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Monday, April 30, 2007

SOS ! It is Science Fair Season!

Science Fairs may be very stressful for some parents who really want to get involved and help their child complete the whole project. Often, parents see science fair as too much work in their already busy life. For teachers, this activity is very time consuming especially with a very demanding curriculum.

The solution? A project-based approach for teaching science is often the most natural way for lesson-planning. When science fair season approches, the students will already have the inquiry, research and design skills to carry out a project. The document Using Projects to Engage Students and Meet the Goals of the Ontario Curriculum is all you need. It provides the theoratical ideas as well as worksheet and tips that may be used in the classroom.

This document is produced both in French and English by Sci-Tech Ontario. It is linked with the Ontario Science and Technology Curriculum, however, the pedagogical ideas presented can be relevant for any teahers, no matter where they teach. It is available in three version for different age groups :

Grade 1-6 (6-12 years old)
Grade 7-8 (13-14 years old)
Grade 9-12 (15-18 years old)

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Isometric Drawing Tool in 3D

If you teach your students how to do isometric drawings in 3D with views from the front, the left side and the top, this tool is for you. It can be used both by the students and thee teachers. The student may model structures in 3D made from nestable blocks and then visualize them by rotating them in all directions. It is also possible to add colours to the blocks. The tool is a simple Java application, so it will run virtually on any computer with an Internet browser, no matter the operating system.

The application is very easy to use and include almost no text. Even students who find reading a challenge will have no problem using the icons. The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics provides the application. The teacher may also use it to prepare tests and worksheets. There is no tool to export the picture as a JPEG or PDF, but a simple screen grab will do the trick. It is then possible to paste it in a word document.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Learning Through the Arts

For some students, traditional teaching methods will simply not work because they tend to be more artistic and really have a hard time taking advantage of their artistic skills when completing assignments in mathematics, social studies, language or science. Yet, they have great academic skills in music, dance, drama and arts.

« Learning through the arts » is a great resource to help answer the need of those students. It is sponsored by the Royal Conservatory of Music and financially supported by Heritage Canada and It includes complete lesson plans and student worksheets as well as ideas and videos. The author of the lesson plans were able to include the arts in various subjects including aboriginal education, French, English, health, technology, physical education, social studies, history, mathematics and science. On this picture, you can see a lesson in mathematics about fractions being taught using dance.

A very well designed search feature will help you find appropriate lesson plans by entering criteria such as subject, region, artform and type. Lesson plans can be found in both English and French.