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Google Maps - Google

Grades
1 to 12
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in...more
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Google Maps gives you live visuals of any location, ideal for planning a trip, picturing the relationship between places, and viewing physical characteristics of almost anywhere in the world. Type or paste in an address and click "search maps." If you click Satellite or hybrid versions of the map, you will see actual satellite images of the terrain. Zoom in and out, use the street view "orange man" to walk among the buildings and trees, or plan and share a route easily with Google Maps. Using your (free) Google membership allows you to save favorite places and more. Find businesses and other features near a specific map location: hotels, restaurants, schools, parks, and more. Google Maps has become more and more sophisticated, now offering many features previously only available in Google Earth, such as opening and/or saving placemarker files. Unlike Google Earth, Google Maps does not require software installation and does not use as much bandwidth for constant reloading. You can even play a tour of places you mark in Google Maps. They just keep adding more features! Google Maps is available as a free app for Android and iOS, too. The handy embed codes let you put any Google Map in a web page, blog, or wiki. Of course you do not need a membership or any special skills to simply SEE, share, or navigate a map. Membership gives you more ways to save.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (198), directions (20), maps (287)

In the Classroom

If you teach geography, this one's a must. It is also helpful for showing students WHERE a story or news event takes place. In lower grades, use it to show students basics of their community. Teach map skills by showing students their own community. Zoom in on their street or on the school. This site and its more sophisticated cousin, Google Earth, are great on an interactive whiteboard. Set up a class Google account (or use student accounts if permitted). Have students create their own custom route plans to tour historic sites. Challenge math students to plan the most economical route to visit several vacation destinations, including gas mileage and gas prices. Have students create placemarker files of the important places in the life of a famous person or the route traveled by a particular unit during the Civil War. Have student groups create placemarker files to show environmental sites, habitats, landforms, or anything you can place on a map. Embed projects in a class wiki using the handy embed code offered as a sharing option.

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American Museum of Natural History Learning Resources - The American Museum of Natural History

Grades
K to 12
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This site presents teachers with a searchable index of natural sciences resources contained within the museum's site. You can browse the web-sites, activities, and experiments by sub-topic,...more
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This site presents teachers with a searchable index of natural sciences resources contained within the museum's site. You can browse the web-sites, activities, and experiments by sub-topic, grade level, or resource type. Current subtopics include anthropology, astronomy, biology, earth science, and paleontology. Special collection exhibits present theme-based activities that cover additional topics such as Biodiversity, Antarctica, and deep sea explorations. This is a great site for sorting out all the wonderful resources the museum has to offer. There are over 1,000 resources currently available on countless subjects. Some of the resources require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): biodiversity (38), diversity (36), paleontology (41)

In the Classroom

When starting a new unit in social studies or science, take a minute to search the resources available at this website.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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The Chesapeake and Ohio Canal - National Park Service

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6 to 12
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This lesson from the National Park Service series "Teaching with Historic Places" describes the effort to build a canal connecting the Chesapeake Bay and the Ohio River. While the canal...more
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This lesson from the National Park Service series "Teaching with Historic Places" describes the effort to build a canal connecting the Chesapeake Bay and the Ohio River. While the canal never made it to Ohio, it served as an important route for commerce into western Maryland. This site uses maps and historic photos to tell the story of the canal's construction and its economic impact.

tag(s): maryland (8), transportation (40)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of the free lesson plans and activities hosted on this site! US history teachers and Geography teachers will enjoy this one - make sure to save it as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Life on a Maine Island - National Park Service

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6 to 12
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This lesson from the National Park Service series "Teaching with Historic Places" describes life on the shoreline islands of Maine during the nineteenth century. Using historical photos,...more
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This lesson from the National Park Service series "Teaching with Historic Places" describes life on the shoreline islands of Maine during the nineteenth century. Using historical photos, maps, and readings the lesson describes how islanders lived and governed themselves in isolation from their mainland friends. This site would be an interesting sidebar to a study of life in the nineteenth century.

tag(s): maine (4)

In the Classroom

Take advantage of this free lesson plan, thanks to the National Park Service! Just make sure to add the site as a favorite to allow for easy retrieval later on.

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Lewis & Clark Bicentennial - Time Magazine

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4 to 12
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By far the richest resource we've found on the topic, Time's treatment includes an interactive map, essays, journal excerpts, and photoessays. There are also maps showing the distribution...more
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By far the richest resource we've found on the topic, Time's treatment includes an interactive map, essays, journal excerpts, and photoessays. There are also maps showing the distribution of Native American tribes, then and now, and a list of recommended reading and web resources.

tag(s): jefferson (19), lewis and clark (15), louisiana (11), louisiana purchase (7)

In the Classroom

Use the interactive map as a supplemental resource during a lesson on the two explorers. Share the map on the interactive whiteboard or projector to show students the route the explorers took, as well as some of the terrain that hindered their travels. Great for a US history class!
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Lewis & Clark and the Revealing of America - Library of Congress

Grades
6 to 12
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This online exhibition site offers a glimpse of some of the many documents associated with the Lewis and Clark expedition, ranging from maps drawn by the explorers to Thomas Jefferson's...more
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This online exhibition site offers a glimpse of some of the many documents associated with the Lewis and Clark expedition, ranging from maps drawn by the explorers to Thomas Jefferson's secret cipher for sending coded messages. The text includes excerpts from the journals the explorers kept.

tag(s): jefferson (19), lewis and clark (15)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a lesson on Lewis and Clark and their travels. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing students to explore the site in cooperative learning groups on classroom computers. Have cooperative learning groups create podcasts demonstrating their understanding of one of the concepts. Use a site such as PodOmatic (reviewed here).Students can summarize their entire journey, or focus on one specific aspect, such as the explorers interactions with Native Americans. American history teachers will definitely be able to incorporate this one into their classroom.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Name the States - primarygames.com

Grades
1 to 3
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This is a simple state matching game suitable for primary students. Players match state outlines with their names, receiving correction or reinforcement as appropriate. Good site for...more
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This is a simple state matching game suitable for primary students. Players match state outlines with their names, receiving correction or reinforcement as appropriate. Good site for review of the states.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): states (162)

In the Classroom

Though the ads can be a bit distracting, this would be a great site to help students review their United States geography. Introduce the site on the interactive whiteboard before allowing the class to answer the questions as a whole. To motivate students to participate, let student volunteers come up and select their answers on the interactive whiteboard. Teams can compete to see which can do it the quickest or most correct to add a competitive edge to the activity.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Around the World in the 1890s - Library of Congress

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4 to 12
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This is a Library of Congress collection of photos taken for the World Transportation Commission in the 1890s. Teachers, students, or parents could use this online archive to illustrate...more
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This is a Library of Congress collection of photos taken for the World Transportation Commission in the 1890s. Teachers, students, or parents could use this online archive to illustrate both what foreign nations were like a hundred years ago, and also the subjects that Americans were interested in recording during their journeys. This is a nice example of the primary resources which the Library makes available on the web.

tag(s): cultures (105)

In the Classroom

Use the images on this site to create a visual discovery activity in your classroom, introducing the topic of evolving transportation. Select 3-5 images from this site, choosing the most powerful and moving images. Placing the images on individual slides, allow students 1-2 minutes to observe each image. During that time period, students should be taking notes based on what they observe, predict and infer about each image. The more powerful and detailed the image is, the more information students can take out. After the class has observed all the chosen images, have a class discussion based on the notes students took. This is a great way to introduce content in a way that gets students thinking, as well as avoiding the typical lecture format.

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Microsoft Terraserver - Microsoft

Grades
4 to 12
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Terraserver is Microsoft's very popular satellite photo database which can produce aerial images of almost any point on earth. Users can key in a location, see an image, then pan ...more
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Terraserver is Microsoft's very popular satellite photo database which can produce aerial images of almost any point on earth. Users can key in a location, see an image, then pan and zoom to isolate particular features. Works fine with a 28.8 connection, but be patient, lots of others are using this service.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use this site to find local topographic maps to use in a physical geography class. To allow students to connect to the content, have them search for topographic maps in the local area to use within class. This would be useful when teaching about contour lines, and various point of elevation.

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Maps from National Geographic Xpeditions - National Geographic

Grades
3 to 12
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Here's an interactive resource that lets you find and print maps of just about any country. The final results are available as GIF or Adobe Acrobat files, and the site ...more
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Here's an interactive resource that lets you find and print maps of just about any country. The final results are available as GIF or Adobe Acrobat files, and the site offers links to additional information on geography and cultures.

tag(s): atlas (6), maps (287)

In the Classroom

Use these maps on your interactive whiteboard as you teach about any location, using the whiteboard pens and highlighters to have students indicate landforms, places, and more on the maps. Also include this link on your teacher web page so students can generate map images to include in projects, multimedia presentations, and more.

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Social Studies Web Sites and Resources

Grades
1 to 12
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Here's a treasure-trove of lessons, materials, ideas, units and resources. Lots and lots of great material here from sources as various as the academy Curriculum Exchange, Houghton...more
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Here's a treasure-trove of lessons, materials, ideas, units and resources. Lots and lots of great material here from sources as various as the academy Curriculum Exchange, Houghton Mifflin, Addison Wesley, AskERIC, Encarta and the Peace Corps. Print 'em out and turn 'em loose on the kids! This is definitely worth a browse!

tag(s): black history (59), oral history (12)

In the Classroom

Save this site as a favorite it and browse it whenever in need of new lesson plans and materials within a social studies classroom. This is a great resource for new teachers, or for someone just looking for fresh ideas on how to cover a topic.

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Terrarum - A Guide to Physical Geography

Grades
6 to 12
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This site offers a well-written guide to physical geography: climate, earth, land, sky, water, and energy. There is a discussion with references for each topic, and the narrative, while...more
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This site offers a well-written guide to physical geography: climate, earth, land, sky, water, and energy. There is a discussion with references for each topic, and the narrative, while loaded with real science is simple enough to keep students engaged. Excellent resource for independent study or enrichment.

tag(s): geology (81)

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Congo Trek - National Geographic

Grades
4 to 8
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National Geographic works their predicable visual wizardry in this site which chronicles an ongoing expedition along the Congo river. The site blends images and sounds - (Turn your...more
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National Geographic works their predicable visual wizardry in this site which chronicles an ongoing expedition along the Congo river. The site blends images and sounds - (Turn your speakers on!) - to give vivid impressions of this jungle ecosystem. This site could be a wonderful addition to your unit on Africa, jungles, rain forest habitats, or related areas.

tag(s): africa (180), endangered species (38), species (29)

In the Classroom

There are a few lesson ideas in the "Classroom Ideas" area, but you probably have many more. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard as a great unit introduction or assign students to take the trek with a partner and find examples of human's impact on animal habitats or answer questions about elephants and their behavior and habitat. After the journey, have them write a journal or blog entry about what they saw and learned.

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Census Quick Facts - US Government

Grades
3 to 12
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This easy to use site contains population and demographic information for any state or county in the nation. The data available includes population, ethnic composition, and other related...more
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This easy to use site contains population and demographic information for any state or county in the nation. The data available includes population, ethnic composition, and other related information. There is also a link for younger students with basic information on a more elementary level. At the time of this review, the data provided was from 2008.

tag(s): census (19), population (60)

In the Classroom

Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. Have pairs of students create multimedia presentations about specific states or counties. Have students use a mapping tool such as Mapskip (reviewed here) to create a map of the locations they have researched (with audio stories and pictures included)!

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Map Outlines - Houghton Mifflin

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3 to 8
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This site offers a collection of outline maps for the continents, the US, and other nations suitable for reproduction and reuse in the classroom. Most are GIF files, but there ...more
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This site offers a collection of outline maps for the continents, the US, and other nations suitable for reproduction and reuse in the classroom. Most are GIF files, but there are a few PDF files as well.

tag(s): maps (287)

In the Classroom

This site is an excellent addition to any government, history or geography classroom. A majority of the maps are in worksheet form, so all that is left to do is print and distribute among your students. Use the maps without labels to test students on their knowledge on a given region of the world, or those with labels to introduce or review the subject. An excellent way to insure students are familiar with the political boundaries of the global region they are studying.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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California Webquest - Gold Ridge School

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3 to 5
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California Webquest provides a good introduction to basic facts and information about the state of California. Follow links to learn about the different regions of California, find...more
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California Webquest provides a good introduction to basic facts and information about the state of California. Follow links to learn about the different regions of California, find basic geographic information, and discover the state's seal and symbols.

tag(s): california (27), states (162)

In the Classroom

Explore this site together with your class on your interactive whiteboard. Share with students to use when researching states. Have students create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here or Venngage reviewed here. Have students use Ourboox, reviewed here, to create a beautiful page-flipping digital book in minutes, where you can embed video, music, animation, games, maps and more.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Sochi 2014: An Olympic Preview - The Atlantic

Grades
6 to 12
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Take a look at Sochi, Russia as it prepares for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This site offers 26 images starting in December 2012 showing progress in constructing Olympic venues ...more
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Take a look at Sochi, Russia as it prepares for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This site offers 26 images starting in December 2012 showing progress in constructing Olympic venues and infrastructure in preparation for the February 2014 event. Some images demonstrate the effect on local people as well as showing construction progress.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): olympics (47), russia (38), sports (97)

In the Classroom

Use images from this site as story starters. For example - use image 17 showing the family with their demolished home and ask students to write about the Olympics from their point of view. Challenge students to find current images of construction projects and compare progress made since 2012. Have students create maps of Olympic venues using Animaps (reviewed here). Students can add text, images, and location stops!

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BrainPOP Free Stuff - BrainPop

Grades
K to 12
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Visit this fabulously FREE site, created by BrainPop, to find a wealth of interactives, videos, lesson plans, and more. Wow - doesn't even begin to describe the wide array of ...more
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Visit this fabulously FREE site, created by BrainPop, to find a wealth of interactives, videos, lesson plans, and more. Wow - doesn't even begin to describe the wide array of topics and subjects. The best part is the FREE stuff for BrainPop Espanol, BrainPop Jr, and BrainPop ESL. Some of the specific topics include: Harlem Renaissance, Civil War, Blogs, Angles, DNA, Stocks & Shares, Digital Animation, and MANY others. These were the FREE topics at the time of this review, and of course is subject to change.

tag(s): angles (88), blogs (88), charts and graphs (195), civil war (145), digital storytelling (144), dna (69), energy (198), grammar (216), harlem (9), internet safety (108), main idea (9), mars (41), martin luther king (37), nutrition (154), shakespeare (131), stock market (13), women (101)

In the Classroom

Use this tool to find lessons and/or animations in a variety of topic areas. There are "ready to go" movies and more in health, social studies, art & music, engineering & technology, and other topics. Share the sites on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Provide this link on your class website for students to access both in and out of the class. Save this link in your favorites and check back to see "what's new."
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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65 History Twitter Feeds - Glenn Wiebe

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers a wonderful list of Twitter feeds to consider if you are just starting out or if you are adding to your feed related to history. The list ...more
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This site offers a wonderful list of Twitter feeds to consider if you are just starting out or if you are adding to your feed related to history. The list includes the Twitter name with a link and a short description. Feeds include the Library of Congress, quotes and sayings from Thomas Jefferson, and HistoryDay (see what happened on this day in history). Feeds are separated into categories such as media, educators and students, and military to help navigate the different types.

tag(s): congress (33), history day (23), twitter (50)

In the Classroom

Create a classroom twitter account and choose feeds to follow that relate to classroom studies. Assign different students to follow the feed each week to summarize and review. Challenge students to find other history Twitter feeds to follow. Have students create a Twitter account as a historical figure as part of research projects. Looking for more ways to use twitter in the classroom? Read more about Twitter from TeachersFirst's Twitter for Teachers page.

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Tundra - National Geographic

Grades
2 to 10
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Learn about the dry, cold, and windy tundra at this site. There is also information about tundra threats, a photo gallery, and maps! This tundra site is also a web ...more
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Learn about the dry, cold, and windy tundra at this site. There is also information about tundra threats, a photo gallery, and maps! This tundra site is also a web resource for the TeachersFirst interactive Biomes of the World Unit for grades 4-8.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): animals (276), arctic (44), biomes (116), tundra (14)

In the Classroom

Have cooperative learning groups explore specific areas of this site and create a multimedia presentation to share with the class. Have students make a multimedia presentation using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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