One of the most satisfying ways of motivating children is to get them involved in an interesting project that gives a practical application to their curriculum studies. Another is to sit them in front of a computer monitor. Here are some suggestions as to websites that will help you combine both these elements.
Inspired by Jeff Brown's Flat Stanley (Mammoth, pound;3.99), schools are encouraged to make a paper version of Flat Stanley and send it to other schools, celebrities or politicians. They are expected to treat the Flat Stanley as a guest and take it out with them, sending back photographs of his travels and activities. It's a great way to learn about other places and cultures. Stanley's template can be downloaded and there are also ideas for art, creative writing and research. More than 2,000 schools have taken part.
Project Atmosphere Australia Online has been developed by teachers for learning about weather. Many schools collect data about the weather in their area, but this site takes the activity to a higher level, with the chance to share information with schools and experts around the world.
A dozen yachts are currently being sailed single-handed around the world by brave yachtspeople. The Around Alone race started in New York in September and the yachts visited Brixham in Devon in October. They are now heading for Cape Town. A website has been established on which David Berry, deputy head at Thomas Telford School, Shropshire, has provided a set of 32 interactive weekly activities for children following the race. It also provides statistics of one of the yachts, Hexagon, and follows the progress of its skipper, Graham Dalton (pictured left).
Details of a worldwide collaborative project can be found at the address below. Each month, schools are given an assignment to investigate and report back on. Examples of subjects include Stonehenge, Tutankhamun and world disasters. There is plenty of interest to KS2 and KS3 pupils.
Jim Merrett is a primary teacher and writer