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Freebee Friday: Inventors Ahoy

Inventors Teaching about inventions and changes in how people live and work is a great entry point to lessons about faraway cultures and history. The Inventions Concentration game is available for Macs or PCs and kids can play against each other or against the computer with 9 questions about which culture invented which breakthrough idea. While it won’t run full-screen on high resolution displays, the game – along with others on the Presidents, math and other subjects – are free for the download.

Handful of History

Iphone history Hard to believe but an iPhone or iPod can hold more historical documents than the typical school library. With MultiEducator’s American Dream the teacher or student can get a hold of nearly 500 important documents in American history, including speeches, inaugurals, laws and Supreme Court decisions. The app costs $2.99 and can be downloaded from the iTunes site.


FREEBEE FRIDAY: From Beltway to Classroom

Cspan I have to admit that I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I do love to take a sneak peek at what’s going on in the corridors of power in Washington by turning on C-SPAN every now and again. The nonprofit organization's Classroom has excellent educational resources for teaching everything from how government really runs to Presidential history. My favorites are the sections on education news, the imaginative lesson plans and the slew of videos available from the group’s extensive library. Best of all, it’s (you guessed it) free, and a great way to spruce up a social studies class.


Witness When teaching about a historic event, there’s nothing like reading about someone who was there. How about listening to them? That’s what the BBC World Service latest program, Witness, does. By sifting through the radio channel archives and mixing in key memoirs and recollections, Witness brings history to life. They are available on the World Service’s Podcast page with recent episodes on the end of post-War rationing in England, the assassination of Gandhi and how Facebook was created. You can play them on demand or download the shows to be played when you like.

MLK 2010

Martin_Luther_King It’s a day off from school for teacher and students alike, but tomorrow is a good day to remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his rhetoric and the fight for civil rights two generations ago.  Had he not been shot on April 4, 1968, Dr. King would likely have celebrated his 81st birthday last Friday. Here’re some online resources about the man and his mission.

• His famous “I have a Dream” speech given in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington is available on YouTube.

• A multitude of photos, videos, audio clips and background info about Dr. King, including him receiving the Nobel Peace Prize are all online at the King Center’s site.

• King celebrations can be done with kids reading his inspiring words from a collection of speeches available at MLK Online.

• Take a virtual trip to where the man was born in 1929 in Atlanta. The house is a national park and the NPS site has more than enough to build a lesson plan around.

Exploring the New World

Stratalogica I won’t say that the time has come to throw those globes and pull-down maps away, but they can’t keep up with Nystrom’s StrataLogica. Based on Google’s mapping data, StrataLogica lets teachers and students look over and compare high resolution maps as a spur for discussions of geography, politics and history. The service includes e‐book atlases, social studies charts and outline maps. It works with PCs and Macs and there’s a free trial. They’re at booth 1348.

FREEBEE FRIDAY: The Whole World On-Screen

Stat planet Roll up the classroom map because borders change too quickly for it to stay current. The latest version of Stat Planet’s Interactive Data and Visualization Program can not only show the latest array of countries but track 250 economic, demographic and ethnic indicators for each. The best part is that rather than lists of raw information, Stat Planet presents everything in attractive and colorful graphs. Best of all, it’s free and is continually updated with the latest statistics.

Clickable History

Cicero History doesn’t have to be a series of readings and discussions because interactive lessons from the American Institute for History Education have developed in-depth content for US History. Called History Beyond the Textbook, the program is divided into 15 easy to digest segments for middle and high school students that explore everything from Greek philosophy all the way to the current era of globalization. Along the way, the program has a slew of lesson plans from primary documents and time lines to interactive maps, videos and songs of the time. History Beyond the Textbook costs $300 per year but there’s a student version for $15 and there’s a free trial available.


The Interactive Globe

Purpose games How can you expect kids to hand in neat, crisp homework when your worksheets are barely readable and look like they’ve been photocopied a dozen times. Try teaching them geography with Purpose Games’ variety of educational interactive games. There are programs for identifying states, capitals, and a variety of country and regional maps. All students do is click on the city, state or country that the program asks for and it lets you know if you’re correct. For the teacher, the game tabulates a percentage of correct answers, and the game keeps track of top scores, which leaves open the possibility of a state capital contest. The best part is that all the games are free.

Tim and Mobie Vote

Brainpop_electionTomorrow may be election day, but there’re still millions of kids out there who don’t really understand what electing a President is all about, how it works and what’s at stake. BrainPop’s election special can help teach a good lesson in civics without it seeming like a lesson. On top of a good primer on voting, BrainPop has videos on the primaries and caucuses, presidential power and Democracy.



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