Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Real Life Math for Middle School Students

The STEM Collaborative was formed when four public television stations were awarded a Local Service Initiative grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to create innovative digital content in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) subject areas. The result is this selection of free online activities that have students use geometry, algebra and proportional reasoning to engage in fun tasks such as, measuring a roller coaster ride, building a skateboard ramp, making mouth-watering recipes or traveling the globe on a rock and roll tour.

Each interactive project includes:
  • Teacher guides/educator resources
  • Lesson plans and interactive activities
  • Standards alignment chart
  • Rich multimedia and video
  • Helpful tips and hints for classroom integration
The goal is that once students experience the value of math in everyday life, learning becomes relevant, real and rewarding. Through curiosity, exploration and determination to succeed, learners grasp critical concepts, build confidence and gain valuable 21st century skills.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Identify North American birds by photo, song

Looking for help identifying a bird by photo or song? Then check out Dendroica, an interactive website developed to help students, volunteers and professionals improve their skills at identifying birds by sight or by sound, particularly so that they can participate in nature survey and monitoring programs. The site includes birds from throughout Canada, USA, and Mexico. Participants can contribute new photographs and sound recordings so it will continue to improve over time.

Dendroica (for a definition of the word, see Wikipedia entry) allows you to browse through lists of species found in a particular region to see their pictures and listen to their songs and calls. You can then quiz yourself, based on songs or photos or both, to see how well you have learned the species. You can develop your own custom list of species for study. For the serious bird-watcher, you should note that the site does not include scientific information on bird habitat, range, etc. - just photos/songs.

To use all of the features of Dendroica, including the quiz, or to submit your own photos or sound recordings, you must register and sign in. Registration is free, and only requires that you provide your name and a valid E-mail address.

If you prefer, you can continue as a guest, without logging in. This will allow you to browse through the list of species, see the photographs and listen to the songs. However, several features such as the quiz and the selection of customized lists to study particular groups of species will not be available.

Top 5 Websites with Fun and Insightful Psychological Tests

Top 5 Websites with Fun and Insightful Psychological Tests - Warning: You might get sucked in taking these psychological tests - avoid if you have a pending deadline or save for when you are bored/need a diversion.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Healthy and Safe International Travel

If you're considering any overseas travel, along with the usual travel guides for restaurants, lodging and places to see, be sure to consult Travelers' Health. A service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Travelers' Health provides health information for over 200 destinations, health advisories and warnings, trip preparedness information (what vaccines, etc., you'll need to enter a particular country) as well as a clinic/health specialist directory.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 through October 15. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was enacted into law in 1988. The day of Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept.18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is Oct. 12, falls within this 30 day period. Incidentally, the word Hispanic does not refer to race, but is an ethnic term for diverse peoples of many races and origins who hold in common the Spanish language. Explore the following online resources and bring Latino heritage to your home and classroom:

  • The library's subscriptions to World Book Online, Britannica Online and Biography Resource Center, which includes a category browse for Hispanic Americans, provide a multitude of background documents, timelines and biographical sketches to assist students with school reports. Just log in with your 10-digit Fauquier County Public Library card number.
  • The library also has plenty of materials (books, DVDs, etc.) on Hispanic Americans and Hispanic History you can check out and take home to enjoy.
  • The Library of Congress' National Hispanic Heritage Month online exhibit includes images and audio/visual presentations that bring history alive for young and old alike.
  • Smithsonian Education features online educational activities and events at the various Smithsonian museums in Washington, DC.
  • FactMonster.com includes biographies of notable Hispanic Americans, information on Spanish accents, and Spanish place names. There are also crosswords and quizzes you can try online or print out.
  • Biography.com celebrates Hispanic Heritage with featured biographies, study guides, online videos and a Latino trivia game.
  • Gale Cengage Learning offers a number of free resources, including biographies of noteworthy Hispanics, quizzes and a timeline.
  • Schlastic Teachers has an online exhibit and teacher's guide that includes Latino history, games and stories from people of Hispanic descent.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Get Ready For... Research/Term Papers

With the start of school, students will need to get back into the swing of writing research papers. If you simply do a Google search on research papers, you'll have to sift through a number of sites devoted to selling term papers for a fee. Your best bet is to instead try the following selected resources on the web and at the library to help you through the term paper/research paper process.

Suggested Websites...
  • A+ Research & Writing - Designed for high school and college students, this site offers students a step-by-step approach to the research paper process, including choosing a topic, gathering information, analyzing/forming a thesis and writing your paper.
  • Online Writing Lab (OWL) - Though a service of a university (Purdue), the resources here are broken down for students and instructors in grades 7-12, ESL students, parents and even adults studying for their GED.
  • Scholastic Teachers Writing Workshop - Students can follow mini-lessons on choosing a subject, prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, reviewing and publishing a research paper. There is also a teacher's guide.
  • TIME for Kids Homework Helper: Writing Help - Showcases various types of writing (news story, persuasive essay, etc.), and includes examples you can download/refer to later. Best for upper elementary school students.
  • FactMonster.com - FM's homework center includes a section devoted to writing skills. Essays, biographies and research papers are covered. Best for middle school and above. (NOTE: This is the same content that's featured on InfoPlease.com.)
@ the Library...
Be sure to check the library's online catalog for books and ebooks to assist you with:
Students of literature will also appreciate our literature-focused online databases...
Of course, all of our online databases will help you with the "research" part of your term paper - reliable, scholarly full-text articles and information from trusted sources.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Labor Day: A Great Time to Explore Careers

Labor Day: A Great Time to Explore Careers

e-Resource of the Month: World Book Online

Your online tool for school and homework, the library's subscription to World Book Online includes resources for all ages:

  • World Book Online for Kids - Offers easy-to-read articles and a wealth of engaging multimedia, games, science projects, interactive tools, and activities for younger children.

  • World Book Online Info Finder - Contains content and features designed for school-aged patrons' homework and research needs. Based on the World Book Encyclopedia, the site features rich multimedia, a collection of age-appropriate science fair projects, a Biography Center, virtual tours, video showcases, links to current events and world newspapers, 21st-century research skills, and much more.

  • The World Book Online Reference Center - A powerful reference tool for advanced researchers and information seekers. Along with the entire World Book Encyclopedia, the site features hundreds of thousands of complete e-books and primary source documents along with features developed especially for high school students and above.

  • For Spanish-speakers, there is also World Book Enciclopedia Estudiantil Hallazgos.