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Simple Machines in Appliances, Gadgets, and Everyday Life: How are skyscrapers built? What makes it easy to chop up vegetables? What makes a propeller on an airplane turn? Simple machines make the things in everyday life work. Scientists define a simple machine as a device that alters either the direction or force of an object. In other words, they magnify, or enlarge, the amount of force that someone can apply to an object so that it takes less work to move it. These simple machines are often used in more complex devices, like airplanes and cranes. There are six primary types of simple machines: pulley, screw, inclined plane, wheel and axle, wedge, and lever. These simple machines are used in more complex devices every day, making tasks much easier.
Zany Zoo: This site is comprised of an explanation of a
science task for 3rd-6th graders, support for teachers, resources,
web links and more. Students are faced with the tasks of creating
a new habitat for an animal of their choice. The task takes
2-3 weeks to complete. Before attempting this task it is suggested
that the "students have an understanding of living things
needs, identification of habitats and their characteristics."
This task can be adapted for any state framework.
This site enables the user to select a topic (such as volcanoes)
and then go on a virtual trip. Some of the topics indicate grade
level, but not all. Once the subject is selected it brings the
user to a main page where it states the concepts and terms that
can be taught and learned through the use of the tour. There
is also a link to teacher's resources such as lesson plans.
The tour allows the user to move backwards and forwards within
the tour and click on links which provide more information.
Essentially, it is like a website, but has a specific format.
The site advertises the software that can be used to create
a virtual tour.
Education Network Virtual Field Trips: This site is comprised
of numerous virtual trips on all kinds of subjects. Also, you
can learn how to create a field trip yourself. There is also
a link to virtual field trips from other websites. They appear
to be useful resources for supporting a unit of work.
on the Web: There is a wealth of websites for castles around
the world. You can choose what country you want to look at a
castle from and then it provides you with links to the castles’
websites. The sites vary in professionalism. Some are official
sites whereas others have been created by castle enthusiasts.
The sites can be used by teacher and/or students.
Underground Railroad: This site explores slavery's Underground
Railroad. There is an interactive decision making exercise which
asks for the user to respond to decisions that slaves would
make in order to escape. Also, there is information on every
aspect of slavery, providing lessons and resources for teachers.
The site is described as an interactive museum that takes you
on geographical journeys. Here you’ll climb a mountain,
hover over the Earth, speed across Europe, visit an archeological
dig, even order sushi; plus games, see animations, and more!
There is a teacher’s guide to support the site. The site
can be used with K-12 students and lesson plans are provided
for each grade. There is a wealth of information on numerous
subjects. Although younger students might need support, it is
a good resource.
Atlas: This site is for teachers wishing to purchase geography
videos. A series of four videos have been produced using the
approach seen in "Growth of a Nation. Geographic elements
are the actors used to portray history on a large scale while
watching, and are thus made memorable.” You can preview
the video(s) before purchase. Students can pause and rewind
the video. The timeline along the bottom can be clicked on and
provides information from the selected time period.
of Treasure Hunts: The following is a collection of Web-based
treasure hunt sites. Students must use the Internet to find
the answers to questions. I have listed the appropriate grade
levels. These are great activities for small groups of students.
Sites are updated monthly. In addition, there are links to sites
on how to use treasure hunts and also how to create them. The
sites are very interactive. They require a student to have good
Internet and computer knowledge in order to search for information
and move between pages and links. Therefore, younger students
may require support.
History: This is a treasure hunt on African Americans. It
does not say what grade it is for however; the resources they
suggest late elementary thru high school. The site includes
instructions for the use of the hunt, the questions that the
hunt asks, Internet resources and finally the big question (the
final question). Not all the links to external sites worked.
Hunt: This is a treasure/scavenger hunt on whales. There
is a list of web links with questions under them that the site
will address. This is a useful resource for learning about whales.
- Filamentality: This site is a guide for creating a learning activity: “Filamentality
is a fill-in-the-blank tool that guides you through picking
a topic, searching the web, gathering good Internet links,
and turning them into learning activities. In the end, you'll
create a web-based activity you can share with others, even
if you don't know anything about HTML, Web servers, or all
that www-dot stuff.” Created files are stored for at
least one year. Free hands-on training is provided for California
customers only. Users from other states can find help on the
site from the user guides. Plus, there is an online step-by-step
Web'n“Blue Web'n is an online library of 1800+ outstanding
Internet sites categorized by subject, grade level, and format
(tools, references, lessons, hot lists, resources, tutorials,
activities, and projects). You can search by grade level (Refined
Search), broad subject area (Content
Areas), or specific sub-categories (Subject
Area). Each week 5 new sites are added. You can get a
list and description of these additions sent to you by signing
up below for free weekly
updates!” The site has a wide range of resources
for teachers, including links to PBS documentaries.
- The Webquest:
“A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which most
or all of the information used by learners is drawn from the
web. WebQuests is designed to use learners' time well, to focus
on using information rather than looking for it, and to support
learners' thinking at the levels of analysis, synthesis and
evaluation.” A WebQuest appears to be similar to a treasure
hunt. This site offers an explanation of WebQuests and explains
how they can be used.
- Simple machines are single mechanical devices that help people work faster, easier, and more efficiently. They also help accomplish tasks like moving large heavy objects such as pianos or rolling objects uphill. The six kinds of simple machines are: pulley, screw, inclined plane, wheel and axle, edge, and lever.
This web link contains copies of original manuscripts (some
on slavery) which you can read by using the Magic Lens to reveal
the text. The site is Memorial Hall Museum online. It provides
a view of New England in the past. It is a very user friendly
site. It does require Quick Time to view some of the information.
The site provides digital images, an online exhibit, classroom
activities (lesson plans and more) and online activities.
This site is about Jack London and the Great Earthquake and
Fire of San Francisco in 1921. It is an eyewitness account by
Jack London on his experience of the disaster. The account is
very detailed and is an ideal source of information.
This is a picture of “Large refugee camp in Golden Gate
Park. The large wooden building along the ridgetop was Affiliated
Colleges, now the site of the University of California Medical
Center at Parnassus Heights.”
This is an explanation on how to evaluate primary resources.
It provides examples and step-by-step guide. This is very useful
for history students who have to evaluate resources.
“American Memory is a gateway to rich primary source materials
relating to the history and culture of the United States. The
site offers more than 7 million digital items from more than
100 historical collections.” You can find images by using
the collection finder or the search engine. Also, there is the
Learning Page where the visitors can find out how to use the
site through a guide or the user can look at numerous lesson
plans that they can use. There are activities and features.
There is also an opportunity for professional development.
NETS standards: This site is the National Educational Technology
Standards for Students. It provides you with up-to-date news
and allows you to look at the standards for the different grades