Technology Education Know-How

Helping Teachers Teach with Technology

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.

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!

 

 

Tracking of the Torch for Education

Monday, April 14th, 2008

One of the things that makes Google Earth so fantastic for Education is it’s popularity.  People are always putting new features into Google Earth that help teaching more fun and authentic for our students.

The newest feature I want to mention is the Map Tracking the Olympic Torch.  http://maps.google.com/help/maps/torchrelay/  You’ll be able to see pictures of prominent places around the world as you track the torch.  I’m sure your students would find this interesting. 

To use in your Google earth follow the link above and thin click the blue link below the map that says, “Track the Torch in Google Earth.”

 

Extend the Learning Ideas:

Social Studies:

* If you are teaching maps, Google earth provides the coordinances that you can use to teach latitude and longitude.  

* Students can learn about other cultures.  Do you have any students that are from the cities that the torch will be visiting?  Today the torch is in the city of Muscat.  According the information found in Google Earth Muscat is the capital and largest city of the Sultanate of Oman.  The pictures of the other cultures are phenomenal that you’ll find as you track the torch.

Math:

* You can use the maps and calculate the distance that the torch has traveled and will travel. 

Writing:

* You could have your students write about their favorite Olympic events, countries that will be participating in the Olympics, or even differences that they find between cultures. 

 

The integration possibilities are endless as you open your minds to this great tool!  Leave a comment letting me and others know how you used the Tracking of the Torch for Education! 

www.realworldmath.org Launches This Week!

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

This morning as I was reading a blog post I ended up linked to www.realworldmath.org.  RWM is a new website that “is designed for educators who wish to extend the concepts of the math curriculum beyond the pages of the text.”  Thomas Petra, creator of realworldmath.org, uses Google Earth to teach Math concepts, and he is sharing his ideas and lessons with us.  He has also opened up the doors to allow fellow teachers to contribute to the site with other Google Earth Math Lessons.  I really thing Thomas is on to something here.  You’ll find under the Lessons page 4 categories of lessons, and on the updates page he has two more categories.  So, be sure to check out the whole site! 

This site is only one day old, but I expect to see lots of great things coming from this!  Get the word out by sharing with your teachers.  We can all use new ideas for teaching Math.

If you don’t find a lesson here that you can use, I’m sure you’ll get ideas for your classroom. 

 

Visual Geography

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008
Weekly Tech Tip
This weeks tech tip is can be used in Social Studies, LA, and Math.
The site is http://www.visualgeography.com/
Social Studies:
Visualgeography.com has pictures of interesting things from most if not all countries of the world.  Such as this dish from the country of Haiti, in North America. haiti food
 Students can learn about other cultures by studying the pictures and notes that are on the page.  Each countries map and flag is shown as well. 
Would you have ever guessed that this picture Ethiopia
could have been taken on the continent of Africa in the country of Ethiopia.  How awesome is that!!  I know I need to get out more.  But I can’t, and neither can many of our students.  That’s why this type of thing is so important.
LA:
I would have my students write compare contrast papers, express their surprise at commonalities, or even use the pictures as writing prompts.  The writing assignments are endless when you begin to look at these pictures from around the world. 
Math:
The site even gives statistics about each country.  The students can do calculations comparing the countries, and charts showing different data.  When I compared the US to Brazil I didn’t know how much alike in size we are. 
U.S.A. is 1.1 times bigger than Brazil
U.S.A. has 1.6 times more inhabitants than BrazilU.S.A.Size: 9,631,418 sq km
Population: 298,444,215 inhabitantsBrazilSize: 8,511,965 sq km
Population: 188,078,227 inhabitants 
I’m learning lots from this site and I’m sure your students can also!  Leave a post and let me know how you use this in your classroom.  Enjoy your Technology!

Online Flash Cards

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

www.memorizable.org

This is one cool site. Teachers can make online flash cards for just about anything. That’s not even the cool part. The cool part is that this is web 2.0, meaning that teachers from all over the world are adding to it all the time. You have access to their flash cards and they will have access to yours. Any of them can be adjusted, changed, and refreshed online.
 

 

Cross Curricular Activities

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Now this one is cool! You can do all types of activities with this information. The information found at the http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/index.html web site is phenomenal. (Click on the “Search Database online” link.)

Math: Students can compare multiple Food products creating charts and graphs as they determine which compared food product is best for them.

Example: compare Cheese cracker, low sodium to Regular Cheese crackers

Students can work with percentages and decimals in real world situations, which can impact their eating habits.

Writing: Students can write reports about their findings and why they chose the one they did for which is best for them.

Or

Students can write a persuasive paper to persuade others to eat one over the other of the compared foods.

Science: Students can evaluate their findings with the Scientific Process by creating a Hypothesis before they begin, about what they think they will find. If you have a question about the Scientific Process you can go here for more detailed info.

These are just ideas. I’m sure you can find many many more ways to use the information found one this site. The original site I started on is http://www.nutrition.gov/ . It also has a plethora of resources for teaching health and nutrition. Maybe this will help students get a grasp on the importance of healthy eating and slow down the rate of childhood obesity.

Here is a sample of the data you will find.

Fish, tuna salad

New Search

Refuse: 0%

Scientific Name:

NDB No: 15128 (Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion)

Nutrient

Units 1.00 X 1 cup ——-

205g

Proximates
Water g 129.48
Energy kcal 383
Energy kj 1603
Protein g 32.88
Total lipid (fat) g 18.98
Ash g 4.39