Media Matters

January 2013

Happy New Year!

Video: What Did We Search for This Year?

Zeitgeist 2012 is a site recently released by Google, which allows us to explore the terms that were more frequently searched for in 2012. You can explore Zeitgeist 2012 by location, time, and term. The video featured on the site provides a good year-in-review of some of the biggest events of the year, as well as some of the famous people that passed away this year. You could have your students watch the video and see how many of the items they can recall and explain. An interesting way to review the year!


If one of your New Year's Resolutions is eating healthy, Fooducate is for you! "Fooducate is like taking your own personal dietitian to the supermarket." Fooducate analyzes information found in each product's nutrition panel and ingredient list.

Get the Fooducate mobile application and use it to:

  • Automatically scan a product barcode (using the camera in your device)
  • See product highlights (both good & bad)
  • Compare products
  • Select better alternatives

You get to see the stuff manufacturers don't want you to notice, such as

  • excessive sugar
  • tricky trans fats
  • additives and preservatives
  • high fructose corn syrup
  • controversial food colorings
  • confusing serving sizes
  • and more...

Just pick up a product from the shelf, scan it, and let Fooducate do the rest.

National Center for Atmospheric Research

If you are studying weather, climate or atmospheric research and/or space and the sun with your students, the National Center for Atmospheric Research is a must stop site. It is FULL of great activities, virtual labs and easy-to read and understand information. In the interactives, for starters, you will find:

* A virtual laboratory for creating a weather balloon

* A simple virtual climate model

* The build a tree dendrochronology activity allows students to explore past climates.

* A climate sensitivity calculator

* Compare solar eclipse photos activity

* Earth's energy balance virtual lab

Be sure to check out the games and classroom activities sections, as well!

Math in the News

Media 4 Math: Math in the News helps students view current events through the “prism of mathematics.” Every week features a new story that makes headlines and the underlying mathematical story gets extracted. The site is a little bit confusing to navigate at first (it isn’t really clear where to find each issue of Math in the News). Scroll down to see an archive of stories. Each entry has a Slideshare version of the presentation, a YouTube version or the app version. You can download the app version as a PPT to your computer. I found this to be the easiest way to use the lessons. These presentations are full lessons with embedded background knowledge articles and videos, data sets, current event explanations and a walk through of how to solve. The site also has Math Tutorials, Promethean Flipcharts, Powerpoint slideshows, Math Labs, Print Resources, a Video Gallery, Math Solvers, PDF worksheets, YouTube videos, and more.


Wonderville is a website where students can find games, videos, comics, and hands-on activities for learning about science and technology. The gallery of activities, games, videos, and comics is divided into three categories; fun science, awesome tech, and cool jobs. There are a couple of games you should definitely check out: Reaction Action and Medieval Levers. In Medieval Levers, students watch a short animated video about the physics of levers before trying to build their own catapults to use to attack the castle. In Reaction Action students learn about combustible gasses. The object of the game is to collect combustible gasses that can be used to create energy.

How to Create Your Own Pair of 3D Glasses

NASA provides a PDF to print as the template for the glasses and the rest of the materials are easily found in stores if you don't already have them. The website also has many images of Mars in 3D, so you can even try out your own glasses after you make them!

Lincoln Learning Hub

The Lincoln Learning Hub is the official DreamWorks companion site to new Lincoln movie currently out in theaters. There are four main features of the Lincoln Learning Hub: a timeline, What Would Lincoln Do, Team of Rivals, and Who's Who of Congress. In What Would Lincoln Do? students are given four scenarios that happened after Lincoln's death. Students are given some information about each scenario, some background on Lincoln, and then they have to guess what Lincoln would do before seeing an expert's opinion. Students can find out how Lincoln might have voted on women's suffrage, how he would handle the war on terror, if he would have used an Atomic bomb during WWII, and how he would have handled Reconstruction. In Team of Rivals students try to reconstruct Lincoln's cabinet by reading short biographies of politicians before placing them into a cabinet role. The Who's Who of Congress activity shows students short biographies of important Congressmen who had to vote on the 13th Amendment. After reading the biographies students have to determine how each of the featured Congressmen would have voted. Even if your students don't see the new Lincoln movie, the Lincoln Learning Center could be a good place for students to learn a bit Lincoln's political ideals.

An Interactive Guide to the Revolutionary War (Free App)

The Revolution: Interactive Guide is a free iPad app all about the American Revolution. The app is basically an interactive book for students. The app includes interactive maps, a timeline, and biographies. The maps provide a guide movements of troops throughout the war. The timeline provides students events leading up to the start of the war. The interactive biographies include John and Samuel Adams, Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Hamilton, Paine, and Madison.

Caine's Arcade

Caine's Arcade is an inspirational story. "Nine-year-old Caine Monroy spent his summer vacation building an elaborate cardboard arcade inside his dad’s used auto parts store, and invited people to play. The entire summer went by, and Caine had yet to have a single customer, until one day, a filmmaker named Nirvan stopped to buy a door handle. What happened next inspired this movie, posted April 9th, 2012 – five days later, the movie launched a movement."



News Article:

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Caine used cardboard to create an entire arcade of games. What is the the most creative game you ever invented? Why was it so much fun?

Reading Prompt: Text Features
How do the YouTube movie and pictures included in today’s article help you understand who Caine is and what he accomplished?

Primary & Junior
Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help readers understand texts (OME, Reading: 2.3).

Identify a variety of text features and explain how they help communicate meaning (OME, Reading: 2.3).