TED-Ed has a fun animation of the traditional bridge riddle using everyone’s contemporary worst fear – zombies. I would recommend using the video with students in 3rd grade and up, and definitely pause in the middle to give them time before showing the solution. I took a screen shot of some of the vital information to leave on-screen for the students as they try to solve the puzzle. Can you solve the bridge riddle? Search for “riddle” on TED-ed to find even more perplexing puzzles for your brain!
Last week I did a post on the fabulous Elements 4D resource from Daqri. Students can learn about the elements and compounds that can be made from some of them by using the free lesson plans now offered on their site. Combine these plans with the free downloadable elements cubes and the free augmented reality app and you have a formula for success!
To add even more impact to your chemistry lessons, check out this great site that TED-Ed now offers. In a collaborative project with film-maker Brady Haran, TED-Ed has produced videos to explain every single element of the Periodic Table. Just click anywhere on the TED-Ed interactive Periodic Table, and take a look at the magical properties of any element!
You not only get to see each element, but demonstrations of them in action, such as the video of a hydrogen balloon exploding when exposed to heat.
Many of these are not demonstrations that could easily be done in a typical school science lab, so the videos are a good supplement to a hands-on curriculum.
Even if you do not have the elements in your scope and sequence, you may want to keep this site in mind for students who show an affinity or curiosity for science. It would be a great resource for independent research or Genius Hour projects.
Last month, I saw a post about TED-Ed Clubs on Richard Byrne’s blog, Free Technology 4 Teachers. Hoping to host such a club next year, I applied. (According to the TED-Ed Clubs site, you may still apply.)
This post isn’t actually about TED-Ed Clubs, since Richard and the TED-Ed site have that pretty well handled. I thought I would share with you a weekly tip that I got through their newsletter about a site called, “Diffen,” which allows you to compare and contrast two topics. In their words, “Use Diffen to get your students talking and thinking about the overlaps and differences of various topics, and spark ideas they are passionate about!”
I decided to take a look.
The site is fairly simple. Just type in a word into each blank, and choose “Go.” It is certainly not perfect, but can definitely generate some interesting conversations!
My 1st grade class is doing a Mystery Twitter Chat with a class in Illinois today (thanks, Matt Gomez, for inspiring me!), so I thought I would do a comparison of Illinois to Texas. Here is a partial screen shot of the results:
It seems fairly objective, so it could be helpful for research. In fact, according to the site creators, “When you are faced with choices, you are looking for unbiased information. Diffen makes it a goal to clearly delineate facts and opinions. The community keeps content unbiased and fact-oriented. The ratings and comments provide outlets for opinions.”
TED-Ed suggested searching for a comparison between empathy and sympathy.
This is actually common question in my classroom, so using Diffen might be a good foundation for that conversation.
I did some other comparisons that were not quite as fruitful – such as “truth” and “beauty” (this year’s Philosophy Slam topic).
Interestingly, just as on Wikipedia, you can add your own information to the tables. Of course, the source of the information on the site could generate some great discussions in your classroom as well – about the reliability of crowd-sourced reference sites, for example.
So far I have not seen anything objectionable that appears on the site accidentally. However, you should definitely check it out for yourself before sending younger students to this resource. I would probably recommend that you use it for writing or discussion prompts, and that students know that it is essential to use several sources if they are doing research.