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Fast and Fabulous Freebies

Need a great idea or a new activityyesterday? The Internet puts free teaching and learning materials at your disposal 24-7, if you know where to find them. From apple growing to ergonomics, Education World has found the best free educational resources online. Load your printer, log on, and get the 4-1-1 on fantastic freebies you can take advantage of today! Included: Free brochures, lessons, and activities for all grades.

As is true in life, some of the best things on the Internet are free. That's especially true when it comes to the wealth of educational activities made available to teachers online. By using those materials -- printed, downloaded, or directly online -- teachers can expand their curricular offerings and add zest to existing units. Here, we highlight some of the finest free resources teachers can find on the Internet.


Fleischmann's Yeast offers three activity books in its Teacher's Guides from Middle- and high-school students create and market a new bread product in "Rolling in the Dough," and explore what happens when ingredients are omitted from a yeast bread recipe in "Exploring the North Roll." "It's in the Bag" is a bread-making activity for all ages. Visitors also can download a free printable poster entitled "10 Tips to Balance Fitness and Nutrition."

Even if your classroom isn't near Louisiana, you will find several worthwhile online resources from the USGS National Wetlands Resource Center at LACoast Classroom. The site contains facts and information, slide shows, coloring pages, videos, articles, quizzes, and a WebQuest. With materials for all grade levels, this is an excellent introduction to coastal conservation.

The National Postal Museum provides five downloadable Curriculum Guides for elementary, middle, and high school classes. Materials focus on teaching history, writing, and even on art through letters and stamps. Check out the "Stamp Mural Mosaics" to find unique ways to recycle cancelled stamps.

More Fabulous Freebies
Learn about more than 20 additional freebies for educators in the recent Education World article Fantastic and Free Materials for Educators. The resources featured aren't available online -- but they are worth the wait!

Incorporate volunteerism and the pursuit of global harmony into your curriculum with lesson plans and stories from Peace Corps workers at World Wise Schools. This site, which includes activities for grades 3-12, also can put you in touch with a Peace Corps volunteer in the field. Social studies and history teachers will appreciate the many maps they find here as well. The teaching materials on World Wise Schools are published as Web pages, ready to print and go.

The U.S. Geological Survey's Learning Web enlightens students about caves, fossils, volcanoes, maps, and more. Here you will discover units for every grade level; filled with stories, background, and colorful illustrations, they are explored easily online. The high school activity "A Model of Three Faults" includes a printable model sheet that allows students to experiment with different types of faults.

Are your students feeling stiff from hours of computer time? Download a free copy of the children's ergonomic software Stretch Break for Kids. This program automatically reminds computer users to stretch periodically and animated figures demonstrate how to do it with. The program is customizable according to the stretches presented, their order, and the number of repetitions. The student version contains 20 stretches as well as guidelines for healthier computing.

It's water, water everywhere with the Environmental Protection Agency's Water Sourcebooks. Organized in four separate levels for grades K-12, each sourcebook addresses drinking water, surface water, groundwater, wetlands, and more. Fact sheets clearly explain the issues involving water and water conservation.

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Targeting kids from preschool through grade six, Read*Write*Now! is a series of reading and writing activities for students, designed to promote reading after school and over the summer. Some of the materials here can be easily adapted for group or independent work in the classroom, and they are ideal for helping parents make the most out of reading with their children at home.

Grades 3-6

Help younger students avoid germs and stay healthy with activities from Purell's Healthy Kids Mean Happy Classrooms. With fun lessons for preschoolers up to sixth grade, this site shows students where germs are found, how they spread, and what kids can do to keep them at bay.

Grades 4-5
Download brochures and curriculum guides to enhance students' understanding of the environment through Georgia-Pacific's Educational in Nature site. Offering great flexibility in format, this grade 4-5 resource provides brochures and guides that are fully viewable online and downloadable in PDF form. (The free Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to view PDF files.) The site offers such hands-on activities as "Magic Pennies," in which students use simple chemistry to clean coins, as well as a vocabulary section and lesson plans.

Grades K-6
Check out more than 20 apple activities for elementary students at Apple Country Teaching Kits. Among the resources provided are coloring sheets, stories, crosswords, and lots of other neat ideas for teaching art, nutrition, science, and other subjects with apples.

Grades 6-12
Students learn that American currency is becoming safer and smarter when they encounter the Youth Education Materials from the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Created with middle and upper level students in mind, but adaptable for lower grade levels, this site's offerings feature an activity poster about redesigned currency, a downloadable tour of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and a lesson plan that focuses on the new $50 note.

Grades 6-12
Holt, Rinehart, and Winston's Elements of Literature Free Teaching Materials is a feast for literature teachers. Whether you're searching for graphic organizers, worksheets that review language skills and literary elements, or simply a few new ideas, this is the place! When standardized tests are on the horizon, turn to this site for guides and preparatory materials that will help students improve their performance.


Free Security Posters Decorate your classroom or computer lab with Microsoft's free downloadable posters reminding students to be on the alert for hackers, worms, and viruses.

Free Teacher Resources The Teaching and Learning Company offers seasonal activities, clip art, and more for grades K-8.

Article by Cara Bafile
Education World®
Copyright © 2004 Education World

Updated 05/16/2007