3-12, Critical Thinking, Education, Games, Problem Solving, Websites

Erich’s Puzzle Palace


Want to give your students a seemingly unlimited number of logic puzzles and brainteasers to delve into over the summer?  Try out Erich’s Puzzle Palace.  There are several ways you can sort this huge collection: Math, Word, Grid, and Path are only some of them.  I haven’t tried all of them, or even most of them, so I cannot tell you what grade levels are encompassed.  However, I got stumped on the very first Color Maze puzzle I tried, so now it looks like I’ll be spending by entire summer trying to figure those out 😉

3-12, Education, Games, Research, Websites

Brain Games

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National Geographic’s Brain Games series airs on Monday nights and covers topics from “How Closely Do You Pay Attention?” to “Do You Believe Your Eyes?”  Tonight’s episode is “The Power of Persuasion”, and it’s the 5th one of the 12 for this season.  The show is “chock full of interactive games and experiments designed to mess with your mind and reveal the inner-workings of your brain.”

Watching the show is fascinating, of course, but the website has some great features, too.  For example, as each episode airs, a new challenge is issued on the “Brain Profile” page.  I took the challenge for this week’s episode, and found out, surprisingly, the following:

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I’m still trying to decide if I should make a t-shirt proclaiming this or just print it out and stick it on one of my car windows…

3-12, Apps, Careers, Education, Games, Science, Teaching Tools, Videos

Robots for iPad App

A couple of days ago, I received my daily update from my “Apps Gone Free” app.  I noticed the “Robots for iPad” app, and thought it sounded intriguing, but didn’t have wi-fi at the time to download it.  I remembered it yesterday, and decided to give it a try.  I am so glad I did!

Robots for iPad” is only available for free this week, as it is National Robotics Week (April 6-14, 2013) here in the States.  If you’re reading this post after that time period, I still think it’s worth the 99 cent regular download cost.

The app shows different types of robots from all over the world.  You can filter them by country, type, date, or size.  You can also view just the featured ones, or random robots.  Once you click on a robot’s picture, you will see a description of the robot and its purpose.  There are also additional photos, and it looks like they all have videos included as well.

In addition to the summaries of the robots, you can also read robotics news, play a game, and learn more about the study of robotics.

F.Y.I. – this app is rated 9+ for “Infrequent/Mild Horror/Fear Themes.  I haven’t had a chance to look at all of the robots, yet, but have not found anything I wouldn’t want my own child to see.

Don’t forget to download Robots for free before the end of this week!

A Screen Shot of Part of the Robots Gallery
A Screen Shot of Part of the Robots Gallery
My favorite robot, Paro, was designed to be a therapeutic tool used in hospitals in nursing homes.  This is a picture of some Paros recharging with their pacifiers.
My favorite robot, Paro, was designed to be a therapeutic tool used in hospitals in nursing homes. This is a picture of some Paros recharging with their pacifiers.
Paro giving comfort to an elderly woman
Paro giving comfort to an elderly woman
3-12, Creative Thinking, Education, Independent Study, Research, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Websites


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rvl.io (pronounced reveal) is an online editor and platform for the popular open-source presentation framework reveal.js. The original framework requires content to be written as HTML but rvl.io aims to simplify that by providing a visual editor.”

To be honest, I don’t really understand all of the above, which is a quote from the rvl.io website. What I do know is that this is my new, favorite presentation tool, it’s extremely easy to use, and the presentations can be viewed on any web browser – even on mobile devices.

I love the simplicity of this tool, and its unique look. Another pro is that, though it requires registration, you can use your Google I.D., which means that you can register without an e-mail address, as long as the site is not blocked.

A creative teacher could find a way to make this into a differentiation tool, adding slides for each level horizontally with vertical slides of activities underneath.

Reveal is currently in beta, so there are a few kinks. One is that, if you choose to upload an image, the image is currently hosted on imgur.com. This was a problem for me since our district blocks imgur. However, I found a workaround by uploading images to my Teacher “Web Locker”, and then loading the images from that URL. Also, I got an instant reply from Hakim, one of the creators of Reveal, who assured me that they are working on a solution to this issue.

Hakim also mentioned that they are planning to add an option for sharing a private link, which is not available right now. This, and the image hosting issue, should be fixed within the next few weeks.

Another problem, which is probably more of a problem on my end than Reveal’s, is that the embed code won’t work on this blog. So, I am going to have to give you a link to my sample presentation on Genius Hour (be sure to watch the arrows in the bottom right; they will show you the directions in which you can navigate the presentation): http://www.rvl.io/teichh/genius-hour

3-12, Apps, Critical Thinking, Education, Math, Problem Solving, Universal Design for Learning


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Some people spent their Easter weekend camping out in parks. Some spent it cooking and baking feasts for their family. I spent it playing two new games on my iPad.

iSolveIt is brought to you by the Center for Applied Special Technology. CAST is “an educational research & development organization that works to expand learning opportunities for all individuals through Universal Design for Learning.”

I have mentioned UDL a few times in earlier posts. With iSolveIt, it appears that CAST is working on developing apps that fit into the UDL framework.

Currently, there are two app for iDevices: MathSquared and MathScaled. What I like about both of these free apps is that they allow multiple people to register on one iPad, so when they are using it they can just log in, and continue with the level they last accessed. I also like that the apps have a few levels which allows you to work at your own pace. Another advantage is that each one has a “Scratch Pad” option, allowing you to make notes to help you with your game. And, finally, I am thrilled by the reasoning skils that are required to play each of these games. These are not “drill and kill” games.

What I didn’t like was that I could not find the instructions for either app within the app itself. I ended up going to the iSolveIt website to figure out what I was supposed to be doing for both games. The website has helpful directions and videos, but it would be nice to be able to have tutorials within the app.

If you like Sudoku and Ken-Ken, then MathSquared is the game for you. If you like balancing equations in Algebra, then MathScaled will appeal to you. Or, you can neglect all of your other duties for the next few days, and try both.

3-12, Education, Motivation, Philosophy, Problem Solving, Teaching Tools, Videos

Make the Difference

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This video, which is actually an advertisement for TMB Bank, tells the true story of a floating village in Thailand that spawned a team of young football (soccer, to Americans) players despite the fact that they had no place to practice. Despite the fact that it is a commercial, it truly is an inspirational story, and one from which your students can learn many valuable lessons.

The video is subtitled, so students will need to be able to read quickly in order to catch what is going on. You may need to show it more than once, or to pause as you go along so they can have a chance to follow the story.

Here is the link in case you are unable to view the embedded video: http://youtu.be/jU4oA3kkAWU

For more inspirational videos for students, check out my Pinterest Board.