It’s probably a safe bet that your students are a little antsy now that Spring is here. Try these tools to shake things up a little.


Want students to learn planning and critical thinking skills?

The CURIOSITY MACHINE is a not-for-profit organization that promotes hands-on engineering design. Pick from a variety of fun challenges — a no-wire circuit, small glider, edible skyscraper & more — covering a variety of skill levels and subjects. Each challenge comes with a video, suggested materials, planning and design tips and other ideas. You even have access to an online mentor. All for free!


If you’d rather pick your own project, turn to ANIMOTO to help students easily create videos on any topic. App smash it with PHOTOS FOR CLASS (copyright-free images with attribution attached) and PICMONKEY (image editing and collages). If you combine it all with the BE Library site’s research and homework help links to find information, well then … life will be good.

Sample Animoto video using PicMonkey and Photos for Class.

And don’t forget STORYBOARD THAT, a fun, easy comic strip creator. I made the storyboard below in 10 minutes, including the free registration. Seriously. Okay, 15 – but that’s only because I kept changing the hair color.


Interesting videos combined with quizzes are a no-brainer, but they don’t have to be no-brainers. Aha — get it? Okay, moving on …

Learlearn360n360 offers short engaging videos to help spice up lessons. It’s free for South Carolina schools and offers a lot of variety. You’ll need a username and password; just ask me for it and you’re good to go.
The TedEd Lessons site is an excellent choice for short video lessons plus quizzes and lesson plans. So nice, so easy to use. And you can filter by subject and grade level too. will help your students become more digitally literate through free videos, games and quizzes. Might just be a perfect fit for after AP exams are over and students are ready for something a bit different.

NOVALABS by PBS has games, interactives and videos on science topics ranging from cybersecurity to evolution. Each lab includes a video introduction, quizzes and links to more opportunities to learn: summer camps, internships, scholarships, career information and more. What a great resource!


A few more ideas…

KAHOOT! is a fun, easy way to poll students in real-time. You can create the quizzes or they can. It’s free and so easy to set up that you’ll be ready to go in minutes.

FLIPQUIZ lets you create Jeopardy-style quizzes. Great for exam review.

STOP DISASTERS is an online game that gives students a scenario, a budget and a time limit to stop the disaster.

iCIVICS is an online role-playing game. Students can either run for president or be a lawyer defending a client.

BOOKS. These are so cool. You’ve probably heard of them — they’re a fun, easy way to explore new worlds, both real & imagined; learn about people and places; and generally spend time pleasantly. All you do is read them! Like I said, so cool. You can find amazingly good books in the BE Library — send students here in small groups or reserve some time for your whole class to visit.

HISTORYPIN lets students add and view a collection of photos, video or audio to a browsable map. Students can browse the map to learn about history or create their own collection using their own media or archived photos that they’ve found.


What are your favorite turn-to devices when Spring Fever hits?