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Dinosaur Dig - National Museum of Natural History

Grades
4 to 12
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Your students can dig dinosaur bones right from their computers. This site has two interactive three-dimensional tours: 1) a tour of a museum room featuring dinosaur artifacts where...more
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Your students can dig dinosaur bones right from their computers. This site has two interactive three-dimensional tours: 1) a tour of a museum room featuring dinosaur artifacts where you can scroll your mouse over the contents to learn more; and 2) from the ground to the museum, you can dig bones out west and then unwrap them for display at the Smithsonian. Of course, with a click of the mouse, your students have a vast amount of information for research or fun, including an interactive dinosaur tree of life. Audio and Flash are necessary. They can be obtained from here: TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): dinosaurs (57)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to effectively show and discuss the dinosaur dig and museum to your class. This Smithsonian website also features a fossil lab slide show if your students crave to learn about this branch of science. Have your students research different types of lesser known dinosaurs and create interactive presentations to share with the class. Rather than a presentation about the research, have students write a fictitious blog post from their researched dinosaur to a large animal of today (such as the elephant). What characteristics do they share? What makes them different?

Teachers of gifted students-- even younger ones-- will want to steer their dinosaur-obsessed students to this site for independent projects.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Modern Languages - Learning Space Open University

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers free courses with a great deal of depth on topics featuring modern European languages and English. It is a not a site for beginning language learners or ...more
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This site offers free courses with a great deal of depth on topics featuring modern European languages and English. It is a not a site for beginning language learners or low-level ESL and ELL students. Courses explore language topics, mostly with textual readings. Some of the featured units follow language textbooks. In addition to language topics, there are several offerings in business English. Students can choose what to study in a variety of ways: by topic, time of course, and course number or code.

You can put this in your RSS reader. Some of the activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): business (57)

In the Classroom

Introduce your AP language and world culture students to the materials on this site. Gifted students or those seeking independent language study could also use these courses.Older ESL and ELL students interested in business careers may also find it useful.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Foreign Languages and Literature - MIT Open Courseware

Grades
8 to 12
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus...more
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This site offers free comprehensive, interactive language and literature courses developed by MIT staff as part of their open course ware program. All courses include a regular syllabus that features assignments, interactive activities, and other resources such as videos and slideshows. There is a wide range of language offerings; the cultural courses complement the language instruction and include topics such as popular culture, history, economics, media , and thinking skills. There are courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. This site requires Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): chinese (50), french (90), german (65), india (36), japan (62), japanese (43), latin (22), spanish (108)

In the Classroom

AP history, language, and economics students may find MIT's online course materials useful. MIT has committed to putting its entire curriculum on the web, and these early offerings include syllabi, reading materials, and a variety of subject-specific class notes. Before using these pages, students and parents should all be aware of what Open Courseware is and is not. Teachers at smaller schools may welcome the availability of language alternatives. Teachers of gifted who are looking for acceleration options will also find these courses valuable, though you will need to develop a means of doing assessment if your students are to earn credit for them.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Wonder How To - Wonder How To, Inc.

Grades
6 to 12
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to ...more
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This creative site offers "how to" videos on a WIDE variety of topics. Anyone is able to view the videos, but you must be a member (which is free) to comment on the videos, grade the videos, or submit your own "how to" video. Topics vary; some are appropriate for the classroom - others are definitely NOT appropriate. Some of the general topics that may be useful in the middle school or high school classroom include: alcohol, autos, motorcycles, and planes, business and money, computers and programming, diet and health, education (which features a variety of science experiments and more), film and theater, language (English, Chinese, Hungarian, Russian, Finnish, sign language, Polish, and countless others), music and instruments, travel, and several other topics. Within each of these general topics, there are thousands of specific "how to" videos.

Membership is free and has many perks. You are able to comment and/or grade the video clips or even submit your own video. Registration does require some personal information: a username, password, email address, and date of birth. ALL USERS MUST BE OVER 13-years of age! Check with your administrator about allowing the students to register for this site using fictitious names. You may wish to set up a class registration instead of entering true data into the registration site. Another option is to create a free Gmail account to use for memberships. 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.

Warning: not all videos are suitable for the classroom. Be sure to preview what you wish to share. If you choose to allow your older students to navigate this site on their own (for research or a class project), be sure to set boundaries on which videos to watch, consequences for going elsewhere, and WATCH CAREFULLY! Some videos explain "how to" do things that are unsafe or inappropriate for school-ages audiences. Wonder How To does include unobtrusive advertisements. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): aircraft (24), business (57), money (184), russian (28), sign language (8)

In the Classroom

Use these fabulous "how to" videos for informative writing projects in speech, science, or even with your gifted students. The site does provide excellent research. You may want to link directly to the specific videos you want students to see in order to avoid other, less-desirable options. Share the "how to" videos on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a new lesson. For a final project, have students create and submit their own "how to" video using YouTube or using a tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

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Sharp Brains - Sharpbrains

Grades
6 to 12
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How...more
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Do you see the gorilla? Use the basketball mind stretcher to find out! This site offers some traditional and not so traditional mind stretchers. The general topic areas include How Your Brain Works, Attention, Memory, Pattern Recognition and Planning, Visual Workouts, Visual Illusions, Language and Logic, and others. Some of the activities are quick (less than a minute) while others require more time. The activities could be used in many subject areas; there are language activities, math, general logic, and even some for physical education.

Be aware: each mind stretcher activity includes a blog. Some of the blog comments may not be appropriate, so be sure to READ any blogs that you plan to share. You may want to make these activities a group challenge, rather than individual exploration. Many are interactive and require Flash or Java. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): brain (71), logic (239), puzzles (207), stress (15)

In the Classroom

Start your class (any subject area) with a mind stretcher or include this as part of a psychology or biology lesson on how the brain works. Share the puzzle or challenge on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Challenge your students to create their own logic activities and create a class "Logic" wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Shakespeare's Staging - Regents University of California

Grades
11 to 12
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This great site gives serious Shakespeare students something to dig into deeply. Of particular interest is a full-length, documentary video titled "Shakespeare and the Spanish Connection."...more
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This great site gives serious Shakespeare students something to dig into deeply. Of particular interest is a full-length, documentary video titled "Shakespeare and the Spanish Connection." The documentary links Spanish and Elizabethan theatres in style of performance, architecture, and background. Find this video by using the search box and Spanish Connection. From the homepage, you can look at galleries (basically online picture albums) of Shakespearean productions from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Clicking on the "Videos" tab will enable you watch short excerpts of plays performed in various venues including open air theatres. Due to the academic nature of the presentations, this is probably best used with upperclassmen or gifted students who have some familiarity with the Elizabethan Renaissance and Shakespeare. The videos require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): literature (274), shakespeare (124)

In the Classroom

The ideas presented on this site offer imaginative teachers great scope. Using the short videos and/or the albums as jumping off points, students can create their own videos of their own productions. Share the videos on YouTube or another tool such as SchoolTube (reviewed here).

One of the central topics can be the ease or difficulty in staging some of the scenes. Since there are several of the videos where actors describe the experiences playing certain characters as well as short documentaries showing authentic Elizabethan music, dance, etc., students can incorporate their own ideas in making their own scenes more genuine.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Puzzlers Paradise - Shelly Hazard

Grades
2 to 10
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This site offers some fabulous (and addicting) mind stretchers. There are both visual and verbal puzzles. There is also a puzzle archive featuring a variety of puzzles for various grade...more
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This site offers some fabulous (and addicting) mind stretchers. There are both visual and verbal puzzles. There is also a puzzle archive featuring a variety of puzzles for various grade levels. Some of the puzzles are interactive and you complete them online, while others are printable. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): logic (239), puzzles (207)

In the Classroom

Save this site in your favorites. Use a logic puzzle as a class opener to "warm up" brains. Display the puzzle on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Print out the logic puzzles for students to complete for additional enrichment. Use this site with your gifted students. Provide a link to this site on your class website for students to use at home. Challenge your students to create some puzzlers of their own and share them on a class wiki.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Remember The Milk - Remember the Milk.com

Grades
K to 12
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Your busy life needs a manager. Now you have one: RememberTheMilk.com (also known as RTM). Don't worry about missing a date; any or all of these applications or programs will ...more
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Your busy life needs a manager. Now you have one: RememberTheMilk.com (also known as RTM). Don't worry about missing a date; any or all of these applications or programs will remind you: email, SMS, and instant messenger (AIM, Gadu-Gadu, Google Talk, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Skype and Yahoo) are all supported. Set up a free account in minutes. Secondary students will embrace this tool to remind them of tests or assignments or sporting events. List making has made it to a whole new level.

tag(s): DAT device agnostic tool (171), organizational skills (128), time (139)

In the Classroom

Read the Blog at this site to learn many cool ways to interact with your personal computer an devices using RTM. Learning support teachers and teachers of disorganized gifted students may want to "model" using such an online tool to help middle and high school students learn better personal organization. Make a demo account for a "mythical" student and organize him/her together so students can see how it works. You will have to check school policies and access to some of the messaging tools, however, since some may be prohibited in your school. Learning support and gifted teachers will welcome this online tool as an engaging way for students to become better-organized. Give students a tech tool, and they just might try it!

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TeachersFirst Resources for the Olympics - TeachersFirst

Grades
K to 12
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame...more
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Winter or summer, the Olympics provide teaching opportunities across the curriculum for students of all ages. Browse these options for curriculum connections to light the Olympic flame in your classroom.

tag(s): china (68), olympics (49)

In the Classroom

Use these Olympics resources to plan an entire unit during the Olympics or make them available as links from your teacher web page for enrichment if the Olympics fall during school breaks. Not enough time for an Olympics unit? Perhaps students can use these links to generate ideas and projects to share on an Olympics extra credit wiki. Teachers of gifted will find many ways to spark new projects usig these links.

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Math Moves U - Raytheon Company

Grades
4 to 12
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Let math move YOU through different areas of math practice! Choose an animal character and customize the color of the collar, fur, and tail. Choose your grade range prior to ...more
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Let math move YOU through different areas of math practice! Choose an animal character and customize the color of the collar, fur, and tail. Choose your grade range prior to play. Other options include saving your character to begin or registering to create a locker for extra benefits, including access to new characters and monitoring of your progress. . Use the arrows on the keyboard to move along to different math problems. Areas vary by age level, but examples include Music (Pythagorean Pavilion), Sports, Fashion and feature facts, quizzes, polls, flashcards, or a game that can be accessed for learning opportunities. Facts have links that allow students to connect to more knowledge. Tutorial help is available with the quizzes. Background music which is lively can also be turned off for better concentration. Enter Math Moves University for worksheet practice on many math topics downloaded as a pdf document. A math dictionary is also available. Clicking on the navigation along the top can also take you to various areas.

Opportunities to register pop up during play but are not required at this site.
If you choose to have your students register, please be aware of your district's requirements and acceptable use policy for using student user names, passwords, and emails.
This site requires Flash and adobe acrobat. Get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): charts and graphs (195), data (151), decimals (131), fractions (235), negative numbers (22), numbers (199), percent (83)

In the Classroom

Differentiate your math instruction easily! Use as assigned, independent study for students as needed. Use as a class resource on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Have students work collaboratively in groups to achieve the answers. Assign areas as homework practice; if computers aren't available at home, print off the worksheets for homework practice.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Open Book Scenarios - Teaching Australia

Grades
K to 12
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This professional resource offers a possible look (scenarios) into the future of education. This site is a good illustration of the fact that teachers all around the world are aware...more
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This professional resource offers a possible look (scenarios) into the future of education. This site is a good illustration of the fact that teachers all around the world are aware of the changes that are necessary in education to respond to new technologies and globalization. The goal of the scenarios is to look at the possible education system in Australia in 2030. The creators narrowed down the futuristic world into four categories/scenarios. The first scenario offers a tolerant and harmonious society. The second scenario depicts a highly competitive world. Scenario three represents the society as polarized. The final scenario shows a world violent and fractured. The seeds of each of the possible societies are visible today. The scenarios demonstrate the importance of engaging with change and how THAT creates your ability to anticipate issues in the future, raise awareness, and create change! Click on Teaching for Uncertain Futures to view the book in its entirety. The links require Adobe Acrobat. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): australia (35)

In the Classroom

Teacher ed institutions and graduate classes you are taking on contemporary issues in education may want to explore these scenarios for discussion. Even high school classes exploring careers or trends in current events may discuss the reshaping of education over the next 20+ years as today's high schoolers become tomorrow's teachers. Teachers of Gifted working with forecasting and futures will find this an interesting model.

Any teacher planing to remain in the profession will want to think about how these scenarios might affect YOUR classroom in some way in the near future.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Digital Vaults - National Archives

Grades
3 to 12
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This site offers digitized National Archives of the U.S. organized according to general category. You can finally explore and share primary source documents interactively through this...more
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This site offers digitized National Archives of the U.S. organized according to general category. You can finally explore and share primary source documents interactively through this Flash site. Start from eight featured topics. For a more in depth look at each subject and its associated categories, click on What's Interesting. A search feature is also available. An added feature at the bottom of the opening page is the "Pathways" tab. Students can participate in a "challenge" (in different levels) to find links between certain historical items. Students can also create their own pathways, writing about connections they find between certain archived items. In another section, students can create their own historical posters and movies from the archives. You can create a collection of items from the archives to retrieve or look at later, as well. This feature requires a free membership created by email address. There are also extensive lesson ideas and information for teachers at the small link, "Educators and Students," at the bottom of the page. Roll your mouse down to find it against the dark background. Note: the entire site is done in Flash (an HTML version is available from a small link at the bottom of the page). Get Flash from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): inventors and inventions (95), primary sources (90)

In the Classroom

Use this site as an anticipatory set for a unit in history or on inventions. Share a collection of images or invention drawings on a projector or whiteboard and ask what the invention will do. Or use the site as the starting point for individual or group projects. After demonstrating on an interactive whiteboard or projector, have students use laptops or lab computers to "collect" resources related to their assigned inventor, decade, or era in American history. Check your school policy regarding accessing student email. 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.Students can use their log-ins to collect resources.

Since the documents are in the public domain (are not copyrighted), students may also download and use the files as part of other projects, such as video compilations, Powerpoint presentations, or multimedia of any sort. To access the resources in non-Flash format, click the small link to "research this record in ARC" in the detailed view of the item. You can then view and Save As for use elsewhere. Be sure you teach students about copying the URL and relevant information from this ARC page to cite the source and give credit in any presentation they make. This site is excellent for enrichment or projects for the gifted, as well. Include it on your teacher web page for students to access both in and out of class for students who are working in History Day projects or other assignments for your class.

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Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles - Alexander Bogomolny

Grades
3 to 12
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Although we don't usually highlight a site that is simply a list, this list is worth mentioning. There are literally hundreds of math activities at this site (all Java applets). ...more
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Although we don't usually highlight a site that is simply a list, this list is worth mentioning. There are literally hundreds of math activities at this site (all Java applets). The activities are divided up into the following categories: Arithmetic, Math Games & Puzzles, Logic, Fractals & Chaos, Fallacies, Calculus, Combinatorial Games, Algebra, Visual Illusions, Computer Math Magic, Combinatorics, Geometry, Eye Opener Series, Social Science, Mathematical Droodles, and Analog Devices. Each category has numerous interactive activities included. The site is frequently updated. There are some small advertisements at the site. This site is simple to use and offers a wealth of options for many grade levels. The activities are not time-consuming and offer simple explanations with the applets.

tag(s): angles (86), logic (239), money (184), puzzles (207)

In the Classroom

Use these applets on an interactive whiteboard or projector as an anticipatory set for a lesson in math class. Have students work independently on the logic and puzzle activities. These activities are ideal for gifted students (for advancement and/or enrichment) or extra practice for struggling students. Provide this link on your class website, so students can explore at home or as review.

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Interactive whiteboard Resources for Teachers - Teacher LED

Grades
K to 12
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This site has great simulations in Math that can be used with an Interactive Whiteboard. Math categories include "Algebra," "Data Handling," "Number," "Shape, Space, and Measure," and...more
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This site has great simulations in Math that can be used with an Interactive Whiteboard. Math categories include "Algebra," "Data Handling," "Number," "Shape, Space, and Measure," and "General Maths." Specific topics include "Reading Scales," "Rotational Symmetry," "Shop Addition," "Prime Snakes," and "Number Cylinder." Information and ideas for use on each Interactive can be found both on the site and as an Adobe PDF download. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): addition (239), data (151), division (169), multiplication (221), numbers (199), prime numbers (33), subtraction (199), symmetry (54), vision (86)

In the Classroom

Show difficult-to-understand concepts on the interactive whiteboard or projector. Use these Interactives by having students predict outcomes and then carry out the experiment, such as in rolling die to determine probabilities. Students can then apply the information to a new set of problems. Use many of the interactives as a class game. Though perfect for the whiteboard, they can also be used on individual computers or as a computer learning station.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Visual Ranking: Analyzing and Evaluating Information - Intel Education

Grades
3 to 12
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Engage your students in higher-order thinking skills with a collaborative activity using Intel Education's free Visual Ranking Tool. Visual ranking leads students though focusing, identifying,...more
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Engage your students in higher-order thinking skills with a collaborative activity using Intel Education's free Visual Ranking Tool. Visual ranking leads students though focusing, identifying, and refining criteria as they assign order or ranking to a list presented as a visual diagram. Students use a simple click and drag to organize ideas, explain their reasoning, debate differences, and reach consensus with each other. This web-based tool is accompanied by project ideas, instructional strategies, assessment tips, and research. There are also detailed lesson plans for grades 3-5, 6-8, or 9-12. Registration is free and creates a teacher workspace in which to build the class project. The password-protected workspace is accessed through the Internet where students log on with the teacher-created ID, team ID, and password.

Teachers can use the comprehensive tutorial to learn the features of the tool. The Try the Tool section has a demonstration workspace for teachers to practice with ranking a sample list and then comparing it to other lists. Take advantage of the experiences of other teachers in six detailed unit plans that provide usable handouts and student work samples.

Be sure to disable your popup blocker as the site needs to show popup windows during the project. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get these tools from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): careers (136), inventors and inventions (95), migration (59), sorting (10)

In the Classroom

Make a shortcut to this site on your desktop and student computers for easy access or simply add it to the Favorites on your teacher web page for access from there

. Use the Visual Ranking tool to explore themes such as the role of friends, human migration, the impact of inventions, what's fair, and career choices with your students. Have student teams show and explain their diagrams to the whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector.

The Visual Ranking Tool can be used at any stage of a learning project. As a pre-activity or pre-assessment, it can help students discuss their prior knowledge and identify the things that they need to research or study further. As a mid-unit activity, it can help put new learning in a context that will be more useful in the next activity. At the end of a unit, Visual Ranking may be used to assess or reflect on learning. Students can access the project workspace from home or through other Internet access points such as the public library.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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What's Special About This Number - Erich Friedman

Grades
4 to 12
2 Favorites 0  Comments
This unusual website shares the "uniqueness" of a multitude of numbers. The numbers range from 0 - 9,999. This website teaches you what the only even prime number is, what ...more
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This unusual website shares the "uniqueness" of a multitude of numbers. The numbers range from 0 - 9,999. This website teaches you what the only even prime number is, what a narcissistic number is, what the smallest number with 14 divisors is, and a LOT of other interesting mind-stretching information. The highlight of this website is the ability to click on math terms to learn more about the topic.

tag(s): angles (86), median (22), numbers (199), roman numerals (9), vocabulary (324)

In the Classroom

This is one of those sites that you have see to appreciate. Share the site on an interactive whiteboard. In more advanced classes, project a number on the screen as students walk in. Have students try to figure out what might make this number "special." Have students share their responses. This is a great "number of the day/mind-stretcher of the day" activity.

Or have students work on individual computers. Choose several of the numbers that relate to a topic that you are teaching (such as the square root), and have individual students learn about the number and then teach the class what they learned. Extend the idea by having students create "what's special" PowerPoint slides or wiki pages about favorite numbers. What better way to develop true number sense and excitement about math as a mental game.

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Mysterious Places: Ancient Civilizations Modern Mysteries - Mysterious Places

Grades
4 to 12
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Students are always fascinated by the mysteries of the past, and wondering how those in ancient history managed feats of construction that would be difficult even today. Perhaps nothing...more
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Students are always fascinated by the mysteries of the past, and wondering how those in ancient history managed feats of construction that would be difficult even today. Perhaps nothing sparks student interest more than the phrase, "no one knows". This site seeks to explore several "mysterious places" in the world--places whose origins or purposes are lost to antiquity. In addition, the sponsors of the site hope to raise money to ensure these monuments are not endangered in the future. Currently, the featured locations include Easter Island, Stonehenge, the dwellings of the Tellem people of Mali, West Africa, and the Mayan cities of Mexico (still under construction). Each section contains stunning photography, and a variety of resources on the history and mystery of the site. A section entitled "educator link" promises lesson plans and other teachers' resources, but is not finished. The site offers great potential, some of which has already been realized. It's worth checking out now, and perhaps in the future when more of its resources are up and running. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): africa (177), easter (20), mayans (13), mysteries (24)

In the Classroom

This site might be offered to students doing independent research or included as "real" mysteries during a reading or literature unit on mysteries. The information could augment a lesson plan from a standard text with its lovely photos. It could be an option for exploration by accelerated students who have completed a unit on ancient history. Teachers should be aware that there is an on-line forum as a part of this site which requires registration. Its content is completely peripheral to the site, and students should simply be instructed to avoid it.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Brainbox Challenge - BBC

Grades
1 to 10
6 Favorites 0  Comments
  
This mind-boggling website offers a treat for your brain. The website features interactive visual, spatial, coding, memory, dual task (multi-task), and language "mind games." There...more
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This mind-boggling website offers a treat for your brain. The website features interactive visual, spatial, coding, memory, dual task (multi-task), and language "mind games." There is also a link to learn about the science behind your brain and what is happening when you solve these challenges. The activities offer several difficulty levels, which enables the website to be used by a wide range of grade levels. Try the easy level of the "Vowel of Silence" game with your early readers. There is also a link to view the show (on BBC) BrainBox Challenge . All activities require Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): brain (71), psychology (65)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to introduce this website. Read the "science" section together and demonstrate some of the activities. Then allow your students to try their hand (and brain) at the activities on individual laptops or in the computer lab. These activities offer excellent enrichment for your gifted students. Provide this link in your class newsletter (if applicable) and on your class website for students to use at home.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Seeing Reason: Mindful Mapping of Cause and Effect - Intel Education

Grades
2 to 12
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Develop your students' thinking skills with Intel's free "Seeing Reason" tool to analyze cause-and-effect relationships in complex systems. Students can use the Seeing Reason Tool to...more
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Develop your students' thinking skills with Intel's free "Seeing Reason" tool to analyze cause-and-effect relationships in complex systems. Students can use the Seeing Reason Tool to develop visual maps of the factors and relationships in cause-and-effect investigations. Student-created causal maps make thinking visible and promote collaboration as they work together to refine their understanding. Teachers can use Seeing Reason as a monitoring and observation tool, since the maps are visual representations of student understanding.

This web-based tool is accompanied by detailed lesson plans for different grade levels and subject areas. It provides a complete project, ready to adapt for the classroom or implement as-is. Explore the project ideas, instructional strategies, assessment tips, and research to help you plan a project of your own. Registration is free and creates a teacher workspace in which to build the class project. The password-protected workspace is accessed through the internet where students log on with the teacher-created ID, team ID, and password.

Be sure to disable your popup blocker, as the site needs to show popup windows during the project. This site requires Flash and Adobe Acrobat Reader. Get these tools from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page..

tag(s): thinking skills (17)

In the Classroom

Help students analyze why a science experiment failed, why an animal became extinct, why a literary character acts as he does, or the factors leading to an economic or historical event. Teachers can use the comprehensive tutorial to learn the features of the tool and use the workspace to practice with the tool. Take advantage of the experiences of other teachers in eight detailed unit plans that provide usable handouts and student work samples. Or just browse through several shorter project descriptions for project ideas that suit your classroom.

Make a shortcut to this site on your desktop and student computer desktops for easy access or simply add it to the Favorites on your teacher web page for access from there.

Use the Seeing Reason tool to explore themes such as habitat conflict, neighborhood diversity, and decision-making with your students. Have student teams show and explain their maps to the whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector. Students can access the project workspace from home or through other Internet access points such as the public library.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Scratch - Lifelong Kindergarten Group, MIT Media Lab

Grades
1 to 12
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Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive ...more
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Want to get in touch with your inner child? Get Scratch! Warning: The use of this application is quite fun and engaging! Scratch is a downloaded program that creates interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art. This application can be used for bringing simple ideas and projects to life. It has great use as a paint program without using the animations. Downloads/install files are available for Mac or PC. Other links include a Getting Started pdf, Help screens to show what each block controls and how to use, and a Reference Guide which provides an overview of the interface. A support page is also available for help in using the application.

Material created can only be viewed within the program. Drawings are not saved as a jpg or pic file. However, a "snapshot" of the screen can be created by using these keys in Mac: apple, shift, and 4 and click/drag to surround the portion to save. In PC use: control/print screen. These snapshots can be uploaded or used as a picture in other applications.

tag(s): animation (65), drawing (81)

In the Classroom

Quick start: Click stage and in the center pane, click on backgrounds. Click on paint to make a new background. Different colors, pens, and materials can be used to create the background or an image can be brought in from your computer. Objects in Scratch are called a Sprite and can be added in by choosing the folders below the screen. By clicking the script tab, blocks can be moved in to create motion, add sounds (even record your own message), and change the look of the Sprite. Blocks are linked on to each other to create a series of events. A control block dragged to the top of the blocks control which key starts the event. Advanced options include adding variables and other controls.

Be sure to check with your Technology Department, as many districts require authorization to download or install new applications. Projects can be shared online; however an account is required.

Work is saved to the computer itself and only shared online via an account. To avoid problems concerning content made by outsiders or issues with sharing, save the work locally and either create your own gallery on a supervised class website/wiki or set up a single account where you share the "best" projects online via your own log-in. Remind students of the school's Acceptable Use Policy and consequences of violations, if you do allow them to join/share. Images used should adhere to all copyright rules. Use pictures taken in class or those with Creative Commons licensing (and provide attribution!).

Practical tips: Students quickly catch on to this program when allowed to play and easily see what they can make from it. Provide a simple assignment with defined rules/tasks to learn the tools. Younger students may familiarize themselves more easily working with a partner. Have students use a storyboard to write down what they will do/draw/say in their creation in order to keep tabs on what students and their creations.

Possible uses: For the lower grades, Scratch provides unlimited possibilities. Use as a new way to show vocabulary usage. Use the paint program to add information to a picture from your class field trip or science experiment. Use Scratch to help in storytelling a concept in a new and unique way, such as how rocks are formed. In the upper grades, use Scratch to show complex material in a new way. For example, students can draw DNA and show replication, etc. through their drawings and storytelling. Draw the different movements of landforms in plate tectonics. Draw or illustrate solutions to Math problems.

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