8 Content Review Tips and Resource Articles

Are you looking for content review tips? As the world of standardized testing increases its focus on science (hello ACTs), teachers invest more class time on test preparation. Review can be one of the most mundane tasks your class engages in, boring both your students and you, the educator.

That’s why many teachers are looking for content review tips that make test prep fun and meaningful. In fact, many teachers use Legends of Learning’s thousands of games and assessment items for test prep. However, students often need more than one tool to help them lock in and review content day after day.

To help you in your efforts, check out these seven articles filled with tips and tools to strengthen your test prep/content review. Links are in the headlines:

1) Reviving Reviews: Refreshing Ideas Students Can’t Resist – Education World

Looking to end indifference this article asks? Then build a game for your classroom, which of course makes this article our favorite! Education World then links to five resources for teachers to download and use for in class content review.

2) Build Confidence – Edutopia

Did you know that teachers spend as much as 20-50 percent of their class time on test preparation? This article focuses on how to mix up your content review to make that time more useful. Our favorite tip is the last one: Using test preparation to build student confidence.

3) Spaced Learning – Harvard Magazine

You know it’s serious when Harvard is touting a technique. This article details how repeating content over an extended period of time significantly improves learning over the traditional “cram and test” model. Studies show an increase in knowledge by up to 50 percent, and strengthen retention for up to two years. It does take planning your test prep over a period of months instead of a week, but you would improve students’ subject mastery.

4) Turn Review into Play – Edutopia

Legends of Learning games in class.
Games can make test prep more enjoyable. Improve your classroom with game-based learning and other content review tips. - Gulfport Middle School, MS

Want to stop boring the snot out of kids with your test prep? Make it fun and turn exercises into play. We might have a few games for that (Sorry, we couldn’t resist).

5) Five Ways to Make Test Prep Meaningful and Fun – Kathleen Kryza

Don’t miss this article. Besides the usual fun exercises, Kathleen has one very unique tip: Examine your own feelings about the test. If you’re not thrilled about the exam or your class’s potential performance, then you are probably broadcasting negative vibes.

6) Fun In-Class Activities – Apperson

This edtech vendor blog has some great ideas to get students interacting in class during content review. From Jeopardy to a friendly game of Jenga, find fun ways to switch up your test prep.

7) Top 12 Ways to Rev Up Classroom Review Strategies – TeachHub

This is another list article filled with fun ways to mix up content review in class. What caught our eye was letting students serve as teachers and graders. How about a little role reversal to get students engaged?

8) Make Test Prep Meaningful! – Corkboard

This blog post has a singular focus: Have students create their own quizzes. This student-centered activity helps kids master their content while engaging in an authentic, meaningful exercise that has real purpose.

Do you have additional content review tips you would suggest? If so, please add them in the comments section.

The Sun, Moon, and Stars Lesson Plan

One of our most popular learning objectives on the Legends platform is
The Sun, Moon, and Stars: Patterns of Apparent Motion. This is one of those learning objectives that also has a lesson plan associated with it. Here is a web version of that lesson plan.

Learning Objective:​ The sun, moon, and stars: Patterns of apparent motion

NGSS Standard: MS-ESS1.A-1 ​ Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models.

Objective
Students will be able to:

1. Explain the locations of the Earth, moon and sun and describe their relationship

2. Explain the movements of the Earth, moon and sun by developing models

    3. Explain the different phases of the moon by manipulating models

Time Required:​ 90 minutes

Preparation

Materials Needed:

  • Teacher computer with internet access and projector
  • Student computers/laptop/tablet with internet access (preferably one per student but at least enough for small groups of 3 -4 students)
  • Plastic spoons
  • Oreo cookies (or a like substitute)
  • Black Sharpie pens and colored magic markers
  • Construction paper
  • Paper towels

Teacher Preparation

  • Create Playlist 1, a 10 minute playlist in Legends of Learning with the following game found in “The Sun, Moon and Stars: patterns of Apparent Motion” objective page: Apparent Motion: Orbital Command
  • Create Playlist 2, a 20 minute playlist in Legends of Learning with the following game found in “The Sun, Moon and Stars: patterns of Apparent Motion” objective page: Sun Shooter
  • Separate Oreo cookies, Sharpies and plates for each group (at least 8 cookies per group)

Introduce Topic

Engage: 10 min

1) The teacher will play the video “5F Sun, Earth Moon The Science Video”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTDcfI2dabk

2) As students watch the video, they will write 3 or more new facts that they learned about the earth, moon, and sun in their science journal.

    3) The teacher then leads a discussion about the video and the relationship between the sun, moon and Earth.
    4) The teacher will instruct students to answer 3 questions from the video.

  • How many days does it take for the moon to orbit Earth? (28 days​)
  • How many days does it take Earth to orbit the sun? (365 ¼ days​)
  • How many hours does it take for Earth to complete one rotation on its axis? (24 hours​)

Explore: 10 min

1) Students will sign in to Legends of Learning and enter your teacher code.

2) Teacher will launch Playlist 1.

    3) Students will complete Apparent Motion: Orbital Command as the teacher assists students as needed. Stopping game play to address the questions asked in the game may be needed.

Expand on the Lesson

Explain: 10 min

1) The teacher will demonstrate the orbital and rotational relationship of the Earth, moon and sun by having students in groups of three demonstrate this concept using their bodies to represent each celestial body. If there is limited room in the classroom, the teacher can simply demonstrate this with one group of three students by moving desks enough to clear a space large enough for the demonstration. Optimally, the teacher will be able to use hallway space so several groups can demonstrate this concept. Each group will get a sheet with the following diagram, which demonstrates direction of rotation. (see Appendix A in the lesson plan)

2) As students demonstrate the rotational movements, the teacher assists students as needed as well as pausing the activity to ask questions to assess knowledge.

  • a. In which direction does the Earth rotate on its axis? Does the Earth rotate in the same direction as the Moon? as the Sun? i. The Earth rotates counter-clockwise on its axis. Yes, yes.
  • b. Does the moon orbit around the Sun or the Earth? Why does the moon orbit where it does? i. The Moon orbits around the Earth. This is because of its proximity to the Earth. Although the Sun has a greater gravitational effect due to its size, the moon is close enough to the Earth so that it is caught in its gravitational pull.
  • c. What is a solar eclipse and how does one form? i. A solar eclipse is when the sun is blocked, either partially or fully, by the moon. This occurs when the Moon’s orbit causes it to pass between the Earth and the Sun.

Elaborate and Evaluate

 

Apparent motion of the sun, moon, and stars.

Elaborate: 40 min

1) Students will separate into small groups (three or four)

2) The teacher hands each group a zip-lock bag with at least 8 Oreo cookies and plastic spoon, a blank piece of construction paper and markers.

3) The teacher then hands each group a sheet with the following diagrams: (see Appendix B in the lesson plan)

    4) Using the information on these sheets, students will construct a moon phase chart on the construction paper using the Oreos with various amounts of icing scraped off to represent the various lunar phases. The cookies are then arranged in a linear fashion on the construction paper to mimic the eight phases of the moon. The markers will be used to draw representations of the sun, Earth, directional arrows and titles of each lunar phase. A student example is provided below.

Evaluate: 20 min

1) Launch Playlist 2 for students.

2) Students will play Sun Shooter and be assessed on their ability to answer the questions provided in the game correctly.

3) Teacher will analyze student results to determine what concepts need to be a focus for reteaching.

Possible Extension activity:
Have students participate in the World MOON Project, which is a globally collaborative project that allows students from all over the world to observe and report on lunar phases. http://worldmoonproject.org/

Weather Prediction Lesson Plan

The ongoing Harvey recovery along the Gulf Coast and the equally scary Hurricane Irma bearing down on the Caribbean are likely generating conversations in your science classes. That’s why we’ve decided to share our lesson plan for the Weather Prediction learning objective. The accompanying learning objective has eight games in total, so check them out.

If you want to make a contribution to support Hurricane Harvey victims, here are Charity: Navigator’s recommended charities serving the recovery areas.

Learning Objective: Weather Prediction

Objective

Students will be able to:

  • Describe the four types of air masses and how they interact to form fronts.
  • Explain the causes of weather associated with different fronts.
  • Describe how the meeting of certain fronts can cause extreme weather events.

Time Required: 90 minutes

Materials Needed

  • Teacher computer with internet access and projector
  • Student computers/laptops/tablets with internet access (preferably one per student but at least enough for small groups of 3 -4 students)
  • Weather Map Practice handout (attached)

Teacher Preparation

  • Create Playlist 1, a 10-minute playlist in Legends of Learning with the following game found in the Weather Prediction learning objective: Forecaster
  • Create Playlist 2, a 20-minute playlist in Legends of Learning with the following game found in the Weather Prediction learning objective: Sunshine City
  • Make copies of Weather Map Practice handout (available in the downloadable version of the lesson plan).

Engage: 15 minutes

  • The teacher will play the following videos:
    Air Masses and Fronts (above) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUMcztXPFbA
    Weather Information Part 2 – Air Masses and Fronts (below) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o4lg8UfY5DM
  • The students will take notes in their science journal on the different types of air masses and fronts described in the two videos.
  • The teacher will ask the following questions to prompt discussion from the class:

a) Do you ever watch the weather report on the news?
b) What kind of information does the reporter show?
c) What is the weather today? Tell me your guess for the temperature and the likelihood of rain.

Explore: 10 minutes

      • Students will sign in to Legends of Learning and enter the teacher code.
      • Teacher will launch Playlist 1.
      • Students will complete Forecaster as the teacher assists students as needed.
      • Stopping game play to address the questions asked in the game may be needed.

Explain: 20 minutes

      • 1) Student will be given the Weather Map Practice handout. Teacher should also display the map on a projector/Smartboard so that the students are able to see the colors on the map.
      • 2) Student will answer the following questions:a) What kind of weather conditions do you think are associated with the blue line with triangles on it?
        Cold Frontb) Based on your observations, which states and regions may be having severe weather on this day? Give your reasons why.
        Oklahoma, Arizona, California; all of those states contain an ‘L”’(which designates a low pressure system) which typically is accompanied by stormy weather. BONUS: Newfoundland (not a state; however it contains an ‘L’)c) What kind of weather would you expect where the warm and cold fronts meet in western Canada? Why? Clear to partly cloudy. Where warm and cold fronts meet is called a stationary front, and weather along a stationary front is typically calm.
      • 3) Teacher will discuss the answers to the handout with the students.

Elaborate: 25 minutes

1) Students will log on to The NOAA National Weather Service Just for Kids website. https://www.weather.gov/cae/justforkids.html

      • 2) The students will first click on the tab labeled Forecast Maps http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/national_forecast/natfcst.php
      • 3) The students will describe the national weather on that day by analyzing the “Today’s Forecast” tab. They will do the same for the next two days by clicking on the tabs “Tomorrow’s Forecast” and “Day 3 Forecast”, respectively.
        a) Students will write their weather forecast for each in their science journal.
      • 4) Students will then try to forecast what the weather will be on Day 4.
        a) Students will write their weather prediction in their science journal.
      • 5) Using the “Today’s Forecast” Map, students will make a hypothesis what the weather will be like in their home town/city for the next three days.
        a) Students will write their predictions in their science journal.
      • 6) Teacher will discuss student predictions as a whole class.
      • 7) Teach will display the The NOAA National Weather Service Just for Kids page and will check the accuracy of their forecasts by entering their city name or zip code in the “Customize your Weather.gov” section on the top left of the screen.
      • 8) If time allows, students may proceed to the Weather Information Display icon and make their own weather maps by customizing the parameters displayed.

Evaluate: 20 minutes

    • 1) Launch Playlist 2 for students.
    • 2) Students will play Sunshine City and be assessed on their ability to answer the questions provided in the game correctly.
    • 3) Teacher will analyze student results to determine what concepts need to be a focus for reteaching.

Get Your Classroom Ready for Blended Learning

The following is an excerpt from our new white paper, “Eight Steps to Successfully Implement Blended Learning in Your Classroom.” Download it today!

Do you ever find yourself leaving school at the end of the day thinking you could have taught your lesson just a little bit better? It is very natural as a teacher to take stock of your day and think about adjustments you can make for tomorrow. What if you could use tools like games to make a large scale change to your classroom that would lead to much higher levels of engagement and achievement? You can, and blended learning is the 21st century key to this kind of change.

You might be wondering how can you transform your classroom with a blended learning model? After all, the possibilities with tech based learning — middle school science games (hint, hint) — can be truly infinite given the right strategies.

Time to Rearrange the Desks

http://www.schooltechnology.org Photos of elementary students using iPads at school to do amazing projects. student_ipad_school - 030

Whether you have a cart of iPads or a room full of Chromebooks, integrating technology into your classroom is a great way to engage students in learning. One facet, the classroom setup, is often overlooked. It might seem that just putting technology on the desk in place of a textbook will improve a student’s experience and engagement, but research has found otherwise.

Says Ramona Persaud, Edutopia contributor, “From the front door and school grounds to the classroom, the aesthetics of learning spaces impact brain function and influence how students feel when they’re in school—as well as how they feel about their school.”

You likely understand Persaud’s point intuitively. Students perform better when they feel comfortable, safe, and feel as though they belong. You might even have anecdotal evidence demonstrating the impact of something as simple as a desk arrangement.

If classroom setup is instrumental in determining the success of your blended learning model, try something a little out of the box next year. Get a bunch of chairs and a couch and have your students use them during blended learning time. No room in the budget for furniture? No problem! Let students sit on the floor. Students simply do not have to be sitting at a desk in order to be engaged in learning.

Seven Ways to Set Up Your Class For Success

http://www.schooltechnology.org Photos of elementary students using iPads at school to do amazing projects. student_ipad_school - 112

Check out this great list of recommendations from Blended Learning Universe on how to arrange your classroom for Blended Learning.

  • Station Rotation – moves students from station to station on a fixed schedule, with at least one (if not all) of the stations featuring digital learning activities such as games, puzzles, or videos. The rotation can free up teaching time, allowing you to work one-on-one with students needing extra attention.
  • Lab Rotation – looks similar to Station Rotation except that students go to a dedicated computer lab rather than an in-classroom station. Many teachers enjoy the flexibility of using an outside lab in terms of both scheduling and classroom layouts.
  • Individual Rotation – provides students with personalized schedules and assignments. The students may or may not visit every work station in a single day, instead focusing their attention on completing assigned activities.
  • Flipped Classroom – changes the classroom dynamic. Students learn at home via a digital curriculum and online lectures. They then complete teacher-guided projects and other activities in the classroom.
  • Flex – gives the most control to students. It allows them to move through classroom curriculum and activities — both digital and traditional — on a fluid schedule. Teachers, in turn, offer support and instruction as needed. This model tends to use online learning to a greater degree than the previous four.
  • A La Carte – allows schools to offer electives they can’t provide due to a lack of on-site resources. The model often supplements high school classes.
  • Enriched Virtual – requires students to learn at home via online instructional materials and meet with a teacher face-to-face two to three times a week. This model tends to be less common than the other six.

No matter which approach you choose, remember that bringing blended learning into the classroom is a chance to approach student learning in a new way. Do something new this year with your class and get excited for a transformational 2017-2018 school year!!!

Don’t forget to download the new white paper, “Eight Steps to Successfully Implement Blended Learning in Your Classroom.”

New Features: Simplified Log In and Rostering

We’re happy to announce two new major features that were unveiled on the Legends of Learning platform today. The first is a simplified log in page. This new login makes it clear where students should log in. Heretofore, many students were mistakenly (or intentionally) logging in to the platform as teachers.

The second major change is the addition of more rostering functionality to the platform. This feature set allows teachers to create class rosters, and launch playlist to a class roster. It also allows students to join an active playlist as a rostered class member. In addition, teachers can now create a student in a student page, a playlist page, or a session page.

Several other minor enhancements were made to improve the teacher experience, including ensuring no timeouts for teacher sessions if they are using the application. Legends of Learning will continue rolling out enhancements as they are built and tested for quality assurance.

5 Earth Day Playlists to Engage Your Students

Earth Day is coming quickly (April 22nd, remember?) and it’s a great opportunity to teach students about conservation, responsibility and being part of a global community.

There are so many ways to make this happen. In addition to the many project based learning opportunities we listed on Monday, you can use games to help students engage in Earth Day.

See our Earth Day Activities and Ideas page for free games, additional resources and lesson plans!

The following is a list of Ambassador recommended playlists of games you can use for Earth Day. They drew from our 90 learning objectives, and more than 600 NGSS aligned science games for middle school that engage students in virtually every topic for Earth, Life and Physical Sciences.

We are dedicated to incorporating Ambassadors’ content suggestions on how to use games in the classroom. In addition, our own team offered an additional playlist.

Without further ado, check out these awesome recommendations and give your students an amazing new Earth Day experience this year.

 

Janessa Slattery’s Earth Day Playlist

Learning Objective: Increasing and Decreasing Impacts on Earth Systems

Games: Defender: Human Impact on Earth, The Big Picture Hosted by Zedd: Animal Agriculture, Mini City

Synopsis: These games show students the impact of human activities on our planet and ways we can build sustainably to avoid doing major harm.

Mariana Garcia-Serrato‘s Earth Day Playlist

Learning Objective: Global Climate Change

Games: Warm Planet Adventure, Escape Global Climate Change, Greenman and The Global Climate Change, Preventative Measures

Synopsis: Student learn about harmful greenhouse gases, ways to combat a warming atmosphere and environmentally friendly sources of alternative energy.

Caitlin Unterman‘s Earth Day Playlist

Learning Objective: Natural Resources

Games: Wealthy City, Resourceful Adventure, The Story of Natural Resources, Pipe Mechanic: Natural Resources

Synopsis: This playlist is great because it takes students through different games that express the importance of natural resources in our everyday lives. Without natural resources from our Earth, many of our daily activities and technologies would not be possible!

Jennifer Pendleton‘s Earth Day Playlist

Learning Objective: Greenhouse Effect

Games: Infrared Escape, Green Planet Adventure, Little Green Planet

Synopsis: Infrared Escape would be a good refresher on the greenhouse effect. Green Planet Adventure helps review more concepts about the greenhouse effect and reinforce them. Little Green Planet is a chance to apply the concepts learned to make decisions.

Jennifer's Earth Day playlist.

Legends of Learning’s Earth Day Playlist

Learning Objective: Human Impacts on Earth Systems

Games: Oscar’s World: Human Impacts on Earth’s Systems, Dam Planner, Bottles: Human Impacts on Earth’s Systems

Synopsis: These three games use a variety of methods to help students understand how their actions have a direct impact on Earth’s ecosystems. Dam Planner really puts students in the drivers seat and helps them actualize their decision making.

Legends of Learning's Earth Day playlist.
 

You can log in and play these games today on the Legends of Learning platform. To become an ambassador, visit our site and fill out this simple form.

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