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Forces of Nature

Grades
4 to 12
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Learn about tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes with this comprehensive site. View images, articles, and videos to learn more about how they form, the power they have,...more
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Learn about tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and earthquakes with this comprehensive site. View images, articles, and videos to learn more about how they form, the power they have, and the destruction they cause. View safety tips and helpful information. There are also links to interactive activities (such as "Spin Off your Own Hurricane").

tag(s): earth (229), earthquakes (50), hurricanes (40), tornadoes (17), volcanoes (66)

In the Classroom

Use this site for students to create awareness sheets that may help the public in the event of a natural disaster. Students can also create public service announcements to help the public. Evaluate the school and community emergency preparedness plan using the information about these forces of nature. Use the information to create a sample emergency kit that all households should have in case of emergency. Make it a multimedia project by having students create online books using a tool such as Bookemon, reviewed here, to create an informative book about the weather phenomenon that they studied.
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The Futures Channel: Real World Movies - The Futures Channel

Grades
4 to 12
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Looking to show math, science, and STEM in real life? Look no further! This site has real world applications in video form. The clips tend to be five minutes or ...more
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Looking to show math, science, and STEM in real life? Look no further! This site has real world applications in video form. The clips tend to be five minutes or less. Videos are arranged into topic areas such as architecture, sports and many others. Learn about bicycle design, wind sails, recycling, creating an advertising team, and MUCH more. It is a good collection of video clips focused on the real math and science behind jobs that people do in real life.

tag(s): agriculture (58), architecture (84), business (58), environment (321), sports (98), STEM (164), transportation (41)

In the Classroom

The clips are brief which makes them ideal for introductions to math lessons or science lessons utilizing the interactive whiteboard or projector. Also, a lesson could be developed in math showing students what a clip of math in a real world movie looks like, and then have students use research to create their own short video clips. Share the videos using a tool such as Teachers.TV reviewed here.
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Data.gov - USA.gov

Grades
9 to 12
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View data sets to determine trends in data. Enhance critical thinking skills and analysis by choosing "Raw data." See the "Tool Catalog" for access to widgets and data mining tools,...more
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View data sets to determine trends in data. Enhance critical thinking skills and analysis by choosing "Raw data." See the "Tool Catalog" for access to widgets and data mining tools, or "GeoData" to determine trends, ask questions about these trends, and search for answers. As you teach about data manipulation in math class, use "real world" examples that students will find interesting. A tutorial on using the data is provided. Search the database by search term, file type, or category as well as the state and local level. Either view data or download for later analysis. Be sure to check the Data Policy on the site for citing and using data set information and the other sections including an FAQ section that is very helpful. Looking for data sets that you can't find? Suggest them to Data.gov for consideration.

tag(s): data (150), statistics (124)

In the Classroom

Demonstrate this site (or the portions useful in your classroom) on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use data related to population such as birth, death, marriage, etc. as well as other social data such as energy and utilities and education. As you teach about data manipulation in math class, use "real world" examples that students will find interesting. Geodata includes data sets such as Biology and Geology, political boundaries, and Atmosphere and climate. As a problem solving activity, allow students to access any data of interest, develop a useful graph, and create a statement or set of questions about the data. Looking for an online graphing tool? Check out Chartgo (reviewed here). Students should develop reasonable hypotheses about the data, find relevant information that leads to further understanding, and potential solutions for understanding the problem. Class discussions can lead to the complexity of most problems and associated issues. Students can create elevator pitches that propose solutions or reasons to be concerned about issues or related blog posts that follow the conversations about the data. Create a dialogue with scientists, government officials, or other experts in understanding data, issues, and solutions. Use data as evidence for debates.

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When Weather Changed History - The Weather Channel

Grades
4 to 12
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Weather's impact on the course of history sometimes goes unnoticed. A heat wave brings about public policy change; a hurricane alerts the public to the need for better planning and...more
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Weather's impact on the course of history sometimes goes unnoticed. A heat wave brings about public policy change; a hurricane alerts the public to the need for better planning and an improved safety net; a father of our country dies due to extreme weather. This collection of full episodes and a few with shorter "preview" clips from the Weather Channel's regular series is ideal for use in the classroom to help students make connections between climate, geography, and history. The collection includes more obvious events such as Hurricane Katrina as well as numerous others: heat waves, George Washington, the Hindenburg, American colonial times, Nagasaki, D-Day, the Dust Bowl, smog, the Titanic, the Nome Serum Run and the green movement in the wake of tornado devastation. The video makes the events more real while the narration places then in context.

tag(s): climate (91), disasters (40), weather (197)

In the Classroom

Share one or more clips (selected from a full episode) on a projector or interactive whiteboard as part of your study of a time period in history or assign students to research different events, asking them to answer big questions such as, "What role does climate play in a community's growth and government?" or "What might have happened if the weather had been different on this day?" Have students write a blog post as an eyewitness to the events or create a class wiki on the impact of geography, climate, and other "earthly" factors on the decisions that humans make. Create one wiki page per event and assign small groups to write the pages as newspaper articles at the time and another page using historical perspective. Don't forget to add mock news pages about what might have happened if the weather had been different! Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. The same assignment could also be done on video as a series of podcast "news" stories. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).

Use these videos as part of your science study of weather so students relate the hard data to human events. Have students use a multi-angle approach using both scientific data and human data about the event to create a weather wiki or multimedia project such as mock interviews at the time of the event and ten years later.
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Study Stack - John Weidner

Grades
4 to 12
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests...more
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This site is filled with study tools to help students learn information in a variety of subject areas. Stacks of topics related to geography, history, math, languages, medical, tests (SAT, ACT, etc.), science and more are linked with collections of learning tools that include virtual study cards, matching games, word search puzzles, and hangman games. There really is something here for nearly all subject areas and grade levels! Students can select the tool that works best for them and work at their own pace until they are satisfied with their progress. If you can't find a stack to fit your needs, you can edit existing lists or create customized study stacks. The site also allows you to print out study cards, or export flash cards to study them via cell phones, PDA, or iPod. Email the stacks to peers or connect with Study Stack through Facebook. Some of the activities require Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): flash cards (45), greek (41), hebrew (20), latin (22), test prep (96), vocabulary (323)

In the Classroom

Encourage parents to use this site as a study-at-home tool for their students. Link your blog or website to this site by entering your url at the bottom of the homepage. Make sure your guidance counselor at your school is aware of this site as a tool for studying those college entrance tests. Be sure to save this site in your favorites.

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Science News for Students - Society for Science and the Public

Grades
3 to 12
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Kid-friendly science articles to intrigue all ages fill this freshly-redesigned site. Browse menus for illustrated news articles on "Inventions & Innovations," "Space," "Culture," "Body...more
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Kid-friendly science articles to intrigue all ages fill this freshly-redesigned site. Browse menus for illustrated news articles on "Inventions & Innovations," "Space," "Culture," "Body & Brain" or "Technology." A featured articles and "in the news" items make a big splash across the top of the home page to draw interest. Many articles list "POWER WORDS" at the end, highlighting terms and definitions used within that article. The page layouts and whitespace make the online articles uncluttered and legible. The site has reorganized into a structure that roughly parallels school curriculum, so it is even easier to find articles connected to specific science areas.

tag(s): agriculture (58), animals (292), computers (99), dinosaurs (54), engineering (130), environment (321), news (263), nutrition (153), weather (197)

In the Classroom

Use Science News for Kids as a great reading and reporting assignment. Weaker readers will need a reading buddy for some of the more challenging article. Classes in lower grades will want to read the articles together. A quick check on one article using Juicy Studio's Readability test, reviewed here, provided an approximate grade level of 6.5. Check articles before assigning to elementary students. Students can find an article of interest to read, summarize, and report to the class as part of a Science in My World unit or regular science current events activity. Have students create commercials about their topics. Video and share using a site such as SchoolTube, reviewed here. Students can use these news articles to find additional relevant information on the internet. Students may find these topics to be great independent study topics. Teach reading comprehension using these factual articles on your interactive whiteboard, asking students to highlight key words and generate a "main idea" sentence using them. Articles offer ideal practice for informational reading questions on high-stakes reading tests.

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Teaching with Historic Places - National Park Service

Grades
4 to 12
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Do you have trouble finding suitable sites to teach state history for YOUR state? This site includes more than 130 "ready to go" lesson plans organized by state. You can ...more
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Do you have trouble finding suitable sites to teach state history for YOUR state? This site includes more than 130 "ready to go" lesson plans organized by state. You can also view the collection by states, social studies standards, U.S. History standards, specific skills, time period, or topic. This resource was pulled together by the National Park service. The specific topics vary from America's Space Program to Skagway: Gateway to the Klondike to Brown v. Board of Education to The Trail of Tears to Pearl Harbor to Lewis and Clark to the construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and countless others. Check out what it highlights for your state.

tag(s): cities (26), inventors and inventions (94), landmarks (27), maps (292), states (165)

In the Classroom

Search for your state and see what this site has to offer. Looking for a specific topic (i.e. Civil War or Pearl Harbor), search using topics. Take advantage of these ready to go lesson plans. Infuse your lessons with technology by creating a class wiki about the lesson/topic being discussed. Maybe make a wiki guidebook to your state. Not comfortable with wikis? Have no wiki worries - check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through. Save this site in your favorites, and check back as you plan throughout the year.

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All my faves - All my faves

Grades
4 to 12
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Not sure what sites exist for your topic? Start here and find sites listed by icon for Art, Encyclopedia, History, Languages, Science, Writing skills, Music, and numerous other topics....more
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Not sure what sites exist for your topic? Start here and find sites listed by icon for Art, Encyclopedia, History, Languages, Science, Writing skills, Music, and numerous other topics. Whether you are searching for research information, enrichment, or tutorials - check out this site. Notice that TeachersFirst is among the "faves" for teaching!

tag(s): dictionaries (57), literature (271)

In the Classroom

Why search for these sites, when the links can all be found in one place? Use this site in combination with TeachersFirst's rich reviews. Students can use these links as a springboard to research and projects. Be sure to save this site in your personal favorites! There is a lot to explore. List this site on your class website and/or wiki for students to access both in and out of the classroom.

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Solar Symphony Game: Sounds of the Solar System - Discovery Channel

Grades
3 to 12
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This visually exciting site offers both background information on the planets and a unique way for students to remember the order of the planets. To play the game, students hit ...more
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This visually exciting site offers both background information on the planets and a unique way for students to remember the order of the planets. To play the game, students hit the letter key that corresponds to the beginning letter of the planet name whenever the planet, rotating around the sun, hits the "hot zone." The music, flashing lights, planetary movement, and other effects make this activity extremely engaging. Students will love the excitement of this game so much they will not even know they are learning something! This site is up to date (Pluto is not included). Gustav Holst's famous composition, The Planets serves as the musical accompaniment! The site has some minor advertisements.

tag(s): planets (126), solar system (119)

In the Classroom

Share HOW to use this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students try out the site on individual computers. Make sure you provide headsets! Be sure to list this site on your class website, blog, or wiki for students to use as a review for their study of planet names, solar system planet order, and speed of rotation. Music teachers can use this site as an example of musical description as students explore the planets. Be sure to turn up the speakers!
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ePals - ePals, Inc.

Grades
2 to 12
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ePals, a global community, offers students the chance to connect with other students around the world (200+ countries). The free student email feature is one of the most useful features...more
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ePals, a global community, offers students the chance to connect with other students around the world (200+ countries). The free student email feature is one of the most useful features of ePals, since complete teacher moderation is available. You may be able to convince a more conservative school administration to permit student email using this tool. This site is the largest worldwide community for global collaboration. Don't worry about the language barrier, there is built-in language translation! This content-rich site also offers lessons, interactives, printables, and more. The "Focus Areas" include Biodiversity, Black History, Election/Inauguration, Geography Central, and Human Rights. In addition, you can click on the "Projects" link to find several ready to use projects (Habitats, Maps, Natural Disasters, Water, and others). Click on "ePals Tour" to view an informative video clip about the site, downloadable brochures, and more.

tag(s): black history (59), disasters (40), environment (321), habitats (85), maps (292), natural disasters (19), water (130)

In the Classroom

Navigating this site is rather simple. Simply click on one of the tabs across the top of the website: Home, Focus Areas, Projects, Connect, Forums, How-To, and ePal Tours. Parts of this site require log-in. Registration does require an email address. The site does offer SchoolMail, the leader for FREE "kid-safe" email.

A lot of safety features are already put into place at this site. The SchoolMail (email service offered at this site) offers monitored mail, instant translations, spell-check, anti-spam filters, and virus protection. To learn more about the safety features at this site, check out the ePals Tour link.

This site offers an amazing assortment of class activities and possibilities. Collaborate with schools in Africa (or 200 other countries) for a geography project. Have your students find ePals to correspond with and practice writing skills in English or in a language you are studying. Use the ready to go lessons and interactives at the "Focus Areas" and "Projects" links. Get additional ideas for projects, by visiting the "Projects" link or propose one of your own based on ideas from TeachersFirst suggestions you read in other reviews, lesson plans, and articles. After viewing one of the informative videos, challenge your students to study one of the topics available at this site and create their own videos. Use a tool such as TeachersTube, to share the video clips, reviewed here.

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Mission H2O - Savewater

Grades
4 to 12
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Use this free game to identify how water is wasted and can be conserved in the home. Click Play Now to start the activity. This is part of a competition ...more
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Use this free game to identify how water is wasted and can be conserved in the home. Click Play Now to start the activity. This is part of a competition (that ends May 29, 2009). But the activities can be done without entering the contest. Choose from 8 rooms or places in the house that are identified by icons along the bottom and that portion pops-up. Click on the information areas designated with an "i" to view information about water use and conservation. Underneath each room, is an opportunity to play the game to save the family water. Many of the games are just for fun, but the whole experience is engaging. As this site originates in Australia, remember that many of the units of measure are different from ours.

tag(s): conservation (125), earth (229), earth day (111), water (130)

In the Classroom

Share this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students move through the rooms and take notes on conservation ideas and statistics. Students can use these notes to create a pamphlet on water conservation or a project that can be posted on a wiki. Do you want to learn more about wikis? Check out the TeachersFirst's Wiki Walk-Through.

Alternatively, post writing prompts that can be answered in a journal or a blog post about the thoughts, problems, and reasons for conserving. Students can analyze water usage in their homes or community and create suggestions or write a letter to the editor of the local paper or to local officials in favor of conservation.
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The Story of Stuff - Annie Leonard and Free Range Studios

Grades
6 to 12
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Watch the story of stuff movie, an interactive 20-minute video about where our stuff comes from and the effects of consumption on our society. Use the tabs along the top ...more
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Watch the story of stuff movie, an interactive 20-minute video about where our stuff comes from and the effects of consumption on our society. Use the tabs along the top of the video to skip around to the specific chapters or click a link for more information about the topic. Play the video from the site or download to your computer. Other downloads include posters and related items. Subscribe to the blog and receive updates and new information. If your district blocks YouTube, the video may not be viewable. You could always view the video at home and bring it to class "on a stick" to share. Use a tool such as Freemake Video Converter, reviewed here, to download the video from YouTube.

tag(s): earth (229), earth day (111), environment (321), resources (109)

In the Classroom

The most difficult aspect in learning about the environment is understanding how the "stuff we use" impacts more than students can imagine. Use this thought-provoking movie to stimulate class discussions, get students thinking, and create awareness. Students can take aspects of the video and do group research of additional information needed to understand. Students can also create awareness campaigns, poll friends and families, blog, or create other multimedia articles. Looking for some creative multimedia options? How about having students create public service message podcasts ("Stop! Where do you think that ___ came from?") using a tool such as podOmatic, reviewed here. Or create videos and share them using SchoolTube, reviewed here.

Students can research the origins of many popular items in their lives, tracing the materials used and the resources needed to create and transport the materials and the product. Students can create a Google map or Click2Map, reviewed here, showing the movement of materials throughout the world from resource to send product to consumer.
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Rainforest - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 10
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for the Rainforest. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Rainforest-related...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for the Rainforest. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Rainforest-related vocabulary words. You will also find 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): environment (321)

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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USA Today Interactive Weather Graphics - USA Today

Grades
2 to 12
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This site has an expanding group of interactive weather graphics for those weather anomalies students like to explore. Clicking on a specific weather situation takes you to a page with...more
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This site has an expanding group of interactive weather graphics for those weather anomalies students like to explore. Clicking on a specific weather situation takes you to a page with a text explanation as well as a graphic that you can manipulate. See the seasons, fall foliage, tornado formations, lake effect snow causes, how winter storms bring rain, ice, and snow, atmospheric optics (rainbows, sun dogs, sun pillars, and halos), global warming, the landscape of natural disasters, a hurricane in action, and more. The topics range from simple weather to more complex topics for older students. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): disasters (40), fall (15), seasons (38), weather (197)

In the Classroom

Use this site as you discuss tornado warnings with your class or when a hurricane is looming nearby. Use it also when classes study geography or meteorology. Project the interactive portions on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have cooperative learning groups explore one of the topics and present a multi-media or web presentation about it: a wiki page with embedded video examples or a simple interactive book using a tool such as Bookemon (reviewed here).
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Search - Community Gardens Page

Grades
1 to 12
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More a project than a lesson, this site offers a very complete guide to planning a community garden. Though not specifically designed for school settings, the steps and procedures would...more
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More a project than a lesson, this site offers a very complete guide to planning a community garden. Though not specifically designed for school settings, the steps and procedures would be a great guide for a class or school interested in developing its own garden. Depending on your local climate, this could be a full-year or summer project.

tag(s): earth day (111)

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Winter Weather - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 12
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Brr.. it is cold outside! This site is all about winter weather: arctic, blizzard, freezing, frost. Are you feeling cold yet? Come to this site to find several interactive puzzles,...more
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Brr.. it is cold outside! This site is all about winter weather: arctic, blizzard, freezing, frost. Are you feeling cold yet? Come to this site to find several interactive puzzles, a wordbank of 30+ vocabulary words, discussion questions, an alphalary of winter weather terms, some basic wintry fact, and more. Many of the activities are able to be printed FREE of charge. This site does have some basic advertisements.

tag(s): vocabulary (323), weather (197)

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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Earth Day - Myvocabulary.com

Grades
4 to 10
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Earth Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Earth Day vocabulary...more
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As part of their extensive site for vocabulary, roots, and more, MyVocabulary.com has added a themed area for Earth Day. Find interactive vocabulary activities using Earth Day vocabulary words. You will also find 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): earth (229), earth day (111), vocabulary (323)

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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Freecycle - The Freecycle Network

Grades
K to 12
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Need a bookcase or rug for your classroom or home office area? Perhaps you have extra, personally-purchased classroom supplies that you no longer use. There is a solution to both ...more
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Need a bookcase or rug for your classroom or home office area? Perhaps you have extra, personally-purchased classroom supplies that you no longer use. There is a solution to both dilemmas--Freecycle! Check this site to see if there is a local Freecycle group in your area. With 4,336 groups and growing, there's a good chance one is in your neighborhood. Twenty five states currently have participants. This grassroots, non-profit network's aim is to get unused 'stuff' into the hands of someone who can use it, and most importantly, they want to keep it out of our clogged landfills. Teachers are the most resourceful people on earth, and Freecycle is here to help fuel that creditable reputation. Membership is free -check it out!

tag(s): earth (229), earth day (111), environment (321)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your class as an idea for Earth Day or being "green." Encourage your school service club or student council to consider launching a Freecycle project. Be sure to list the link on your class website, so parents can freecycle too.

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Dr. E's Energy Lab - U. S. Department of Energy

Grades
2 to 12
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If you have any hesitation that students think energy is 'uncool,' think again. Tinker Bell delights the younger students with her short video clips about energy. They will spend oodles...more
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If you have any hesitation that students think energy is 'uncool,' think again. Tinker Bell delights the younger students with her short video clips about energy. They will spend oodles of time exploring the many facets of this site. Click on the various types of energy from the homepage to start the exploration. Interactives, lesson plans, crafts, printable sheets, and tons of information that we all need to know to survive on this planet is handily available here. The Game link includes "Funergy," "Energy Quest," and more! Visit the Teacher's link to find over 350 lesson plans and activities (with standards). The activities are divided into three levels (grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12). While some of the Dr. E's activities look like they are intended for a young audience, don't be fooled. Heavy information for the high school student is housed behind the "cutesy" cover. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): earth (229), earth day (111), energy (203), solar energy (39)

In the Classroom

If energy is a subject you teach in your classroom, there are several pages at this site that would work well on a projector or interactive whiteboard. You will want to explore on your own to find all the teaching materials and activities, since there is SO much information. Share this site on your teacher web page during your energy unit, since many activities can include parents, as well. The alternative fuels, renewable energy, and conservation sections are also ideal for Earth Day activities. Have students use this site to research energy. Why not have students create blog entries demonstrating their knowledge?
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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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 (146), earth (229), earth day (111), environment (321), pollution (65)

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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