Monday, March 16, 2020

Biogeochemical Cycles Digital Dice Games

During my career as a middle school teacher, I've made use of a number of biogeochemical cycle dice games that are readily available in several variations on the internet. A couple of days ago, as I was bringing the illustrated dice I had for the water cycle, I thought that this would be the last year I could use that particular set - they were a little crumpled from handling and the pictures had faded. While creating the dice is not hard, I was a little unmotivated to do it and wondered whether there was another way to still use the activity but save me the work of recreating the dice every so often.

It has now been several days, but I did it! A digital version of the water cycle dice game.

Now, of course, this would not be the way to show it to students, so I posted it up for actual use on a Google site, with a link to a record sheet -

Biogeochemical Cycles Dice Games

Not being able to stop myself at just the water cycle, I then went ahead and created a page and "game" for all other cycle games I use. 

I purposely re-used the illustrations to give students an idea of the similar reservoirs for matter as it cycles through on Earth and to allow for easy comparison between the cycles.

After playing any of the games, you could have students write stories or draw cartoons with the information they gathered or discuss how difficult/easy it is for a molecule to leave a specific reservoir. If they play more than one, they can also compare their journeys in both (which reservoirs are present in two or more, which processes are similar, etc.)

I would love to hear more ideas about what you could do with them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Plate Tectonics Google Map

For several years I have been teaching Plate Tectonics to students and we have done several paper-pencil activities that have to do with plotting earthquakes, volcanos and landforms on maps. Over those years, I've searched far and wide for a Google map that included the outlines of the plates in the hopes of turning those activities into a digital product. I've only ever found Google Earth maps with this feature and while cool, the idea of navigating Google Earth with students has always been daunting. This year I had some time and decided to create my own Plate Tectonics Google map.

The link to the map, which you can see above and can use to make a copy is If you decide to use it, I only ask that you share it forward, freely, to any teacher who may also be looking for it.

The project I use it for, which includes not only the link but also a Google slide deck with instructions on how to make a copy of the map, add markers and share it (see below), can be downloaded here

If you do download it, consider leaving a review. Thanks!