Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gizmos Support Science & Math Standards

In my quest to explain to my daughter how to calculate slope, I found a very good explanation online. Not only did it do a great job explaining the concept, there was even an online quiz which gave instant feedback. ExploreLearning offers a catalog of over 450 modular, interactive simulations in math and science for teachers and students in grades 3-12. They call these simulations Gizmos. Gizmos are fun, easy to use, and flexible enough to support many different teaching styles and contexts. Gizmos are designed as supplemental curriculum materials that support state and national curriculum standards; in addition, Gizmos help teachers bring research-proven instructional strategies to the classroom.
I intend to use this in my own classroom a lot in the next 30 days. Why for just 30 days? Because that's how long my free trial will last. I don't think our school is in the financial position to drop about $700 for a one year subscription to ExploreLearning's website; though from my initial exposure, it appears to be well worth it.

The graphics, explanations, and movies are just what some students need to truly understand complex concepts. My first demonstration will be the Gizmo on Plate Tectonics. Move the Earth's crust at various locations to observe the effects of the motion of the tectonic plates, including volcanic eruptions. Information about each of the major types of plate collisions is shown, along with their typical locations on Earth.

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