Join Google & OK Go For Some Sandbox Fun!

OK Go Sandbox logoGoogle 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.

For Students

Q&A module: The One Moment of MathIn 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.


For Teachers

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.

OK Go Surrounding Sounds Challenge materials


For more information, check out Google’s Keyword blog post.

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

Brain Pump (Gr. 5-12)

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.

INTEGRATION

  • 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.

Google Maps Expansions

Google Maps recently expanded its services to include “The Man in the Moon” and the “Red Planet” in its toolbox. Both celestial maps contain labels of important landmarks and natural formations which can by directly linked to. On the Moon, for example, you can find the Sea of Tranquility as well as where Neil Armstrong put man’s first steps onto the lunar surface.  On Mars, you can share the link to Olympus Mons (the second tallest mountain in our solar system) or to the Gale Crater where the Mars rover Curiosity landed in 2012.

NOTE: The Google Maps interface for Earth, Moon, and Mars work best within the Google Chrome web browser. If you are using a different browser then you may need to install the Google Earth plug-in.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 10.08.27 PM

For more information and updates on the Google Maps expanding universe, check out the Google Maps Mania blog.

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: Molecularium (Gr. 4-8)

Molecularium – An atom theme park

Provided by the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Molecularium is a digital theme park dedicated to the exploration of atoms, elements, molecules, and their interesting and diverse properties. Once you enter the Hall of Atoms and Molecules, click on the center dome to view the current molecule on display. Click on the atomic symbol on the wall above to watch a video with your host Mel the computer and his friends Hydro and Oxy as they introduce you to the park. Underneath there are four images on the wall, each leading to a different area of the park that contain videos, interactive experiments, and other activities to explore. To the far left is the entrance to the theater where you can watch episodes of “Molecules to the Max!” To the far right is the entrance to the arcade, where there are five arcade-like games to choose from including Ion Storm, Electronz, Mission to Bond, and more!

INTEGRATE

  • This site is huge, with a wealth of information and activities to choose from. It would be easy to break this site up into multiple exploratory activities and spread them throughout a unit of study.
  • The site has a sign up feature if students want to be able to save their progress and create their own Atom Face. Sign-up is free and does not require an email address.

The Hall of Atoms & Molecules

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 of the Week: ChemRef’s Periodic Table (Gr. 6-12)

ChemReference – Periodic Table & Reference tool

ChemReference’s interactive Periodic Table tool allows students to explore and investigate the current inventory of elements. Use the colored buttons just above the table to isolate different groups of elements, from nonmetals to halogens and noble gases. Click on any element to view a detailed description of that element in the right-hand control panel. Click on the various descriptors within the panel to view relationships with respect to mass, melting/boiling points, electronegativity, and more. Don’t forget to check out the navigation bar on the far-right side of the window to access a visual map of the element as well as links to Wikipedia and other supplemental materials. NOTE: This sit does contain ad banners.

INTEGRATE

  • This is a great resource to use with lessons that ask students to compare and contrast elements based on a variety of attributes.
  • Some of the information in the element descriptor box may be challenging for students, but could also be used in conjunction with a Google ‘jockey’ assignment to see who can come up with a friendly definition first.

A detailed window of the element Hydrogen

Thanks to TeachersFirst for sharing this resource.

What Most Schools Don’t Teach…

What Most Schools Don’t Teach – A YouTube video

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)

Website of the Week: Infogr.am (Gr. 7-12)

Infogr.am – Create interactive data visualizations

Infogr.am is a web 2.0 tool that allows users to take data they’ve collected and display the results in highly visual and media-rich ways. Create charts and graphs to display your data, or use icons to make tally sheets. A recent addition to the site toolbox is the ability to insert videos into the info-graphics. NOTE: An account is needed to create infographics (this is free), and an email is required to create an account.

INTEGRATE:

  • A integral step in data collection is displaying the results of your experiment in a way that is easy for your audience to read and comprehend. In today’s society where we are drawn ever more to crisp yet clear graphics to display information, infographics are a way to combine traditional tables and charts with text headings, images, and even video.

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