities related to the Kentucky Derby on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of...more
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Explore vocabulary and word activities related to the Kentucky Derby on this extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more. Find interactive vocabulary activities the same list of using Kentucky Derby vocabulary words. There are printable crosswords, fill in the blanks and more, all using the same theme words. This and other "themes" available on the site will make vocabulary development fun.

tag(s): vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

Share the puzzles on your interactive whiteboard or projector or make them available as links on your teacher public page. Have students (or groups) create their own illustrated dictionaries of terms using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here. As you add more vocabulary lists during the year, have them select their favorite 6-10 terms from each list to add to their "book."

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Capitol Words - Sunlight Foundation

Grades
4 to 12
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This site provides a visual map of the words used every day by members of Congress. Students can see a map of the U.S. to check out how their states ...more
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This site provides a visual map of the words used every day by members of Congress. Students can see a map of the U.S. to check out how their states compare in number of words with other states. They can also enter their state and pick out a specific lawmaker to see his/her words on any given day. The words appear in both a word cloud, where the most used words are the largest, and also in list form. Students can also search from two special lists, one of the most talkative, and one of the quietest lawmakers! When students are interested in a particular word in the word cloud, clicking on it leads to a graph of its past usage. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): congress (33), speech (92)

In the Classroom

Use this site when studying specific states and their Congressional representatives. It's also a great site to use when preparing students to give speeches. Talk about whether the most popular words are overused or should be included in speeches at all times. Use this site as an anticipatory set to introduce a unit or lesson on government.

Have students create their own "word cloud" using a site such as Wordle (reviewed here by TeachersFirst). Students could create a Wordle about any topic area being studied. Share your students' Wordles on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
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The Uninsured in America - PBS NewsHour

Grades
6 to 12
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources ...more
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One of the central issues in the 2008 Presidential election was the state of the U.S. health care system. This site from PBS NewsHour pulls together a number of resources that could be helpful in discussing this issue with students. There are video and MP3 format interviews with Americans talking about how the health care crisis has affected them. Lesson plans are included. There is analysis focused on how President Obama might address the issue. Graphic information shows how many are uninsured in the U.S., how the U.S. compares with other nations, and a timeline of the history of health insurance in this country. One link focuses on special health care programs aimed at children. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): medicine (67)

In the Classroom

Many students may not realize that health insurance is a relatively new phenomenon. This site has a rich variety of resources that can set a context for a discussion on how the cost of health care is contributing to today's economic concerns. Assign students to review several of the reports on this site to prepare for a class debate. Use the video content on an interactive whiteboard or projector to spark discussion. Supplement a geography lesson with comparisons of health care systems in other nations. Use this site as one of several current issues topics for students studying government, and have them prepare a policy proposal for their own "cabinet."
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The History of Money - The History Channel

Grades
6 to 12
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With the news dominated by problems with the world economy, this site on this history of money might provide a good baseline for further discussion. The video gallery features historic...more
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With the news dominated by problems with the world economy, this site on this history of money might provide a good baseline for further discussion. The video gallery features historic newsreel clips and other content associated with currency and economics. An image gallery shows the history of US coinage. There is a page of quotes related to money as well as a resources page with links to other sites with further information. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): currency (20), great depression (24), money (193)

In the Classroom

Use the video clips to introduce a lesson or reinforce content on the history of the Great Depression, or the significance of the gold standard, for example. Use the "coined phrases" as writing prompts or as thoughts to ponder, posted in the classroom. The interactive timeline shows the history of US currency and would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
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Global Voices Online - Global Voices

Grades
9 to 12
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing...more
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In just a few short years, blogging has become one of the fastest growing means of Internet communication. This site represents a collection of bloggers whose interests focus on developing countries. These international blogs and blogs about international issues give an authentic voice to areas of the world where that voice is often suppressed or unrecognized. The site is a combination of blogs that have been collected and translated and are presented on the site itself and links to offsite blogs. The entries can be searched by region, by country, or by topic. Additionally, there is a cadre of authors sponsored directly by Global Voices itself to comment on and recommend blogs and bloggers from their geographic areas of expertise.

Be aware that many school districts' web filters exclude blogs, but the entries that are posted directly to the site itself may be more accessible. You should monitor student use regularly, however, as blogs represent the opinions and feelings of their writers and may not always be suitable for classroom use. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): blogs (88), countries (77)

In the Classroom

Many social studies classes feature long term projects or units on diverse countries, and this site is a goldmine of information about places that can be difficult to research. Share the blog entries on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Why not have students create a video highlighting what they have learned about their country (or other topic). Share the videos on a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).
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BigDialog.org - eCitizenship Foundation and MIT eCitizenship Program

Grades
9 to 12
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements...more
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BigDialog.org has become the premier site for Americans to voice their concerns to President Obama. Your government or civics students will enjoy listening to and reading statements from the citizens of the USA as they relate to current hot topics. Because President Obama's savvy use of the internet during his campaign, this website promises that he will be checking here to take the pulse of America's heart beat. The opinions expressed are genuine and may be inappropriate in the classroom, so preview. As with any site with a public forum, you will need to check your school's Acceptable Use Policy for security reasons. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): matter (56)

In the Classroom

Imagine this site as the neighbors next door, who are voicing their concern over civic matters. This site gives a substantial voice of concern and can give your students bountiful ideas for research topics. Share the videos (previewed, of course!) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups create their own videos voicing their concerns. Send a few of the videos to BigDialog. (Be sure to obtain parental permission first)!
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Speak Out- PBS Kids Go! - PBS and National Black Programming Consortium's

Grades
1 to 6
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PBS Go's Speak Out encourages your students to have a voice about civic issues. Students submit ideas they would like to discuss with President Obama. Putting democracy to work,...more
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PBS Go's Speak Out encourages your students to have a voice about civic issues. Students submit ideas they would like to discuss with President Obama. Putting democracy to work, students vote on which ideas they like best. The winning issues are featured at this site in the form of video or written message to the President. The digital messages will change over time, depending on the youth's changing concerns and recommended solutions. At the time of this review the issues included: Our Earth, Our School, and Staying Healthy. Your students vote on which of the three is the most pertinent issue in their lives. They also may leave comments that may be published online at this site. Check your school's Acceptable Use Policy regarding posting students' work, photos, or videos. And be sure to obtain parental permission. This site requires Flash. You can get it at the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): democracy (12), inauguration (11)

In the Classroom

Make a "Speak Out" bulletin board, and videotape your students as they speak out on issues that relate to your school, community, and nation. Issues may be submitted for voting by going to Big Dialog (explained here). Click on the 'About' link at this site for submission voting information.
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Human Footprint - National Geographic

Grades
3 to 10
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This interactive takes a look at the effect of typical human consumption on the planet. Students can see how the bread they eat or the newspapers they read tax the ...more
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This interactive takes a look at the effect of typical human consumption on the planet. Students can see how the bread they eat or the newspapers they read tax the resources of our earth. There is also information about water consumption, diapers (and the crude oil they require), eggs, and more. The highly visual display of the site is well balanced with facts. Comparisons between the U.S., the U.K, and Japan provide interesting contrasts in resource usage between nations.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), natural resources (59), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Fire up the projector or interactive whiteboard to use this site when beginning a unit on natural resources, agriculture, environment, green living, or cultural comparisons. Ask your students to research other items that might be included in the comparison besides newspapers, potatoes, gas, etc. Have them make charts or online presentations to display consumption information in a similar fashion. Save this site in your favorites to use for Earth Day.
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Breathing Earth - David Bleja

Grades
3 to 12
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SEE the relative contributions to carbon dioxide emissions country by country. Students roll the mouse over countries on a flattened world map to see what the carbon dioxide emission...more
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SEE the relative contributions to carbon dioxide emissions country by country. Students roll the mouse over countries on a flattened world map to see what the carbon dioxide emission of each. The featured country's pertinent facts pop up, including emissions, populations, and birth/death rates. Countries are color-coded to indicate rates of carbon dioxide emissions. The pop-ups of births and deaths are fascinating (they occur in real-time). The bottom of the site includes a detailed legend; be sure to check it out. Note that spelling is Australian ("tonnes" vs "tons"). You can turn off the audio at the lower left. This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): carbon (21), carbon dioxide (17), carbon footprint (11), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317)

In the Classroom

This site has countless uses in the classroom of various grade levels. Share this site on a projector or interactive whiteboard. With younger classes, use this map to teach about map legends. Use this when studying ecosystems, environmental issues, economics, current events, world birth and death rates, pollution problems, and conservation. Leave the site open for a few hours for students to see the changes. This site is an excellent resource for research projects on countries throughout the world.
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All of Inflation's Little Parts - The New York Times

Grades
7 to 12
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what...more
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As the saying goes, "It's the economy, stupid." The US economy continues to be an important talking point. Some report that the country is already slipping into recession, but what does that mean? This graphic, designed by the New York Times, is the kind of visual presentation that can really help put this discussion into perspective. Presented as an amped-up version of the traditional pie chart, the chart shows what percentage of the average consumer's spending is devoted to everything from cable TV to gas to fast food to postage. The graphic also shows the relative increase or decrease in that cost over the past year. For example, students may enjoy seeing the comparison between money spent on men's clothing versus that spent on women's clothing, with additional comparative data on shoes, accessories, and children's clothes! This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

In the Classroom

This relatively simple graphic has a very wide variety of possible applications. If you teach personal finance and budgeting, students can use this chart to compare the average American's spending with their own. If you teach economics, the fact that the items that have increased the most in the past year are gasoline, fuel oil, firewood, and eggs (OK, eggs?) will bear out the impact of the rise in the cost of crude oil and the chaos in the middle east. If you teach civics or government, you can show how the changes in the economy affect what citizens want from their politicians. If you teach math, the graphic's real-life data could be used as a basis for computation and problem solving. Because it's Flash-enabled, the "mouse over" effects and the ability to zoom in and out to see greater detail (how much does the average American spends on ham versus turkey? It's on there!). This site would work well on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
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Smog City 2 - U.S. EPA and Sacramento Air Quality Management District

Grades
5 to 12
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you...more
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Use this interactive air pollution simulation to learn about the effects of particulates, ozone, and individual choices on air pollution. The Create Your Own section allows you to test cause and effect of different factors in a controlled setting. Although the option to download the simulator is offered, it runs just fine in its online version. The site's disclaimer explains that the complex relationships between environmental factors have been simplified for this simulator, but the processes are still representative of the "real world" factors. This is a MUST for Earth Day!

This site is powerful and therefore may take some extra time to load - so prepare ahead! This site requires Flash. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): air (163), earth (228), earth day (112), environment (317), pollution (66)

In the Classroom

Younger students would benefit from a teacher-centered introduction on the simulator (using your interactive whiteboard or projector), followed by directed explorations to find specific answers to teacher questions. Older students can determine the most important factors in air pollution and explore means to solve the problem as part of a health, social studies, science, or government class. Have your students present their finding on an interactive whiteboard or projector.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Climate Chaos - BBC

Grades
4 to 10
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must...more
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One word describes this all-encompassing website: amazing! If you are teaching students about global warming, climates, types of energy, recycling or any other "green" topic - you must visit this website. At the website you will find interactive activities and games, guides and information about numerous topics, quizzes, votes, and chats! This site is frequently updated. Some of the activities require FLASH. Get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (228), earth day (112), energy (197), recycling (57)

In the Classroom

Share this one on an interactive whiteboard or projector to help your students to understand the effects of global warming. Include the link on your teacher web page as you study weather, climate, and environmental concerns. This site would also make a great "scavenger hunt" for students to learn the basics about global warming. Ask each to write some questions for the hunt, then have the whole class try it! Have cooperative learning groups explore various facets of this site and create a multi-media presentation.
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