Learning About Our Environmentis a CD-ROM that teaches students about patterns of population, competition, cooperation, specialization, and succession in ecosystems. It then allows students to consider how urbanization affects the environment. An index is included so that students may research specific topics at any time during the program. Because this software could be used at multiple levels of the UMS curriculum and because it has so many features, I would encourage our school to purchase this software for the computer lab.
MapStudio USA allows students to create projects on a map of the United States using text, still pictures, and video. Students can create their own projects or use multimedia material found in the software program. There is also a direct Internet interface included that would allow students to share their projects on the net. Because this program provides a simpler way to prepare projects that the mapIT! software, I would recommend it for the UMS lab to be used especially with special needs students.
Eyewitness Encyclopedia of Science contains a video, animation, audio, and photos that allow students to explore mathematics, physics, chemistry, and life science topics. There is a section that of biographies of famous scientists and another that has a quiz.
Model ChemLab is a software program that allows students to do chemistry laboratory simulations. There are several simulations provided over a variety of topics. The software also allows the teacher to create her own simulations. The simulations allow students to practice labs that are either too expensive or dangerous for a school lab setting. This software is geared to the secondary student.
Mathematical Modeling: Using Graphs & Matricesis a software package that uses mathematics to create models for real-life situations. Students use data provided to create graphs and matrices that allow them to visualize the data and interpret connections in order to draw conclusions. Also built into this critical thinking process is information to show the limits of mathematical modeling.
National Geographic on CD-ROM. National Geographic has put 108 years of its magazines on CD-ROM and has created interactive games that students can play on the Internet. Students are given clues and can research topics as well.
Planet Earth is the name of an instructional unit that is ecology based. Students use audio and video links as well as text to answer basic questions. After they complete this background activity, the students move on to create an activity about their own community. Included at this site is an extensive hotlist of ecology sites that support qand extend the unit curriculum.
WetNetis a site that showcases an instructional unit and data from Saginaw Bay Watershed. It is a cooperative endeavor and shows how students are monitoring and reporting on their findings. The primary focus is on wetlands, but other topics are covered in less detail. This site provides links to other sites.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture supports a site called Windex. This is an index of Internet sites that deal with water quality and water resources. It is not limited to agriculture and can take you to unexpected places.
WaterNewsis a site that provides LOTS of data regarding ongoing research projects, curious water facts, and links to other interesting sites. It is a good place to start an exploration and would be an ideal place to send students for an online research project.
If you're incorporating world geography into your curriculum, be sure to check out what is happening with a river project in Tasmania. This is also a place that is using student data and involvement to monitor the health of a river system. It has pictures and offers students a way to communicate internationally.
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