Technology Education Know-How

Helping Teachers Teach with Technology

Archive for the ‘Math’ Category

LIFE photo archive hosted by Google

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

Here is an awesome collection of pictures from Time Life. http://images.google.com/hosted/life
These pictures capture some of the forgotten moments in our History. There are millions of images dating as far back as 1750 that you and your students have access to. These are images that LIFE took but never published, yet they capture such rich snippets of history.

As an automobile enthusiast this picture of the first Rolls Royce car from 1903 sure captured my eye.

The first Rolls Royce from 1903

The First Rolls Royce in 1903

I sure could have used this when I was a student and writing those papers about cars. What about that student that you have that just lives for sports? Here is a picture of Muhammad Ali raising his gloves victoriously after knocking out Oscar Bonavena in 1971.

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali in 1971

This resource can be used for many lessons in history, writing, math and even science as you look at how technology has changed over time. Technology should not just be about computers but all innovations.

You can use these images as writing prompts as they compare and contrast the there and then to the here and now or they can write about what it must have been like during those days working on the big oil derricks and no A/C to come home to.

Oil in 1943

Oil in 1943

Often our students hear about walking to school in the snow, uphill and barefooted. Now they can see the picture.

Snow at School

Snow at School

OK, so they were not barefooted but most people that tell that story never went barefooted either. 😉

The ways you can use photography, images and historical photos is endless. The good part is that they can be used in every subject area. Leave a comment letting me and others know how you used the LIFE photo archive hosted by Google.

Geocaching for the Classroom

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Over the past few weeks I’ve become acquainted and interested in Geocaching.  As always, I’m looking for ways to use Technology, Life Experience and Fun in the classroom.  The more I get involved with Geocaching I see tons of ways it can be used in Math, LA/Writing, Social Studies, Science. This weekend for me was one of PE (Physical Education).  WOW, my legs hurt from the climbing!  I would like us to take a look a few of the ways that Geocaching can be used in each of these subject areas.

Math – With Geocaching students will be using GPS waypoints to find locations. Students can solve a math problem to get the waypoints. Then plug the waypoints into the GPS and find the cache.

Math – Students can use their GPS to calculate speed, distance and plot on a graph. They can answer questions about time, distance, area and speed.  They can then use their information to solve other scenarios without even leaving the classroom.

LA – I’m sure you’ve heard of picture prompts.  What about location prompts!?  Enough said…

LA – Students could create progressive stories.  If you have 4 or 5 groups with a GPS, each group could Geocache to different locations with each group crossing to each Geocache.  Each group will write a new paragraph to the progressive story at each Geocache.  At the end every story should be complete with a beginning,middle, and end.  Each group has written all 3 parts but in different stories.

SS – As a 4th grade teacher I’m a little partial to studying the Indians so my example will for that but can be used for other areas.   You can create waypoints of study.  In studying the Native Americans we would study their shelter, food, tools and regions.  I would create a Geocashe for each one of those topics.  At each stop the students would have to study, read or observe information about those topics and answer questions about each.  I would include pictures, essays, etc so the students could get a good idea of the concepts.  After completing the Shelter Geocashe they would move to the Food cash learning more information.

SS – Students are required to study maps in Social Studies so this is a great way to tie in maps.  They are learning Latitude & Longitude, Coordinates, Cardinal directions.

Science – Each Geocache can contain instructions on completing a Science activity such a building a lever, surveying what object has the most buoyancy, categorizing and then they can create a podcast explaining their findings, experience and results.

Science – You can also have learning stations setup at different Caching locations where the students participate in a learning activity. I remember at certain times of the year we would have our students rotate classes going to each teacher’s room where they would teach a specific related concept like Crust, Core, Mantel, Volcanoes, Landforms, Platelets, etc.   (plants, oxygen, photosynthesis, light, etc.) At the end of the Geocaching experience every student has rotated through each concept either learning new information or review former knowledge.

The ideas of how to use Geocaching are endless.  If your school campus is not big enough to Geocache then a nearby park would be a good location for these experiences.  If you have one of the new cell phones with GPS such as the Palm Pre, Blackberry or iPhone give this a try yourself.  After you’ve done it 2 or 3 times you will find all kinds of ways to use this with your students.  If you would like a listing of the Geocachings around your local area go to http://www.geocaching.com/ put in your zip code and you’ll find lots of them around you.  Each one will have a GPS co-ordinance for you to plug in and then you track it down.  We visited Inks Lake in Central Texas this weekend and did some Geocaching and my 3rd grader and Kindergartner loved it.  Not only that. I was able to give them a real world experience that they can use for prior knowledge in their Writing, Science, Social Studies and Math.

Please leave a comment telling all the ways you have used or are thinking of using Geocaching with your students.

Tying in Current Events, Week of 5/7/09

Friday, May 8th, 2009

The Swine Flu or N1H1 virus has been the biggest news outside of our Presidential Election. There is no doubt that our students have heard about it from the news, friends, parents, or even their teachers.
Every kid gets excited about the idea of getting out of school, but do they know the ramifications behind it? – make up days, learning, food purchased for lunches, economy This is the perfect way to tie in Calendar, money and other math concepts depending on your grade level.

This is obviously a prime opportunity to tie in health content as well. 4th and 5th grade need good hygiene lessons this time of the year anyway, so why not use this as the tie in. lol My wife tells me of her elementary years in New Zealand and how they had time in the schedule to brush their teeth after their lunch meals. Her teeth are a lot better than mine now. I wonder if we took the time to take health issues more serious if we’d be a healthier America now. What are your student’s thoughts about this?

Another way to tie this into your curriculum is by writing about it. Over the last few weeks I’ve heard a lot of opinions about how to solve the problem or what should be done. What are your student’s opinions? Have them take the time to research the issue, think out a resolve, and have them write about how they would solve the issue if they were in charge. Other students have fears about it because it has become such a big deal. If we give our students the opportunity to write about that we may be surprised at their concerns.

As a 4th grade teacher I once gave an assignment similar to this and it changed my perspective forever. Without any details, I gave one student a voice to be able to get some things out that she had obviously been dying to tell someone. She always had a smile so before that essay I had no idea that she had been going through such sad things. It totally changed the way I was able to teach my students.

Anyway, back on track. Maps, you can teach maps, geography, continents, etc. by plotting the course of the N1H1 Virus. Using Google Maps or other tools you can plot the growth and spread of the virus. Students can really start to realize we live in a small world after all. 😉

Again, reach into your bank of ideas and see where you can use this current event and leave a post telling us about it. Economics teachers, Journalism teachers and Science teachers should have a hay day with this current event.

Tying in Current Events, week of 3/29/09

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Growing up, my generation wasn’t very exposed to the world around us. I do remember when one of our classrooms got a TV with cable so we could watch a space shuttle mission launch. Today our students have access to current events like never before due to things like twitter, facebook, mobile tv, personal home pages similar to Yahoo, RSS readers and TV in general. Yes, most of the current events that they adhere to are entertainment related, but none the less, they are involved.

We as teachers should take the current events of our time and build meaningful lessons out of them, but being careful to not push our own political views or ideals from the headlines but true meaningful lessons. Of course my goal is that you incorporate technology into that lesson.

So, in order to help, I’m going to start posting a “Tying in Technology to Current Events” posts every so often. This week I want to take a look at the new “White House Garden News” .

What lessons can be done from this? Just off the top of my head I think of:
1. Health – A study on the importance of Fruits and Vegetables.
2. Math – Students can do calculations for savings. Take a news paper add and determine what it would cost at the store to feed your family and then how much they saved by growing it themselves.
3. History – Have them research how gardens have helped in recessions of the past.
4. LA – Write a persuasive paper on why more people should grow home gardens.
5. Politics – Have students talk and write about what this does for the Obam’s politically.
6. Science – Turn this idea into a Science project for your school and grow a school garden.

The lessons are endless. These are not the only lessons in each of these areas that can be used. I can think of several more Math lessons as well as LA lessons. The important part is that you tie in current events with the student’s learning.

How do these lessons tying in technology? Each student should present his/her findings in some form of digital media, and the teacher should provide several digital medias for the student to resource for their projects. News articles, TV News Clips, etc.

Please, take the time to leave a comment about other ways you see that this “Current Event” can be used in education.

Free Software from Microsoft (for students and teachers)

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

Yes, that’s right. Microsoft is giving away free software to students and teachers. Microsoft wants to encourage students to learn new skills in Web Design, Engineering, Math and Science using their developer tools. Some of the software they are giving away is Visual Studio Pro, Expression Studio(including expression web, expression design, expression blend, expression media), Visual Web Developer, Game Studio 3.0 and much more. They even have software for Robotics!

With the software that Microsoft is giving away, your students can learn to design web pages, build video games for the PC, XBOX, and Mobile Windows as well as write programs to kick off their futures. What student wouldn’t want to learn that?! Who knows, maybe they’ll end up on Dancing With the Stars tv show like Steve Wozniak the co founder of Apple Computers. (The man is genius but he sure can’t dance. lol)

Stop by www.DreamSpark.com to check out the details. Students and Teachers will need to provide proof of academic status before you are allowed to download. If your district or school is not listed you will need to have an account with www.JourneyEd.com. It may take a few days to get your confirmation back from them once you provide your academic status proof, but it is well worth it to get several hundreds of dollars in free software. That’s less time than it would take if you ordered it and paid for it. It only took a picture of my school ID and two days to get my approval.

Here is an article and video by Chris Pirillo with more details. http://chris.pirillo.com/how-to-get-free-microsoft-software/

What are you waiting for get on over to www.dreamspark.com and read the details to get started with your free software. Your students will love you for giving them something for free!

New Free Flash Tool for the Classroom!!!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

This week a friend of mine introduced me to a new web app that your students will just LOVE! It is Ajax Animator found at http://antimatter15.110mb.com/ajaxanimator/build/ I’m always looking for free alternatives and this one is AWESOME! This is an alternative to Adobe’s (Macromedia’s) Flash. Students can access this application by simply going to the link. You can export to flash or animated gifs. Most of all it’s FREE! That being said, it does have some bugs. But, for the most part it works great!

When your students get involved with creating animations with frame based apps like this they will learn higher order and problem solving skills. They will be forced to calculate and solve animation glitches to correct speed, direction and handling multiple objects. They can create animated graphics for their powerpoints, videos, and web pages. They can tell short stories, give demonstrations, and create simulations and much more. Wouldn’t it be nice if you were teaching about the moon phases and your students created a simulation to demonstrate their understanding? How cool would that be!? The ways this tool can be used is endless. Just the hands on math experience alone is worth giving this a try with your students.

Please leave a comment letting others know how you use Flash or other animation tools in your classroom.

Note: Be very careful you can get addicted to this!

Educational PowerPoint Resources Galore!!!

Friday, January 9th, 2009

This week I was reminded of how powerful PowerPoint can be in the classroom if used correctly. So, I went back to one of my former blog posts to pull a resource for a teacher. Well, the link to my resource was dead. I spent a little time this morning reacquainting myself with some PowerPoint resources and found plenty to share. I love not having to re-invent the wheel. Below you will find links to a plethora of PowerPoint resources, templates, premade presentations and even tutorials. I hope you find the resources helpful.
http://jc-schools.net/PPTs-la.html This one is LA but you can click on other subjects to get resources for them. Lots of great stuff here!
http://facstaff.uww.edu/jonesd/games/
http://people.uncw.edu/ertzbergerj/ppt_games.html
http://teach.fcps.net/trt10/PowerPoint.htm
http://teach.fcps.net/trt14/Power%20Point%20Games/power_point_games.htm
http://elainefitzgerald.com/gametemplates.htm
http://www.pppst.com/templates.html
http://www.nebo.edu/misc/learning_resources/ppt/
http://www.pppst.com/index.html
http://www.murray.k12.ga.us/teacher/kara%20leonard/Resource%20Folder/Integretating%20Technology.htm
http://www.vickiblackwell.com/ppttemplates.html
http://it.coe.uga.edu/wwild/pptgames/
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/powerpoint.htm
http://clear.msu.edu/dennie/matic/
http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/powerpoint.htm
http://www.wiu.edu/users/mfjro1/wiu/tea/game-files/gamesfront.htm

Enjoy!

Pre-made Presentations and Templates

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

I’m always on the prowl to find something new. This week I found a collection of pre-made presentations and templates. The presentations, templates and activities range from ABC to Zoo. If you can think of it, there seems to be one here. Many of the presentations are in Power Point, pdf or online. Most are Power Point. In each topic there are presentations, templates, student activities and many of them have teacher lesson plans to go with it. Take a look around at http://www.pppst.com/themes.html#L. I think you’ll find some great stuff to use here.

The good part about using these pre-made Power Points is that if you need to change something, you can. It’s totally adaptable for you and your students.

Some of the topics that I found of interest were ADHD, Telling Time, Texas History, Asthma, Bill of Rights, Cause and effect, Decimals, and even Thunder. There are over 1050 topics to pick from. What are you teaching this week? Maybe there is a Power Point or activity there just for you!

Plan a Vacation to Teach Math Skills

Monday, May 5th, 2008

This week I was talking to a friend about going on their vacation this summer.  As a teacher I had two things going in my head.  One was, “I need a vacation.”  The other thought was, “How can I turn this into a real world learning experience for our students?”

Of course, http://www.priceline.com/ came to my mind, but there are other sites as well that can be used. 

Have your students create a dream vacation.  They will need to plan for travel to and from the departing location, the plane fair, cruise, activities, hotel or condo, transportation while on location, food etc.  You can make this activity as extensive as you’d like.  This activity will help them review the math skills that you have already given them while applying them to real world situations. 

To expand the learning experience I would have my students:

1.       Budget  (money, charts and graphs)

2.       Plan an Itinerary Schedule (time line development, elapsed time, scheduling, and critical thinking)

3.       Map out events (maps)

4.       Use checklists to make sure they have thought of everything for their trip. (Google, travel checklist and you’ll get tons of them.)

5.       Have them write about their trip planning learning experience.

To extend their learning experiences have them break into travel groups and plan their entire vacation on a wiki! 

Enjoy and leave a comment letting me know how you plan to use this in your classroom. 

3 Classroom Lessons for Using Gas Prices to Teach Math, Writing, Social Studies, and Technology

Monday, April 28th, 2008

This morning on Yahoo! News another headline reads “Gas.”   Later this morning as the headlines rotated out another one read “Gas.”  Yes, we are facing “Gas” issues like never before.  So, why not turn this into a learning activity for our students.  Our children will face things that we have never faced before, and our job is to prepare them.  So, this Tech Tip will incorporate Math, Writing, Current Events, Maps and Technology.    

The goal here is that we tap into the higher order thinking skills of every student and allow them an opportunity to problem solve a real world event. 

Note: Teachers should not use this to promote any political agenda; you can find yourself in hot water over that.  This is just an exercise for learning.

Note: If you are reading this and are in another city, state or country there are alternative sites that you can use to gather the same data for your location. 

Exercise 1:

This web site http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/wrgp/mogas_history.html  produces a Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet with a price history of gas prices by region, state, or even some cities.  From these spreadsheets you can create charts and graphs showing changes, have students calculate differences between time periods and even calculate percentages in change over time. 

You can have your students present his/her findings to the class in a power point, video, printed graphs and a written report. 

            The teacher can discuss issues as they come up.  (No Political Agendas!)

Exercise 2:

Now that students can know the importance of and can physically see from the above presentations that the price of Gas is a real issue, have them do a little problem solving.  Have the students go to http://www.autobytel.com/content/research/top10/index.cfm/action/mileage/vehicleclass/all/listtype/3  to make an automobile selection based on their newly found information.  Encourage your students to select cars that would be suitable or comparable for their current families.  (ie. If their mom drives a van now have the select a type of van.  If they drive a truck have them select a type of truck.) 

Their goal is to select a vehicle that would save them money as well as suit their needs.  Have them research the different car types, gas mileage, and feasibility.  They can sort the cars by all, compact, convertibles, luxury, passenger, pickups, sport utility, sports, vans and wagons.  (I think I want the Honda Civic, does it have enough room for my kids?)

Have the students report back with their selection.  They should make a presentation of their top 3 choices with a conclusion as to why they selected their top choice.  How will this car impact gas prices?  How much money will they save by getting this car?  Does the price of the car off set the price of gas?

If you want to make this an extra challenge  give them a car price budget and a weekly gas budget.  They should have a select number of miles that they have to calculate to get to and from work(school).

ie: Less than $20,000 for a car.  Weekly gas allotment is $40.  They must drive 20miles one way to work.  You’ll need to give them a list of web sites from local dealers to get the prices on the cars.

 

Exercise 3:  The Big Challenge

 Using Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps along with http://www.austingasprices.com/  or http://www.gasbuddy.com/ for those not in the Austin area, to calculate mileage to determine if it would be worth it to drive out of your way to the cheapest gas prices locations. 

Students will need to know:

1.      gas mileage of car (from exercise 2)

2.      price of gas (exercise 3 links)

3.      mileage to lowest priced gas station (Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps)

4.      price of gas at the gas station near your school (you’ll need to provide this)

5.      location (mileage and map) of home and school (work) (Google Maps or Yahoo! Maps)

Have the students report as to whether or not it’s worth the extra drive.  Will they save money or not?

Closing:

As always, these activities can be extended, shortened or changed.  You are only limited by your imagination as to how this can be used in your classroom.  For higher grade levels you can turn them loose with the idea and see what they come up with.  I think we would all be shocked! 

My generation kinda grew up not being very concerned with the environment or economy at all, but today’s generation seems to be more involved with trying to solve issues than we ever where. 

If you use these ideas leave a comment and let me know how it went, or if you have other ideas please share!