If you’ve used Microsoft’s Bing search engine, you probably know that their claim to fame–particularly when compared to Google’s minimalist design–is the use of beautiful place images on their homepage. But did you know that you can pass your cursor over various hotspots on screen to learn more about different visual elements of the image? Or that clicking the camera icon in the bottom right corner of the image will display a brief description of that place along with links to learn more?
Wait . . . you did? Well okay then, did you know that there are entire lesson plans built around these images that you can use to cover multiple subject areas, 21st century skills, common core standards, technologies, etc.? And did you realize you can do this in just 10 to 15 minutes at the start of the day or after lunch (or any time you please, really)?
You can, thanks to Bing in the Classroom and the Microsoft Educator Network.
For example, this is a photo of an oil tanker moving through the Gulf of Mexico. It is accompanied by the following text: Of all the oil imported into the United States, 60 percent comes into the country via the Gulf of Mexico, in tanker ships like this 859-foot shuttle tanker. An off-duty ship pilot took this photo from the bridge of the ship as it turned away from the rising sun. The crude oil on board was headed for Houston.
How does that get you a lesson plan? Some folks at Microsoft have been very creative about that, as the image below illustrates. Do you think you can meet all of these objectives (note the specific Common Core references), cover all of these subjects, and exercise all of these skills just from a single image and an accompanying blurb?
It’s all about having a jumping-off point. You start with the fact that 60 percent of the oil imported into the US comes into the country via the Gulf of Mexico. Then you ask a related question: On average, how many barrels of oil come into the U.S. through the Gulf of Mexico per day?
Well, that’s going to require some web searching. And some math. But as luck would have it, there’s a downloadable lesson plan that looks at a number of questions you can address while solving the problem.
Plus, the lesson plan provides suggestions for how to work through each of those questions.
And you can even link your activities to relevant Common Core standards.
How cool is that? All of those learning opportunities from one picture of a tanker and a single fact!
You can find many, many such lesson plans at the Bing in the Classroom Resources page. After viewing a few of these, you will really get the hang of the approach. And soon, you’ll be coming up with your own lesson plans based on photos, news articles, TV shows, songs, and pretty much anything that gives you a basic jumping-off point you can use to ask questions.
Original article has been updated but can be found here.