Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Night at the Museum 2.0

It's all Richard Byrne's fault. If I hadn't stumbled upon a tweet about his post on Free Technology for Teachers about the WebRangers game on National Park Service, none of this would have happened. I would have never gone, "OMG, I simply have to add Web rangers to my school Weebly." (Note: the OMG is purely for effect. Really.)

Of course, you know how these things go. It plays out like a geeky version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. You see it, don't you? if you give a geek a website, she'll want to get a screenshot for her site. if she adds a screenshot, she'll want to add a link. When she copies the link, she'll think, "hmm ... I wonder what other museums and your-tax-money-at-work organizations have great kid-friendly presences online." And once she thinks that, she'll want to do a Google search for museum kids sites. When she gets her Google results back, she'll back link like a good Alan November protege' until she finds an absolute wealth of resources. In fact. she'll lose a whole night to it, even leading her equally geeky husband to make quips about it all.

One thing lead to another, and I discovered an under-appreciated wealth of knowledge and games and interactives on the Internet: museum websites.

Let's not forget mad props to zoos and zoological societies, because they totally have it join' on, too!

OK, Googling through all of these sites is a cumbersome prospect. One more thing for that ever-growing to-do list, right? Maybe not. I've got your starting point: Show Me. Show Me is a consolidation of the coolest kid stuff offered by the museums throughout the UK. Again, I am convinced that our colleagues across the ocean have got it going on! This is one rockstar website with a ton of resources from museum and zoo sites from all over the world. They don't just limit it to the UK.

For example, they have links to:

  • San Diego Zoo's kid site. Just beautiful. Go visit, but block off an hour or so, first! The games, especially in Safari park are a-ddicting!
  • WWF's Go Wild UK site. Another beautiful site. Great for research and for fun. (I know you're curious!)
Of course, links to the Dental Museum's Mouthpower and Scotland Water's Robopoop (I canNOT make that up!) remind me that truly everyone nowadays has an online presence. While I appreciate the tremendous job our water departments must do, I don't see a spot for Robopoop in my curriculum rich this second. The again, I think my students would get an absolute kick out of it. I see an April 1st lesson idea ... Hmm. 

Another great museum site is the Children's Museum of Indianapolis. They have a great range of games for different ages and even a few digital books here and there. My personal fave is the Lego Castle Adventure text which features a beautiful unit with lessons for grades K-6 that ties castles, knights, and writing fairy tales all together. Doesn't get more fun than that!

Not much more to say than that. I'd love to hear about your favorite zoo, museum, or federally funded sites. Catch me on Twitter (@bcteacher) or add a comment here! I'm always looking for more great sites and tools to share with others.

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