Tag Archives: maps

Free Down To Earth Resources For Science And Social Studies

Welcome to the eighth in a series of summer posts dedicated to bringing you the biggest collections of national and international resources you will find anywhere. Summer is a  perfect time to examine what you just might want to include in next year’s lesson plans that will engage your students. I plan to share resources that will cover all the curricular areas. Each article will give an in-depth and informative visit to one of these sites. Make sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share! If it is not summer where you are, then you can jump right in and facilitate learning with some new material  tomorrow. I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans) so be sure to follow. – Mike

A visit to the US Department of Interior’s USGS Education Website , The U.S. Geological Survey, provides scientific information intended to help educators. Exploring this amazing site  is certainly a grand voyage in itself. Teachers of Social Studies, Geology, Geography, Biology, Statistics, and History will find themselves engaged in a a collection that literally covers the Earth! The mission of the USGS is to educate the public about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data, and issues that affect quality of life.

Your students can discover what a satellite can really see as it passes over our planet.  Unlike many popular satellite imaging programs,  students will see pictures in near-real time with the USGS EarthNow Landsat Image Viewer. This program incorporates mesmerizing, near-real time satellite imagery from the Landsat 5 and Landsat 7 satellites as they pass over North America. Discover how to make it happen by watching a high-resolution, 1-hour public lecture, Looking Down On Our Planet: New satellite imagery reveals a changing global surface. A teacher may also want to design a unit around Earthshots: Satellite Images of Environmental Change. This is an educational site focusing on before and after satellite images (emphasizing environmental change) with detailed information for the classroom. Perhaps you want to help your students Explore the Arctic.  They will discover the many new facts scientists are learning ever day about its changing landscape.  Don’t miss the countless other Featured Topics that contain exciting and engaging lessons ready for classroom use. It will be worth your time to take a moment to download this recently published PDF File citing over 22 major resources supplied to education from USGS.

Teachers will discover great  lessons for K-6 and 7-12 involving Ecosystems, Biology, Geography, Geology, and Water. Wish you could take more field trips? Perhaps you may want to check out  your own schoolyard filled with great geologic features! School Yard Geology is filled with activities and examples of what to look for to turn your schoolyard into a rich geologic experience. Supplement just about any lesson with over 130 engaging and downloadable Podcasts covering such topics as Twittering Earthquakes, Mt. St Helen, Arctic Ice Shelves,  and Global Warming. Most USGS videos and animations  are posted on the USGS Multimedia Gallery and even have captioning.  Browse through this database containing a collection of USGS videos and animations that are especially appropriate for classroom use. This list provides a broad representation of USGS research available through their own visual media. Remember, USGS is a Federal agency and cannot copyright its products. With one exception, all the products in this database are considered public domain and may be viewed, downloaded, and reproduced free of charge. What an opportunity for student remix and creativity! Be sure to visit Lessons & Activities for Exploring the Earth with Maps It will allow you to make maps and geography concepts come alive inyour classroom! Speaking of maps, why not Find A Map that fits the exact topic you are teaching? Using Find A Map educators will browse a site containing links to popular USGS map resources and map databases, including the: The National Map, and The National Atlas. You don’t have to stop at the USGS education site, find even more information at the main site for the USGS. It really is time for you to bring your curriculum down to earth while providing engaging opportunities for all students.  You will find that the USGS Education Website is filled with resources that will allow you to facilitate 21st Century Learning in your classroom today!

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as USGS this summer! Take some time to investigate and possibly implement in the school year,  or tomorrow! I will continue to bring thought, reflection, and amazing web apps along with this summer series. Please share with others, visit the21centuryedtech Wiki, follow on me twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you have resources that you feel need to be included please leave a reply!  Enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Mike


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The Googal in Google : I Didn’t Know Google Could Do That!

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It was many years ago that I was introduced to the internet search engine. It amazed me that a website could search through the entire web and pull up web pages from my keywords. While I got my start with Altavista, I soon found myself excited by both the simplicity and complexity provided by Google. Wikipedia defines Googal as “the large number 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros in decimal representation. The term was coined in 1938 by Milton Sirotta (1929–1980), nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, when he was nine years old”. The people at Google understood the meaning Googal would bring. In fact new words have appeared in the English language such as googled, googling, googler, and possibly even googlist.

In this Blog Posting I would like to investigate a small portion of the new  Googal that is found in Google. Most people are aware of Google Docs, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Flickr, Google You Tube and the Google Search Engine. It is amazing to explore some of the lesser known areas, beta projects, experiments in the making, and those too new for the (googal) of people to have found yet. Let’s explore!

Google Options – Wonder Wheel and Timeline

First, let’s look at the Google Search Engine itself. Have you ever clicked on that Show Options Button?  If you have not done it lately, now is the time.  Click on the Show Options Button under the search and you will see a bunch of options. One of the neatest options introduced in May of 2009  is the Wonder Wheel. When it is clicked, users get a graphical display of their search. A great way for students to expand search terms!  Directly to the right on the results page  are websites related to the wheel. Click on a spoke of the wheel and you get a new wheel and new links related to that spoke.

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While in the options menu check out the  Timeline Option. This can can be a neat educational tool. Type in iPod and you will get a timeline of significant events in the iPod’s history. Feel free to explore the option window and also notice you can  Hide Options at anytime.

Google Squared

Another new tool released in the Spring of 2009 is Google Squared (just type in http://www.google.com/squared in your browser). Google describes this tool as a way to collect multiple  facts on a subject from the web. Google Squared then  presents them in an organized collection, similar to a spreadsheet. You can even customize and export results to Excel. Best of all, for students,  it  even includes pictures. Read more about it at  Google’s Blog.

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Google News Timeline

Are your students following a news event? How about looking at an event in history? Then a new service from Google called Google News Timeline is a great resource. Google describes this service as  a web application that easily organizes search results by date. Google puts the news events in a  graphical timeline filled with links and pictures.  Data sources include recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and even information relating to current  media, such as music, albums, and movies. Check out the capabilities as described in the Google Information Site.  Take a moment to view the example below that displays  how students can even find primary sources in news history using Google News Timeline.

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Google Images – More Options with Similar Images and Creative Commons

While students have access to images under “fair use guidelines ” there are still limits to usage. This is especially true  if projects are to be shared online.  Also, educators may have the need to share an image on the web via school web page, blog, or wiki. This is where the ability to use pictures created under “creative commons” comes in handy. Check out this Google July 2009 Blog that explains new features in the advanced settings for image filters. It is a great way to use images others have created, and still stay within copyright. Google has also introduced Similar Images  Search. First, search for a picture , next use Similar Images  Search to find more pictures  that compliment the original search. Also be  sure to note that there is a safe search option in Google.  It  should be set on the strict filtering option when using Google Images and even for a regular Google Web Search in the classroom.

Google Listen

Want to get more use out of your portable devices ? In August of 2009 Google released Google Listen. Google describes it as ” getting more power from your Android-powered device”.  Google Listen allows you to search, subscribe, download and stream. The user can determine what to listen to by  subscribing to programs and  using search words.  Google Listen will take this user information and create a personalized audio-magazine.  At this time, Google Listen is indexing thousands of popular English-only audio sources. Check out the fact sheet and try a download.

Google Sets

Although Google Sets has been around a few years it is a little known product that can be fun to use. Google Sets was  one of the very first applications produced by Google Labs. This awesome little search tool allows the user  to automatically create sets of items from just a few examples. These  user made sets identify  related items on the web.  Predict relationships between words and construct either large  sets or small sets. It is a great tool for brainstorming, seeing relationships, or just figuring out what is missing. It is a surprisingly  intuitive interface, one that will have you attempting to see if it knows what you are thinking. On a recent exploration I entered lions, panthers, bears and was given a set of mammals. However, when I entered Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears,  Carolina Panthers  I was shown a set of NFL Teams. It even knows the Seven Dwarfs from motion picture,  Snow White!

While I did not supply a googal of information, I do hope you are now more familiar with  a little bit more of the googal of resources found in Google. As you explore the website I am sure you will continue to find even more ways to connect Google with today’s digital learner.  Please visit me on my wiki as I continue to  promote the use of free and inexpensive resources at http://21centuryedtech.wikispaces.com/, and enjoy googling!

– Mike

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