Spotty Blue Banana

Helping kids learn

Archive for July 2009

Exploratorium: the museum of science, art and human perception

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Based in San Francisco, the Exploratorium was founded by the famous physicist and educator Dr Frank Oppenheiner, who remained the director until his death in 1985.

I’ll be visiting the site again, and again and probably again; it’s got to great stuff on there.

However, today I’m interested in the After School section, which “brings hands on activities and digital library resources into afterschool play”.

There are well presented instructional videos telling you how to create the activity, how to engage children in the activity, and how to vary things and investigate the results.




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What about having a representation of any atom in the Periodic Table, showing the spin of the electrons in the shells. Something like this:


Site link.

abc teach

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I came across this excellent site called abcteach. It is nicely categories and has so many worksheets for printing, lots of tools for handwriting, letter/word sorting, word searches, spelling, sudoku. For slightly older children there are maths and science, reading, writing, thinking skills, logic puzzles, and much more. I’d suggest having a good look around.



Learn your countries

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Here are some online games and logic puzzles that can help you with a bit of geography.

Thanks to Paul Wigfield for pointing me towards Sporcle. It has lots of puzzles to test yourself against the clock. I’ll be returning to it in the future. Here I’m interested in the one’s to help with learning about countries and geography. For example, you can name the countries in Europe


Countries of the World

US States

In a similar way you can use the Lufthansa virtual pilot game to test your knowledge of European city locations against the clock.


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July 29, 2009 at 8:03 pm

How things work – Science videos

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I came across these videos when I was looking out how a trebuchet works (as I mentioned previously). These are a series of videos on YouTube presented by “Steve Jones an experienced mathematics and science teacher”. As you can see from the screenshot they cover nuclear energy, Richter scale, electricity generators, and a few others.


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July 29, 2009 at 7:21 pm

Hilaroad – science, engineering, electronic projects

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I came across this site accidentally (whilst investigating trebuchets I clicked a link and ended up there), and boy am I glad I did. The site is called and has lots of projects to try, with instructions and video. It look very good.


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July 28, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Cranium Cariboo Board Game

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Cariboo is one of the board games from the Cranium stable. It is interesting and engaging for younger kids. It helps to develop colour, shape and number recognition with the basic set of cards, and numbers and letters with the advanced cards.

This video explains the game:

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July 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm