Sunday, March 6, 2011

Study Jams: Free Math and Science Animated Videos

StudyJams from Scholastic is a wonderful educational website.  I first heard of this great website from Richard Byrne's blog Free Technology for Teachers. StudyJams has a library of over 200 videos and slide shows about various math and science topics.  Most of the videos include a quiz "Test Yourself", and a section about vocabulary. I know that the information is solid, the entertainment value is there for my students, and it's free!

I use StudyJams a few different ways. I use it as an introduction to a concept or skill, as a mid-lesson support, or I use it as a wrap up to the unit or lesson.

Using StudyJams as an Introduction
My students were studying heat energy a while ago. To start off the unit we did a K-W-L about heat. After a nice list was built, we watched StudyJams: Heat. I ended up pausing the video a couple of times because some of the ideas that were discussed in our K-W-L discussion was explained in the video.  When the video ended, we continued our discussion. The students had been armed with a little more schema, thank you StudyJams, and they wanted to know about more heat and it's applications in their world.

Using StudyJams as a Mid-Lesson Support
I was teaching the class fractions. I began with breaking a candy bar into equal pieces, and shared some with a few lucky students (see "Craft Sticks" post).  I then launched into explaining what the numerator and denominator represent in a fraction. I was talking too much at this point, and needed to change gears, so I played the StudyJams video on Fractions. The video totally supported what I had just talked about, helping me deliver the message twice with different mediums.

Using StudyJams as a Wrap Up
As I was previewing the Magnetism slide show, I couldn't believe how much the slide show reinforced the topics we explored during our magnetism unit. I decided to use the slide show as a nice tidy wrap up for the unit. A nice feature of a StudyJams slide show is it either plays on it's own, or gives you complete control over the slide show. I was able to pause the show, and then review what we discussed, and I was also able to quickly and easily flip around to other slides.

No matter how you end up using these videos, I urge you to give them a try in your classroom soon.

*Note: Don't forget to check the archived teaching tips found under "More Instant Ideas" for more great tips!

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