It would be easier…part 4

Beyond the in-class activities we did in our month-long water unit, we could have used some of the great resources for learning about water online. NOAA (The National Oceanaic Atmospheric Administration) created an interactive WaterLife Game which teaches about estuaries through activities like cleaning rivers, answering trivia questions, and watching an animated story. Even more closely related to our shipwrecks, Mr. Nautical Chart, another NOAA game, creates a (safe) nautical chart for boaters. Mr. Nautical Chart would be great to do after studying the paths of both the Fitzgerald and the Titanic.

The USGS (Dept of the Interior’s US Geological Survey) has a great website with water resources, interactive maps, ground water information, coloring books for younger children, and more. The USGS also has available online water posters which could be incorporated into Animoto or Remix America projects too. The EPA has a kids page focusing on safe water, and even more water education ideas, statistics and a game teaching about water pollution are available through the Water Education Foundation.

And if we just wanted to have fun? How about a some free online water games? (True, an ad or two will play). Definitely a unit that would be more engaging now than it was then!

It would be easier now…part 3: Titanic

Ahhh, the Titanic. We studied it before Kate and Leonardo were all the craze and it was interesting but with the resources available to us now would be so much easier to create an engaging learning experience! Of course the History channel would have an amazing resource. History’s main Titanic site connects visitors with video, the ship’s manifest, and an image gallery. There is also a link to an excellent interactive time line with links to a tour and images from before the disaster, an exploration of the most likely scenario showing how the Titanic hit the iceberg, and an introduction to the lives of survivors.

If looking at the voyage of Titanic, Discovery’s “On Board the Titanic” is a great next stop. Virtually follow the journey of one of five passengers on the Titanic. The site is not really interactive (you see images and video clips with their story in words on screen-some of the language is authentic…) but presents the stories of each passenger.

National Geographic also has resources, primarily focused on Robert Ballard’s expeditions to Titanic. Their “Titanic: The Real Deal in 3-D” allows for an exploration through video clips from a 1998 3-D filming of Titanic. The site, “Return To Titanic” is also interesting. It has video and images of the shipwreck Titanic and an interactive feature allowing visitors in virtually explore the shipwreck. With National Geographic does have a lesson plan focusing on shipwreck exploration in general inspired by Robert Ballard, though some of the links in the lesson are broken.

The BBC’s “Titanic Journey” would be another great place to explore. With a combination of video clips and quizzes, visitors learn about the science and history behind the creation and sinking of Titanic. There is even a “Ships Log” so if you are using the site with students, they can save video clips and notes relevant to their research while they investigate the site. Interestingly, this website follows the explorations by the Keldysh, the same research ship featured in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s current Titanic exhibit.

Finally, Snag Films has put online National Geographic’s Secrets of the Titanic. (the video I showed my students on VHS!) The video is interesting, and Martin Sheen is a great narrator.