Iowa Public Television


IPTV's Best Educational Resources of 2012

posted on December 18, 2012

IPTV's Best Educational Resources of 2012

2012 has been a busy and exciting year for public media. We saw the birth of some really amazing educational video, interactives, and resources that are truly changing the way teachers can access and use media in the classroom.

From a new film from Ken Burns, to interactive periodic tables, to new web series that ask questions to truly challenge your students, there is something here that addresses part of your curriculum and is sure to inspire and engage. Here is a list of the top ten public media resources available through Iowa Public Television.

1. Ken Burns' The Dust Bowl

Ken Burns' latest film aired on IPTV November 18 -19. The film chronicled the environmental catastrophe that--throughout the 1930s--destroyed the farmlands of the Great Plains, turned prairies into deserts, and unleashed a pattern of massive, deadly dust storms that for many seemed to herald the end of the world. It was the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history. The Dust Bowl was also a story of heroic perseverance against enormous odds: families finding ways to survive and hold onto their land, New Deal programs that kept hungry families afloat, and a partnership between government agencies and farmers to develop new farming and conservation methods. On the website, find short videos, stories, images, and other web resources.

2. PBS Idea Channel

Idea Channel is a biweekly web series that examines the evolving relationship between modern technology and art. A great way to help spark conversation among your students to help them better examine the continually shaping landscape of technology, media, and art.

3. American Graduate

America loses one out of four young people to the dropout crisis each year. A high school diploma is an important step in preparing a young person to live an independent, secure and happy life and is an essential component of America’s economic competitiveness to create a more educated, innovative workforce. Dropping out not only makes it harder for these young people to succeed in life, but our economy also loses hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity and our communities suffer enormous social costs.

American Graduate: Let's Make it Happen is a multi-year public media initiative, supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), to help local communities identify and implement solutions to the high school dropout crisis. Public broadcasting has a long history improving educational outcomes for high-need students and communities. The dropout crisis demands attention now, and we are rising to the challenge of doing our part to address this problem. Find classroom resources, videos, and more that help to address the dropout crisis.

4. NOVA ScienceNOW

NOVA ScienceNOW started a new season with a brand new host, New York Times Tech guru, David Pogue, who was host of NOVA Making Stuff and Hunting the Elements. It featured four stories in each themed episode and tackled an array of thought-provoking topics including:  "How Smart Can People Get?"- in which Pogue finds out how the anatomy of his brain measures up to Albert Einstein’s; "What are Animals Thinking?"- when the tech-savvy host races against a homing pigeon; “What Makes Us Human?"- exploring the characteristics that separate humans from other animals; and "Can Science Stop Crime?"- in which Pogue tries to outsmart computerized lie detectors.

5. America Revealed

Early in the spring of 2012, PBS aired America Revealed. Based upon the BBC's award-winning Britain From Above. America Revealed took a unique look at what makes America tick, what it takes to keep the biggest food machine in the world going and the delicate balance that keeps our supermarkets stocked with groceries and fast food restaurants supplied with fries. How keep America moving with its vast and complex transport systems.  How we propel ourselves through energy, what maintains the constant supply of fuel and electricity to our homes and businesses and finally how we keep up with the ever changing world, the import and export infrastructure that shapes our manufacturing industry. The website offers videos, interactives, and lesson plans that will help enhance classroom learning.

6. Iowa Outdoors Season 2

iowaIowa Outdoors focuses on outdoor recreation, environmental issues, conservation initiatives, and Iowa's natural resources that are perfectly suited for the classroom. From gaining a better understanding of how invasive species directly affect Iowa lakes, to exploring Iowa’s unusual geological formations and caves, to finding outdoor physical activities in your backyard that can help promote a healthy, physical lifestyle, Iowa Outdoors offers a great number of educationally relevant resources for use with your students. Find additional videos, documents, and resources for your classroom on the website.

7. Hunting the Elements

Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? NOVA explored this question in great detail in it's program Hunting the Elements that aired in the spring of 2012. The hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphones. To unlock their secrets, David Pogue, the lively host of NOVA’s popular "Making Stuff" series and technology correspondent of The New York Times, took viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, the universe’s most abundant elements, and the rarest of the rare—substances cooked up in atom smashers that flicker into existence for only fractions of a second. Not only can you watch the full program online, but you can download the free interactive periodic table iPad app that takes chemistry to a whole new level.

8. Chuck Vanderchucks Something Something Explosion

Chuck Vanderchuck's "Something Something" Explosion is designed to help children ages 6 to 9 understand music and music composition by teaching basic musical concepts and performance skills through the study of popular song styles from around the world. In each webisode, children are introduced to a new musical style and the culture from which that style was born. They learn to perform basic rhythmic and melodic patterns in that style through the use of fun, interactive games. Children will also learn about the geography and culture that birthed these musical styles.

In each webisode (click "videos"), Chuck Vanderchuck and his sidekick, Ramona, are obsessed with learning everything there is to know about music. Together they present five different musical genres: Salsa, Jazz, Rock, Country, and Reggae. Children will learn about different instruments used for each musical style, and play games through which they will have the chance to identify instruments, write lyrics, compose melodies, create costumes, and play in a virtual concert with Chuck and Ramona.

9. Mission US: Mission 2

In this interactive history experience, "Flight to Freedom," players take on the role of Lucy, a 14-year-old slave in Kentucky.  As they navigate her escape and journey to Ohio, they discover that life in the "free" North is dangerous and difficult. In 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act brings disaster. Will Lucy ever truly be free?

10. Get the Math

Get the Math mixes video and web interactivity to help middle and high school students develop algebraic thinking skills for solving real-world problems.

Get the Math is about algebra in the real world. See how professionals use math in music, fashion, videogames, restaurants, basketball, and special effects. Then take on interactive challenges related to those careers.

Tags: American Graduate Project American history careers education educators elements interactive iowa outdoors Ken Burns math NOVA novasciencenow PBS Kids teachers video

Subjects: The ArtsLiteracy & LanguagesMathScience & TechnologySocial Studies


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