Wizard of Science – George Washington Carver

Today we are featuring this fascinating vintage comic book biography of George Washington Carver (1860 – 1943).

Carver, the son of a slave, was an American botanist, environmentalist and inventor who actively promoted alternative crops to cotton and methods to prevent soil depletion. While a professor at Tuskegee Institute, he developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton. He wanted poor farmers to grow alternative crops, such as peanuts & sweet potatoes, both as a source of their own food and to improve their quality of life. In an era of very high racial polarization, his fame reached beyond the black community. He was widely recognized and praised in the white community for his many achievements and talents.

This seven page story was originally published in Negro Heroes #1 way back in 1944. The full comic book, along with thousands of other vintage public domain comic books,  can be found at the Digital Comic Museum website.

To download this PDF comic book story, RIGHT CLICK HERE and “save link” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key, then click the link and save the PDF to your Mac.

FREEBIE FRIDAY ROUNDUP: Legos, Pennies & Hearts

LEARNING WITH LEGOS UNIT STUDY

Here’s a fun Unit Study using everybody’s favorite building blocks from WalkingByTheWay.com. The Learning with LEGOs unit study is written to the student and each day includes four components: copywork, a word of the day, explore and learn, and a building challenge.

CLICK HERE to go to the download page!


THE MEGA PENNY PROJECT

Visualizing huge numbers can be very difficult. People regularly talk about millions of miles, billions of bytes, or trillions of dollars, yet it’s still hard to grasp just how much a “billion” really is.
The MegaPenny Project aims to help by taking one small everyday item, the U.S. penny, and building on that to answer the question: “What would a billion (or a trillion) pennies look like?”

CLICK HERE to go to the site, and have fun!


THE HUMAN HEART

Did you know that the human heart beats about 100,000 times a day, 35 million times a year, and two and a half billion times in an average lifetime?
Did you know that, on any given day, your heart beats roughly 100,000 times and your blood travels about 12,000 miles as it circulates throughout your body?
Did you know the average heart pumps more that a gallon of blood a minute?
Did you know a kid’s heart is about the size of a fist… and an adult’s heart is the size of two fists?

Here is a great collection of links from “Education World” all about the human heart. You’ll learn how the heart works, take an interactive tour of the heart, learn about the heart’s electrical system, blood flow and blood supply, see some amazing videos, and much more.

CLICK HERE then follow the links!

Art for Teens Who Say They Can’t Draw

StartsAtEight.com has a great post on how to help your tween and teen-aged student dramatically improve their drawing skills, utilizing “right brain / left brain” exercises as popularized in the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. Included are links to five downloadable lessons to help guide your student into putting this into practice.

PS. This really works.

CLICK HERE to go to the website!

Pulse of the Planet

The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones.

Their Educator Resources page offers lesson plans, suitable for classrooms or home-schoolers, using Pulse of the Planet programs and sounds as a focus for learning activities on a variety of subjects, including microbes, forensics, conservation, sports science, energy, insects, and tooth & claw (bears, wolves, tigers and cats). Lots of great listening and interesting lessons here!

The site requires a free registration before accessing the lesson plan library.

CLICK HERE to go to the website!

World Map + Flags

We are all familiar with flag charts, usually arranged alphabetically, but this one is superimposed onto a world map so that students can see details that are not obvious from the usual charts. By placing the flags geographically we begin to see new patterns, like bunches of near-neighbour countries (eg in Africa, Scandinavia and around Australia) having very simiar colourings and shapes. This fascinating map is very high resoluction, and can be downloaded or blown up to view details and specific areas of the world.

CLICK HERE to view the map! Or to download, “right click” the link, then “save as” to your computer. Mac users, press the “control” key then click on the link and save to your mac.

Autumn in Verse – Audio Readings

 To poets, autumn often symbolizes change, maturity, wisdom, or the harvest. In this collection of poetry readings from the LitToGo project, you can explore many interpretations of Autumn in this collection of poetry by Emily Brontë, Emily Dickinson, Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Ellen Robena Field, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Richard Henry Wilde. All are available for download in good quality MP3. They are also available for online reading.

CLICK HERE to go to the site!

FREEBIE FRIDAY ROUNDUP: Music Theory, Bats, Maps, Simple Machines & Lego-mobiles

Here’s another batch of great freebie resources from our archives, just for you!

MUSIC THEORY LESSONS & EXERCISES

Want a simple, easy-to-follow tutorial on the basics of reading & understanding music? MusicTheory.net offers a great series of step-by-step lessons and hands-on lessons & tools to help you teach basic music theory.

All of the lessons, exercises and tools are FREE on the website when accessed by your computer. You must enable Javascript to access the materials. Note that they also sell the same lessons if you want to use them on mobile devices and phones.

CLICK HERE to go to the site!


HANG OUT WITH BATS!

BatsLive is a virtual field trip into the amazing world of bats! The site contains dozens of interactive resources, including video tours, lesson plans, webinars, and printable resources about bats. Here’s their introduction to this extensive and well-done resource site:

Bats are vital to healthy ecosystems and human economies worldwide. As primary predators of night-flying insects, bats consume enormous quantities of agricultural pests and reduce the need for chemical pesticides. Yet these wonderfully diverse and beneficial creatures are among the least studied and most misunderstood of animals. Bats are threatened worldwide, and their colonies and habitats are destroyed – both intentionally and inadvertently – because of myths, misinformation, and lack of scientific knowledge and understanding. Bat populations are declining almost everywhere in North America especially due to the devastating White-nose Syndrome. Losing bats has far-reaching consequences for natural ecosystems and human economies. Knowledge is the key to their conservation and protection.

BatsLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure is an exciting, free education program for children in the 4-8th grades and their educators, that will bring bat conservation to life in your classroom or community.

CLICK HERE to go to the site


200,000 MAPS OF THE WORLD

Wow! This website from France has an incredible collection of downloadable maps of the world, continents & countries in multiple graphic formats (GIF, PDF, CDR, SVG, AI and WMF). They also have a large collection of Historical Maps from different time periods. Go to the site, bookmark it, and use it whenever you need specific maps for studies or projects. Our link is to the English language version of the site.

To go to the site, CLICK HERE


SIMPLE MACHINES NOTEBOOKING PAGES

Betsy at NotebookingNook.com has put together this neat little resource page on some of the “simple machines” we use every single day, but hardly even think about. Here’s what she says about it:

In the past, when we have studied simple machines, I found it easy to find information on this topic but not as simple to find good free resources. My son and I had an occasion to discuss simple machines this week and I remembered how difficult it was to find what I needed once upon a time and thought I’d put something together for any of you looking for something on this topic. I hope this helps.

Included in her PDF download are: Notebooking pages & matchbooks for levers, wheel & axle, the pulley, inclined plane, wedges and screws.
Also on the page are links to 5 short, simple online videos explaining and demonstrating how these “simple machines” work.

CLICK HERE here to go to the site!


LEGO BALLOON CAR PROJECT

Okay, LEGO builders. Here’s today’s engineering challenge for you: Can you build a LEGO car that zooms across the floor that uses a balloon as its engine/source of power? All you should use for this project are LEGO parts, LEGO wheels if you have them, and a balloon.

There’s no one “right” way to do this, but you might keep in mind:
Which way the balloon opens
Horizontal to vertical stability
Balloon staying away from tires

Try to invent your own working Balloon Car first… and then, if you get finished, or stuck, or are ready to see how some other students did it and solved their own “engineering” problems, you can click the link below:

CLICK HERE  to go to the webpage (after you’ve tried to build this yourself)!

 

Our Wonderful World

DIYhomeschooler.com offers this excellent nature study books and curriculum free to homeschoolers. Here’s what they say about it:

Our Wonderful World by Emery Lewis Howe is a rich nature study book available for free download covering backyard neighbors, feathered friends, garden life, four-footed comrades, and the earth and its neighbors.

Written for young children, this treasure includes experiments, related Scripture verses, and activities such as drawing, narrating, and writing.

By covering one chapter each week, there are 32 weeks worth of lessons (not including this introduction).  We’ve added suggestions, helps for Mom, and resource recommendations that can round out the studies for older students.

By adding a weekly lab, and more related, comprehensive readings (such as a biology text), you may find you have enough material to qualify as a biology credit for an older student.

For the youngest children, simply reading the book may be enough.  You know your children best, but don’t overwhelm them.  Have fun!

CLICK HERE to go to the website!

Grammar Planet

GrammarPlanet is a comprehensive and completely online grammar, punctuation, and usage curriculum. And now it is totally free.

GrammarPlanet is the brainchild of Erin Karl and Jerry Bailey. Erin is the owner of Analytical Grammar, Inc. and Jerry is the President and a partner in Dynamic Literacy, LLC. Erin’s skills at teaching grammar as evidenced by Analytical Grammar, and Jerry’s skills and experience in developing an online version of WordBuild: A Better Way to Teach Vocabulary, complement one another perfectly.

GrammarPlanet will help you or your students master the mechanics of English and create a more confident writer. The curriculum is aimed at students from 10 to 99 who want to improve their English. It can be used by students in school, students at home, or adults individually or as a group. The system is responsive, meaning that students who take a little longer to “get it” will get more practice before the test. There is no time limit and students can take as much time as needed to master the material.

CLICK HERE to go to the website!

Origami Airplanes, Whirly-Gigs, Boats and more

ORIGAMI AIRPLANES, WHIRLY-GIGS & BOATS!

Here’s a great site with dozens of animated tutorials on how to fold high-performance paper airplanes, whirly-gigs, boats and more. We could say this is a great way to develop hand-eye coordination and pick up some practical examples of physics & geometry in action, but naaaah —  the plain fact is these are great fun and a neat way for your kids to occupy themselves after study time is over, and create  some great playthings.

The site has a lot of ads, so just pay attention where you click. The How-to videos are at the bottom of each page.

CLICK HERE to go to the website!