Website of the Week: Clouds Over Cuba (Gr. 6-12)

Clouds Over Cuba – A documentary of the Cuban Missile Crisis

Produced by the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library and Museum, this interactive site chronicles the events leading up to and following the Cuban Missile Crisis that took place in the early 1960’s. The site tells the story via a 25-minute documentary video, divided into seven chapters. Of particular note is chapter six ‘What If?’ where they look at an alternate future when we were unable to avoid a nuclear conflict. Where the site really shows its strength is in the supplemental material provided which includes documents, photos, audio clips, and film footage of people, places, and events. As you progress through the documentary, the site will add these items to your dossier for reference later. In addition, the site has a mobile component so that, with a special pin number from the site, you can access the film and items in your dossier from your mobile phone.

INTEGRATE

  • This is an amazing primary reference resource for students researching topics from this era. The potential for numerous class discussions surrounding the decisions made, the people involved, and the consequences are almost boundless.
  • The chapter about an alternative ending to this conflict is very powerful and emotional at times. As always, it is recommended that teachers preview the content and use their own judgement in how to use this and if any preparation should be done prior to student access.

Chapter 1, Act 3, changes in Cuba

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Website of the Week: Population Pyramids (Gr. 5-12)

Population Pyramids – Data on the world from 1950 to 2100

Population Pyramids provides a simple interactive graph of population demographics based on world statistics. Use the alphabetical timeline to narrow the data range to specific regions, continents, or countries. Use the annual drop-down menu or click on the timeline graph to adjust the graphic on the left to a specific year, from 1950 up to present day and predicted results to the year 2100. Hover your cursor over the demographics chart to see the percentages based on age range and gender.

INTEGRATE

  • One of the great features of the site is that it provides a link at the bottom of the page to the specific chart that has currently been selected. This can then be copied to a webpage, presentation, or worksheet for easy access by students.
  • Ask students to make their own predictions about the population demographics by age, gender, or both before revealing the site results.

http://populationpyramid.net/China+Hong+Kong+SAR/2005/

Population Pyramid for China in 2005

Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.

Website of the Week: From Cave Paintings to the Internet (Gr. 6-12)

From Cave Paintings to the Internet – The history in information and media

This site has organized great events and advancements in information, media, and communication into one place that can be searched and viewed in a variety of ways. Events have been cataloged going back as far as 2,500,000 BC and as recent as the year 2013. View the vast collection of information in a timeline view, by theme, or by using a Google Maps interface. Each entry comes with a detailed description of the event, the players involved, and links to additional resource materials.

INTEGRATE

  • This is a great tool for students to have in their research toolbox. When studying or researching a topic, students could use this site to gain insight into the communication and social developments that were going on in the world at the time.
  • The site currently has 3,820 entries and is being updated on a regular basis.

Screenshot of map interface

For more information, please visit Richard Byrne over at FreeTechnology4Teachers.com

Website of the Week: U.S. Electoral Compass (Gr. 6-12)

U.S. Electoral Compass – How do political priorities change from state to state?

Hosted by the The Guardian News and designed by the social media monitoring experts Brandwatch, this interactive ‘compass’ displays the percentages with which Twitter and online news sites were talking about certain issues in the weeks and months leading up to the 2012 Presidential election in the United States. To activate the compass, choose a state from the list on the left-hand side of the page, then select a date between July 2nd and November 12th from the timeline along the bottom. This will then activate the electoral compass and display data on 30 different policy topics and issues. Change the compass results by selecting another date on the timeline and/or by choosing a different state.

The compass separates the results by political party; results in red represent conversations that included candidate Mitt Romney, results in blue represent those that mentioned Barack Obama. Along the right-hand side of the compass you will find the list of policy topics ranked by importance in that state, as well as some basic biographical information on that state.

INTEGRATE

  • This site has a lot of potential for several compare-&-contrast activities over time and by state.
  • Start a discussion with students about the role of social media in our electoral process and where they and/or their parents went to consume information about the election.
  • Since the site doesn’t tell us from which news organizations they pulled their data from, ask students to evaluate the credibility of these results.

Thanks goes to FreeTech4Teachers.com for sharing this find.

Website of the Week: The Battle of Gettysburg (Gr. 6-12)

The Battle of Gettysburg – U.S. Army

From www.army.mil, this site provides a brief overview of the Civil War battle at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The site uses photographs, audio narration, sound effects, and an animated map depicting troop movements to tell the story. Included in the narration are brief biographies of both military leaders as well as the experiences of common folk during the battle. Use the links at the bottom of the interface to access additional information on weaponry, battle statistics, and an epilogue to these events.

INTEGRATE:

  • Use this site to introduce this event in the Civil War timeline, asking students to pick out people and events to conduct further studies of in the future.
  • While this is only a brief overview of the battle, this site could be a helpful tool for students who are absent from class and need to keep up as the unit progresses.

Screenshot of the site interface window

Website of the Week: YTTM (Gr. 3-12)

YTTM – YouTube Time Machine

Back in 2010 I reviewed YTTM which at the time had just debuted and was still in beta testing. Now here we are, it’s 2013 and YTTM is out of testing and continuing to provide a unique way to access streaming video content. YTTM combines the growing library of videos from YouTube with that of a timeline that stretches from present day all the way back to 1860. Obviously there were no videos (or YouTube for that matter) back then, but the timeline is based on the year the video was made OR the year that the video content is related to. At each year marker, the site tells you how many video sources it is pulling from and also allows you to filter videos by up to seven categories.

The only downside to the site is that the videos are displayed randomly, so it can be difficult to locate a video later unless you can remember its title. If you are in the position where you’d like to recall a video from YTTM in the future, click the YouTube logo found in the bottom-right corner of the player. This will transfer you to YouTube.com and the original video post, where you can either bookmark the page or copy-&-paste the share link for the video.

INTEGRATE

  • This site lends itself quite nicely to the task of comparing and contrasting a variety of visual and media components such as imagery, dialog, etc.
  • Use the Search bar in the top-right corner of the interface to look for videos on a particular theme. When I did a search for ‘president’ I was able to find video footage of President McKinley’s inauguration for a second term circa 1901.

Website of the Week: Cuban Missle Crisis (Gr. 6-12)

Cuban Missile Crisis – Role-play as President JFK

This simple and straight-forward site asks students to sit in the ‘big chair’ as President John F. Kennedy at the time when the United States was facing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. Students will need to consult with each of their cabinet of advisers to get their perspective on the matter by navigating the image map on the page. Students should also consult the brief put together by the CIA. Finally, based on the data they have collected students must choose from five possible actions to take.

INTEGRATE

  • Use this site to develop personalities and scripts in order to role-play the event in the classroom. Have students gather research on the major players so that they may better portray them in the simulation.
  • Ask students to hypothesize¬† how our current president might have handled the situation differently.

A screenshot of the main page with the 5 possible choices listed