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Melbourne, Australia had a tremor last night which registered 4.7 on the Richter scale. To take advantage of this current event in your teaching and the amazing up-to-date resources now available on the internet, visit U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program ( Since the early 1990s, the magnitude and location of an earthquake have been available within minutes on the Internet. Now, as a result of work by the U.S. Geological Survey and with the cooperation of various regional seismic networks, people who experience an earthquake can go online and share information about its effects to help create a map of shaking intensities and damage. The map is available at

The website also has a number of resources for teachers and students at There are facts and information about earthquakes as well as activities, puzzles and animations. The Teacher section includes photos, PowerPoints and maps as well as other resources, although they favour a US perspective.

The map below was accessed from the website on 7/3/09 and shows the earthquake indicator near Melbourne as well as other earthquakes which have been recorded in the previous 7 days. Earthquake times are listed in USA time, so need to be converted to your local time.

Map showing latest earthquakes


ARKive, is a centralised library of films and photographs of the world’s endangered species. Hailed as the digital Noah’s Ark, it has won numerous conservation, education and communication awards since its launch by Sir David Attenborough in 2003, and has now profiled over 2,500 of the world’s endangered species, using over 3,000 movie clips and 18,000 photos – all freely available for schools.

Multimedia resources are organised in categories and alphabetical groups e.g. Threatened Species –> Mammals –> W –> Western gorilla. In this section there are 19 images and 11 videos of the endangered gorilla as well as information relating to its biology, habitat, threats and conservation. There is also a facility to view larger images which would be ideal for displaying on a SMARTBoard.

ARKive is an initiative of Wildscreen (, a UK-based educational charity working globally to promote the public appreciation of biodiversity and the conservation of the natural world, through the power of wildlife imagery.

Making use of the stunning imagery available at the award-winning ARKive website, ARKive Education, provides downloadable, ready to use modules on a wide range of curriculum topics, suitable for geography, biology, environmental education and citizenship lessons.

Resources are organised in age groups (5-7, 7-11, 11-14, etc) and subjects (Science, Geography and Other). There is a mixture of PowerPoint and pdf files containing activities and information. For example, an 11-14 years Geography resource called Adaptations: Investigate the world of animal and plant adaptations, using camels, snow leopards and even palm trees as engaging multimedia examples. Use the question and answer video clips to test your students. There is also an online games section which has a few simple activities relating to animals and the environment.

In April 2008, at Google’s UK headquarters in London, Sir David Attenborough launched ARKive’s new layer on Google Earth. Sir David said, “Google has come together with Wildscreen, who have this unique distillation of images of the natural world, so that any one of us can go to a particular area on the globe and see what lives there. Google can take you to parts of the world where you can actually see a flock of flamingos and know whether they are there, or whether they are on the way out.” To download your free copy of Google Earth and view the ARKive layer visit The ARKive layer can be found in the Global Awareness Folder in the layers panel.

Goldrush search results

Searchme ( is a search engine that returns your results as images of the web pages rather than text. Like any other search engine, you enter your search keywords. As shown in the above example of Australian Goldrush, the search results appear as a screenshot of the web site’s home page instead of like Google’s link and text-based description.

This search engine can be effectively utilised on a SMARTBoard. Each of the search results can be paged through without actually visiting the site. When you find a page you want, you can tap or click on it to enter the website. You can also save the pages in a “stack”. A stack is a way to save your favourite pages in one tidy folder that you can visit again and again.


Below are some more links ..

Olympic symbols:

Brief overview of the meaning of the various symbols of the Olympic Games, including the Olympic rings, the Olympic flame, medals, and the Olympic oath. Includes images of Olympic mascots from summer games going back to 1972. 

The Beijing 2008 Olympic Resource is a national resource produced by the Australian Olympic Committee in consultation with teachers and educational advisors. The resource contains over 60 primary cross-curriculum topics and activities themed around the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

Edgate: Gateway to the Summer Games
A US site but with lots of ideas about cross-curricular Olympic-themed lessons. It inlcudes about Athens, Olympic facts, Parade of Nations and Paralympics sections.

Timeline of Summer Olympics:

Moveable timeline with accompanying facts.

Canadian Olympics resources:

Their K-6  curriculum features a series of Olympian athlete stories that focus on the Olympic Values of excellence, fairness, respect and leadership. The secondary curriculum is comprised of cross-curricular project packs where students solve real life Olympic Games problems. Each project pack contains hand outs, teaching tips, an evaluation rubric and a list of links to provincial learning outcomes.

World Almanac for Kids – The Olympics:

Background and heaps of facts on general Olympics information e.g. individual event winners, times, dates, etc .. especially suitable for primary students.

Kodak Olympic History: 
Text enhanced with moving multimedia video and still images from the Olympics, 1896 to 1996. Use the timeline to access the historic photos.  Links at the bottom of page do not work.

NBC US TV network Olympic site:

Loads of current news, photos, videos, although with a slight US bent. Contains blogs and users comments which may not be appropriate for young eyes.

When Google Earth was launched in 2005, a highly motivating and different perspective of the planet became available to millions of computer users. At first, educators used it to find their school and students’ houses, to explore the local community ‘from above’ and to ’fly around’ tourist attractions, geographical features and historical landmarks. In recent years, with advancing technology, Google Earth combines the power of Google Search, satellite imagery, maps, terrain and 3D buildings with multimedia and linked applications to provide teachers with an amazing array of information and resources. From Google Earth home page (

The new version of Google Earth has a number of exciting features, including being able to switch between Sky and Earth view. You can look at the stars, constellations, galaxies, planets and the Earth’s moon. Many photos and linked videos are now 3D objects that you can add, fly into and browse.

You can use the Search panel to find places and directions i.e. travelling from Sydney to Beijing. Teachers and students can add placemarks. For example, locate and add a place marker to show an excursion destination, the site of an historical event, or  location of a current event in the news. Some other features of Google Earth include being able to measure a distance or area size, email a view or image. You can print the current view of the Earth and show it on Google Maps. There is also a 3D Viewer to view the terrain.

To download Google Earth on to your computer, Mac or PC, visit … it’s FREE!!

With Google Earth, you can place custom images and Google SketchUp 3D models over the view of the earth. Image overlays provide additional information and can be created or downloaded. For instance, download the Wilkins Ice Shelf overlay which allows a comparison to illustrate the expanse of devastation. Text and photos can be added to the overlay as well. The Image Overlay can be clicked on or off. This Antarctica overlay is available at . To find more overlays, just complete a Google search.  

Trying to encourage your students to read a variety of books? This free online library provides a wealth of diverse and engaging literature!

The mission of the International Children’s Digital Library (ICDL) Foundation is to “excite and inspire the world’s children to become members of the global community – children who understand the value of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online.” Website address is

The site provides free access to over 1300 books from more than 42 countries in 11 different languages. Amongst the collection are picture books, scanned old books from library archives and stories which capture the essence of different lives and cultures. Books are read online through your computer. You can search for books in an easy to use graphical environment. This allows you to find books via age brackets, content categories, genres and other sorting filters like true books, picture books and short stories. You can also do advanced searches by title, author or keyword.

Each year the language specialists at the International Youth Library in Germany, select newly published books from around the world that they consider to be especially noteworthy. This White Raven label is given to books that deserve worldwide attention because of their universal themes and/or exceptional and often innovative artistic and literary style and design. Many are available on ICDL. An example is Taming the taniwha by Tim Tipene and illustrated by Henry Campbell. This vibrant colourful book tells a story about a boy who overcomes being bullied at school. Young readers can join the ICDL and write reviews on the books which are then published on the website. For instance, 10 year old Max from Germany reviewed the Kenyan book, The Alien by Anthony Mwangi. His review included: “To me the most important thing in the story was when Pakko got the bad animals and humans together and said that they should be good.”

There are currently 215 books written or translated into English but don’t let that limit you! Do you have students who speak a different language at home? Do you have members of your school community who can read another language? What about integrating into Visual Arts? Is your class studying another country in HSIE? Books from other countries can be searched for by spinning an interactive globe. What about projecting the book on your SMARTBoard and reading with the whole class!

 A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented lesson format in which most of the information is researched via the web. The model was developed by Bernie Dodge and Tom March at San Diego State University in 1995 ( an interview with Linda Starr of Education World,  Bernie Dodge discusses some of the key aspects of using WebQuests (complete interview). 

Bernie describes why WebQuests are not just internet Treasure Hunts or research projects … The key idea that distinguishes WebQuests from other Web-based experiences is this: a WebQuest is built around an engaging task that elicits higher order thinking of some kind. It’s about doing something with information. The thinking can be creative or critical, and involve problem solving, judgment, analysis or synthesis. The task is more than simply answering questions or regurgitating what’s on the screen. The benefit to using WebQuests is that it puts more responsibility on the learners themselves. Usually, a WebQuest includes the following:

Introduction: an engaging first statement that draws the reader in while setting the stage for the WebQuest – includes the central question around which the WebQuest revolves.

Task: a description of the end result of the students’ work; the culminating performance or product that drives all the activities of the lesson.

Process: describes step-by-step how the learners will accomplish the task. Includes online (and offline) resources, role descriptions (if any), and guidance on individual steps in the process.

Evaluation: a rubric or other means to evaluate the final task.

Conclusion: final statement that may include reflections on the lesson or extensions of the content for further exploration.

With today’s Web 2.0 tools, a WebQuest can easily be set up on the internet, include multimedia and hyperlinks and be an exciting, engaging activity for students across the curriculum. It can form the basis for a COGs unit, a G&T activity in Literacy and Numeracy or a group activity in any KLA. 


Linda Starr – Education World

WebQuests in wikipedia 

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