"I'm done! What can I do now?" When students have free time on their hands, I have always loved to direct them somewhere online that is engaging or interesting as well as academic in some form. The sites below do just that. To be clear, free time doesn’t have to be spent online. Although the suggestions I’ll make here are online, great alternatives can include drawing, creating with Legos or Play-Doh, or more! Enjoy!
Free Rice — Freerice.com is a free website that is educational and helps students give back. Each time you answer a multiple choice vocabulary question right you generate enough money for the United Nations World Food Programmer to buy 10 grains of rice to help reach Zero Hunger.
The Blood Typing Game — This site makes the idea of blood typing (and how different blood types interact with each other) crystal clear. The game, housed at NobelPrize.org, places you in an emergency room. There’s been a car crash, and patients need a blood transfusion. It walks you through drawing blood, deciding what type it is, and completing the transfusion, making science connections all the way.
GeoGuessr — GeoGuessr uses Google Maps Street View to place you on the ground somewhere in the world in full panorama. The problem? You have NO idea where you are! You must use context clues to guess your location and pin it on a map. Choose to be dropped in certain continents, countries, cities, etc. … or make your own GeoGuessr game with GeoSettr!
Smarty Pins — Smarty Pins is kind of like GeoGuessr’s cousin. It asks questions from categories like arts and culture, science and geography, and history and current events. The answers are locations, and you must pin them on a map to answer. It makes geography a game, and the closer you guess, the better your score is.
iCivics — This site puts a flashy twist on civics-related topics, puts a ton of resources in teachers’ hands and lets students play REALLY fun games. My favorite is “Win the White House,” where you take the place of a candidate for U.S. president. Fundraising, platform issues, the electoral college and more are part of the game. I’ve played it and really enjoyed it myself!
Wonderopolis — Kids are curious. They love to ask questions and we might not, ok we often don’t, have all of the answers. Wonderopolis is a site that asks and answers interesting questions about almost anything. Searchable and categorized by subject, students can explore over 2,000 wonders and even ask questions of their own.
A Google a Day — Most of us search the internet daily, if not multiple times per day. But effectively searching for something is a skill. A Google a Day challenges users to put their searching skills to the test by asking them to answer a question using Google search. With Google’s search education lesson plans you can take this game even further and begin teaching search literacy in your classroom.
Street View Treks — Google Maps Street View lets its users see what life is like from the road, in full panorama. Street View Treks take that same technology to some of the most spectacular locations in the world, from Mount Fuji to the Grand Canyon to the Taj Mahal in India. Swim underwater at the Great Barrier Reef or climb the El Capitan rock face at Yosemite National Park.
Google Quick Draw! — Quick, Draw! tells you what to draw. Then, Google’s artificial intelligence tries to guess what you’re drawing. It’s a neat way to introduce students to artificial intelligence OR to look at how we convert words/ideas into images.