Education Highlights

WILL - Education Highlights - April 22, 2014

Space Racers: Out-of-this-world science for kids

Begins 9:30 am Sunday, May 4: Blast off on a cosmic learning adventure!

Space racers

Space Racers, a new half-hour animated series for preschoolers, joins the WILL-TV lineup at 9:30 am Sundays, beginning May 4. The show focuses on the adventures of five spaceships—Eagle, Robyn, Hawk, Starling and Raven—each with unique abilities and skills that help them explore the Solar System and accomplish scientific missions. These characters, along with their fellow cadets and teachers at the Stardust Space Academy, comprise a super elite space-bound task force known as the Space Racers. Their extraordinary adventures begin in the exciting world of Stardust Bay, a place populated by talking spaceships and vehicles.

From investigating asteroids to discovering the effects of the moon's gravitational pull, Space Racers introduces meaningful science and technology concepts from the early childhood STEM curriculum. Each episode also features live-action segments of kids interacting with exhibits at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Maryland Science Center. Other segments feature children creating space-related art in a classroom setting, interactive pop quizzes, and music videos featuring songs from the series.

Watch a preview:


WILL - Education Highlights - April 17, 2014

Decatur Teacher Selected for PBS Digital Innovators Program

Faith Carr, computer teacher at Johns Hill Magnet School, is one of 100 educators selected nationwide for the 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program.

Faith Carr, a kingergarten through 8th grade computer teacher at Johns Hill Magnet School, is one of 100 educators selected nationwide for the 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators program. The program rewards tech-savvy K-12 educators who are serving as leaders in education technology and incorporating digital media in classrooms to promote student engagement and achievement. Carr will receive year-long hands-on and virtual professional development opportunities.

“Illinois Public Media is proud to recognize Faith for her dedication to truly changing the way students learn through technology and digital media,” said Molly Delaney, educational outreach director at Illinois Public Media. “We are honored to provide educators with one-of-a-kind resources, tools and trainings that will further enhance their skills and enable them to share these skills with other educators in Illinois.”

The 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators will receive year-long professional development opportunities that include virtual trainings, access to premium and exclusive resources, and invitations to special eventsCarr has always innovated in the classroom, being among the first to introduce her students to technology.  She wrote her first grant to receive a bank of computers in her classroom back in the mid-1990s during her first period of tenure with Decatur Public Schools. Using technology gradually became a teaching specialty over the years.

In 2007, Carr left the classroom to become a consultant for the Illinois State Board of Education. In that position, she witnessed stellar programs throughout the state of Illinois where teachers were using innovative strategies and Web-based resources to enhance learning in their classrooms.  She brought that information back when she returned to the classroom in 2011.

PBS LearningMedia received hundreds of applications from leading teachers throughout the U.S. and its territories. Judges selected the 100 educators based on submissions of videos and written essays that addressed how they are leading innovation in digital teaching in their classrooms and schools. The top 16 applicants will serve as leads of the program and will participate in a two-day digital education summit in Washington, D.C., where participants will engage in hands-on learning, collaborate with peers and hear from digital technology thought leaders.

The full list of the 2014 PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovators is available at  http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/collection/digitalinnovators.
 



WILL - Education Highlights - April 16, 2014

PBS KIDS ‘Plum Landing’ offers Web-centric programming

New site with animated webisodes, online games, free apps, hands-on science activities, live-action videos. Visit the site.

characters from Plum Landing

PLUM LANDING is a brand new Web-original PBS site with animated webisodes, online games, free apps, hands-on science activities, live-action videos—plus a curious alien named Plum.

It's designed to help connect 6- to 9-year-olds to nature, teach them about ecosystems, and get them excited about their role as caretakers of the planet. The adventure begins on Earth Day 2014, when a friendly alien named Plum lands at pbskids.org/plumlanding. Plum, a video game designer from the desolate Planet Blorb, longs to experience nature. So she commandeers a space ship, zooms down to earth, befriends five eager kids—Clem, Oliver, Gabi, Brad, and Cooper—and launches them on missions as diverse as ‘find a lake in the desert!’ and ‘search for a cow that lives under water!’ Zeroing in on four ecosystems—the Australian desert, the mangroves of Belize, the Canadian Rockies, and the jungles of Borneo—Plum discovers many fascinating, puzzling and profound things about this gorgeous planet and uses what she learns to create fantastic explorer games for 6- to 9-year olds.

On the PLUM LANDING website, kids can play these games and explore each of these exotic ecosystems – everything from tracking a thorny devil across the Australian sands, to going face-to-face with a tree snake in Borneo. Plum also encourages kids to investigate their OWN worlds. Moving between digital platforms and the natural world, kids can:

•Watch five compelling animated characters bushwhack, float, trek, and “bubble” their way across four ecosystems while modeling scientific investigations.

•Explore the same ecosystems, wild creatures, discoveries, and science concepts in the webisodes through an array of rich and exciting online games.

•Investigate nature closer to home, aided by live-action videos and hands-on activities designed to get kids thinking like scientists.

•Document their investigations via a free mobile app, Plum’s Photo Hunt, that lets kids take photos, describe what they have found, and send their findings back to Plum.


WILL - Education Highlights - April 16, 2014

Plum-Landing offers Web-centric programming for kids

Premieres April 18, Earth Day, with animated webisodes, online games, free apps, hands-on science activities

On April 18, PBS Kids premieres PLUM LANDING, a brand new Web-original series that uses animated webisodes, online games, free apps, hands-on science activities, live-action videos—plus a curious alien named Plum—to help connect 6- to 9-year-olds to nature, teach them about ecosystems, and get them excited about their role as caretakers of the planet.

The adventure begins on Earth Day 2014, when a friendly alien named Plum lands at pbskids.org/plumlanding. Plum, a video game designer from the desolate Planet Blorb, longs to experience nature. So she commandeers a space ship, zooms down to earth, befriends five eager kids—Clem, Oliver, Gabi, Brad, and Cooper—and launches them on missions as diverse as ‘find a lake in the desert!’ and ‘search for a cow that lives under water!’ Zeroing in on four ecosystems—the Australian desert, the mangroves of Belize, the Canadian Rockies, and the jungles of Borneo—Plum discovers many fascinating, puzzling and profound things about this gorgeous planet and uses what she learns to create fantastic explorer games for 6- to 9-year olds.

On the PLUM LANDING website, kids can play these games and explore each of these exotic ecosystems – everything from tracking a thorny devil across the Australian sands, to going face-to-face with a tree snake in Borneo. Plum also encourages kids to investigate their OWN worlds. Moving between digital platforms and the natural world, kids can:

•Watch five compelling animated characters bushwhack, float, trek, and “bubble” their way across four ecosystems while modeling scientific investigations.

•Explore the same ecosystems, wild creatures, discoveries, and science concepts in the webisodes through an array of rich and exciting online games.

•Investigate nature closer to home, aided by live-action videos and hands-on activities designed to get kids thinking like scientists.

•Document their investigations via a free mobile app, Plum’s Photo Hunt, that lets kids take photos, describe what they have found, and send their findings back to Plum.


WILL - Education Highlights - March 18, 2014

Supercharge Your Math Class with AWESUM Resources

Use this jam-packed, NEW collection of videos, lesson plans, and interactive games to help your students engage with curriculum and tap into the true power of numbers.



WILL - Education Highlights - February 28, 2014

Motivate your child to practice

Don't resort to the failed tactics of your childhood. Try tips from PBSParents.



WILL - Education Highlights - October 14, 2013

WILL-TV helps students studying the atmosphere

A grade school class launches their own weather balloon to collect weather data, and take photos and video. 

Teacher Emily Dawson and WILL's Molly Delaney with recovered balloon and data box.

Science teacher Emily Dawson and her junior high students at Riverview Grade School in Peoria pushed the boundaries of their classroom to the very edge of the earth’s atmosphere. In an exciting, hands-on learning experience, the students launched their own weather balloon 100,000 feet up to collect weather data, take photos and see their world from an entirely new perspective.

The launch took place Wednesday, May 22, at the Caterpillar Inc. Edwards Demonstration and Learning Center in front of an audience of 300 students from East Peoria, Metamora and Brimfield. Students gathered at 9 a.m. for set-up, assembly and related activities, and the launch took place around 10:50 a.m. Teachers, students and citizens everywhere will be able to witness the morning’s activities, from set-up to loss of visible flight trajectory, through a webcast on the WTVP-Public Media website. Watch a video of the launch.

WTVP in Peoria filmed the launch, and WILL-TV educational outreach director Molly Delaney and TV producer George Hovorka chased and filmed the recovery of the weather balloon. Molly and George looked for the balloon for more than two hours after it landed. A transmitter that was to have helped them find the balloon didn't work. Finally, Dawson discovered the balloon in a field near Princeton, Ill. Molly and George hurried to the location, and shot video and took photos.

"When we learned the GPS wasn't working on the balloon, we weren't going to give up, and kept looking around the projected impact area," said Molly. "Emily saw it off the side of the road on Route 26, and gave us a call." They recovered the shredded balloon, parachute and data collection box.

The launch is the central focus of a multidiscipline unit on weather, using science, language arts, and literature classes cooperatively to plan, research, analyze and report on the real world application of the information taught within the classroom. It was inspired by an activity on the Illinois PBS LearningMedia site for teachers and students.

The school project was made possible through funding from PNC’s FirstGrant to Riverview Junior High teachers Emily Dawson, JoAnn Lowry-Emery and Luann Kuehn. The FirstGrant program is designed to help classroom teachers throughout central Illinois accomplish creative and innovative projects they would otherwise be unable to fund because of budget limitations, and it is supported by the Ruby K. Worner Trust and the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group.

The helium required to fill the balloon was provided by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and arranged by WILL-TV. The launch site and equipment are courtesy of Caterpillar Inc. Production and broadcast made possible by WTVP-Public Media with support from WILL.


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