Monday, May 26, 2008

Interactivities for Middle School

Looking for some new Web 2.0 tools and activities? Or wondering what might work for your students? Linda Starr outlines some great options in Education World. The resources range from writing tools and guides to interactive lessons and explorations for specific grades or all ages. Some that may work well in middle school include:
  • GeoGame which has a variety of games to help students learn geography
  • ThinkTank which helps students brainstorm and organize topics and subtopics for reports and research
  • Power Proofreading which helps students hone their editing and proofreading skills
  • Playwriting-in-the-Round, a site coordinated by Jonathan Fairman of the Cleveland School of the Arts with project design by Nancy Schubert from the University of Minnesota and Mary Todd Kaercher of Grandview Middle School which involves students across the country in collaborative playwriting
  • Knowing You Is Knowing Me which exposes students to other students of differing cultures, through partner schools in multiple countries, and their own with the goal of increasing students' self-knowledge and their knowledge of the world around them
  • Amazon Interactive where students can virtually explore Ecuadorian Amazon and play a game in which they plan and manage an ecotourism venture
  • The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War, a digital archive with "thousands of original letters and diaries, newspapers and speeches, census and church records left by men and women in Augusta Country, VA, and Franklin County, PA"
  • Beyond the Fire: Teen Experiences of War guides students through the experiences of teens living in war zones and in times of armed conflict
  • Ocean Explorer from NOAA gives students "near real-time access to a series of multidisciplinary ocean explorations"
  • A virtual tour of a U-505 submarine from the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago
  • Visible Proofs, which has "[t]hree online activities and three lesson plans introduce forensic medicine, anthropology, technology, and history"
  • Geosense, an online geography game you can play against others to test your knowledge
  • The U.S. South Pole Station site from the National Science Foundation with a webcam at the station, a video tour and other resources
  • The Encyclopedia of Life which is trying to catalogue every species on earth and is packed with great pictures and other resources.
And that's barely half of the sites Starr lists. There are fabulous K-12 and all-ages sites like the Underground Railroad, Comic Creator, Project Poster, and PandaCam. The article was first published in 2005 so check any link before you get excited about it. At least 3 of the sites listed for middle school students in the article are no longer active or have moved.

What are some of your favorite interactive websites for middle schoolers?

SOURCE: "The Interactivity Center" 2005
photo courtesy of Randy Stewart, used under this Creative Commons license

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