Company: Software MacKiev (www.mackiev.com)
System Requirements: Mac or Win CD
Price: $39.95; discounts available for multiple copies
Pros: User-friendly interface; creative tool for teaching earth sciences
Cons: No teacher's guide; undersea features not represented
3-D Weatherglobe and Atlas provides a visually spectacular view of our beautiful blue planet from space, displaying current weather conditions and geographic features. Users have the choice of two views: a spinning globe that can be manipulated smoothly to show any location on Earth or a flattened map projection of the planet. Users can zoom in and out and display political boundaries, city locations, and time zones. 3-D Weatherglobe animates a three-day loop of cloud movements; however, the program minimizes actual cloud cover, as students will discover when they examine current images from NASA satellites (www.ghcc.msfc.nasa.gov/GOES).
It also allows users to map out voyages, connecting point to point across the globe and measuring the distances.
Making effective use of 3-D Weatherglobe requires a classroom Internet connection. Unfortunately, the program does not come with a teacher's guide, and it doesn't display undersea features such as midocean ridges and seamounts. Nevertheless, science and social studies teachers will surely find creative ways to use it as a teaching tool for global weather patterns, geography, and world exploration. And the program's stunning graphics and user-friendly interface will certainly capture students' interest.
Paul Fleisher is a middle school educator and children's book author.