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Energy Explained - US Energy Information Administration

Grades
8 to 12
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Find answers about any energy question you may have with this site. View information and graphs on both energy production and consumption in the US. Click the Energy in Your ...more
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Find answers about any energy question you may have with this site. View information and graphs on both energy production and consumption in the US. Click the Energy in Your State tab to view a breakdown of energy in various states. Compare the US to other countries using the International tab. Find a variety of topics along the left side. Find topics for Renewable and Non-renewable energies, energy calculators, and more. Be sure to check the tabs at the top that include Sources and Uses (of energy), Topics, and Geography.

tag(s): conservation (127), energy (197), solar energy (38)

In the Classroom

Use the information found in the US Energy Facts section to stimulate interest in energy and identify misconceptions that students may have. A whiteboard or projector would be ideal for showing and discussing the graphs as a whole-class activity. Be sure to make the link available on your teacher web page for students to access outside of class or during class time. Consider using this resource, and other related links they provide, for group reports on various energies. Assign small groups to explore one facet of this site and create a multimedia presentation using one of many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here. If you teach younger students you may want to use the sister site of this site, Energy Kids, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Inventor's Workshop - The Museum of Science

Grades
6 to 12
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Explore an Inventor's Workshop through the eyes of Leonardo da Vinci. Choose from different parts of the toolbox to discover elements of machines, gadget anatomy, and play Leonardo's...more
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Explore an Inventor's Workshop through the eyes of Leonardo da Vinci. Choose from different parts of the toolbox to discover elements of machines, gadget anatomy, and play Leonardo's Mysterious Machinery. Other portions of the workshop take viewers deeper into the world of Leonardo by providing perspective on Renaissance times, exploring his special way of writing, and discovering Leonardo's activities in different Italian cities.

tag(s): artists (75), inventors and inventions (101), italy (17), leonardo davinci (4), renaissance (34)

In the Classroom

This site is perfect for use on your interactive whiteboard. Explore the different portions together during your studies of the Renaissance, inventors, or artists such as Leonardo da Vinci. Share a link to this site on your class webpage for students to explore at home, or add a link on classroom computers for use during computer centers. Have students use Fakebook, reviewed here, to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about Leonardo da Vinci or other Renaissance artists.

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mySkillBoard - Rob Steller and Josiah Hills

Grades
K to 12
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MySkillBoard is an online tool for managing and tracking student data aligned to Common Core or individual standards. Create student groups and add your activities to match standards....more
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MySkillBoard is an online tool for managing and tracking student data aligned to Common Core or individual standards. Create student groups and add your activities to match standards. Quickly input each score and view data through several different visualization options. This site is optimized for use on any device allowing you to input and track student performance at any time.

tag(s): assessment (99), classroom management (134), DAT device agnostic tool (196), differentiation (47)

In the Classroom

MySkillBoard requires a bit of a learning curve due to a lack of tutorials on using the program. However, it may be useful for differentiating student instruction in any classroom. Add each class or group of students to document. Follow learning goals and mastery of standards. Use mySkillBoard together with other teachers to monitor and document student progress in all learning areas.

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Goodbits - Charles Bergeron, Kalvir Sandhu, Philippe Creux and Godfrey Cha

Grades
K to 12
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Finally! A tool to create a professional looking email newsletter in minutes! Goodbits has simplified the task of designing a newsletter by having sections and changing the layout easily....more
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Finally! A tool to create a professional looking email newsletter in minutes! Goodbits has simplified the task of designing a newsletter by having sections and changing the layout easily. You can also crop images where necessary. Just find and collect your content, plug it into Goodbits, and they will make it beautiful. You can read the newsletter on most browsers and mobile devices. You can add links via mobile devices; however, they recommend creating and sending newsletters on a computer. Goodbits uses Mail Chimp, reviewed here, but plans on using other email programs in the future. The sign up is quick, just your name and email, and you are set to go.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): creative writing (166), descriptive writing (41), expository writing (44)

In the Classroom

Consider using Goodbits to create a daily newsletter about what students learned in class, and then present it as a recap at the beginning of the next day. Be sure to add images and charts where possible for visual students. Eventually, students could do this on their own at the end of the class. A newsletter would build an excellent learning journal and could be used to study for a test, or as a source for writing a final essay. Writing for digital publication is an important element of Common Core writing. In science and math classes, students can design a newsletter about a famous scientist or mathematician. In science class, students can develop a newsletter to explain to a younger student about cells, life cycles, or any science topic. Do an author study with the end project being a newsletter. For literature circle end projects have the group create a newsletter about the plot and characters. Create digital magazines for any subject or topic: explain an event in history, demonstrate different types of animals or habitats. With the Goodbits newsletter tool, it will almost seem effortless to send home a weekly or monthly newsletter to parents with ongoing news of class activities, announcements, schedules, and more.

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Aurora Alive - Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Grades
6 to 12
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Not sure about the Northern Lights? Find incredible information and activities to better understand the beautiful phenomenon. Be sure to look at the Student Materials. Looking for more...more
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Not sure about the Northern Lights? Find incredible information and activities to better understand the beautiful phenomenon. Be sure to look at the Student Materials. Looking for more information? Click on See Advanced Lessons or Multimedia Lessons for even more! The Multimedia Lessons are ready to use in class. Though the DVD has a price, the lesson plans are free to unzip and download.
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tag(s): arctic (44), atmosphere (26), light (46), space (205), stars (61)

In the Classroom

Use the various materials in class with an interactive whiteboard or projector. Use the materials to learn about the Northern Lights and how and why they exist. Activities include vocabulary and scavenger hunts. Students can view many of the modules independently and teach others in the class about what they learned.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Energy Efficient - Houseplans.com

Grades
7 to 12
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Apply math or science in the real world using these free house plans. Imagine teaching measurement or the concept of scale using free house plans downloaded from the Internet. What...more
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Apply math or science in the real world using these free house plans. Imagine teaching measurement or the concept of scale using free house plans downloaded from the Internet. What about a study of energy and environmental issues? Use this simple site to download house plans for green houses. Use these plans as a great way to discuss many issues related to energy conservation and environmental issues. Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for links to the blog featuring the essentials of green building.
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tag(s): architecture (83), area (66), energy (197), homes (12), volume (45)

In the Classroom

Teach the concept of energy conservation, scale, square footage, and volume. In a business class, discuss the costs of building and create budgets or cost estimates for the building of the house or renovation of a house. Use in a computer or drafting class as inspiration for other projects. Continue the designs outside with the design of landscaping to fit the house in various areas around the country using local fauna and focusing on water and soil conservation. Identify features of design best for energy conservation and how to alter various designs for energy savings. Consider uploading plans from this site to a tool such as Mapwing, reviewed here, to label changes for an energy efficient home.

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The Great Backyard Bird Count - Cornell University

Grades
3 to 12
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Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count every February anywhere in the world. Help scientists collect data to get an annual snapshot of ...more
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Join the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to participate in the Great Backyard Bird Count every February anywhere in the world. Help scientists collect data to get an annual snapshot of the distribution and abundance of birds. Detailed information contains a tool kit with instructions and a how to video, data forms, bird lists, and an online bird guide. Submit your observations and explore the data that was submitted by area, range, and submission map. Count birds any time of the year by clicking on the ebird link on the home page.

tag(s): birds (50), service projects (25)

In the Classroom

Involve your class in discovering the world of birds, the environments, and how they effect ecosystems. Determine the birds in your area and ways to attract birds. As a class or at home, have students participate in Project Feeder Watch and analyze their own data. Compare with other places in the country or world. Have students create a multimedia presentation to share their results. Use one of the many multimedia tools reviewed by TeachersFirst here.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Success Certificates - 2012 Certificate Web Design by Us

Grades
1 to 12
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or formats, select and add your text, and...more
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Here is the solution to all your certificate needs. Find free printable certificates for school, sports, family, or fun. Change color schemes or formats, select and add your text, and be ready in seconds. Print or download to save.
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tag(s): worksheets (59)

In the Classroom

Make your students' day by recognizing their hard work and efforts! Use this tool to recognize students in seconds in a fun, free way. Ideas for student use include having students choose characters from a book and create a certificate for them. Next have students elaborate and describe the reasons why this certificate is awarded. During Thanksgiving, let students become more aware of all the people that help them and nurture them. Use with younger buddies to give them the idea of thankfulness and appreciation. During a study of communities, have students choose a community worker and send a certificate of thanks. For older students help them set the sites high, and create the certificate they want to receive in the future. What goals do they need to set to achieve this?
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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PhotoCat - photocat.com

Grades
K to 12
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PhotoCat is a free online photo editing service. Edit and retouch images easily. Make photo collages in just a few simple steps. Upload any image from your computer. If the ...more
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PhotoCat is a free online photo editing service. Edit and retouch images easily. Make photo collages in just a few simple steps. Upload any image from your computer. If the image is too large PhotoCat will ask to reduce it automatically. Choose from the many options such as special effects, retouching tools, frames, text, and more. Once completed save your image to your computer or share using social networking links.

tag(s): editing (60), images (265), photography (160)

In the Classroom

Use this tool anytime that photos need to be edited for use on class blogs, wikis, or in presentation tools (reviewed here). In primary grades, this tool could be useful for teachers to use to edit pictures from a field trip, science experiments, and more. Share the editing process with your younger students using your interactive whiteboard or projector. Edit together! Encourage older students to use this site themselves on images for projects or presentations. Use this tool in photography or art classes. Use the editor to edit pictures to fit styles of pictures when doing historical reports or to set a mood. Use text options for the photos themselves to tell the stories. Have students annotate or label Creative Commons online images of cells, structures of an animal, and much more.

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Science of Innovation - NBC Learn

Grades
5 to 12
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Explore the Science of Innovation with this series of seventeen videos provided by NBC Learn. Each video looks at different innovations such as bionic limbs or 3-D printing. All videos...more
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Explore the Science of Innovation with this series of seventeen videos provided by NBC Learn. Each video looks at different innovations such as bionic limbs or 3-D printing. All videos run about five minutes in length and include a written transcript and lesson ideas. Lesson ideas include handouts, collaborative inquiry activities, and assessment rubrics.
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tag(s): energy (197), human body (120), inventors and inventions (101)

In the Classroom

Although part of a larger pay for use site, this portion of the site is free. Use this site as an anticipatory set or "activator" to introduce a unit or lesson on a projector or interactive whiteboard. Use this site as the starting point for individual or group projects. Take advantage of the free lesson plan and incorporate suggestions into your current units. Have students brainstorm or collect ideas on other innovative ideas on a collaborative bulletin board like Scrumblr, reviewed here (quick start- no membership required!).
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Clearly - Evernote

Grades
6 to 12
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Clearly is a browser extension that works with Evernote reviewed here to clean up web pages for easier reading. Remove items such as advertisements,...more
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Clearly is a browser extension that works with Evernote reviewed here to clean up web pages for easier reading. Remove items such as advertisements, navigation bars, and other distractions with a single click. Use Clearly to clip and add items to your Evernote account for later viewing wherever you have Evernote installed. Currently Clearly works with Chrome, Firefox, and Opera browsers.
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tag(s): classroom management (134), organizational skills (122)

In the Classroom

Use this helpful extension in any classroom setting where you use Evernote. Many students will benefit from viewing cleaner pages without so many distractions. Help your less-focused students stay with your lessons!

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StoryMap JS - Northwest University Knight Lab

Grades
7 to 12
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Make your story-telling come to life in any content area with this free tool! Story Map uses a map or pictures to tell the story. The simple editor in this ...more
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Make your story-telling come to life in any content area with this free tool! Story Map uses a map or pictures to tell the story. The simple editor in this tool syncs to Google Drive editor to create a storymap. The created storymap is a sequence of slides for a map location or image that includes a heading, text, and even images and embedded video. The map or image and included information appear side by side. You can click between the slides connecting one location to another (or portions of an image to another). Your story is now interactive! To use: Follow the prompts to connect your Google Drive to the tool. Choose the type of story to create, Map or Gigapixel (image). Don't worry about the map image showing on the first page. When building a map, the front page will include the portion of the World Map based on map points throughout the project (ex. USA or Europe). Add a headline and detail to the appropriate areas. Include links and change font to bold and italic if desired. Add images to any page by uploading from your computer (through Google Drive) or by entering a link to an image. Enter the URL of the Vimeo or YouTube video you wish to use. Need help? Click on the Gigapixel tab along the top for help in uploading images and videos. The Media box not only has an area for the URL, but also an area to enter a caption and credit for the image. Add additional pages by clicking "Add Slide" in the left-hand menu. Add points to your map, one per slide, by typing the building, street, city, and country. Use the zoom bar in the top left to find the location. Customize the map style, background color, and font using the Options buttons. Click Share to send through social media or to use an embed code. The embed code can be used in any site, adjusting its width for different sites. If using Gigapixel, use a large image (as the image will literally be the "map" and your points move around the image). Save your image to Google Drive and copy the URL of the image as you will need it in the first step.

tag(s): maps (288), timelines (62)

In the Classroom

Be sure to stress Fair Use and Copyright with students when using online images and crediting sources. Find great resources and information on TeachersFirst. Of course, if possible use your own images. In Science, use this tool to upload a picture of a science experiment from class and retell the story of the "experiment" by connecting with each of the individual parts of the image. In a Technology class, use this tool to create a project of anything that could be considered "mappable." Some examples include a timeline tour of an event, tour routes of a favorite band, the movement of a character in a movie or novel, or various events in a War. Find various shapes in nature and buildings for a Geometry class, showing their locations in a map. This tool would be wonderful for gifted students to showcase an interest or extend learning from a concept learned in class. Use this tool to trace the history of various recipes or ingredients in a Family and Consumer Science class. Trace the history of people, religions, and events. In Science, create a tour of various animals found in specific areas of a given biome or locations of various types of rocks and their information around the world.

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Stampsy - Roman Mazurenko

Grades
5 to 12
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Stampsy is a web-based community platform for sharing stories and experiences. Construct units of content with a variety of images, text, video, and audio. Tell your own story. Use...more
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Stampsy is a web-based community platform for sharing stories and experiences. Construct units of content with a variety of images, text, video, and audio. Tell your own story. Use the Collect feature to save, repost, or merge images from any other user alongside your own content to spin new stories. Quickly sign up to create an account using email. You can also link through popular social networking sites.

tag(s): blogs (88), organizational skills (122), portfolios (28), social networking (112)

In the Classroom

Use Stampsy to create collections of images, videos, and more for any teaching unit. Share examples of different types of geography, collections of plants or animals, examples of literature - the possibilities are endless! Have students create a Stampsy collection as an alternative to traditional types of presentations. Create a class account and have students add materials to a Stampsy for use with any unit. Share with students for use as an online portfolio for use with college applications.

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The Little Memory - Ivan Tse

Grades
2 to 12
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The Little Memory provides an online tool for diary writing and journaling. You can download the app for any device (or use on a web browser) and start to write! ...more
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The Little Memory provides an online tool for diary writing and journaling. You can download the app for any device (or use on a web browser) and start to write! Upload pictures, tag your location, and share with other friends using social media links. Change settings to allow private or public viewing of any entries. Choose the star icon to save memories as favorites. Choose "stat" to see your statistics such as number of entries, current and longest writing streaks, and photos used. Earn photo credits by sharing memories with others. Click the World Memories icon to view entries by other users; however, these are not moderated.

tag(s): creative writing (166), DAT device agnostic tool (196), journals (21)

In the Classroom

Share this site with students to create their own private diary or journal. Use The Little Memory as a good option for students to use for prewriting and brainstorming before beginning writing projects. Create your own account and use The Little Memory as a tool for reflecting on lessons and classroom activities each day. If you have individual laptops for students, or are in a BYOD school, why not begin class with an entry each day. Have students keep a simple, yearlong journal of the highlights of their learning. Use The Little Memory as lesson "closure" writing a summary of each day's events.

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Paradise Earth - Dr. Thomas Lovejoy

Grades
4 to 12
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We all know tropical rainforests are special, but many of us will never have the chance to visit one. Visit Paradise Earth (PE) as the next best thing. This site ...more
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We all know tropical rainforests are special, but many of us will never have the chance to visit one. Visit Paradise Earth (PE) as the next best thing. This site was created by a renowned scientist and founder of the Nature TV series. Explore information from experts, learn about Ecotourism, and discover plants for Medicine and Health. Find interactive activities in KidsTV, Games, and Education. Find great information on species by clicking on the PE Article Database. Choose plants, animals, or birds then select a continent along the right to view a large number of species and information about them. Read a Rainforest Story that discusses the richness of the Rainforest and what it has to offer.

tag(s): animals (276), biodiversity (38), biomes (116), birds (50), conservation (127), plants (144), rainforests (13)

In the Classroom

Use this resource for great information about the rainforest with messages and expertise by scientists in the field. Follow the Rainforest story, identify why preserving the rainforest is important. Create a project where students report on various species from a continent to the rest of the class. Pin up drawings or posters of these species around the room, and then challenge students to connect them as a food web using yarn or string across the room. Create complex questions to identify the importance of each of the species. Encourage students to identify how all species have value and identify three other organisms that could not live (or maybe could live if it were prey) without that species. Create an advertisement for a medicinal plant to use in place of synthetic medicines. Consider a Wanted project, using a species from the rainforest and including who wants to find that species and why it is so important. Have students create online posters individually or together as a class using a tool such as Web Poster Wizard, reviewed here. Explain biodiversity and why it is so important. Create a wall collage with all of the information discussed during the class discussion.
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If It Were My Home - Disasters - Andy Lintner

Grades
6 to 12
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Put a known disaster into perspective. What would a disaster look like in your area? Choose from the Pakistan Flood or the BP Oil Spill. Be sure to click YES ...more
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Put a known disaster into perspective. What would a disaster look like in your area? Choose from the Pakistan Flood or the BP Oil Spill. Be sure to click YES for the map to be able to find your location. Use the blue buttons above the map to either move the disaster or put it in your actual location. Click Put It Back In ... to restore the map. Be sure to click Compare Living Conditions in Pakistan to compare other areas to Pakistan
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tag(s): disasters (39), floods (6), oil spill (21)

In the Classroom

Use an interactive whiteboard or projector to show the disaster placed over where students live. Discuss the areas that would be affected, noting waterways, major buildings or attractions, and how the area would be affected by such a disaster. Have a discussion about short term and long term effects on the environment, jobs, and people's lives. Provide time for students to choose locations in the world to place the disasters. Search the various areas for jobs, agriculture, attractions, and native animals/plants that are affected. Identify how all disasters are devastating no matter where they are, including research on other problems that occur after the disaster. Write a letter to the editor expressing viewpoints of a disaster. Learn about how to best prepare and handle a disaster. Identify the different cultures in areas of the US and elsewhere and how relief needs can be different.

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Gas Prices/Fuel Economy - US Department of Energy

Grades
4 to 12
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Find great information on the factors that affect gas prices and ways to improve fuel economy! Be sure to click on Gas Mileage Tips for great ways to improve fuel ...more
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Find great information on the factors that affect gas prices and ways to improve fuel economy! Be sure to click on Gas Mileage Tips for great ways to improve fuel economy. Use the Fuel Cost Calculator to identify changes in miles per gallon when making changes in improving fuel economy. View the frequently asked questions in Understanding Gas Prices.
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tag(s): energy (197), fossil fuels (18), resources (112)

In the Classroom

Provide time for students to view the suggestions in Gas Mileage Tips and then report to the class about their findings. Create a survey for students to participate in (if at a high school) or to observe their parents driving patterns. Use a tool such as SurveyRock, reviewed here. Encourage students to suggest tips that their families can use to increase their gas mileage. Research the types of cars found in other countries and the average mile per gallon of the cars driven. Also, research the gas prices/gas tax in other countries to identify how gas prices/taxes lead to better choices in cars and driving practices.

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Water Use It Wisely - Park & Co

Grades
1 to 12
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Find an impressive amount of information about water conservation on this site. Though created for conservation in Arizona, the information is applicable to a variety of areas. This...more
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Find an impressive amount of information about water conservation on this site. Though created for conservation in Arizona, the information is applicable to a variety of areas. This is a hot topic in many locations suffering through droughts. Be sure to look at the latest news and information in the energy saving toolkit. The toolkit includes interactive activities to teach water conservation. Find 100+ ways to conserve in the tab along the top and numerous resources under the Kids and Resources tabs.

tag(s): conservation (127), natural resources (59), water (130)

In the Classroom

Use the information from this site for inspiration in the creation of digital or conventional posters for water conservation. Create a campaign for increasing water conservation in school and at home. Survey the school community on their water usage using a tool such as SurveyRock, reviewed here. Calculate the amount of water saved as a Math activity. Use this site on a computer during learning centers when studying other environmental issues.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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World of Dinosaurs - Virneth Studios

Grades
4 to 12
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The World of Dinosaurs provides a quick overview of the life and times of dinosaurs. Explore each section to learn when dinosaurs were alive, what they ate, and find out ...more
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The World of Dinosaurs provides a quick overview of the life and times of dinosaurs. Explore each section to learn when dinosaurs were alive, what they ate, and find out what happened to the dinosaurs. Scroll through the gallery to view representations of different kinds of dinosaurs. Visit the extensive data section to get basic facts and information on many different dinosaur species. Caution: the links in the body of the text on the home page lead to apartments for rent, apartment hunting tips, and notes from a City of Portland meeting.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): dinosaurs (57), paleontology (41)

In the Classroom

Introduce this site on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Then have students explore this site independently or in small groups. The site is text heavy. Consider pairing weaker readers with stronger readers. After students explore the site, have small groups create a simple infographic sharing their findings using Easel.ly, reviewed here. Have students create an annotated image including text boxes and related links using a tool such as Thinglink, reviewed here, to describe the life and times of dinosaur species. At the time of this review the "Eggs" game did not appear to work.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Cluuz Search - Sprylogics

Grades
K to 12
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This tool is the search engine for the next generation. Search with better results than traditional search engines. How is this possible? Cluuz uses the relationship between the terms,...more
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This tool is the search engine for the next generation. Search with better results than traditional search engines. How is this possible? Cluuz uses the relationship between the terms, persons, or other items searched for more relevant results. Enter your search term. Click Advanced for more search options. Click the various items to include in the search under Preferences. Select whether to search using the News or the Web. Results are displayed in a list form and image thumbnails. Click on each heading to view the source. Find relevant tags below the heading of each source that have some relationship with your topic. These tags help streamline your search, finding the relationships that you are actually looking for. Be sure to notice the word clusters found along the right side of the search page. These semantic graphs are clusters created by items extracted from the web pages. Look at each semantic graph to zero in on the actual focus of your search. Use the menu across the top to learn Search Basics or How to Use Cluuz (this is a powerpoint download).

tag(s): search engines (65)

In the Classroom

When discussing 21st century skills, use Cluuz alongside other search engines to compare the results and determine whether the search engines deliver relevant results. Use this search engine when researching any person, event, or concept in your classes. Be sure to link this search engine along with the others on your web page.
 

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