Free, must have programs to add to your arsenal

Everyone likes free. Problem is, a lot of free programs out there just aren’t up to the challenge of being useful in the classroom or having the quality to be worth our time. Here are a couple, though, that are more than worth the time of a download!

Google Earth

Ever find yourself in need of a map of the United States? France? How about Iraq or Egypt? Ballwin or Chesterfield? Google Earth is your one stop tool for anyplace on the globe. With powerful features like zoom and 3D, give your students a whole new view of their world and the world around them. Curriculum uses? Seeing the correlation of resources and populations, measuring distances between real world destinations, looking at your local community, exploring the settings for stories or their authors, looking at landforms of the world, and now you can even explore space with the new sky view! Never buy another wall or book map again.

Art Rage 2

Finally a painting program that actually allows you the experience of painting! Art Rage 2 is an incredibly powerful art program that allows you to work with a wide variety of mediums on an array of surfaces while maintaining the look and feel of the real thing. Paints actually mix instead of overlaping, pressure and saturation can determine individual brush strokes, canvas choices effect appearance. While the full version costs 25(and is probably worth it!), the free version offers more than enough options to show off your student’s creativity and talents. Imagine giving your student a dry paint brush and having them paint on a Smart Board! Import images and trace over them with pastels before removing the original image and being left with your interpretation of the original. Can you say Finger Paints!

Sketchup

Now here is a great tool for your visual learners. Sketchup is a 3D modeling program that allows you to easily create shapes and other objects in well, 3D. Sure you could use it in a design class or architecture, but how about math? Studing area, volume, perimeter, angles, ratios, perspective, geometry in general? Bring life to your lessons by creating and modifying objects or having your students present their own interpretations of what they have learned. Measurements are in metric and standard form.

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