Science Underground Podcast (Gr. 3-12)

Science Underground Podcast – Science explained in a fun & understandable way

cover170x170Have you ever wanted to know how leaves change their color? How about the science behind throwing a football? Or, how tires on a car are related to the lettuce in your salad? Enter Science Underground, a podcast series hosted by TED speaker and scientist Ainissa Ramirez. In the span of two minutes, Ramirez will explain science concepts in common terms so that anyone can understand.

New episodes are released each week and are accompanied with a written summary, list of references, and links to additional content. Search the archive for past episodes and use their tag list to find episodes based on specific topics such as Math, Chemistry, STEAM, and more. Scroll down to the bottom of any page to subscribe to the podcast via email, or sign-up using iTunes, Stitcher, or SoundCloud.

INTEGRATE

  • Assign episodes for homework and have students reflect the next day in class or online using a discussion forum such as Padlet or blog like Google’s Blogger or WordPress.

Science Underground Podcast screenshot

Music Animation Machine – YouTube Channel (Gr. 4-12)

Music Animation Machine – Seeing music in a whole new way

This YouTube channel contains 100 different videos based on classical pieces of music and set to an animated graphical display. Different shapes and colors come alive as the music plays, and no two videos are alike! Musical pieces from famous composers like Bach, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, and others can be found here.

INTEGRATION

  • Use this site to help calm the mind as students transition from one activity to another.
  • Have students listen to a musical piece first and reflect on what they “see” before showing them what Music Animation Machine came up with.

Calm (Gr. K-12)

Calm – Taking a mental break from the school day

We’ve all been there. You’re trying to transition your students from one activity to another but the energy levels are just too high to bring them back down to earth. If only you had a tool to help calm things down (pun intended). Enter Calm, a website containing relaxing sounds and animated imagery. Choose from 25 different themes from ocean surf to forest raindrops. Use the sound bar located in the bottom-right corner of the site to change the volume level or mute the audio altogether. There is also a timer tool with five different presets. The timer tool can also be used in ‘Guided Relaxation’ mode where a voice will provide calming tips during the designated time period.

NOTE: Calm is also available, for free, as an app from the Apple iTunes and Google Play stores.

INTEGRATION

  • Use as a transition tool from a physically intense activity to a more stationary one.
  • Use to help students mentally prepare for quizzes, tests, or other assessments.
  • Expose students to just the audio track and ask them to visualize the scene, then compare their images to that of the site.
  • Use the various scenes as the trigger for a writing prompt.

Calm site screenshot

The Peanut Gallery (Gr. 5-12)

The Peanut Gallery – Add text dialog to silent movie clips

One of my favorite improv skits from Whose Line is it Anyway? was called “Film Dub” where the cast would have to watch a video clip with the sound muted and provide all new dialog, the results of which would often cause audiences to erupt in laughter. Now, thanks to a Google Chrome extension, students can flex their own improvisational muscles with The Peanut Gallery.

Peanut Gallery screenshot

Before you begin, you will need the following:

  • Google Chrome web browser app
  • An enabled or connected microphone

There are 15 silent movie clips to choose from with themes that range from The Lost World to Phantom of the Opera and Plane 9 from Outer Space. Once you make a selection, verify/approve the extension’s access to your computer’s microphone. When ready, speak the word “Action!” to begin. When you want to add textual dialog, simply speak into your microphone and the extension will do the rest. If you want specific punctuation then include it in your voice command (e.g. “What day is it question mark”). Once complete, you have the option to watch your film with inserted text and soundtrack, start over, or share over social media. If the use of social media is not an option, then copy-&-paste the URL from this screen into an email, Google Form, blog post, etc. to share.

For recording tips, background information on the origins of the Peanut Gallery idiom, and bibliography for the film clips click the ‘About‘ link in the bottom toolbar for the website.

INTEGRATION

  • Use this with students to conduct digital role-playing scenarios.
  • Create a PSA (Public Service Announcement) on a past or current events topic.
  • To maximize speaking opportunities, it might be helpful for students to storyboard out each scene in the video clip so that they can script out the dialog that would like to add.

 

HowTo – YouTube Editor: Audio

This tutorial investigates YouTube’s ‘Audio’ editing tool. YouTube provides a library of 150,000+ music tracks that can be added to a video, and many are ad-free. Browse tracks by musical genre or search by keyword. When using the search tool take note of the two additional parameters:

  1. Only show songs of a similar length to your video.
  2. Show ad-supported songs (i.e. when these songs are used they will cause ads to be displayed during your video).

Bla | Bla | Bla…App

One of my duties as technology coordinator for two elementary schools is to film various student productions. One of the challenges when filming students is getting them to speak loudly and clearly so that the camera can pick up their voices. For someone who hated presenting in grade school, I can sympathize, but public speaking is a part of one’s career as a student.

Enter Bla | Bla | Bla.Bla Bla Bla screenshot

This app comes with a library of 16 faces that will stretch, contort, and otherwise move in response to how loud the student speaks. This gives the student a visual meter that they can use to measure the volume of their voice and adapt accordingly. Right now, it’s a tie between the frog and the cat as the student’s favorite avatar.

  • For iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch – Download
  • My thanks to Mrs. Keating, Music Teacher at Village Elementary, for introducing me to this app.