Ben’s Guide to the Government

Ben’s Guide to the Government: 6-8

http://bensguide.gpo.gov/6-8/index.html

 

Summary

This government website houses a collection of reference information and activities about the government broken down by grade level. Ben Franklin serves as a cartoon guide to the website, posing on each page and illustrating elements. There are pages that discuss certain elements of government, a glossary of terms, games and activities (both online and to print out for offline use), and links to other relevant sites.

 

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          7.4

Gunning-Fog Score         10.2

Coleman-Liau Index        7.9

SMOG Index      8.3

Automated Readability Index     6.7

Average Grade Level      8.1

 

Qualitative Summary:

This website is great for basic facts about government working, broken down into age appropriate reading sections. As a .gov website, it is a reliable reference resource for students to use in research projects. The readability score seemed to rate some information sections as being more complex textually than other.

 

Standards

MD CCSS

State Curriculum

Social Studies

1.0 CONTENT STANDARD: POLITICAL SCIENCE‐ Students will understand the historical development and current status of the fundamental concepts and processes of authority, power, and influence, with particular emphasis on the democratic skills and attitudes necessary to become responsible citizens.

 

7.B.2 Analyze the importance of civic participation as a citizen of the world

a. Analyze the relevancy of sources and perspectives of information such as internet sites and online newspapers

 

Grade 6-8

A. Read to Learn and Construct Meaning about Social Studies

1. Use appropriate strategies and opportunities to increase understandings of social studies vocabulary

a. Acquire and apply new vocabulary through investigating, listening, independent reading and discussing a variety of print and non-print sources

b. Identify and use new vocabulary acquired through study of relationships to prior knowledge and experiences

c. Use context clues to understand new social studies vocabulary

d. Use new vocabulary in speaking and writing to gain and extend content knowledge and clarify expression

E. Organize Social Studies Information

1. Organize information from non-print sources

a. Prioritize information gathered according to importance and relevance

b. Distinguish factual from fictional information

c. Find relationships among gathered information

d. Display information on various types of graphic organizers, maps, and charts

e. Summarize information obtained from surveys and field work

National Geographic Kids: Countries

National Geographic Kids: Countries

http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/kids/places/find/

Summary

This website allows kids to browse countries by name or by continent. Each country opens a new page with facts about the country, pictures, videos, an E-Card, and maps.

 

Quantitative Summary:

Readability Formula        Grade

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level          7.4

Gunning-Fog Score         10.2

Coleman-Liau Index        7.9

SMOG Index      8.3

Automated Readability Index     6.7

Average Grade Level      8.1

 

Qualitative Summary:

This website could be helpful to students in World History or World Cultures classes, as it provides basic reference facts and colorful overviews of many countries. The facts range in text complexity according to readability-score.com, so while I think this is a middle-school level reference, some of the information may need to be reinforced by a teacher.

 

Standards

MD CCSS

Grade 6

Standard 3.0 Geography

TOPIC A.

INDICATOR

1. Use geographic tools to locate places and describe the human and physical characteristics in early world history

OBJECTIVES

Use maps to compare geographic locations of civilizations from world history to:

  • Mesopotamia
  • Africa including Egypt
  • Nubia/Kush and Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Indus River Valley
  • Northern China
  • Greeks and Romans
  • Mesoamerican, such as the Incas, Mayans and Aztecs

Use photographs and thematic maps, to identify and describe physical and human characteristics of early civilizations

TOPIC

B.

INDICATOR

1. Examine how physical and human characteristics shape the identity of places and regions and influence the development of civilizations in world history

OBJECTIVES

Identify and describe physical characteristics that influenced human settlement

Explain how physical characteristics of a place influenced human activities, such as agriculture, transportation, art and architecture and economic activity in the ancient world

Explain how human perceptions of and interactions with the environment changed over time in due to technologies, such as road building, dam construction, and agricultural improvements

Amazing Space: The Solar System Trading Card Game

Amazing Space: The Solar System Trading Card Game
(http://amazing-space.stsci.edu/resources/explorations/trading/)

Standards:

VA SOL

4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
a) the planets in the solar system;
b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and
c) the relative sizes of the planets.

Summary:

Created by the Formal Education Group of the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach, this mini game is a fun way to test your knowledge of planetary/solar system facts. By answering each of twelve trivia questions correctly, the player “collects” the trading card that the question was attached to. When you answer the question correctly, it gives you a host of facts about that planet. When you get a question wrong, it gives you a definition of each of the multiple choice answers so that you have a better understanding of the question. Once you’ve collected a trading card, you can click on it again to be directed to the fact page for review.

Why this is a quality resource

This site would be a great review tool after a lesson on the solar system. It could be used individually, or done as a class via a projector. While some of the “correct answer fact pages” seem to be a bit above the 4th grade level when conveying planetary facts (http://read-able.com says average 7th grade level), it still uses big images and some easy-to-understand vocabulary and headings. Within the correct answer pages, blue linked glossary terms have pop-up definitions which aid in understanding more complex vocabulary.

PBS/NOVA – Galileo: Sun-Centered System Video

PBS/NOVA – Galileo: Sun-Centered System Video
(http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.eiu.galileosys/galileo-sun-centered-system/)

Standards

4.8 The student will investigate and understand the relationships among Earth, the moon, and the sun. Key
concepts include
a) the motions of Earth, the moon, and the sun;
c) the causes for the phases of the moon;
d) the relative size, position, age, and makeup of Earth, the moon, and the sun; and
e) historical contributions in understanding the Earth-moon-sun system.

Summary

This video talks about Galileo, Copernicus, and Ptolemy, and how their insights and contributions helped to shape our understanding of the movements and orbits of our solar system. It shows the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems worked, and how Galileo used his telescopes to see phases of Venus in order to confirm his belief of a sun centered universe.

Why this is a quality resource

PBS/NOVA productions are always really quality educational videos. This one is a rather simple look at the contributions of Galileo, Copernicus, and Ptolemy, towards discovering the sun-centered universe, without getting too much into the heavy science of their discoveries. This video may be slightly above 4th grade level, but I thought the images and the narration were really good.

Astronomy For Kids

Astronomy For Kids
(http://www.frontiernet.net/~kidpower/astronomy.html)

This page has an average grade level of about 4.
It should be easily understood by 9 to 10 year olds.

Readability Indices
Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease 83.2
Flesch Kincaid Grade Level 3.6
Gunning Fog Score 5.2
SMOG Index 4.1
Coleman Liau Index 6.3
Automated Readability Index 0.2

Text Statistics
No. of sentences 10
No. of words 79
No. of complex words 4
Percent of complex words 5.06%
Average words per sentence 7.90
Average syllables per word 1.37

http://read-able.com


Standards:

4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
a) the planets in the solar system;
b) the order of the planets in the solar system; and
c) the relative sizes of the planets.

Summary:

A bare-bones website with valuable factual information about the solar system written at a level that is accessible to 4th graders.

Why this is a quality resource:

This site would be great for “research projects” and fact finding as it breaks down important facts about the solar system, planets, and other celestial objects into simple language. This was another site that I was linked to from the National Science Digital Library and I included it for its age-appropriate writing style and it’s foundational information. There are some visuals, but not a lot. The text is large and easy to read. There is also a dictionary with many glossary terms, which would only be better if the terms were linked between the glossary and the other pages that use them.

ScienceLinks: Planet Size Comparison

Science Links: Planet Size Comparison
(http://sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/messenger/psc/PlanetSize.html)

Standards:

4.7 The student will investigate and understand the organization of the solar system. Key concepts include
a) the planets in the solar system;
c) the relative sizes of the planets.

4.8 The student will investigate and understand the relationships among Earth, the moon, and the sun. Key concepts include
d) the relative size, position, age, and makeup of Earth, the moon, and the sun.

Summary

This is a pretty straight-forward resource. Through drop-downs, students can select any two planets who’s sizes they would like to compare. In between those drop downs, they can click on the word “Compare” to draw up the comparison.

Each planet is displayed visually according to scale so that you can see the size difference between the various planets. Below the images is a display of each planet’s diameter (it defaults to kilometers but you can change it to miles) and the comparison ratio.

The quality of the images is not great and the planets are somewhat pixelated, but the concept of sizes is really what is important and it does a great job of visually representing the disparities.

Why this is a quality resource

I was linked to this resource via The National Science Digital Library, and thought it would be a great way to drive home visual representations of size in the solar system. Though some concepts may be above a 4th grade level in terms of math, the teacher could also tie this into math lessons (displaying ratios, decimals as fractions, etc.).

Earth in Motion: Seasons

Earth In Motion: Seasons
(http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ess05.sci.ess.eiu.seasonsgame/earth-in-motion-seasons/)

Standards

4.8 The student will investigate and understand the relationships among Earth, the moon, and the sun. Key concepts include
a) the motions of Earth, the moon, and the sun;
b) the causes for Earth’s seasons;

Summary

This animation is an illustrated look at the way that day and night as well as seasons on earth are created by the the tilt and rotation of the Earth in its orbit. The video begins with an introduction, a “movie” that you watch with the main character Max, that allows the viewer to replay each small segment to review the information presented.

Once you’ve watched the introduction with Max, he invites the user to participate in three different activities to send him on trips. Max poses different scenarios so that the user has to move the Earth along its orbits to put different hemispheres into specific seasons. As you move the Earth along its orbit, users can opt for a hint: a small popup shows images portraying what season you’ve chosen for that hemisphere. If you choose correctly, Max will show up in his destination and take some pictures. If you choose wrong, Max will give you another chance to try.

Why this is a quality resource

I thought this was a really cool resource because it is a self-contained lesson: it both teaches concepts and then tests the students on them in a fun way. I wish that Max posed more than three scenarios but I understand that it could get repetitive. I also really liked the pace of the introduction video and how you can repeat certain sections; that’s a good feature for students who might need to see the explanations multiple times.