6 Resources to Add the Olympics to Your Lesson Plan

The PyeongChang Winter Olympics are halfway through, and students across the world are watching athletes stretch the limits of possibility. The games offer a great point of interest to engage students in classroom discussions. Here are several science resources on the Internet to help integrate the games into your lesson plans.

Six Lesson Ideas for the Olympics

The Science of Winter Olympic Sports: NBC Learn developed a series of science tutorial videos for the Sochi Olympics in Russia. Each video explains the scientific principles at play in various sports. There is even a video explaining the physics behind Shaun White’s dynamic half pipe skills.

Getting Physical: The New York Times Learning Network published an extensive learning plan for the Vancouver Olympics in 2010. This is a very detailed lesson plan with great exercises that highlight the science behind the Olympics. Check it out.

The luge is just one of many winter Olympics sports that can be used to demonstrate physics to students.
Image by the Republic of Korea. The Luge

Olympic Engineering: What does it take to get a city ready for the Olympics? Teach Engineering encourages students to build their own event centers using design process. Students are encouraged to think out of the box as they meet some of the challenges facing them, from geography to resources. Recommended for elementary or early middle school students.

Lesson Plans for Purchase: Teachers Pay Teachers hosts a whole series of lesson plans geared around the games. If you filter down to science, there are still more than 50 lesson plans altogether! Prices range from $2 to $10.

Eight Great STEM Lesson Ideas: Pearson put together a series of math and science lessons related to the winter games, but these could easily be applied to a Summer Olympics, too. Science teachers will find weather-related exercises towards the end of the list.

Gold Medal Olympic Activities: Education World put together a series of Olympic exercises, also for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Some of these include turning your classroom into its own Olympic competition between students!

What would you add?

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.

Lunar Phases Lesson Plan

With next week’s full moon approaching quickly and school just back in session, we decided to share our a lesson plan for our Lunar Phases learning objective. The accompanying learning objective has eight games in total, so check them out.

Lunar Phases Lesson Plan Objective

Students will be able to:

  • Name the phases of the moon and identify them based on a model.
  • Identify which phase of the moon occurs in various locations in its orbit around Earth.
  • Describe why only one side of the moon is visible from Earth.

Requirements

Time Required: 65 minutes

Materials Needed:

  • Teacher with computer/internet access
  • 1 computer/laptop/iPad per student with internet access
  • Styrofoam cups (9 per group)
  • Black marker
  • Blue marker
  • Phases of the Moon Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Create Playlist 1, a 30 minute playlist, in Legends of Learning with the following game found in Lunar Phases: Lunar Wolves, and Ms. Rose and Lunar Phases.

Create Playlist 2, a 10-minute playlist in Legends of Learning with 5 assessment questions from the Lunar Phases learning objective.

Prepare 9 styrofoam cups (1 set of 9 per group) by coloring in the bottoms to represent the lunar phases. Use the blue marker to completely color the bottom of the ninth cup to represent the Earth.

Make copies of the Phases of the Moon Worksheet (available on the PDF version of this lesson plan) for each student.

Engage (5 minutes)

1) Students are divided into groups of 4-5. Each group is given a set of 9 cups. The bottoms of the cups are shaded with marker to represent the various lunar phases. The blue cup is the Earth.

2) Groups are instructed to place the blue cup in the center (bottom up) and surround the “Earth” with the cups showing the lunar phases in what they think is the correct order.

3) Students will keep their model on their table to be revisited later after playing the games.

Explore (30 minutes)

1) Hand out the Phases of the Moon Worksheet to each student.

2) Have students sign into Legends of Learning and enter your teacher code.

3) Launch Playlist 1 to the students.

4) Pass out the Phases of the Moon Worksheet.

5) While students are working through this game they will complete the worksheet.

Explain (15 minutes)

1) Students will get back together in their groups from the Engage activity and re-arrange their phases of the moon model based on the new knowledge they have gained.

2) Teacher will check that each group has an accurate model prior to moving on.

3) Teacher will review the answers to the Phases of the Moon Worksheet by drawing diagrams on the board. Teacher will ask students to come to the board and shade in what the moon looks like for each of the phases.

Elaborate (5 minutes)

1) Explain to students that no matter when we look at the moon, we are always seeing the same side of the moon. On Earth, we never see “the dark side” of the moon.

2) Show this video to students to help them understand the reason why:



3) Ask students: How do we know what is on the other side of the moon?

(Answer: Satellites have been sent to take pictures of the other side of the moon so we know what it looks like.)

Evaluate (10 minutes)

1) Launch Playlist 2 to your students. When they finish the assessment questions, any time left is freeplay.

2) Analyze student results to determine what concepts need to be a focus for reteaching.

A Game for Every Lesson

No matter what middle school science lesson you are teaching, there is a game for it on the Legends of Learning platform. Each of the 90 different learning objectives for Earth and Space, Life, and Physical Sciences lessons already has or will shortly have 10 games.

With 900 games, we can say with confidence that there is a game for every lesson.

Still it can be hard to visualize 90 middle school science learning objective. That’s why we created the following periodic chart filled with standard lessons.

You can download you own periodic table of games on Slideshare.

These learning objectives are mapped against national standards. The games are intentionally designed to fit within a conventional class period so they are easy to implement.

As the school year ends, games are the perfect way to keep kids engaged. They are also great for reinforcing lessons as your students prepare for testing. Find the perfect game for your lesson today on the Legends of Learning platform.

If you cannot find a game for your lesson, please contact us at support @ legendsondsoflearning.com. We are so confident that there is a game for your lesson, that we will personally find it.

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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