Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Sponge" Interactive Whiteboard Activities: Chapter One

There are times in your classroom when you need to have interactive whiteboard activities up your sleeve that weren’t planned learning opportunities but that still engage students in thinking--maybe your lesson finished 10 minutes sooner than you had planned, maybe your students are burned out from standardized testing, maybe it is hot in your classroom and attention is waning, or maybe your kids just need a break. I was taught to call these “sponge” activities --I suppose because they “soak up” time.  But, it is important to have interactive whiteboard activities ready that are thought provoking and creative, so you aren’t just “filling time” with meaningless tasks.

This is the first in a series of posts dedicated to sharing “sponge” interactive whiteboard activities that fall outside of your regular academic curriculum. All of the resources make great center activities and can also be used on computers. While some of the interactive whiteboard activities can be related back to a specific curricular area, these sites are perfect for just letting your students explore, get creative, and have fun!

Chapter One: Build and Construct

Ball Droppings


Experiment with this application by drawing lines to affect the direction of the balls, by changing the rate the balls drop and by modifying the effect of gravity on the balls. Notes: While the tones the dropping balls produce are fun for awhile, you may want the students to use headphones if in the computer lab or to mute the sound on the IWB. Also, I had difficulty getting this site to work correctly in Internet Explorer but had no issues in Firefox.



Knock down some popular formations or create your own. You can even save your creation at a url to send to your friends!

Tinker Ball

Use the given array of objects to build a path that will guide the ball into the cup. How many different paths can you build? Can you build a path that uses all of the objects? What is the fewest number of objects you can use and still be successful?

Thank you to @sharnon007 for guiding me to this resource!

Launch Ball


Place blocks in the correct locations to guide the ball into the goal. Different blocks have unique properties which makes each level challenging. You can save your work and go back later to continue at the level where you left off. The site also offers an open ended application where you can build challenges for your friends to complete.

Thank you to @ktenkely for guiding me to this resource!

Creative Builder


Build an online lego structure according to a set of plans or build a structure as quickly as you can while being timed. You can even choose a blank template to build your own unique and creative formation.

Thank you to @vanessascassie for guiding me to this resource!


  1. Thanks for the shout out, Emily! And also thanks for sharing the other resources -- these are excellent! I'll definitely be passing them on to the teachers I work with :)

  2. Vanessa,

    Thanks for the comment, and I hope the teachers you share these resources with enjoy them!


Share Your Thoughts and Ideas!