Seminars on Science: Diversity of Fishes. (General Interest Software/Web Sites)

Article excerpt

Available online at http://www.class

Source: Classroom Connect/Classroom Today, 8000 Marina Blvd., Suite 400, Brisbane, CA 94005, Phone: 800/638-1639 or 650/351-5100; Fax: 650/351-5300; Web Site: http://www.classroom

Access Fee: $249--single 1-year subscription to Classroom Today. $349--1-year subscription including Classroom Today and the Quest Channel (two live quests). $349--1-year subscription to Connected University. Building, district, and state-level subscriptions are available upon request.

Audience: Recommended for grades 5-6.

Format: Web site with text, graphics, sound, and video.

System Requirements: Internet access and a computer with an Internet browser such as Internet Explorer or Netscape.

Description: Animals: Diversity of Fishes is one of many Science Web Units offered through Classroom Today, a division found on the Classroom Connect home page. This subscription Web site, written by the American Museum of Natural History, correlates school science curriculum to state standards. This unit allows students use research skills to discover how and why ichthyologists study fish.

Reviewer Comments:

Access: The Web site is accessed by a password log-on procedure. The home page loaded easily. Access Rating: A

Content/Features: Diversity of Fishes poses five research questions to answer the basic question, "Why are fishes the most diverse and abundant group of vertebrates on the tree of life?"

A variety of tools assist students as they navigate through the program seeking answers. A comprehensive lesson plan guides the teacher through the study of fish and includes an introduction, learning goals, procedures for inquiry and research, extensions, assessment, and a final teacher checklist for evaluation of the unit. Pre-quiz/ post-quiz options identify each student's level of knowledge.

Once research has begun, students have access to a notebook and a portfolio where they can record and store information. As the students access each of the five research question sites, they participate in interactive activities through several unique features.

Mystery Photos and Sounds provide auditory and visual puzzles to be solved. Think Facts offer fact-finding challenges in a fun format as students answer a question and post their response to the general learning community. Connected Lessons guide students through Web-based lessons using step-by-step teacher notes. When the unit is completed, unit answers are posted on a community discussion board.

Features used for research include a Field Trip that connects students through a virtual tour to scientists in Gabon, Africa, who provide photos and information on current research related to fish. Students can send an e-postcard to a friend online and compile the information they gather to complete a follow-up activity.

The Spotlight features interviews and career education offered by experts in the field. In addition, students can write their own Spotlight on individuals and post it in the Web site gallery.

Hottest links students to quality sites on the Web relating to the studied topic. Lesson plan links offer teachers useful background information, resources, lessons, and activities for teaching about fishes.

Newsroom provides updated new stories from newspapers and magazines around the country that have recently published articles relating to fish.

Survey Says gives students a chance to participate in a survey in which collected data can be used to complete charts and graphs. A Games Section offers students a fun way to demonstrate learning.

Teachers have the option of collaborating with other classrooms through the peals Classroom Exchange, providing international weather and maps, language translation, private chat rooms, and more. …