Monday, January 31, 2011


So today's post isn't about a website, it's about a movie I just watched. I was searching Netflix for something entertaining and educational to watch/listen to as I cleaned the kitchen and made some much needed brownies. I stumbled on a Nova documentary about Pluto and why it is now an ex-planet. I like many people (mostly 3rd graders as the movie says) don't understand why Scientists decided that Pluto was no longer a planet so when I saw this movie I decided to take a look.

Kids learn about the planets in a couple of grades. 3rd and 6th for Utah curriculum. This documentary talks about all the planets but mostly pluto and why it is no longer a planet. I found it very fascinating, helpful and informational. The narrator is the director for the Natural History Museum in New York. He speaks to many scientists about why and how the decision was made to no longer call Pluto a planet. I found the vocabulary pretty simple and the movie entertaining. I would recommend this movie for 6th graders.

Here's the link to watch the full episode. (about 53 minutes long)

Here are some for younger kids

Schoolhouse rock has a video called Interplanet Janet. This is an upbeat song that tells about the sun and each of the planets, including pluto. The graphics are a little old but it still teaches what it needs to.

** This link is from youtube. ALWAYS watch the whole video when on youtube. I have watched a couple where people have posted very inappropriate things in the middle of the video. Make sure you watch it before your kids do. I did watch this video and it's safe.

The Magic School Bus also did a show called "The Magic School Bus Gets Lost" I really like the Magic School Bus series. They show science facts in an educational and entertaining way. If you want kids to learn something you need to make it fun. Well if you want anyone to learn something you should make it fun.

I wasn't able to find the full video on youtube, but I did find it in 2 parts. One is about 12 minutes, the other almost 15.

I recommend these cartoons for any grade.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Kidz page - What's your decimal point?

I found this site, The Kidz page, today as I was searching for other fun games for kids, specifically art related games. They had a math section with a game called What's you decimal point? At first I was thinking it was a great game because it asks kids to place the decimal point in the correct location based on the number they read. A wonderful game for 5th and 6th graders.

I did find that one of the questions is worded wrong, which concerns me. The question says "Place the decimal for the number such that the number is one hundred and twenty thousand, four hundred and thirteen, and four tenths." Kids are taught at a young age that we don't say and unless there is a decimal point so this number would look like this 100.2o4oo.13.4, which doesn't work.

The solution is simple. It needs to say one hundred twenty thousand, four hundred thirteen, and four tenths. They want you to write 120,413.4. I also played the game a couple of times and the questions are all the same, they just change the order of the 5 questions, the game is easy to beat.

The other problem I saw was the ad's. There is on ad on another page that I found to be inappropriate for my children. It's called "Design your wedding dress." It's a picture of a cartoon girl in her underwear. I personally don't think this a good ad on a sight for children. When you click on the ad it takes you to My top free games where you can design a wedding dress. I'm not a huge fan of the ad and would check before my child played anything on this site to make sure it wasn't there before they got to play. This is also a site I wouldn't leave the room to just let my kids play because there are so many ads that could lead them to sites I don't want them on.

If you have a better option for a decimal game I would take it and would probably skip over playing this game. It is appropriate for 5th and 6th grade students.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Math Lingo

This game was made by Houghton Mifflin Math, a popular math program that many of your 1at graders might be using. I chose to spotlight this game because math is a foreign language to most young children. How often do you ask your six year old something like this

If kids are going to succeed in math they understanding the language is VERY important!! This Math Lingo has 8 units and I’m pretty sure they go along with the Houghton Mifflin Math Program. That would be a great thing to ask your child’s teacher.

I like that if there are words all the child has to do is put the curser on the square and it will read it to them. I also like that it has noises that are easy to recognize so as a parent I can set my children up to play and work on making dinner or cleaning instead of just sitting and watching to make sure they understand.

Here are the links to each grade level

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Suffixes Say A Lot

I just found a new site that looks promising. It’s called I has gradeK-8 math and language arts games. I looked at a couple of 4th grade games. They are pretty basic and simple. So simple once the game has been learned on the internet, it could be played with paper and pencil at home or on long car rides later.

The first game I tried is a 4th grade Vocabulary game called Suffixes Say a Lot. I really like how it defines what a suffix is right on the left hand side just incase your 4th grader doesn’t remember. It also gives a few examples of how to use this skill.

Once you pick your definition it gives you feedback. This is important because it describes why the answer is correct or incorrect. I also like the vocabulary words that are chosen and the fact that the child has to figure out the word meaning in context, not just from a list of words they are given.

This game also offers a few different levels that become more complex as they go on.

I recommend this game for second semester (3rd term) 3rd graders, 4th graders, and 5th graders.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Primary Games- 50 States Game

My son has recently become interested in learning about the states and their names, so I set off to the internet to find him a game to help him meet this goal. We have a leapfrog book that got him interested but the system needed to use that book doesn’t work. I found this 50 states game on I will say that so far I’m not impressed with this game. As soon as I got into the game it took me straight to an ad about toilet paper. Um, last time I checked it was kids playing these games, not the adults purchasing things like toilet paper. I understand the need for sites to have ads, this is how they make money to create the games and keep the site free. I just wish they would make them kids friendly ads, like ads for pillow pets, or the latest and greatest toy. I know they are obnoxious but I would rather have my children bugging me about that where I could use it as a teaching moment than having them see some ad that doesn’t apply to them or could lead them to clicking on other sites and taking them where they shouldn’t be going. I will now get off my soapbox and tell you about this game.

This 50 states game requires some prior knowledge about the geography of the United States. You are given a map of the country and a state and told to place it in the correct location.

Once you put the state in the proper location it gives you a point.

If you make a mistake it then shows you where the state should be and tells you how far off you were.

I also like that it gives you the average error miles. This can spark a discussion about what the average is and why it keeps changing. It would also be fun to start a family challenge by seeing who can get the lowest error mile average.

I recommend this game for second semester (3rd term) 4th graders, 5th, and 6th grade.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Edheads Weather

Edheads Weather is a Science game I found through that helps kids understand how we predict weather and then has them practice what they have learned.

There are two ways to play - you can either create a weather report based on what you read, or you can predict the weather based on the previous day's weather.

Report Weather

Level 1 is there you teach you how to play. Warning read carefully!! I made silly mistakes because I was trying to hurry.

I really like the symbols and the fact that kids have to grab them an place them in the by the correct city.

I also like that they use both a Fahrenheit and a Celsius Thermometer when they ask you to find the correct temperature. On the harder levels it gives a range of numbers and you have to pick the correct number.

Predict Weather

The prediction map is a little different from the report map. There screen shots are from level 1. The robot up in the left corner really helped as I learned how to play the game.

You use the symbols near your city to help determine what tomorrows weather will be.

You then look at what has happened across the country to predict the next 3 days weather. You do need to know how to multiply because you use this skill to find out how close the warm and cold fronts are.

I have had a very difficult time finding good educational sites for older kids. There just aren't many out there. This one is a great educational site geared toward older kids. The math that you do to predict is multiplication so a second semester (3rd term) 3rd grader might be able to do it, 4th, 5th, and 6th graders would be able to do it with little to no explanations. This site uses a variety of skills like; map reading, geography, following simple to complex directions, understanding symbols, vocabulary and math skills. This is a great game because it doesn't "dumb down" complex information, it teaches and then uses the vocabulary that kids will hear on when they listen to the weather report on the news.
I recommend this site for late 3rd graders, 4th, 5th, and 6th.