The Plant List: As the website rather modestly states, The Plant List is “a working list of all known plant species.” In other words, botanically inspired readers will find on this site basic information about 1,293,685 (and counting) different plants. Readers may like to begin with How to use this site, a comprehensive section that describes how to search The Plant List, when it is useful or not useful to conduct a search, when it is more helpful to browse, and other tips and tidbits. After getting their bearings, readers may then want to delve into the list itself. For instance, the Browse tab allows readers to look into the four major groups (flowering plants, conifers, ferns, and mosses), and then dig down into family, genera, and species. For science teachers looking for new resources to offer their students, or for anyone fascinated by plants, this collaboration between the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and the Missouri Botanical Garden is a truly comprehensive resource.
Social Media for Teachers: Guides, Resources, and Ideas: For educators who are searching for ways to harness the power of social media in their classrooms, this Edutopia article by writer Matt Davis will pay dividends. Davis begins by making a case for social media use, then launches into a resource-packed review of 33 Internet articles that offer tips on integrating Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest into a variety of curricula. Highlights include articles, such as Education Week’s “New How-To Guide for Using Facebook in the Classroom” and David Truss’ “One-Stop-All-You-Need-to-Know-Guide to Twitter.” With only one in five teachers regularly using social media with their students, this site could boost confidence and help utilize these powerful tools.
TED-Ed: Lessons Worth Sharing:
TED-Ed is a multifaceted educational platform based on the knowledge-proliferating philosophies of TED, the organization made famous by its renowned TED talks. To take full advantage of TED-Ed, educators will first want to explore the existing Lessons, of which there are thousands. A drop down menu reveals a dozen subjects, including The Arts, Business & Economics, Health, Mathematics, and others. Various filters, including Content, Grade Level, and Duration, help narrow down to a specific topic. Some of the best lessons, such as “The Benefits of Good Posture,” have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, and include thought provoking, ready-made multiple choice and open-answer questions and prompts for student discussions. Educators who would like to use the platform to build their own lessons around web videos (from TED, YouTube, or Vimeo, for example) will need to create an account. Registration is easy, however, and only requires an email and password before creation of video-based lessons can occur.
What’s Cooking Uncle Sam?: Based on a 2011 exhibit at the National Archives Museum in Washington, D.C., this resource-packed site is a true boon for educators and all those fascinated by how the U.S. government has attempted to influence the ways its citizens think about food. Readers may want to start by selecting the “What’s Cooking Uncle Sam online exhibit on Google Cultural Institute” link to view images and text from the original exhibit. Next, explore the featured Activities, such as “Effects of Food Regulation in the Progressive Era.” This engaging activity invites students to learn about new food laws passed in the early 1900s and how they impacted the safety and quality of consumer goods. Readers will also find much to explore in the Primary Sources section available on the homepage. For example, “School Lunches” opens to many original documents, from recipes used between 1965 and 1987 to a 1946 letter advocating for subsidized school lunches in public school cafeterias.