Get an Insiders’ Look at the the S.T.E.A.M. behind Madden NFL

Join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins for an all-access pass inside EA SPORTS

Discovery Education, EA SPORTS, and the NFLPA have joined forces to give your middle school students an insider’s view of EA TIBURON (where the magic of Madden NFL is created). Join the EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers team to see S.T.E.A.M. in action: we’ll meet the animators, producers, engineers, and designers who create some of the world’s coolest games. You’ll even get to see one student experience the motion capture process, with a special surprise result!

Good for athletes and mathletes alike, #MagicOfMaddenVFT is your chance to join Redskins Quarterback Kirk Cousins as we travel beyond the classroom walls and into the game!

April 14, 1:00 PM EST

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Ask the Coach
Don’t forget to submit your students’ questions ahead of time and Kirk Cousins or EA SPORTS may answer them during the live event. Questions can be submitted HERE.

Prep the Team
Before the virtual field trip, explore a variety of educator resources at EA SPORTS Madden NFL: Football by the Numbers, including an educational interactive developed for grades 5-9.

Be sure to share why you’re excited using #MagicOfMaddenVFT!
reposted from Discovery Education

DiscoveringFarmland.com: 7 Tools For Teaching Where That Thanksgiving Feast Came From

As a huge chunk of our population sits down tomorrow and eats way too much, how many will think of the hours, dollars, sweat, and luck that went into producing the bounty in front of them? Probably not many.

Discovery Education and the United State Farmers and Ranchers Alliance have teamed up to help change that through a number of teaching and learning resources at DiscoveringFarmland.com.

Through video and print resources, the site is broken into four lessons (45-60 minutes each) that explore a wide array of farming and ranching topics that are important to not only the sustainability of the industry but also our food supply and the cultural heritage of farming and ranching that has been a part of America since its first settlers.

You might also really strike a chord with one or many of your students who are already passionate about farming or ranching like my former student and Hamilton (MI) Middle Schooler Nate Freyhof, “What got me interested in hobby farming was having a good environment and having fun playing outside instead of sitting inside all day. I also think gardening and training or working with animals is fun to do. It is sometimes good to have technology around like tractors to pull a plow or dig up something.”

Steve Dembo recently detailed on the Discovery Education Blog some of the resources available and that the project is based around the award winning documentary Farmland by James Mol.

Here are 7 great things about teaching with the Discovering Farmland site.

  1. The videos and the lessons really put a human face on farming and ranching. This is done visually but one whole lesson focuses untangling stereotypes.
  2. The four lessons fit nicely into a variety of units. Teachers can spread it out to where they spend an hour per week on top of their prescribed curriculum. Think of it like Google 20% time where you step away from “what has to get done” for a little bit to supplement with projects based on interest or that might be especially impactful. Teachers could do two lessons a week and be done in two weeks or maybe full week is dedicated to a deep dive through the entire set of lessons.
  3. Resources provided make these units ready to roll out, even if the teacher knows nothing about farming or ranching.
    • Teacher guide for each lesson
    • Student activity sheet for each lesson
    • Formative assessment exit ticket or activity for each lesson
    • Video snippets of the Farmland movie to support each lesson
    • Web links to extend the research and learning for each lesson
  4. All lessons are vocabulary rich with words that fit into science, social studies, and technology.
  5. Even though each lesson is well designed, each can be modified to meet more personal or curricular needs. For example, an economics class could research where its county ranks in terms of agricultural production or what the taxable value is on a 40 acre plot of farmland.
  6. Discovering Farmland transports students who may have never left their own urban city limits to a completely unknown and almost foreign seeming part of our world. The virtual visit is one of the truly transformative things educational technology can do and this site and resources are perfect for creating those learning opportunities.
  7. There are great resources already in place but there is still more to come from Discovery and the USRFA. Both are committed to showing not only how important our agricultural heritage is but how there are exciting high-tech careers to be had in farming and ranching. There is no food without farming and there is no farming without great science, technology, engineering, and math skills.

Somebody somewhere grew the potatoes, the turkeys, the cranberries, even the cinnamon for the apples sauce we will be feasting on tomorrow. Why not use the resources in Discovering Farmland when you return to the classroom and challenge your students to find out more about who and where our food comes from?

 

Discovery Education Offers Virtual Field Trip and Visit from Supreme Court Justice on Constitution Day

Screenshot 2015-09-11 10.01.40Discovery Education is offering a two-part interactive learning opportunity for next Thursday’s Constitution Day.

At 12PM Eastern, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Beyer will host a Q&A about his role on the high court in a video town hall format.

From 1:30 to 2:00 PM US Appeals Court Judge Marjorie O. Rendell will give a tour of the National Constitution Center and field questions as well.

Judge Marjorie O. Rendell

Visit Discovery’s event page to learn more, view grade level appropriate activities, or register your class for this FREE online learning event.

Trekker from Google Street View Takes You to #PureMichigan

Take a deeper look at some of Michigan’s most breathtaking spots.

Trekker is new in Street View and takes you to places the Street View cars just can’t maneuver. Michigan.org has compiled links to all of the spots in Michigan like this trek across the Grand Hotel’s famous porch.

This video is a great look at what goes into capturing all of the amazing images provided by Google Trekker and a link to what’s available around Michigan.

Explore Amazing Michigan Locations With Google Trekker’s Stunning Street View – YouTube.

#cuerockstar Teach Wild Resources

We had a great adventures at Rock Star Saugatuck and Rock Star MASSCUE playing “Oh Deer”, crossing the Kalamazoo River on the only operating hand-crank chain ferry in the U.S., and climbing Mt. Baldhead’s 302 steps, and digging into the Google Cultural Institute. Better yet were the great conversations we had about effectively bringing nature into your curriculum and taking kids out into it. Here are resource links.

Project Wild – Find more information on the program and link to trainings and curriculum
Project Wild and Project Aquatic materials listed on eBay.

The Nature Connection by Clare Walker Leslie

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Easel.ly – Great infographic maker

Canva – Create beautiful graphics to show findings.

Google Cultural Institute – Take students to museums all over the world and have them create collections of the ways animals have been portrayed in art over the years.

Trimble Sketchup – Have your students build their own Mt. Baldy steps or recreate structures you discover with them. It’s as real as math gets.

Walkmeter App

GPS Altimeter App

BirdCaller App

Leaf Snap

On top of Mt. Baldhead, all covered in S.T.E.A.M.
On top of Mt. Baldhead, all covered in S.T.E.A.M.

Teachers learn a ton at conferences. Kids can too.

This past Monday I had the opportunity to attend the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association conference in Lansing with thirty-five Hamilton High School journalism students and their teachers Mark Behnke and Kevin Weed.

Not only did I pick up some great ideas for assessing my own students’ work and supporting scholastic journalism efforts, I also realized that students enjoy learning in the conference format as well.

Students from the school’s newspaper “The Thunderhawk” and sports media class “Covering Hawkeyes Sports” share their reflections on getting out of the building for a day and engaging in some self-directed learning.

 

Hamilton High School attends MIPA Journalism Conference – YouTube.

Take your kids into the Shark Tank

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Shark Tank isn’t just a TV show for entrepreneurs to get their big break. The same format of pitching to a panel of experts can be a great culminating event for any project.

Last week Ted Malefyt and Nate Alkire, teachers of the integrated math and science STREAM School class at Hamilton Middle School, took their students into the shark tank.

To add a level of awesome to the experience classes made the short trip to the world headquarters of Haworth Inc., an office furniture manufacturer in Holland, Michigan.

Students had to pitch their solutions to the driving question “How might we minimize the impact school groups have on the high school wetland?”. A diverse panel of sharks assembled and asked poignant questions of all thirteen  groups. Not only did the kids deliver a number of well researched and practical solutions, they also had an intelligent answer for anything thrown at them by the sharks.

This was a true display of deep learning and not just the recitation of facts from a study guide. Make your kids dig deeper, take them into their own shark tank experience.

Below are nine-and-a-half minutes that capture just a taste of the hard work and stellar presentations on display last Thursday.

Shark Tank STREAM School Edition – Hamilton Community Schools – YouTube.

Google launches Connected Classrooms Virtual Field Trips

Take your kids around the world on Google+.
Take your kids around the world on Google+.

Virtual field trips have been around for a long time, but the ease of conferencing via Google Hangouts has finally made them accessible to just about any classroom with a decent Internet connection.

Google kicked off its “Connected Classrooms” in August. Today’s schedule offered virtual field trips from the Seattle Aquarium, the Minnesota Zoo, and an airplane hangar in Switzerland that is home to the Solar Impulse experimental airplane.

The search giant has partnered with over twenty labs, museums, Nasa, and historical societies to create a varied set of experiences. A handy calendar lets educators search for upcoming events but also easily go back and watch previously recorded events. All events are free.