Thinkfinity: A Teacher Resource



What is Thinkfinity and how will it benefit me?

About a week and a half ago, I attended a Thinkfinity training at the BVIU and want to share this wonderful resource with you!  Thinkfinity (previously called marcopolo) is a site of free educational resources sponsored by the Verizon Foundation. 


Content partners sites include:  

ARTSEDGE, EconEdLink, EDSITEment, Illuminations, Literacy Network, ReadWriteThink, Science NetLinks, Smithsonian’s History Explorer, and Xpeditions.  


Contest partners include:  

American Association for the Advancement of Science, International Reading Association, National Center for Family Literacy, National Council of Teachers of English, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, National Council on Economic Education, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Geographic Society, ProLiteracy Worldwide, Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.


From these content partners, you have access to free educational resources that  range from standards-based lesson plans, students & teacher materials of online, interactive and printable materials, and partner-reviewed Web links.  


There are a few ways to search through the resources at Thinkfinity.  I think the easiest way is through the main search that searches across all resources on the right of the homepage. I suggest putting in a search term, define a grade range, and leave everything else to “Search All” to get the best results. 


While at the training, I had the opportunity to search through Thinkfinity for resources.  I found a lot of sources that I thought would go wonderful with our curriculum that I wanted to share with you.  


For 9th grade English teachers that require students to read Night by Elie Wiesel, there are a few different resources I wanted to share:  

 “Using Technology to Analyze and Illustrate Symbolism in Night” through ReadWriteThink — “Literacy learning is no longer limited to books; to be truly literate, students need to investigate and use technology in the classroom.  This lesson for middle and high school students explores the use of symbolism in Elie Wiesel’s autobiographic novel Night.  After learning about symbolism and discussing its use in the book, students create visual representations using’s Literacy Graffiti tool.  Students then express their response to the symbolism in teh book by creating a photomontage using images from multiple websites about the Holocaust and text from survivor stories, articles about hate crimes, and Night.”  (Overview of lesson from ReadThinkWrite)

“Using Student-Centered Comprehension Strategies with Elie Wiesel’s Night” through ReadWriteThink — “Working in small groups, students use reciprocal teaching strategies as they read and discuss Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night.  Everyone in the classroom takes a turn assuming the ‘teacher’ role, as the class works with four comprehension strategies: predicting, question generating, summarizing, and clarifying.”  (Overview of lesson from ReadThinkWrite)

“A Guide to Night.” through ReadWriteThink — This source is not a lesson plan, but more or less a beginning worksheet to use with students to introduce the book and bring up discussion before students get into it.

There are many more including video clips, biographies of Elie Wiesel, and extensions to get students thinking about the importance of the Holocaust still today.


Resume writing is a necessary life skill.  Thinkfinity has some great resources both for teaching it and for student use:

 “Resume Writing Tips” through ReadWriteThink — A list to pass out to students of general tips to make their first resume writing experience a bit less stressful and simpler.  The tips include things like “Don’t write in the third person (s/he) but don’t overuse ‘I’.” and “Be honest.”

“Writing Resumes for Fictional Characters” through ReadWriteThink — before having students create their own resume, why not have them practice writing one for a fictional character?  

There are MANY more resume resources (mostly through ReadWriteThink) that are both lesson plans and other tips pages for student use.


Looking for a creative way to teach Algebra?  The resource, Illuminations is specifically resources for teaching math.  Here are some fun ways to teach algebra to students:

 “Bagel Algebra” — “A real-life example – taken from a bagel shop, of all places – is used to get students to think about solving a problem symbolically.  Students must decipher a series of equations and interpret results to understand the point that the bagel shop’s owner is trying to make.”

“Trout Pond” — “This investigation illustrates the use of iteration, recursion and algebra to model and analyze a changing fish population.  Graphs, equations, tables, and technological tools are used to investigate the effect of varying parameters on the long-term population.”  This unit contains 4 lessons.

“Dirt Bike Dilemma” — “Students discover the algorithm for solving linear programming problems and gain conceptual understanding by solving a real-world problem and using graphing calculator applications.”


How about spicing up a Chemistry lesson here and there?  Here are some resources I thought were interesting:

 “Frosty the Snowman Meets His Demise: An Analogy to Carbon Dating” through Science NetLinks.  The purpose, “To develop the idea that carbon dating is based on gathering evidence in the present and extrapolating it to the past.  Students will use a simple graph to extrapolate data to its starting point.”

“Toxicology 2: Finding the Toxic Dose” through Science NetLinks.  The purpose, “To expose Brassica rapa seeds to varying concentrations of a toxicant.”

There are of course, many more links that may be more in line with what you’re teaching students right now!


Those are just a few sources.  Please make you way to to check out all of the free resources available to you!  And, as always, stop by or e-mail me if you’d like to get your students into the library to collaborate on a lesson!


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