December 2014: Resources to Bring the Wonders of Winter into Your Lessons

Winter’s Wonders

What kinds of memories do you have of last year’s winter season? Do you live in an area that experienced so many Snow Days that you had to make days up to fulfill your state’s requirements? Or do you live in the West where you spent the winter wondering if it would ever rain again? Last year brought extreme conditions across the country, but this year might be just the kind of winter you are hoping for (whatever that may be). No matter what the next three months bring, though, it’s a sure bet that winter will slip into your classroom one way or another.

In netTrekker, you can find engaging resources to bring the wonders of winter into your lessons.

Early Elementary – Exploring Jan Brett’s The Mitten

The Mitten, by Jan Brett

Jan Brett’s delightful interpretation of the Ukrainian folk tale, The Mitten, offers a wide range of opportunities to explore the role of literature in transmitting both culture and universal themes, as well as the relationship between illustrations and text.

Elementary – Learn about Snow Crystals from the Snowflake Man

Snowflake Man Video

Have you and your students read Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin? Then you’ll enjoy sharing these sites about his work:

Middle – Understanding Extreme Weather

Blizzards & Winter Weather

Severe weather is always big news, whether it involves hurricanes, floods, blizzards, or drought. What will this winter bring your area? More importantly, what causes these severe weather events? Can your students learn to predict the weather by learning these causes?

  • Begin with an overall view of extreme weather conditions and what causes them with this National Geographic site about Extreme Weather On Our Planet.
  • Use the Drought Monitor to track where the lack of rain is hitting our country the hardest this winter.
  • Learn about an extreme opposite of drought with Blizzards and Winter Weather. Then use the link at the bottom of the page to Predict the Weather so students can practice using what they have learned.

High – The Science of Winter Sports

Slapshot Physics

Even though it is not a Winter Olympics year, students in cold climates still participate in cold weather activities and competitions. Combine the science of physics with their love of sports by using some of the National Science Foundation videos on the Science of the Winter Olympics:

  • Slapshot Physics, about ice hockey
  • Science of Snowboarding, about (what else?) snowboarding
  • Science Friction, about curling
  • To see additional videos in this series, use the Browse tab on the netTrekker Home Page, and drill down through Science to Physics > Newtonian > Science of Sports.

Find these winter resources and more in netTrekker with the keyword search: December Newsletter.

October 2014: Resources for Encouraging Girls in STEM

Encouraging Girls in STEM

If we’re going to out-innovate and out-educate the rest of the world, we’ve got to open doors for everyone. We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
First Lady Michelle Obama, September 26, 2011

Across the nation school districts are placing an emphasis on encouraging young women to study STEM-related subjects. As First-Lady Michelle Obama states, providing a hurdle-free learning environment for women and girls should be a shared mission. Knovation takes this responsibility seriously by supporting young women in seeking role models in STEM–related fields of study.

The netTrekker resources below highlight famous women in STEM-related fields. It is our hope that you can use these resources with the young ladies in your classrooms to spark curiosity and an enduring passion for learning about science, technology, engineering and math.

You can access all of these featured resources within netTrekker by doing a simple keyword search for October 2014 Newsletter.

Elementary Resource

Youngzine: Sally’s Ride to Space

Introduce your class to Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space. Besides being an inspiration to a generation of women, she has left an enduring legacy behind, even in her death. This resource is an easy group read with a short video. Go to Resource

Middle School Resource

4000 Years of Women in Science

This site features the place of women in scientific research throughout history. Perfect for research, this website offers biographies, photographs, and references. Go to Resource

High School Resource

STEMConnector Resource Example

netTrekker currently includes over 100 STEMConnector resources featuring  profiles of women leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. To locate the STEMConnector collection simply keyword search STEM and Women. Go to Resource

Looking for More STEM Resources?

Find more STEM resources in neTrekker by Browsing under Science, then STEM Education.

Use the Browse tab, choose Science, then choose STEM Education.

Missed a Newsletter?

Did you miss one of our monthly newsletters? Here is an archive of all the great tips and resources from previous issues. Be sure to visit often and check out all of the other new ideas! Go to Newsletter Archive

September 2014: Remembering How 9/11 Shaped American History

Remembering How 9/11 Shaped American History


September 11, 2001 … the day that changed America forever.  Few events have changed our country in the way that the horrific timeline of that September morning did.  Because this topic can be difficult for students to study, teachers need quality resources to help them build meaningful lessons regarding this chapter in America’s history. The following resources from icurio can help teachers approach this task appropriately.

Introduction for a lesson on 9/11:

Associated Press:  September 11:  Ten Years Later: A Lasting Impact (Middle/High)

  • The first resource from this site, a video titled Video: Sept. 11, 2001 shows a timeline of events from 9/11 and the number of people who lost their lives. The video length is 1 minute 45 seconds, and it provides a great starting point for a lesson on 9/11.
  • The 14th resource, a video titled Video:  9/11 Generation, includes students explaining their thoughts about being called the “9/11 Generation”.  The length of the video is 1 minute 35 seconds, and it shows the emotion of other students related to this topic.

Core instructional piece for a lesson on 9/11:

  • 9/11 Memorial:  Teach + Learn (Elem/Middle/High). Teachers can use the variety of materials on this site to develop lessons or share with students.  The site includes a timeline for students, and information on rescue and recovery efforts that took place following 9/11. The National September 11 Memorial and Museum are also highlighted on this site.
  • One notable lesson involves an oral history project involving middle school students who interview friends and family about their memories of 9/11.

Academic practice for a lesson on 9/11:

  • Readworks:  Always Remember (Elem/Middle). This non-fiction reading comprehension passage discusses the events of September 11, 2001, and contains questions and a teacher’s guide. The resource could be used by teachers as the basis for classroom discussion or individually by students. Free registration is required to access the passage and question set.
  • Awesome Stories:  America Attacked:  9/11 (Middle/High). This learning module focuses on the events of September 11, 2001 within 12 chapters. This resource contains 12 brief digital chapters, along with photos and videos, and it could be used as part of a whole class lesson, divided up for small group work or used individually by students.  Free registration may be required to access some features of the site.


September 2014: Remembering How 9/11 Shaped American History

Remembering How 9/11 Shaped American History

For your students, 9/11 is part of history, not a current event. The world your students live in today continues to be affected by the events of that day and its aftermath. netTrekker can help you with resources that are appropriate to your particular teaching situation.

Early Elementary

The events of September 11 may not be part of your social studies lessons, but students might ask questions about it, after hearing older siblings or adults talking about it.

Middle School

Students will probably have some knowledge of the events and aftermath of 9/11.

High School

Students will likely know quite a lot about the events of 9/11 from studying it in earlier years. Now you can extend that knowledge by encouraging the use of both primary resources and critical thinking skills as they analyze and compare news coverage from around the world on 9/11 and the week that followed.