Media Matters

March 2013

Try Engineering

TryEngineering offers a variety of lesson plans that align with education standards to allow teachers and students to apply engineering principles in the classroom. You may search the lesson plans by age range, category, and keyword. Lesson plans may be printed, along with worksheets, in PDF or rich text format. Each curriculum-aligned lesson plan also provides writing and extension activities, internet connections, and recommended reading. Be sure to check out the "Games" for interactives such as designing solar racing cars, a bionic arm design challenge, engineering trivia, designing a parachute, saving the planet from ecological destruction, and lots more!

Picturing the Thirties

Picturing the Thirties is a virtual museum activity from the Smithsonian that teaches students about the 1930's through eight exhibits. Students will learn about the Great Depression, The New Deal, The Country, Industry, Labor, The City, Leisure, and American People in the 1930’s. In a computer lab, students could learn at their own pace. You could also take a class virtual field trip to the museum using your Promethean board and projector.


Inklewriter is a brilliant online tool that lets students write and publish interactive stories. Inklewriter lets students create choose-your-own-adventure type stories, and story lines can come with choices and then be linked back together. The site makes this process easier by keeping track of which story paths have been finished and which still need work. Students can explore multiple plot lines and what-if scenarios in their fictional writing. They could even explore the “what-ifs” in history. These types of stories are fantastic opportunities for students to explore their curiosities and, in the process, learn more about the event they are exploring. They could also write an alternate ending for a novel they're reading. The Giver would be an excellent novel for doing this. For $10, the story could be converted to a Kindle ebook and sold on Amazon!

Haiku Deck iPad App (free)

Haiku Deck is a free iPad app for creating beautiful slideshow presentations. It can also be used to tell stories through pictures. There are two features of Haiku Deck that stand out. First, Haiku Deck limits how much text that you can put on each of your slides. Second, Haiku Deck helps you find Creative Commons licensed images for your presentations. When you type a word or words on your slides you can have Haiku Deck search for images for you. The images that Haiku Deck serves up are large enough to completely fill your slide. You can also upload your own images from your iPad. Note: Photos are generated randomly, so use with caution. Presentations may be shared via Facebook, Twitter, and email. Check out this one created by second graders on hummingbird facts: and this one on Classroom Inspiration:

Study Ladder

Study Ladder, geared for elementary and junior high/middle grades, is a ready-to-use collection of activities to reinforce many content standards from a wide range of curricula. Many of the activities offer a game-like feeling, while building conceptual understanding. You will find many math and literacy resources aligned to the Common Core Standards. Subjects include Math, English, Science, Financial Literacy, Health, Safety, Citizenship, Art, Music, and Foreign Languages. There is a Teacher's Survival Guide with fun, engaging back-to-school activities. You will need to register, but it's free and simple.


ARKive is a free, fun-packed website of teaching resources that cover a range of key science and biology subjects including: adaptation, endangered species, food chains, Darwin and natural selection, classification, identification, conservation and biodiversity. These teaching resources include: classroom presentations, activities and handouts, teachers' notes as well as links to ARKive species profiles and scrapbooks. Resources are categorized by age levels. Be sure to check out the educational games under the "Fun" tab! Students may design a habitat, keep animals alive, complete puzzles, investigate a crime scene, create poetry using fridge magnets, and test their knowledge in quizzes.

Crash Course!

Brothers John and Hank Green are two passionate learners (and teachers) reaching celebrity status on YouTube. Their YouTube channel, Crash Course!, features very engaging, funny videos from the brothers. John discusses World History, U.S. History, and Literature, and Hank delves into the details of Biology, Chemistry, and Ecology. Videos are roughly ten minutes in length and are extremely high quality. Slick animations, interesting locations and neat effects make for informative and captivating viewing.


Nrich is a website, based at Cambridge University, that provides thousands of free mathematics enrichment materials (problems, articles and games) for teachers and students from ages 5 to 19 years. All the resources are designed to develop subject knowledge, problem-solving and mathematical thinking skills.

The Fun Works

The Fun Works, from the Career Resources Education Network, is a website with career information for students. The information about each career includes "cool facts," examples of people in that career, related internet resources, and activities and education to prepare students for that career. Students may begin their search for careers by taking a short quiz to match them up to a choice of careers suited to their interests and skills. There is a Teachers and Instructors section of the site with lesson plans, activities, and other career counseling resources that requires a free registration.

Happening this month....

March 10 - Daylight Savings Time begins

March 17 - St. Patrick's Day

March 20 - First Day of Spring

March 31 - Easter Sunday