The simualtion above helps students to visualize the path of the sun across the sky. They are able to adjust time of day, date, lattitude, and tilt to observe the effects that these have on the the suns path. With a little pre-teaching on the effects of the suns angle on light intensity, this is a very useful to to use in explaining the causes of the seasons.
This website gives students and interactive tour of the ancient caves. These caves used to be open to the public but had to be closed due to deterioration of the paintings on the wall. Virtual Visitors are able to explore the cave through a digital videos 3D tour and zoom in on the different artifacts that are all over the cave walls. I used this activity with my grade 7 students last year and they thought it was amazing to explore.
Minecraft for education is a program my students love to work with. They create their own worlds, and develop their characters. Many understand the basics of minecraft because they have played it at home or with others. The beauty of minecraft for education is that there are limits to what the students can do and you don’t need to worry about “battles” ensuing between members.
What I really like is that code.org and hour of code have a minecraft tutorial so they can learn their coding skills in a platform they already enjoy.
In much of the reading I have done in the MET program and in personal reading is how important it is for our students to learn how to code. Coding is important for so many reasons, including organized thinking, cause-effect relationships, understanding how things work. Researchers also believe that most of the careers our students will be entering into will require some coding.
One difficulty with this is how little many of our current teachers know about code. That is not meant as a negative statement rather we were just never exposed to it and we have never had to teach it or use it ourselves. Of course we are intimidated by the thought of teaching our students to code. Thankfully the people at code.org and hour of code have made this so much easier for us.
Any teacher of any grade level can get their students coding with this easy, free program. I have started to learn code along with my students. The beauty of it is I tell students to start where they are; many of course started at grade level and had no idea what they were doing. Slowly but surely they realized they needed to back up and take baby steps. Now most of them love to code and have advanced into other coding areas like raspberry pi and arduino.
Check out code.org and hour of code to learn more.
The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History offers self-guided virtual tours (NMNH Virtual Tours) that take the viewer through various exhibits (both past and present) within the museum. The tours are accessible both through a desktop computer or mobile device. I enjoyed the tours for the visual experience and engagement that they provided. Users are able to travel from room to room, look around the room in 360 degrees, read information boards (generally, although some were too small to read, which is a downside), and zoom in on points of interest.
Through the use of this website, students would be introduced to artifacts and species of animal that they would not have been exposed to otherwise, except through an image in a book or online source. Students are also visually exposed to a large range of related artifacts, animals, and so on, that would otherwise have taken much longer to view (i.e., using a book or even a website with only single images) and that perhaps would not have been grouped together in quite this way if using a different source. In this case, users are given the opportunity to explore a variety of different, and yet connected, species, artifacts, and exhibits, which can be discussed collaboratively during the viewing (i.e., partners or groups of three share a computer/virtual experience), and then collectively discussed as a whole class, allowing for students to have a basis for discussion (due to their own virtual experience and small group discussions) before discussing as a larger group. With a virtual tour like this one, there are opportunities for teachers to provide and challenge students with pre- and post-tour questions or concepts that can be kept in mind while viewing, or used to reflect back on experiences already had in the tour.
Just in case the link embedded above does not work for you, here is the link to the NMNH Virtual Tours: http://naturalhistory.si.edu/VT3/index.html
Similar to the Exploratorium, the Science Museum website (http://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/online_science) offers a variety of off-site resources. These include a collection archive to view museum collections, a small selection of online games and apps, a blog, a science news section and a ‘Discover’ sections that a detailed look at the body, the climate, and the history of medicine.
While exploring the networked communities of GLOBE and Journey North, I was reminded of Tomatosphere which is supported through the Canadian based organization Let’s Talk Science.
Tomatosphere supports inquiry learning for K-12 students, inviting students to act like scientists. The premise of this networked community is to provide students the opportunity to investigate the growing of food for space-like conditions. Students receive two packets of seeds, one space-simulated packet and one regular. Students are provided with a story narrative to help them contextualize the purpose of their proceeding investigations. Students then plant the seeds and observe and record germination data. Data is then submitted and collaborated with results from other Canadian classrooms. The site states that this data is used by Canadian scientists to further understand long-term space exploration issues.
The Tomatosphere site includes a fairly extensive online Resource Library, as well as printable resources for student planning, investigation processes and data keeping.
Discover history, art, science, nature and more through virtual exhibits from Canada’s museums and heritage organizations http://www.virtualmuseum.ca/virtual-exhibits/type/virtual-exhibits/ There is a variety of virtual exhibits to explore, encompassing many different aspects of science and nature.
I explored the Arctic Expedition which introduces you to the scientists involved, includes videos, 3D models, and interactive elements surrounding the expedition. There is an accompanying lesson plan and teacher resources for the virtual tour and it covers a number of expectations in the Ontario Science curriculum.
When I am doing matter and materials in science, I like to have the students look at molecules and atoms of basic compounds that they might see every day, such as table salt. We look at the periodic table, and we look at molecular makeup starting with water, as they are all familiar with H2O but perhaps not what it actually looks like. We then choose an interesting molecule and build it. I have found a few sites that allow you to build virtually build the molecules and view them in 3D, plus manipulate them so you can see them from different perspectives. MolView is one of these sites that allows you to experiment with building molecules and manipulate them. It gives you different ways of representing the model in 3D, is linked to a periodic table to check out the elements, and a search bar to find specific compounds or minerals.
Educational Technology and Mobile Learning is a site that highlights apps and programs that are available in all subject areas and many are device specific. For example, there is an entire section for iPad apps. Below are some links to pages specific to math and science.
Educators Technology Math iPad Apps
Educators Technology Math Games
Educators Technology Science Apps