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Global Connections

Finding safe engaging collaborative projects for your classroom doesn’t have to be a challenge. There are many mentored and data entry activities that allow your students to participate with classrooms across the country and around the world. Many of the Internet projects have been around for years with proven track records. Others have the backing of non-profit foundations. Browse through these sites to find a project that is just right for your classroom.

Bird Sleuth

Introduce your students to inquiry through the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Citizen Science program. Most Wanted Birds is the first of a series of modules being developed with major backing from the National Science Foundation. By using this curriculum kids learn how to identify birds, keep investigative journals, and submit data. Information from the database is then used for further exploration. Resources that support these lessons include a Teacher's Guide, Reference Guide, Investigator's Journal, and resource kit materials, including the Focus Bird Cards and Bird ID CD-Rom. To participate in the program you will need to order the curriculum kit for $69.95 plus $5.00 shipping that entitles you free online access to module two, Investigating Evidence.

Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education

Founded in 1988, CIESE became part of the Charles V. Schaefer School of Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in 2004. Their interdisciplinary projects focus on collaboration and real time data from the Internet. Down the Drain, Bucket Buddies, and Human Genetics are representative of collaborative projects conducted during the spring and fall each year. Examples of ongoing projects that use real time data are Musical Plates, Weather Scope, and Navigational Vectors. Each project is linked to the National Science Standards and NTCM math standards. Rounding out the site are more projects on primary sources and links to partner projects.

The Global Grocery List Project

Don't have a clue about how much food costs in your town? What about in other towns around the world? Have no idea? Then, take the challenge and go on a shopping spree with the Global Grocery List Project. It began in December of 1987. Since then data has been collected and examined by classes all over the world.

Global SchoolNet

The Global SchoolNet Foundation organizes, manages, and facilitates projects for schools. Their HILITES archives and mailing list keeps educators up-to-date on project ideas. The project registry allows schools to register upcoming events in which others might want to participate. Projects range from videoconferencing to electronic publishing. In addition, their Global SchoolHouse supports a virtual community where educators, students, and parents can collaborate through projects like GeoGame, Letters to Santa, and Doors to Diplomacy.

The GLOBE Project

Inspire your students to be environmental scientists and learn about the scientific process. Through a scientifically rigorous program of Earth observations, students will aid research scientists in their study of the global environment. In addition, the GLOBE program links students with these research scientists and students in over one hundred countries via forums. The protocols or measurement activities include the following categories, atmosphere/climate, soil, hydrology, land cover/biology, phenology, and GPS. Before participating in the GLOBE project, teachers must attend a workshop. Some equipment is also necessary and should be factored into the school budget. GLOBE, established in 1995, is managed by theUniversity Corporation for Atmospheric Research and Colorado State University (UCAR/CSU) with support from NASA, NSF and the U.S. Department of State.

I*EARN (International Education and Resource Network)

This nonprofit organization creates structured projects that facilitate engaged learning and youth making a difference on an International scale. Projects are initiated and designed by students and teachers to develop cultural awareness, literacy, critical thinking skills, and involvement in community issues. Over one hundred projects are offered such as Book Marks Our World, the Daffodil and Tulip project, and Connecting Cultures: Understanding Our Connected Past to Build a United Future. Be sure to visit their Website for a complete list.

JASON Project

The JASON Project, founded in 1989 by Dr. Robert D. Ballard emphasizes real science, real time, real learning. Its mission is to inspire in students a life-long passion for learning in science, math, and technology through hands-on, real-world scientific discovery. Students in grades 4 -9 embark on expeditions led by scientists that allow for all sorts of interaction. Recent expeditions include Operation: Monster Storms, Geometry and Return to Titanic, and Mysteries of Earth and Mars. There is a nominal cost for the curriculum.

Journey North

Each year students and teachers follow wildlife migrations and participate in a variety of activities during Journey North. Of particular interest is watching the migration of the Monarch Butterfly. Have you ever observed a ravenous caterpillar consume a bunch of leaves? Have you ever watched a butterfly emerge from a chrysalis? On the resource page at Journey North for Kids, there is a series of movies about Monarch biology with discussion questions to pose before viewing. These visual presentations are great introductions to the life cycle process. In addition, you can track hummingbirds, gray whales, whooping cranes, bald eagles, robins, and even tulip gardens. Journey North is a free online educational service, supported by the Annenberg Media.

KidLink

KidLink is owned by a Norwegian non-profit organization named the KidLink Society, aimed at getting as many youth as possible involved in a global dialog. Several languages are supported. Check-out the KidLink faces page to view self-portraits. Participate in one of the discussion boards like Making the World Better. Contribute art to KidArt. These examples are only a fraction of the activities that abound on KidLink, a great gathering place for kids around the world.

My Hero

Families, schools, and organizations are encouraged to publicly honor heroes that have made a difference through words, images, and short films. On the teacher page there are lessons, resources, and a calendar with hero stories for each day. The eCreate tool allows teachers to create an index of student stories so students can view each other’s work and share stories with their parents. Students are provided a step-by-step tutorial for creating a MY HERO Web page. This site offers a wealth of material for learning, thinking and writing about heroes.

NASA Quest Project

NASA offers several initiatives for educators and students. Challenges are free Web-based, interactive explorations designed to engage students in authentic scientific and engineering processes. Past challenges include Design a Planet, Spaceward Bound, and Design a Mars Airplane. In addition there are free online tools and resources such as Moon Math, Virtual Skies, and Wings over Mars. These various software and simulation programs will engage students of all ages.

Westward Ho!

Load those wagons. Kiss the kin goodbye. You've decided to embark on an extraordinary adventure that will take you and your family across miles of dangerous, unfamiliar territory. You've gathered with other pioneers in Independence, Missouri. Everything that will fit inside is packed into your Prairie Schooner. You are as ready as you can be for the journey of nearly 2,000 miles. This popular project has been leading wagons west for over fifteen years through interactive forums, chats, and emails. (Cyberbee Hosted)

 

Originally Published Sep/Oct 2007

Updated March 14, 2015
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