“Apples to Oregon” by Deborah Hopkinson (Interactive Story Map)

By Dylan Hite, Hanna Knouf, and Laura Barros 


 Title of Book: Apples to Oregon: Being the (Slightly) True Narrative of How a Brave Pioneer Father Brought Apples, Peaches, Pears, Plums, Grapes, and Cherries (and Children) Across the Plains

Author: Deborah Hopkinson

Illustrator: Nancy Carpenter

Year written: 2004

This story is about a family of farmers who travel  across the country from Iowa to Oregon in search of a new home and more land.  They take all of their crops in their wagon in order to start a new life out West, and the book tells some of the experiences that they have, and ones which many pioneers experienced on the Oregon Trail.

Excerpt from book: “So Daddy built two of the biggest boxes you could ever hope to see. He set them into a sturdy wagon and shoveled in good, wormy dirt. Then he filled every inch with little plants and trees. Hundreds of them! Daddy was ready for the most daring adventure in the history of fruit.”

This book could be used for a lesson on the Oregon Trail because it shows another perspective from the pioneers that is relate-able and easy to read. Students can use Google My Maps to create their own journey that the characters go on, where they write the descriptions, pick the pictures, and turn it into their own post. I think Google My Maps allows for a lot of creativity in the classroom and for students to get more engaged in what they are reading and studying! Teachers could also make this a collaborative effort like it was for us, so that ideas can be shared among many students.

Our Little Friend- The Brookesia Chameleon

Our google slide project would be used as a science project about the rainforest and its animals, specifically a unit based on ecosystems and the food chain. We would begin our lesson by going through the google slides presentation with our students to demonstrate what we are looking for in the presentation, pausing occasionally throughout to participate in a discussion. We would directly hyperlink in our presentation to take our students directly to comment on the video or photo about what they see or think is important to notice. We may also use the Q & A or comment feature in google slides as part of this discussion as well so students can see many different ways to have class interaction within the presentation. Students will be active participants in the presentation constantly commenting their ideas about the chameleon and what they are learning which also allows the teacher to check in assuring that students are both following along and are understanding the knowledge being presented to them. Once we finish the presentation the students will break into groups of 4-5 and become animal researchers picking an animal from the rainforest in Madagascar to learn about and present on. Students will collaborate together to create their own google slides presentation on their animal. The hope would be that this would be an activity incorporating technology into the classroom in a fun and collaborative way that incorporates a lesson students are excited to do.

Digital Literacy: Introduction to Magnetism

For this activity, students are asked to examine different images related to “magnetism” in order to try and build a theory of some of the elements related to magnetism, as well as the history of it. The images themselves (found through public domain searches) are meant as tools to lead students on a search to find as much information as they can. Images such as these can be used to prepare students for a “preliminary assessment” on the topic, or to help generate ideas in a class discussion before the unit begins.

An introduction to magnetism is something that we have been discussing in my Physics 109 course.  As such, I have found recently that many people have a limited idea of what magnetism includes and think solely of magnets or other objects being attracted to one another. The truth of the matter is, however, that there are many more elements involved; for instance, magnetism exists in the liquid core at the center of our Earth which changes the “geographic North and South” and the “magnetic North and South,” among other things.

Guiding Questions:

  1. When you think of magnetism, what do you think of first?
  2. What do you think people originally believed to be true about magnetism? Why do you think that?
  3. How can these images change, or add to,  our preexisting views of what we think magnetism is?

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Magnetic Materials 

Magnet with Nails

Magnets Together

Magnetism of the Earth

Tech Savvy Teachers Need To…

As technology becomes further prevalent in classrooms across the country–and all over the world– teachers are called to embrace technological practices and make them an active part of the curriculum. Although many students may have more experience with certain aspects of technology than the teachers, the modern classroom embraces an opportunity for students and teachers to work together to learn, grow, and create.

Part of the teacher’s experience with technology requires adaptability. As technology changes, teachers must be able to take their prior knowledge, understand the technology they are using, and be prepared with another plan of action if some aspect of the technology or lesson does not work correctly. Due to the fact that technology has the ability to break, stall, or fail in a multitude of ways, teachers should incorporate alternatives into their lesson plan, and be patient if the technology does not respond immediately.

There is so much potential for technology to be a welcome addition to the classroom and with the right preparation and adaptability, future teachers have a wonderful chance to grow alongside their students.