Google recently announced a collaboration with the music group OK Go to use their amazing music videos to explore the worlds of science and math. Called the OK Go Sandbox, this site has been designed to facilitate exploration, imagination, and play. There are resources for both students and teachers to take advantage of.
In addition to being able to watch the actual music videos, students also have access to Q&A interviews with the band members about what went on behind the scenes and the skills they needed to pull them off. Students learn how geometry and time factor in to how video cameras capture events to change our perspective in The One Moment. Using the music video This Too Shall Pass, the band takes students on a exploration about simple machines. And last but not least, students can see how math and music are intertwined by way of their Needing/Getting music video.
Each of the three modules contains multiple challenge activities, from exploring how gravity affects objects of different sizes and masses based on The One Moment video to using sensors to make sounds just like they did in Needing/Getting. Each challenge comes with an Educator Guide in PDF format to download, while some challenges also include a Student Guide as well as guides that integrate with Google’s Science Journal app for Android-enabled devices.
For more information, check out Google’s Keyword blog post.
Bojagi – Visual-reasoning math puzzles
Created by David Radcliffe, Bojagi combines multiplication with visual-reasoning skills on a grid to create interesting math puzzles. The directions are pretty straight forward:
“Draw a rectangle around each number by clicking and dragging with a mouse. Each rectangle should contain exactly one number, and the area of the rectangle should be the number that it contains. Rectangles must not overlap.”
Once you have completed the training puzzle, click on the List menu to access a growing list of user-generated puzzles, some of which are quite challenging. After you have acquired enough experience with the puzzles, click on the Create menu and try your hand at making one of your own!
- Put a new spin on learning multiplication facts using this site.
- Have students work in pairs to solve the same problem then compare their results to show that there may be more than one way to solve a problem.
- Pair with an interactive whiteboard and have students solve one number at a time. Can they solve a number and still leave room for their peers to solve the remaining puzzle numbers?
Brain Pump – Learn something new and feed your curiosity
Brain Pump contains a wealth of short video clips designed to stimulate the mind and encourage discussion on a wide variety of topics. Would you like to know what causes the smell after rain? Did you know that there’s no such thing as cold? What happens when Homer Simpson is pitted against Pierre de Fermat?
Videos are organized into topic categories including Business, Technology, Food, and more. The site also has videos organized by user-submitted topics such as Game Design, How It’s Made, Nature, and Spanish. Each video comes with tools to share on social media or get a direct link to the video. Sign-up is free but not required to use the site, although an account does allow you to star favorite videos for later.
- Use these videos to spark class discussions or as writing prompts to open students to new possibilities.
- Pair the videos with a commenting tool such as Padlet, EDpuzzle, or Comment Bubble to take the discussion online.
Provided by the site Code.org, this YouTube video talks about the potential available to our students who are exposed to the world of computer programming and coding. Listen to interviews from high-profile players in the technology world such as the makers/creators behind Microsoft, Facebook, Dropbox, Twitter, and more. Watch as educators, athletes, and musicians talk about common misconceptions and barriers that people have created around computer programming, why they got into coding, and how you can get started. If you are looking for resources to support a STEM initiative, this video would be a good addition to your toolbox.
Watch the video here (9:34)
Saving Squad is an interactive website designed to help students understand the concepts of banking, earning/spending money, and overall financial management. Start by creating an avatar, then head on over to the bank to open a checking account. Afterward, travel around the map looking for opportunities to earn cash by solving a variety of problems. Problem scenarios are broken up into three difficulty levels. Access the Teachers section of the site for lesson plans that can be downloaded in PDF format. The site is free to use and students may enter as a guest without having to sign in (an account is required in order to save student progress). Please note that some of the financial symbols are in English pounds.
NOTE: For younger learners, the site creators have developed Fun to Save for students aged 5-7 years.
- Use the word problems provided in the site to have students create their own using local prices and establishments.
- Ask students to reflect on their reasoning for their financial choices and whether or not such choices would be fiscally responsible in today’s economy.
24/7 Science – The best projects and activities whenever you want!
From the Lawrence Hall of Science, this website is chalk full of interactive games and activities covering a wide variety of science topics. The first collection of activities are designed to be hands-on with titles like Sticky Situations and How Old is Your Penny? The second collection of activities are designed to be interactive games and challenges, organized into categories such as Arcade Games, Earth & Space, nanoZone, and Quizzes. I tried my hand at the Alien Juice Bar, where I had to serve a clientele that only consume acids, bases, or neutral drinks. The site is still under development and notes that an educational resources section is forthcoming.
- Here is another example of a website who can suggest ideas and activities to integrate into your lessons without having to re-invent the wheel.
- The interactive games section can act as both an introduction to a topic of study or a wrap-up activity to help students prepare for a final assessment.
Alien Juice Bar Activity:
This site contains a wide variety of tools and resources on topics ranging from budgets to financial wellness to how loans and debt work. For educators, click on Lesson Plans under the Resources menu to access 55 different lesson plans and activities, almost all of which come with objectives, assessments, and suggestions for learning extensions. Check out the calculators area for a list of 35 different financial calculators on a variety of topics that high school students may find valuable. For elementary students, check out the Money Bunny section for stories, podcasts, and printable worksheets on earning, saving, and spending money. There’s even a section with videos in which students give financial advice to adults.
- Financial literacy is an ever more important topic to integrate into our classrooms as we prepare students for the real world. Use the lesson plans from this site as starting points and then customize them to fit your content area and curriculum.
Mathnet/Mathman – Show segments on YouTube
If you don’t follow Richard Byrne’s blog Free Technology for Teachers then I strongly recommend you do so. In a recent post, Richard shared his discovery of episodes of Mathnet and Mathman, popular segments from the PBS television show Square One. For those who don’t know:
- Mathnet is a spoof of Dragnet with the obvious theme of mathematics. Students follow “math” officers Kate Monday and George Frankly as they help unravel math mysteries involving numbers, patterns, geometry, algebra and more.
- Mathman is a spoof of the popular game Pac-Man. Mathman must search out numbers according to the rule of the day (e.g. prime numbers, multiples of 5+2, shapes that are pentagons). If Mathman gets one wrong, the deplorable Mr. Glitch gets to eat him.
Below are sample videos from each show segment. I will also include links to a YouTube playlist of each show so that you can browse for episodes that could go with your lessons. And for more information, please check out Richard’s blog post on this topic at Free Technology for Teachers.
- YouTube playlist: Mathnet (19 episodes)
- YouTube playlist: Mathman (11 episodes)
Mathnet Episode: The Case of the Missing Air
Mathman Episode: 5x + 2
PBS Learning Media – Fostering Classroom Innovation and Student Engagement
PBS Learning Media is an online platform created to help teachers “re-imagine classroom learning” and integrate rich multimedia into lessons and activities. Currently there are over 14,000 resources available and can be filtered by grade level (Pre-K to 12+), subject (8), media type (document, audio, video, etc.), language (5) and accessibility (text, audio description, display transformation, etc). Create a free account on the site to save/share content. Access to the complete multimedia database requires a school subscription.
Below is an interview with PBS president Paula Kerger who talks about PBS Learning Media (2:02):
ChemGameTutor – Refine your chemistry knowledge (Gr. 9-12)
“Dr. Despair has gone and captured the 12 most famous scientists of all time! You have been dispatched with your knowledge of chemistry and mathematics to find them and set them free.”
Current game levels include significant figures, heating curve, moles, balancing equations, kinetics, naming and acids & bases, with more to be added in the near future. No login is required, but teachers can create accounts so that they can track students progress. Flash is required to use this site.
- With today’s generation all about video games, if they are going to play them we might as well have them play ones with an academic mission in mind.
Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this find.