Friday, January 9, 2015

New Activities for the New Year!

Over Christmas vacation I was introduced to several new sites that grow student learning in a variety of ways.  These sites were highlighted on one of the Diigo lists I follow - so I didn't discover them...I am just passing them along.


What:  Geography game to encourage visual understanding and guessing with students.
How:  The premise is a street view scene somewhere in the world - you have to make a guess where the location is.  There are five rounds in the game.  You are scored on the nearness of the actual point and the amount of time it takes to figure out your location.  The lower the score the better you are at figuring out your place in the world.
Variables:  You can decide if you want the game to be about the whole world or a specific country.  You are able to 'drive' around and look for clues to help decide where you are. Googling the answer is always an option - but it takes time.
Draw Backs:  Some of the photography isn't as sharp as others - so it's really hard to read street signs.  I was smack dab on the right place one time and it said I was FAR away!   So take that into account.
Classroom Use:  This is be a great way to culminate a study of a country.  'Set' the students down in that place and try to figure out where they are.  It is also a great way to really hone observation and google search skills.  Geography is clear, but general knowledge of the world is such an overlooked skill!
Additional Info:  This  is a great blog post on questioning techniques and using GeoGuesser in your classroom

Physics Toolbox

Matt Miller, in his Ditch That Textbook blog, highlighted a very powerful suite of tools in his January 1st blog post.  
He interviewed Rebecca Vieyra who has created a suite of free tools that can be used on Android devices.  They are all sorts of ___ometers.   Apps have been developed for many of these for Mac OS.

I wanted to include this for a couple of reasons...
  • Vieyra is "now on leave with NASA Aeronautics as an Albert Einstein Fellow teacher." What a great way to introduce your students to scientist teachers using the apps she has created! 
  • these are using the tools that many students have in their pockets 
  • the post includes suggestions for using these tools in the classroom as well as on a field trip
  • I don't know anything about Physics and this is fascinating to me!

This is a rather unique website that pulls words from popular movies and creates a movie montage of your phrase.
Click here to experience what I am talking about.

Educational uses:  interesting way to kick off a classroom lesson!  
Draw backs:  There is no way to choose the clip image - and some may not be as appropriate as others.  Also, this is not creating a video - so you can only share the link.  To create the video that I shared I used a screen capture program and copied it to the blog.  That is why it is so tiny.

Have fun with these apps!

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