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Tag Archives | Science

Space Exploration Lesson Ideas

There are many different space-based teachable moments that will happen in 2011.  Space events for this year so far include a solar eclipse, meteor shower, the super moon, and four planets can be seen with the naked eye.  Still to come this year are a lunar eclipse, meteor showers, and  the last shuttle launch in the United State by Endeavor.  These teachable moments can capture students’ attention to learn about science topics based on real life.  Teachers can find the dates and time period for these events in a Space.com’s article about the space watching season.

space

There are some great online resources to learn about space, the moon, the sun, the planets, and the United States involvement in the space program.

Space.com

Space.com is an article and video based website that covers and reports on the top space, space travel, and sky watching happenings.  This is a great website for middle and high school students to use for research projects based on space.  Topics range from how to clean up space junk, the shuttle launch rescheduled for May 16th, photos of space, photos of earth from space to videos about various space science events.

I found the article about the launch on May 16th to be informative and interesting.  I can see middle school students reading and responding to this article in a journal entry, which would combine science and writing.  I loved that  the article touched on why the shuttle did not launch on the 29th, the experiments that will be happening on this last trip, the importance of the crew, and what will happen to the shuttle after it returns.

NASA

NASA has a very extensive website about space exploration with videos, articles, and mission information.  There is a specific section for teachers and another section for students.

The teacher section provides resources for teachers to use to create lessons, units, and projects for students to learn about space exploration in conjunction with the NASA website.   There are resources to learn about the different events that will happen this year in space like the super moon, the solar eclipse, and the planets aligning in the sky this month.

The student section includes videos, pictures, articles, games, and experiments based on grade level.  I especially enjoyed the interactive story about the shuttle.  This online interactive book includes historical facts about the shuttle, the missions, how it works, how it launches, bios on astronauts, and a comments section for students to read and post comments about the activity.  This is a great resource to explore further to incorporate in your classroom lessons on space.

Other Great Websites about Space:

  1. National Geographic  – Space
  2. Hubble – Pictures of Space
  3. Kids Astronomy
  4. About.com Space Tour

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By Jram23

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National Frog Month – Jump Into It!

April is National Frog Month and is a special time set aside to celebrate those little fun creatures found both in urban and rural settings all over the country.  Nearly everyone has been fascinated by the development of a frog from a tadpole, listened to their croaking calls, or watched them leap in the grass or on the pond.  There are so many engaging activities for students to learn about frogs.  Books, movies, crafting activities, and even apps have been created for children to study frogs.  Teaching students about frogs in the classroom is a very interactive lesson plan that children of all ages enjoy and can be tied to many subject areas.

frog

Frog Activities Based on Books

There are many famous children’s books that have a frog as the main character.  One of my favorite series, Frog and Toad, is a collection of easy reader short stories based on the adventures of Frog and Toad.  Their traits and appearances hold true to the actual characteristics of frogs and toads.  This story would be a great lead into a lesson about the differences between frogs and toads.

Jump, Frog, Jump! is a very cute picture book that involves repetition and the life cycle.  Younger students appreciate the repetition and the rhyming while older student can use it at a spring board for learning more about frogs and other reptiles.  Kcls.org has a document of a variety of lessons for reading this picture book.

Frog Activities Based on Movies & Television

The Princess and the Frog, a Disney movie that came out in 2009, is a popular frog movie for children.  This story is a modern retelling of the Frog Prince.  Lessons for this movie can include learning about frogs, crocodiles, and lightening bugs along with connections to learning about jazz and New Orleans.  Scholastic has a website of plans and printables for lessons based on The Princess and the Frog.

National Geographic has an entire documentary style series of videos available on their website to learn about specific species of frogs like the Leopard Frog and the Bullfrog.  The videos are short and designed for kids.  There are facts sheets and links associated with each video for further exploration.

Kermit the Frog is a famous connection to frogs that kids of all ages will love to learn about.  Students can make connections between Kermit and real frogs describing the similarities and differences.  Students can also learn many academic-based lessons with the video clips of Kermit the Frog that are available online.

Frog Activities Based on Apps

One of the standard requirements for high school biology classes is to dissect a frog.  The Easy Frog Dissection app is an educational guide that allows students to dissect a real frog by viewing real images of a frog with the various organs pinpointed and explained.  This app is great for high school students to review and study or in lieu of completing an actual dissection.

Frogsaregreen.com has an online review of 5 of the top frog apps.  U.S. State Amphibians can be used to find out which frogs live in your part of the country.  Frog Flip can be used to study the variety of frogs based on their physical characteristics.  Frog Dissection is a virtual application where students can dissect frogs.  Pocket Frogs is a popular free game that students can play where they become the frog surviving through environment challenges.

Other Resources for Learning about Frogs

  1. Kid Activities – Frog Themed Lessons
  2. Harcourt School – The Life Cycle of a Frog
  3. eHow – Celebrating National Frog Month
  4. Exploratorium – Frogs (Great for middle school students)
  5. Grow-a-frog kits

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By kakissel

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Online Special Education Resources from FDLRS/TECH

Funded by the Florida Department of Education, FDLRS/TECH is a great site for free and low-cost technology resources for use in the special education classroom.  These online resources are intended to increase student performance and provide tools that can then easily be translated from the classroom to the real world.

The FDLRS/TECH website is broken down into eight categories:  c.  Each category contains a description of the topic (including Florida Standards) with a series of links that are broken down into respective categories.  FDRLS/TECH provides a wealth of useful free and low-cost resources for students and teachers that you should definitely check out.

Below is a list of just a few of my favorite resources from this site:

Creativity:  Music

Jam Trax is a music program developed by Sony for children in elementary and middle school.  The program allows students to add musical tracks of a variety of instruments to create their own songs.  It also provides an option for students to create their own tracks through the use of a microphone.  This program definitely spurs musical creativity.

Science

PBS NOVA is a top-rated science television series.  The website extends the television series by providing articles, interviews, essays, slide shows, photographs, and other interactive features.  These extra features allow for students to delve deeper into what is covered on their television shows.

Math

Illuminations provides free online virtual math activities and lessons.  This would be great for a center activity or computer lab time.  The activities are very engaging for all types of learners.

Writing

Bubbl.us is free online mapping software. Students I have taught, ranging from elementary to high school, use this for concept webs on research papers and presentations.

Reading

Free online storybooks are available from Children’s Storybooks Online.  There are a variety of online books for different age groups. Use a projector to show them to all your students. Some of them even incorporate sound effects to make the books come alive!

Article by Laura Ketcham

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