Website of the Week: Timelapse (Gr. K-12)

Timelapse – Landsat satellite images of climate change

With the help of Google Earth, Timelapse shows amazing growth and/or change over time on a variety of topics. See how these satellite images have been put together to show change over time in such places as: The deforestation of the Amazon rain forest, urban development around Las Vegas, the reduction of the Mendenhall Glacier, and more. The site also includes several galleries of satellite images and a summary of how satellite and mapping technology have helped us to better understand our impact on the world.

INTEGRATE

  • These animated images touch on some pretty heavy topics such as  global warming, urban growth, deforestation, etc. These would be great topics for students to debate on.
  • Use the imagery as prompts for creative writing or persuasive essay assignments.
  • Consider having students conduct their own time lapse project over the course of a week, month, or the school year.

screenshot of the Timelapse homepage

Here’s an example

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Website of the Week: MapMaker Interactive (Gr. 4-12)

MapMaker Interactive – Explore your world with map themes, data, and tools for customizing your map

MapMaker Interactive, created by National Geographic, is an interactive map tool that can be customized to display certain types of information, highlight specific areas around the world, and then share those customizations with others. Choose between six different Themes that deal with water, land, climate, population, politics, economics and more. Under each theme are a variety of information layers that you can turn on and off, changing how and what type of information the map to your right will display. Click on the Drawing tab to add your own marks to the map, helping to focus your audience on the area(s) of the map you want to draw their attention to. You can also click on the Markers tab to help add emphasis to your custom map.

Once you have finished creating your customized map, you have several options available for sharing. You can generate a link to your map which can then be emailed or posted on your website. You can print off your map; if you used a theme with a specific legend, the legend will also be printed. You may also download the map as a static image file (.png) or as an .xml file which will allow you to re-open the map for future editing.

INTEGRATE

  • Use this tool to create your own custom maps that highlight the specific areas and data that relates to your lesson. Include your map (or maps) in handout packets, links on your website, or screenshots in your presentations.
  • Start out with a generic map of a specific area, then give students the share link and ask them to label the map with relevant markers based on your unit of study (i.e. a regions natural resources, locations of important military battles, important industries found in a country, etc).
  • Have students use MapMaker Interactive to provide a visualization to go along with their own research projects.

Ocean Chlorophyll levels in the Gulf of Maine

Ocean Chlorophyll levels in the Gulf of Maine

Thanks goes to FreeTech4Teachers.com for sharing this find.

Website(s) of the Week: Two Earths

Another Earth – Compare two Earths over time
GE Teach – Look beyond your borders

Both of these sites use the Google Earth plugin to give viewers a unique perspective of our planet and the wealth of information we’ve collected about it over time. Each site allows you to put TWO Google Earths side-by-side in order to compare and contrast data. Another Earth focuses on comparisons over time (between the years 1937 and 2012) while GE Teach focuses on comparing different types of data layers, such as climate change and sea temperature. Both sites are “under development” and glitches may pop up from time to time, but the authors readily ask for feedback from users so that they can make improvements.

For more information, I recommend checking out Richard Byrne’s review of both sites (GE Teach / Another Earth).

INTEGRATE:

  • There is great potential for any compare-and-contrast exercise with these two sites. I can see many class and/or small group discussions that could be setup using these web tools.
  • For Another Earth, if you wanted to compare Earth of today with Earth from a time before 1937 then perhpas students could use their imaginations to visualize what the Google Earth image would look like. Then, have students sketch that image by hand or with digital drawing tools such as Google SketchUp or Scriblink.
  • For GE Teach, have students reflect on the accessibility this tool provides vs. that found in textbooks and atlas books.

Another Earth…
A screenshot of Another Earth websiteGE Teach…
Screenshot of GE Teach website

Website of the Week: The Universe

The Universe (Gr. 6-12)

From the History Channel series with the same name, The Universe has an impressive interactive library along with video clips from the TV series for students to explore. Make sure you check out the Interactive Universe applet that contains descriptions and beautiful images of 12 celestial bodies and 8 other space phenomena. Below that you will find a small collection of videos and links to specific pages on the planets of the solar system. In the menu bar on the left-hand side there is a link to subscribe to the site’s media feed via iTunes.

NOTE: There are some minor ads displayed on the site and at the beginning of the video clips.

INTEGRATE

  • If you do an astronomy unit then this is a site that should definitely be in your toolbox.
  • Students can explore independently or as a class on an interactive whiteboard.
  • Some of the text in the planetary bios is pretty heavy, so this is a good place to teach students about skimming the literature and using the “Find” command to seek out keywords. (Windows: Ctrl+F | Mac: Command+F)

Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this find.

Website of the Week: Extreme Planet Makeover

Extreme Planet Makeover – A NASA interactive experiment (Gr. 5-10)

A NASA project, EPM asks students to investigate the conditions necessary for a planet like Earth to exist in another solar system. Use the tools at the bottom of the window to adjust several planetary variables including its distance from star and the size, age and type of star that the planet orbits. Click the Planet Gallery link in the top-right corner to see other planets in our solar system and nearby systems too.

INTEGRATE

  • Ask students to come up with other celestial planets from books, movies and other media and try to recreate them using this tool.

Thanks to ktenkely for tweeting this find!

Japan Earthquake: Before & After

Japan Earthquake: Before & After (Gr. 3-12)

From ABC News in Australia, this site shows the level of devastation that Japan has experienced after the earthquake and resulting tsunami events that took place a week ago today. Using a unique overlapping interface along with images from Google Maps, students can compare and contrast the landscape as it look prior to and after the natural disaster by dragging their cursor back and forth over the image.

INTEGRATE

  • This site, with its powerful imagery, can help facilitate a variety of classroom discussions on nature, natural disasters, the pro’s and con’s of nuclear power, population expansion and more.
  • For additional teaching ideas and resources, check out The Learning Network article from the New York Times on the Japan earthquake/tsunami event.

Website of the Week: Geocube

Geocube: The world of Geography at your fingertips (Gr. 5-10)

Created as a result of a European initiative by the European Network for Geography in Higher Education, Geocube provides students with a unique way to explore a variety of geographical topics. Based on the rubrics cube puzzle game, the site has grouped its information into six topics/sides: Exploring Our World, Living Together, Earth from all Angles, Useful Geographies, Shrinking Planet and The Fascinating Earth. Clicking on the center square of any side will zoom the student into the side and display a grid with nine sub-topics. Clicking on a sub-topic will display more detailed information on topics such as nature, water pollution, migration, poverty and more. Students can access text, images, and even a video or two.

INTEGRATE

  • Use this site as a way to start conversations with students on issues that are important to them.
  • A good resource to help students narrow down a topic for research projects.