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Access, Analyze, Act: From Economic Theory to Financial Reality - PBS

Grades
9 to 12
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This series of lesson plans and accompanying resources (don't overlook the right side menu!), addresses economic theory in ways that will help students translate theory into concrete...more
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This series of lesson plans and accompanying resources (don't overlook the right side menu!), addresses economic theory in ways that will help students translate theory into concrete reality. Each lesson plan incorporates a case study, and there are introductory video clips, and interactive content for each. Sample topics like health care, unemployment, labor, imports and exports, and general economic theory.

In the Classroom

This really is a "one stop shop" for lessons on economics. Take time to dig deeply through the resources provided. There are video clips narrated by PBS commentators, interactive resources for use on an interactive whiteboard or projector, an economics glossary (with a widget for your class homepage that allows students to access the glossary directly), podcasts and audio content, and links to further resources. Challenge students to create their own multimedia explanations of key concepts using GlogsterEDU reviewed here, or a concept map created using webspiration reviewed here.
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PolitiFact: Sorting out the truth in politics - St. Petersburg Times

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6 to 12
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate ...more
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Politicians are legendary for their ability to "spin" or manipulate the facts in their own favor. This site seeks to cut through the jargon and the partisan spin to evaluate statements made by politicians, using their "Truth-o-Meter." Although the interface is light-hearted (using a scale that runs from True, Barely True, False, and "Pants on Fire"), the facts are well researched and presented.

tag(s): advertising (33), elections (75), politics (99)

In the Classroom

This site is a great resource for students researching politicians and their viewpoints. If you're sponsoring a class debate, keep the site handy for each side to check the assertions of their opponents. When students have questions about the content of political advertising, for example, refer them here to find out more. As an assignment, consider having the class pick a political ad, and using the information on this site, write about how the creator of the ad selected the facts that would best portray the viewpoint of the candidate. They could share their critique on a class wiki or on a classroom bulletin board. Have groups create a "mythbuster" political poster on ThingLink, reviewed here.

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Congress.org - C-Q Roll Call, Inc

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9 to 12
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The...more
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Congress.org is a product of the larger group of news publications that include Congressional Quarterly and Roll Call, both long-time sources of news about Washington politics. The site collects news stories, letters to congress and statements from political advocacy groups in one place for the reader to survey. The site is as non-partisan as possible, and it's possible you will find links to statements from the National Rifle Association next to those from the the Society of Friends. There is also a running accounting of recent votes in Congress for those trying to keep up with current legislation. Be aware, however, that one portion of the site includes letters to Members of Congress written by subscribers; previewing in advance is advised.

tag(s): congress (33), elections (75), house of representatives (9), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Consider placing this site on your class web page for students to use in researching political viewpoints, both in relation to upcoming elections and in ongoing political debate. It's a site for true politics junkies, but will be useful for those who are looking for concise information collected in a readable, easy-to-access format. Use the site during your study of the legislative branch and have groups follow congressional groups of individuals, creating a timeline of their activities using a tool such as XTimeline, reviewed here or Dipity, reviewed here. Embed the congressional timelines in your class wiki for students to compare and critique or to trace an incumbent's activities during an election cycle.

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Recovery.gov - US Government

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9 to 12
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Much has been made about the federal government's commitment to make the fruits of the economic Recovery Act transparent; this site represents that transparency. This site has lots...more
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Much has been made about the federal government's commitment to make the fruits of the economic Recovery Act transparent; this site represents that transparency. This site has lots of boxes and charts. There is a wealth of data here, however, and that may be its greatest strength. Where has the money gone? Track it geographically, track it by category, track as tax relief, track it as job creation, track it by source, track it by grant versus loan versus contract.

tag(s): data (148)

In the Classroom

While students themselves may not be searching for jobs funded by the Recovery Act, the site can answer questions about local uses of Recovery Act money. Use this site as a rich source of real data that can be used to teach about reading charts and graphs, analyzing information and making inferences from that information, and as a prime example of the responsibilities of citizens to see where their tax dollars are going. Groups of students might tackle a particular slant on the Recovery Act and report their findings. Follow up with a class-generated letter to a local legislator about their findings as a writing intensive addition to a largely numbers driven lesson. Or have your students create interactive online posters ("glogs") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here to share with the class.
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Budget Simulator - Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

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8 to 12
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So often we hear impassioned cries for causes that deserve more governmental funding. At the same time, we know that the government already spends more money than it has. A ...more
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So often we hear impassioned cries for causes that deserve more governmental funding. At the same time, we know that the government already spends more money than it has. A balanced federal budget seems little more than a fantasy. Do students think they can do better? This simulation exercise (it's too important a topic to refer to as a game), guides students through the difficult choices our governments needs to make if it is to balance the federal government. Cut the military? Cut healthcare spending? Cut services for the needy? Once you've made the choices, the simulator will deliver the outcome: were you able to balance the budget by cutting over $1.3 billion in spending?

tag(s): politics (99)

In the Classroom

This would make a wonderful class team competition. Consider dividing the class into groups, or even pitting different sections of the same course against each other. Encourage the students not to breeze through the choices too quickly. The site might be useful for mature younger students if they have the attention span required to make careful and reasoned choices. Another option is to complete this activity as a class on an interactive whiteboard or projector.

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Open Congress - Participatory Politics Foundation

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8 to 12
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While there are whole television networks calling themselves the best political insiders, you still hear what THEY think is important. This site lets you explore the legislative process...more
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While there are whole television networks calling themselves the best political insiders, you still hear what THEY think is important. This site lets you explore the legislative process on your own. Start with the ticker tape style accounting of what's happening in Congress today. Read the blog from the site's administrator. You can focus on a particular state, a particular legislator, or a bill topic. If there is a bill topic you are interested in, click on "The Money Trail" and see which congress person has received the most donations from interested lobbying group. Finally, click on "The Battle Royale" and get a temperature reading on which topics are generating the most interest both IN Congress and within the community following things on the site. There is a LOT of information here, and it's presented in an intuitive and easy to access way.

You should be aware, however, that the site includes a wiki. It allows you to create an account to organize the information you're following, and encourages you to "vote" on bills. Check your school's policies for having students participate in this kind of activity, or create a class account and use that function as a group activity.

tag(s): congress (33), house of representatives (9), politics (99), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Bookmark this site in your favorites for students as a place to do their own research on all things Congressional. Groups of students in a current events, government, or modern history class could research a bill, a legislator, or the process of passing legislation itself. This site will take them way past "I'm Just A Bill..." from Schoolhouse Rock. Have cooperative learning groups research a topic and create a multimedia presentation such as a podcast using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

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Guzzle - Lemonchick

Grades
8 to 12
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This news aggregator allows you to select whatever news topics you would like to see displayed. You can choose either to see just the headlines or the headline and its ...more
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This news aggregator allows you to select whatever news topics you would like to see displayed. You can choose either to see just the headlines or the headline and its news source before you read. After customizing the pages, you can click to see a page showing just the items you would like to read. When you mouse over the headline, you can see the first sentence or so of the selected news item before clicking to get it in entirety. Clicking on the headline sends you directly to the original source newspaper. Once linked to the original newspaper, you have the option to search other articles at that source as well.

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

In the Classroom

This site is excellent for enrichment, research, or a current events class. Include it on your class web page for students to access both in and out of class. Have students try out this site on individual computers, or as a learning center. This site is ideal for an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have the students open the site and use the whiteboard tools to set up a class selected news offering for each day.

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Fall 2010 Symposium: The Space Program and Beyond - Lou Frey Institute

Grades
9 to 12
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Watch a live webcast of a symposium on the future of the U.S. Space Program with keynote speaker U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, held on September 27, 2010. These archived webcasts ...more
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Watch a live webcast of a symposium on the future of the U.S. Space Program with keynote speaker U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, held on September 27, 2010. These archived webcasts include topics such as the role of high technology industries, the future of the space program in Florida and across the globe, and student Q/A periods. Although the focus of the symposium is on Florida, many of the topics extend nationally and internationally. The videos do not include a program guide, unfortunately.

tag(s): space (205)

In the Classroom

Share portions of this program in your government/civics classes as an example of the congressional funding/policy process and its impact on economics, scientific development, and more. Assign student groups to trace a single aspect of the space program and its impact on state/local economics, employment, science, and more. Have students create an visual presentation on the impact of a government program using a tool such as GlogsterEDU, reviewed here or stage a debate on the pros and cons of eliminating the space program altogether.

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- Lessonopoly: Science of NFL Football - NBC Learn and National Science Foundation

Grades
5 to 10
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Find great videos featuring the best football players and trainers in the NFL to learn science through the lens of football. THis content was moved from its original home on ...more
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Find great videos featuring the best football players and trainers in the NFL to learn science through the lens of football. THis content was moved from its original home on Lessonopoly to hosting on Gooru. Open the folder to view lesson materials and videos. Choose various science topics such as "Vectors," "Nutrition, Hydration, and Health," and "Projectile Motion and Parabolas" to name a few. View a short video of the concept and click the links to other resources that can be used to learn more about that particular topic. Choose to view and print the lesson plans using a printer friendly option or download as a pdf. Find practice worksheets, teacher keys, quizzes, and other activities. Note that NBC Learn's own video site is usually a fee-based, but this particular collection, hosted on Gooru, is free.

tag(s): sports (97), vectors (25)

In the Classroom

Bring science to life with these great resources. Use the video to pique student interest in the topic and use the lesson plans to really understand the concept to apply to other areas. Use the vectors to understand how science and quarterback throws are related. Follow the lesson plan using the video and the activities. Follow up with actual football throws in the school yard. Measure distances and angles to create data to analyze as groups or a class. Consider creating your own video or slidecast of explanations using students as the stars of the show explaining the concept. Invite Math classes to use your data for their understanding of Vectors as well. Brainstorm other sports where this science concept is also used.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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The 50 Worst Inventions - Time Magazine

Grades
4 to 12
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We all know inventions that have changed and improved the world, but what are some of the worst ideas that just never worked out? Time Magazine offers their insight into ...more
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We all know inventions that have changed and improved the world, but what are some of the worst ideas that just never worked out? Time Magazine offers their insight into the 50 worst inventions. This slideshow takes the viewer through some ideas that never got off the ground or never found their way into America's heart - popup ads, Snuggie for dogs, pay toilets, NEW Coke, and more all hold a spot on the top 50. The slideshow can be viewed screen by screen, or the viewer can see the entire list.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Challenge students to create a list of useless inventions or to invent one of their own. Display the slide show on your interactive whiteboard or projector and discuss if students agree with a product's placement on the list. Generate a list of characteristics that would keep an invention OFF this list! Have students create commercials advertising their new product (or the one they researched). Challenge students to create a video commercial and share using a site such as SchoolTube (reviewed here). Write letters to the product's inventor to find out their feelings about being included on the list.

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Ayiti: The Cost of Life - Global Kids and Gamelab

Grades
5 to 12
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is ...more
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In this role playing activity, students must help the Guinard Family from Haiti receive an education and live a happy life. The activity takes place over four years and is divided into sixteen seasons. Students must assign roles to the family at the beginning of each season. As students complete the activity they must keep track of each family members statistics. Each member has statistics in the areas of Wellness, General health, Happiness, Emotional well-being, and Education. To win your family must survive for four years and the healthier and more educated your family is, the better you do in this activity.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115)

In the Classroom

Take your students on a virtual trip to Haiti by sharing this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. The site would work well for individual or pairs of students in a lab or on laptops. Have them record information in current event journals. At the end of the game have students prepare a short presentation using PowerPoint or an online tool like 280 Slides reviewed here to share with the class on how their family did.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Our Endangered Planet - Newsweek

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5 to 12
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Subtitled "100 Places to See before They Disappear," this page links readers to information about eroding spots all over the world. Clicking on different continents at the top of this...more
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Subtitled "100 Places to See before They Disappear," this page links readers to information about eroding spots all over the world. Clicking on different continents at the top of this page leads to a featured Newsweek article about an endangered geographical location on that continent which may or may not contain information about endangered species as well. Besides information on the cause of danger and a description of the current state of the location, the article contains hints at how the site could be saved. Users wishing to make comments on the articles can create a log in before being able to express their opinions. Causes of the endangerments include climactic change, misuse of resources, geographic switches, and the fragility of man's creations within the area. The site contains articles on 100 challenged locations and edifices.

tag(s): conservation (127), erosion (17)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an introduction to a specific continent when studying world geography. Suggest it to students as a research beginner when they are doing projects on conservation and the green movement.

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IndebtEd: We're Broke Let's Fix It - MTV Networks On Campus Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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This site has been created to help students become more aware of personal and governmental debt. Through interactives, videos, and articles this site will bring a greater understanding...more
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This site has been created to help students become more aware of personal and governmental debt. Through interactives, videos, and articles this site will bring a greater understanding of how debt effects individuals and the country. Videos by current stars will make this site an interesting one for students.

tag(s): money (193)

In the Classroom

Though this site is geared toward college students, it would be a great addition to any economics, math, or social studies class. Use the national debt clock to see how quickly we are accumulating debt and how much every individual is responsible for. Use an interactive whiteboard or projector and share the informational videos for the class to see. Have students journal a response to the videos. In groups have students read the government and people section and using a web 2.0 tool like Voki reviewed here have students choose a presidential figure to tell how they will solve the nation's debt problem. Place the link to the site on your class webpage so students can take the debt quiz or play the debt ski activity.
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Learn About Congress - Indiana University

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6 to 12
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The Indiana University Center on Congress has prepared a series of learning modules to teach students about the role, history, and responsibilities of the US Congress. Access each of...more
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The Indiana University Center on Congress has prepared a series of learning modules to teach students about the role, history, and responsibilities of the US Congress. Access each of the modules separately, or consider the summary module that incorporates the other, more in-depth modules. Each module functions as a popup, so be sure you have your popup blocker turner off.

tag(s): branches of government (48), congress (33)

In the Classroom

Use these mini lessons on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an introduction to the roles and responsibility of Congress in a history, civics, government or current events class. This could also be part of in-depth looks at all three branches of government. As an alternative, students can work independently or in small groups on these modules, and then report back to the class as a whole on what they've learned. Have groups create podcasts about Congress using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).
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Futurestates - Independent Television Service

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9 to 12
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You need to spend a large proportion of your time teaching concrete skills and concepts. But wrestling with the unknown "what ifs" of the future is also important in preparing ...more
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You need to spend a large proportion of your time teaching concrete skills and concepts. But wrestling with the unknown "what ifs" of the future is also important in preparing students for their lives as adults. This series of short films presents some of the most compelling "what ifs" about the future: What would happen if only the very wealthy could afford housing? What impact will immigration have? Will virtual reality become indistinguishable from true reality? While these short films (and the questions and discussions they might generate) may not fit neatly into any particular curriculum, they offer great value in helping young adults struggle with the possibilities of their future.

tag(s): computers (95), debate (41), environment (317), ethics (16), immigration (58), migration (59)

In the Classroom

These films would work well for a more unstructured gifted/talented seminar style class, a current issues class, or a Real Life 101-type class. Some may also be appropriate within an economics, biology, or environmental science curriculum. A civics class might debate the proper governmental role in resolving some of the dilemmas presented. Challenge students to create podcasts using a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here), describing other possible future "what ifs."
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Historypin - We Are What We Do

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4 to 12
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This is a site created in partnership with Google as a project to help generations share and talk more through social networking. The concept is that young people ask older ...more
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This is a site created in partnership with Google as a project to help generations share and talk more through social networking. The concept is that young people ask older people to share their photos; these photos are then uploaded through Google maps to show the world as it once was. The older pictures can be compared to today's images through Google street view. In addition to uploading photos, stories can also be shared about the time period and the pictures. Historypin is still in Beta stage; however, there are plans for events throughout the world to launch the site in the near future.

tag(s): cultures (105), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use as an enhancement to research projects of family, historic events, and world cultures by finding and uploading pictures to the map. Use Historypin as a resource to compare and contrast different time periods in the same geographic area. Demonstrate on the interactive whiteboard or projector how different places have changed over time. Have individual students or cooperative learning groups create podcasts using PodOmatic (reviewed here) to go along with the maps. ESL students will appreciate the ability to upload pictures and/or learn about their country of original.
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Climate Change - American Museum of Natural History

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4 to 12
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Looking for good condensed information about climate change. Use this resource to find some great information. Click on "Introduction" to view information about climate change indicators...more
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Looking for good condensed information about climate change. Use this resource to find some great information. Click on "Introduction" to view information about climate change indicators and facts from the past to the present. View changes that are occurring throughout the globe. Although this site is very "wordy," there is lots to explore! Click on the underlined vocabulary words to learn more about the definition and where to find more information about the topic.

tag(s): carbon (21), carbon dioxide (17), climate (92), climate change (64)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for some excellent background information. Search for more information on the Internet to determine facts and how these facts are used. Create Public Service Announcements outlining the key points. Create a campaign for making small changes in our lives that can add up to a big difference. Have students create multimedia presentations such as an interactive online poster ("glog") using Glogster EDU, reviewed here. Research alternative energy sources and create proposals for change within your district.
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Youth Leadership Initiative - Center for Politics - University of Virginia

Grades
3 to 12
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site...more
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This site is a civic education program that encourages students to be involved in the electoral and policy making process of the US government. Through interactive multimedia, the site offers technology-based civic education resources that foster long-term civic engagement. There are parts of this site that are available to non-members, while other features are "member only." Membership requires name of school, email, and address. Teachers and curriculum leaders can sign up for a free account, and approval takes 2 - 3 days. Once approved, you will have access to several multimedia rich content areas.

tag(s): congress (33), elections (75), senate (9)

In the Classroom

Use the site with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work in cooperative groups and take part in the mock congress. They will develop critical thinking and collaboration skills as they research, draft, and pass original legislation. Use the downloadable campaign simulation software (free), and have your students role play and run a senatorial campaign.
br> If you plan to have students register individually, you may want to create your own Gmail account with up to 20 subaccounts for each group of students (by code name or number) within your classes. Here is a blog post that tells how to set up GMail subaccounts to use for any online membership service.
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Archive It - Internet Archive

Grades
6 to 12
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This site keeps copies of web pages after they are no longer "live." Institutions and other large concerns can group their websites they want to keep together. Outsiders can search...more
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This site keeps copies of web pages after they are no longer "live." Institutions and other large concerns can group their websites they want to keep together. Outsiders can search for websites by viewing what others have saved in certain categories like "Public Collections," "Arts & Humanities," and "Science & Health," among many. A specific section of K-12 sites might be useful for teachers at these levels. But for larger research projects, there are lists that colleges and universities have saved as well.

In the Classroom

Use this site to compare info from older websites with the ones today. Ask your students to visit the site and create a multimedia presentation from the information they learn there. Have students compare an "inactive" site and a newer site (on the same topic) and then highlight the differences using the Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Alternatively, elicit ideas from your class about how websites have changed and then have the students take a look to see more differences. More advanced social studies classes can compare the historical perspective on events as recent as five years ago to see how points of view and presentation of information change over time.
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Teachable Moment - Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility

Grades
K to 12
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Teachable Moments provides lesson ideas and plans for "just in time" events happening around the world. All of the activities foster a positive classroom environment and focus on critical...more
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Teachable Moments provides lesson ideas and plans for "just in time" events happening around the world. All of the activities foster a positive classroom environment and focus on critical thinking. Lessons can be found for elementary, middle, and high school students. Lessons contain some combination of text, links, video, and audio. Some lesson plans available at the time of this review included Islam and Islamaphobia, Just How Broken is the Senate, and many others. All lessons are presented in a "standard" lesson plan format and provides the time needed for each portion of the lesson. The offerings can also help misinformed or alarmed students to better understand events in a context appropriate for their age, unlike the screaming headlines they may hear on the television or elsewhere on the web.

In the Classroom

This site will fit perfectly into any social studies, history, or current events class. Use the lessons to discuss important events that are happening right now. Several of the lessons have links to video so use them with an interactive whiteboard or projector. In addition to lessons on current events, use the essays and ideas on teaching strategies to improve your teaching skills. Teachers of gifted will appreciate this site to help their students who are often well beyond their years in their concern over news events.
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