If you are looking for a program to teach your students about endangered wildlife, the CD-ROM program Discovering Endangered Wildlife could fit your needs. Both educational and fun, the program includes excellent pictures, audio and video clips. The many active screen buttons add to this program's success. The game portion of the program requires the user to participate actively, giving the multimedia program its great strength. It provides information on our planet's endangered wildlife in two very distinctive ways, through either The Discovery Game or The Discovery Tour.Back to Index
The Discovery Game begins with a picture selection of an endangered animal. A screen of empty squares follows this selection. The player aims to bring life to this screen by uncovering the chosen endangered animal in its entirety. When clicking on a square, the user must solve different puzzles, crosswords, and respond to cues that are provided through very good pictures, videos, and narration. Each solution adds to your knowledge about this animal. Solving each puzzle adds a piece toward completing the picture.
The Discovery Tour includes yet more animals and details. A world map allows you to travel electronically to a continent to choose the endangered animal. This area allows the use of multimedia to search the encyclopedia of data. Sound buttons and videos provide support to your collected information. This section has not only the facts on the animal but also provides active buttons that led to habit, food, lifestyle and much more. One of my favorite areas was the Fun Facts. For example, one fun fact explains how the bald eagle got its name. The answer to this question takes you back to the eighteenth-century England during the settling of the colonies.
For the middle school use, the Discovering Endangered Wildlife program can add two teaching strategies to the classroom. As a teaching tool, the student becomes an active learner. The program also serve as a data base of information for student research on endangered animals. Discovering Endangered Wildlife should not be limited to use at the middle school level. The program provides an option to change the difficulty level of the Discovery Game, allowing younger students and older students to benefit. Discovering Endangered Wildlife would provide an excellent supplementary reference to any environmental class.-Frank Hinerman
For once I'm happy about how our tax dollars are spent. This ambitious tutorial program is designed to make students the investigators as they learn about genetics, molecular techniques, the HGP, and even forensic science all wrapped in ethical context.Back to Index
The Human Genome Project includes a comprehensive workbook for teachers and worksheets for students and two genomic databases ("local" and "national"). The seven activities begin with an exploration of the databases and end with how these support evolutionary biology.
The modules and worksheets are well constructed. Students should have a fair amount of instruction in genetics before using them. The manual includes some study sheets that instruct background information. Most activities would work best in a Biology II or AP Biology course. The activities can be used individually and/or out of sequence. Just the information contained in the enclosed workbook is invaluable and highly current.
The software must be installed on individual workstations; it's not networkable. It installs quickly (1 disk) and takes up approximately 1M of hard drive space. Uninstalling involves simply deleting the folder. A draw- back is that each activity is protected by a different password. (You can save a lot of frustration by marking page 50 which has them all.) There is a glossary, but no index to the manual. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!-John Sacco
This remarkable and fascinating film is a chronicle of an African river during a four- month dry season. The film has proven to be one of the most attention-grabbing classroom films I have ever shown.Back to Index
From the opening we are drawn into the life and death stuggles of a community as the river gradually turns into a mud pit housing 60 crocodiles and a herd of rhinos. Inevitably any animal in the area must come to the pond for water. I use the film as an introduction to natural selection concepts of survival, overproduction, animal behavior and adaptation and have developed a short videoguide. Add this to your video collection. (Warning! Some scenes depict graphic predatory action!)-John Sacco
Using the familiar format of a zoo, this CD-ROM program begins with a bird's eye view of the zoo and the five pavilions that showcase microbes in 22 native habitats. Zoos are fun places to visit and Microbe Zoo is no exception. The Pavilions are named with kid appeal in mind and include sections called "Habitats on Humanity", "Poo Corner", "Pipe Slimers" and "Snack Bar".
Complete with sound effects and terrific visuals, this CD-ROM program offers students the opportunity to develop individual research logs complete with "photographs" taken as they walk around the zoo. Students can use the Size Machine to combine math and science skills in an investigation of scale, an electron microscope to expand the details of each microbe and the database to design dichotomous keys.
The lesson folder for teachers contains four text-only files that can be opened and printed from any word processor. A complete set of microbe images in PICT format is also provided. The accompanying booklet offers an expanded list of inquiry-based follow-up activities.
Microbe Zoo offers middle school classrooms without high-powered microscopes a safe opportunity to study the microbial world. Students become active researchers, while learning to utilize technology and databases to answer questions they pose in their research logs. Outstanding images of every microbe in the Zoo can be found in each area and also in a folder on the CD-ROM called "pictures" located in the lessons folder.
The Communication Technology Lab, the Center for Microbial Ecology and the College of Education collaboratively developed the Microbe Zoo at Michigan State University under a grant from the National Science Foundation. This is a sterling example of a powerful and creative collaboration and provides a model for others to consider when developing educational programs.