Comic Books and Cartoon Squares

October 18th is Comic Strip Appreciation Day! The art and genre of comic strips have become a common format in today’s society. Comic strips often portray real-life situations in a somewhat light-hearted way to express many viewpoints of politics, family, etc. Daily newspapers always contain comic strips. Some of us might even use the comics pages as wrapping paper! Here is an option to explore the graphic writing concept in the form of a book report. This lesson will challenge students’ critical thinking skills, writing, drawing, and reading comprehension to relate a book they have read. Included, users will find an online format for their new creation, a rubric for educators, and a couple informative external resources to enhance learning about the story of comics. Celebrate this special day!

See more at http://www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/lesson-plans/book-report-alternative-comic-195.html.

Science News for Students: A Woman’s Place is in Science

Celebrate the achievements of women in STEM on Ada Lovelace Day (10/10)! This international celebration day focuses on increasing the awareness of women in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields. This article discusses how research is showing an increase of women working in the science fields. Learn how women are bridging the gap but there is still room for improvement. This article also features current women’s role in STEM careers which aligns with the focus of the day to create new role models to encourage more young women to pursue STEM careers.

See more at https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/women-science-girls-STEM.

My Learning: Global Citizenship

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.” Celebrate National Diversity Day (10/16) by going on a globalization journey inspired by these words. This interactive experience highlights our dependency on other parts of the world for products we use on a daily basis and may take for granted. Learn concepts of global inter-dependency and fair trade, understand how we depend on people around the world for everything we use in our daily lives, and visit with people in many countries to learn about who we rely on for our everyday products.

See more at http://www.mylearning.org/intermediate-interactive.asp?journeyid=441&resourceid=1295.

Geographia: Celebrating World Tourism Day

Let’s take a trip around the world for National Tourism Day! Where would you go on vacation if you could go anywhere in the world? Pick a continent and begin exploring! Find vibrant pictures, interesting facts and statistics, and maps. Delve into the culture of the people who inhabit these continents to learn how they are different and yet share so many similarities with us. Where did you choose and why?

See more at http://www.geographia.com/.

Pirates, Myths, Legends, Treasures and Activities

Ahoy, Matey! It’s “Talk Like a Pirate” Day! What a great opportunity to learn more about pirates with this fun and interactive website. Learn all about Barbary and Caribbean pirates by clicking several island and coastal links on interactive maps of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean Sea. Learn about different pirate flags and read biographies of famous pirates including Sir Henry Morgan, Anne Bonny, Blackbeard, and more. Learn some vocabulary words and then click thorough an interactive pirate exhibit to learn about pirate ships and more. Information about explorers and some fun pirate math games are also available to make it a day ye arrrr bound to enjoy!

See more at http://mrnussbaum.com/pirates/.

Celebrating Computing

On the eve of Computer Science Education Week (December 4-10, 2017) your friends here at Knovation have had a chance to reflect on what has been contributed to this effort and what else we could be doing. The White House has issued a call to action, asking organizations and schools across the country to step up and do more in the area of computer education.

Computer Science Education

Last year the “Hour of Code” was a popular choice to introduce the concepts of computer programming, but Computer Science consists of so much more than just coding.  A Computer Science education program will typically cover things like:

Human Computer Interaction
****** helping students understand the impact that computing has had on our society and the many different ways where technology is used

Problem Solving and Computational Thinking
****** students begin to evolve to computational thinking, where they create solutions to many different types and complexities of problems

Web Design and Usability
****** giving students a chance to start designing and coding their own pages and check for the user-friendliness of their designs

Computing and Data Analysis
****** learners will understand all the ways computing has impacted the management and interpretation of data and how data can be used to support ideas or innovation

Programming
****** students are introduced to programming in a basic language and design a computational solution to a problem

Robotics
****** learners will see how robots enable innovation by automating processes that are problematic for humans and the design and creation of robotic solutions

Although computer science education seems like it would only involve technology, there are plenty of other domains where the thinking processes and approaches in computational literacy come into play.  Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and many other subjects benefit from students who can think the way a computer scientist thinks.

What is Computational Thinking?

  • Taking complex problems and breaking them down into smaller problems that are easier to solve
  • Working out steps or rules for getting things done
  • Understanding the complexity of the task that needs to be managed and the ability to focus on the key details
  • Incorporating the experiences of previous problems or projects to help accomplish the current one
computationalthinkingthumbnailWhat are computational ways of thinking?

As you celebrate Computer Science Education Week, think about new learning opportunities and ways that you can incorporate computational thinking into your curriculum….

….when students write stories, encourage them to plan first, identify the main events and characters

….in art, music or design, have students think about what they are going to create in terms of what sequential steps they need to take in the process of creating

….of course, in Math, students need to get the key information from a problem before they start the process of solving it

Check out some of these great computer science related resources from Knovation’s award winning digital content library for more ideas:

  • Hour of Code Combat: This computer programming game allows students to learn how to write code. Learners write code in real programming languages.
  • Lightbot: An introduction to the hour of code with Lightbot. Program the virtual robot to light up all of the blue squares!
  • Computational Thinking Unplugged Activity: This teacher tutorial provides educators an overview of a lesson in computational thinking without any use of computers. Clicking on the link leads to the full lesson plan. [1 min, 35 sec]
  • Code Conquest – What is Coding?  Don’t know the first thing about coding? Here is a beginner’s tutorial which will give learners all the background information for coding.
  • Code Monster: An instructional program that shows students how to code using Javascript. The Code Monster and his speech bubble are at the top of the screen where kids read straightforward explanations, commands, and questions. Code Monster is simple but most effective as a self-led journey of programming discovery.
  • Java Programs: See some examples made for beginning programmers to understand how to use java to write simple Java programs. These codes demonstrate how to get input from user, working with loops, strings and arrays.
  • Programming Nature Simulations: Learn how to use JavaScript, ProcessingJS, and mathematical concepts to simulate nature in your programs.
  •  Java for Complete Beginners: Learn to program in the Java programming language. This course assumes no prior programming knowledge, just a desire to learn to program.

Patriot Day 2017: Commemorating 911

It is important to commemorate Patriot Day, however, this somber day can be hard for young students to understand. How do you explain the importance of that day in our history to 3rd-5th graders without some of the horrific details? The 9/11 Memorial Museum has a series of grade-level appropriate lessons to help teachers and students commemorate this day. This specific lesson focuses on the heroes of that day, specifically Welles Crowther. They will learn about his courage from the book “The Man in the Red Bandana”. Materials and a detailed lesson plan are included.

See more at https://www.911memorial.org/sites/default/files/Anniversary%20Lesson_ES.pdf.

How Scientific Teams Develop New Anti-Cancer Drugs

Stand Up to Cancer Day 9/8/17

Did you know that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetimes? Are you interested in becoming a scientist working to discover effective treatments in the fight against this deadly disease? In this video lesson (3rd in a series by MIT and Harvard), students see how teams of doctors, biologists, and chemists work together to discover and develop new drugs to fight cancer. They will see the various steps of drug discovery using the example of a type of leukemia called CML, caused by a translocation that leads to production of the fusion protein Bcr-Abl, a mutant protein. It will show how a famous drug is effective in treating this disease. Students will be assigned careers and work in groups to analyze data obtained during the steps in the drug discovery process, including: identifying rearrangements in chromosomes of cancer cells, identifying potential drugs from photos of cancer cells treated with various chemicals, and determining the most effective inhibitors of cancer cell growth. While doing these activities, students learn about the careers involved fight against cancer.

See more at https://blossoms.mit.edu/videos/lessons/how_scientific_teams_develop_new_anti_cancer_drugs.

ARKive: Whale Shark

Image of a whale shark swimming

Did you know that not all sharks are dangerous? Help in the effort in putting an end to urban legends about the threat from all sharks on humans. Aid your students in recognizing International Whale Shark Day on August 30th and and with discovering the docile nature of the whale shark species.Through numerous videos, a slideshow, photo collections, and an immense collection of researched content, students will learn the true peaceful nature of the endangered whale sharks. Students will transform their understanding so that they may want to swim with the whale sharks, possibly pet them on future vacations, and embark in an effort to preserve this peaceful animal.

See more at http://www.arkive.org/whale-shark/rhincodon-typus/video-00.html.

9 Tongue Twisters in 9 Different Languages

Cartoon about Tongue Twisters Challenge

August 26th is International Tongue Twister Day. Sometimes studying language can be a bore, but bring on Babbel’s bucketful of boistrous tongue twisters to tempt teachers to torment their students success with figurative language. Learners lament loudly when led to learn languages, especially when they are tongue twisters in a variety of languages! Go beyond the popular “Sally sells seashells” or “Peter Piper picked a peck” with these worldly twisters to tangle the tongues.

See more at https://www.babbel.com/en/magazine/tongue-twister-challenge.