With LaunchPacks, students and educators can make reading active with digital highlighting and note-taking. Watch a video about annotating articles in Packs.
To get started, use the toggle at the top of any article to switch from read mode to annotate mode. Next, click and drag to highlight the specific text that you would like to focus on in the article. When the pencil icon appears, click the icon to open a space in which to write a note and select one of the six colored labels from a drop-down list: comment, question, vocabulary, evidence, summary, and connection. The labels and colored highlighting will help you organize your notes. (On touch-enabled screens, double tap to highlight, then tap the Annotate button to write a note.) You may edit your notes, relabel them, or delete them permanently. Your annotations will be automatically saved as you create and edit them, so your work will not be lost. Find your annotations any time in My LaunchPacks. Look for the orange pencil icon next to Pack titles that contain annotated articles. A pencil icon will also appear on a Pack page next to the titles of articles with annotations.
Check your progress by selecting the “All Categories” drop-down list to see counts of your annotations by label. Organize your view by filtering to a single type of annotation.
Share your annotations with others by clicking on the envelope icon in annotate mode and inputting the e-mail addresses of your recipients plus your own name and e-mail address. Britannica will share a link to the article with a read-only view of your annotations on your behalf.
Download your annotations to a document or PDF file by clicking on the down arrow icon. The file will contain all of your comments, labels, and highlighted text. The file will also contain an MLA citation and URLs for the article and Pack.
Use Delete All annotations to reset your view of the article to its original state. You will be prompted to verify this action before all annotations are actually deleted.
In order to use the Annotation features, you must create a personal account. Personal accounts are free for all LaunchPacks users and are easy to create. When prompted, follow the onscreen instructions to create an account. Learn more about personal accounts.
In order to schedule a LaunchPack, you’ll need to have a personal educator account and be logged in. Personal accounts are easy to create if you don't already have one.
LaunchPacks provides educators with a personalized calendar to schedule Packs for future use and receive reminders as the date approaches. Set your notification preferences from your personal account dashboard, and export your LaunchPacks schedule to your preferred calendar program or app (e.g., Google, Outlook, or iCalendar). Watch a video about scheduling Packs content.
To get started, find and click on the calendar icon.
It appears in the lower right corner of every Pack card. It also appears within each Pack page near the top. Clicking the calendar icon brings up the month’s calendar. Next, drag and drop the Pack you selected the icon from to any calendar date. When it’s time to use your scheduled Pack, Britannica will notify you with a link to the Pack for easy access!
Drag and drop a new Pack onto a date that already contains a Pack to create a collection of Packs for that date. Your reminders will include easy access to all Packs within the collection.
Visit your schedule dashboard anytime from the notifications menu in the header. Here you can change the scheduled date of an existing Pack or a collection of Packs, remove a single Pack from a collection, or completely remove scheduled Packs from your calendar.
Based on your personal account profile and preferences, Britannica may schedule recommended Packs for you about topics that interest you. If you’ve set up a personal account, you can change your preferences anytime in your account settings.
In order to use the Schedule features, you must create a personal educator account. Personal accounts are free for all LaunchPacks users and are easy to create. When prompted, follow the onscreen instructions to create an account. Learn more about personal accounts.
A Class associates the personal accounts of students with the personal account of an educator. The class relationship allows students to receive Activity Pack assignments from an educator, and it allows the educator to monitor students’ progress.
To get started, sign in to or create a personal account. Click on your name in the upper right corner of any screen, and then click on the Classes link in the dropdown menu that appears. This will bring you to your personal Classes dashboard. Look for the Add a Class button, and follow the onscreen instructions to identify your new Class with a name, description (optional), and avatar. Once created, your Class will be assigned a unique, six digit class code identifier.
Students will join your Class using a unique, six digit class code. Immediately following Class creation, you will be prompted to continue by inviting students, but you can also invite students at any time. There are three ways to share your class code with students.
Inviting new students to join a class roster is easy. The unique, six digit class code is always visible at the top right of the Classes dashboard. Click the Invite Students link below the code to copy or e-mail a LaunchPacks link with the class code embedded.
Removing students from a class roster is simple too. From the Classes dashboard, click the name of the student to be removed. This will take you to their student page where you’ll see their last visited date and a gear icon at the top right of the page. Click the gear icon, and then, on the next page, click the red Remove button. You’ll need to click Remove once more to confirm the action, and you’ll have the option to specify if the student should not retain access to their prior submitted work from this Class.
To join a class you must have a class code provided by your teacher. The exact steps you’ll follow depend on whether you have a link that looks like this: “packs.eb.com/…/joinclass/GR8F87”, or a six digit class code that looks like this: “GR8F87”.
With a link:
With a class code:
First, make sure you’ve signed in to your personal account, by looking for your name in the upper right corner of any screen. Click on your name, and then click on the Classes link in the dropdown menu that appears. This will bring you to your personal Classes dashboard. Here you will see a unique card for each Class you belong to. If you belong to more than one Class, you can easily identify them by the class name, teacher’s name, and the class avatar chosen by your teacher.
Click on any card to see details of your current open and recently completed Activities for that Class. From here, you can review open Activities, see due dates, begin or continue working, and access recent completed work.
In order to use the Class features, educators and students must create personal accounts. Personal accounts are free for all LaunchPacks users and are easy to create. When prompted, follow the onscreen instructions to create an account. Learn more about personal accounts.
Activities engage students with Pack contents allowing educators to build critical thinking skills and monitor student progress, while raising subject area literacy. In order to use Activities, educators and students will need to have personal accounts and belong to a Class.
Task a Class with studying an expertly curated set of grade-appropriate resources. With LaunchPacks Quick Assign, do it in less than 15 seconds: choose a Pack, click on Quick Assign, set a due date, select a Class, and go! Students will see the assignment in their personal dashboards.
Have students interact with resources to answer open-ended questions in a custom Activity Pack. Pick a Pack and click on Create Activity; two types of pre-written questions are available to help you get going quickly.
Optional things you can do to further customize an Activity Pack include:
Activity Packs can be assigned to a Class for immediate use, scheduled for a Class to receive on a future date, or saved as a personal draft.
Click on your name in the upper right corner of any screen, and then click on the Activities link in the dropdown menu that appears. This will bring you to your personal Activities dashboard. From here you can see all open and saved Activities for all Classes. At a glance information includes class avatar, due date, days left, and a student progress meter.
Review student progress at the individual level, in real time, with a detailed dashboard that allows you to view responses by question or by student. See Activity status by individual student: submitted, in progress, and not started. For Quick Assigned Packs, you can see which students have viewed the assignment.
Once your Class has finished with an Activity and you are done reviewing their responses, you can mark it complete. Mark Complete moves the Activity out of your and your students’ open Activities views and into the completed Activities views. The Activity Pack and student responses are still fully accessible to both users.
First, make sure you’ve signed in to your personal account, by looking for your name in the upper right corner of any screen. Click on your name, and then click on the Activities link in the dropdown menu that appears. This will bring you to your personal Activities dashboard where you will see a unique card for each Activity you’ve been assigned. From here, you can check your assignments, see due date and days left, begin or continue working, and access previously completed work.
Find open assignments in your Activities or Classes dashboards. Click the View Activity link to go to an Activity Pack. If you haven’t previously accessed the Activity, take a moment to review the instructions and assignment overview. Your teacher may also require you to answer a question before you can get started. When you’re ready to, click the blue Get Started button on the right. You’ll see all the contents of the Pack on the left side of the screen. Single questions with space for you to input an answer will be in a panel on the right side of the screen.
As you work, you can open Pack contents to study them and find answers. Type in an answer to a question, and click the blue Next Question button to proceed. You can also click the Activity Instructions link or the All Questions link at the top of the right panel to review the instructions again or to see all of the questions at once. Pausing and continuing to work later is okay – your inputs automatically save as you type, so your progress will be waiting for you when you come back.
Once you’ve input an answer to each of the questions in the Activity, you’ll be able to click the blue Review and Submit button. You’ll see all of the questions and your answers together, and if you need to, you can still continue editing. When you’re ready to, click the blue Submit Answers button to let your teacher know you’ve finished working. But, remember, submitted answers can’t be edited.
In order to use the Activities features, educators and students must create personal accounts. Personal accounts are free for all LaunchPacks users and are easy to create. When prompted, follow the onscreen instructions to create an account. Learn more about personal accounts.
With a personal LaunchPacks account, educators and students have access to extra features beyond the basic access provided by your institution, such as customizing, saving favorites, and working with the annotation tool. Educators can also create activities and assign them to their class. Personal accounts are completely FREE and can be accessed by clicking on My Account at the top right of the page. You will see the name of the institution providing your access. From here you can sign into an existing personal account or you can create a new account which can be accessed with a username and password you select or by using Google Sign-In. Availability of the ways you can create or sign into your personal account may vary depending on your institution.
Keep your personal information up to date as changes occur.
(Educators only) Provide preference options for content, such as grade levels and topics that interest you. Your account settings help Britannica provide you with the right Packs at the right time. You can also opt in to additional notification methods, such as notifications via e-mail.
Find Packs that you have favorited (saved), customized, or annotated. They’re all collected here for fast, easy access.
(Educators only) Modify your schedule as quickly as your lesson plans change. Learn more about how to use LaunchPacks’s schedule tools.
New LaunchPacks notifications will automatically appear on the top right corner of the site when you’re signed in. Your recent notifications history is also available.
The topics for LaunchPacks were determined through several rounds of careful review of the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core English Language Arts Literacy frameworks and various state Science frameworks. Britannica editors methodically analyzed individual standards for relevant topics, including important structures, processes, relationships, and figures. Teachers may feel confident that LaunchPacks directly support their work in Science classrooms and can serve as a key tool in helping their students master required instructional goals.
LaunchPacks are intended to provide teachers and students access to high-quality, rich, and diverse content sets that are easily found and used. The content in each Pack relates to a specific Science topic that is vital to instruction in a given grade range. Each Pack offers resources that allow teachers great flexibility in their use. Teachers may choose to present a Pack as is, or they may choose to customize a particular Pack to make it align more closely to their specific students’ needs. Teachers may add or remove content pieces, insert notes or questions to guide students’ work and thinking, or upload additional documents or Web sites to make a Pack their own. Learn more about how to use LaunchPacks’s customization features.
For example, a middle school teacher might use the various resources in the Packs on Earth’s Orbit and Rotation and The Phases of the Moon to help students understand the processes of motion in space. Alternatively, he or she may also use them to help meet national standards such as these: “MS.Space Systems--MS-ESS1-1. Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.” (NGSS-MS.Space Systems--MS-ESS1-1) and “Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).” (CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7)
Although comprehensive, the collection of Packs is not static, and neither are the individual Packs themselves. Resources in LaunchPacks are updated as necessary to keep up with an ever-changing world, keeping content fresh, current, and relevant.
Take a two-minute tour of the site:
See how to Customize & Share with LaunchPacks:
The Britannica LaunchPacks Vimeo channel for educator professional development has short, engaging, and informative videos that can show you what’s possible with LaunchPacks in your classroom.
See how to Differentiate Instruction with LaunchPacks:
Pear Deck activities combine LaunchPacks content with the power of Pear Deck's student engagement platform. Britannica's editors selected key Pack resources and paired them with interactive questions to help students engage with the topics and develop critical thinking skills. These activities are designed as Google Slide decks.
When educators present the decks with Pear Deck, students will be able to participate and respond to questions from their own devices ensuring that every student can participate and giving teachers a real-time insight into student progress from the Pear Deck Teacher Dashboard. The Pear Deck Teacher Dashboard displays confidential information about each student and can be opened on a private screen or separate tablet. Student answers when shown on the projector will always be anonymous, giving kids a safe way to answer and participate in front of their peers.
Select Packs include the Pear Deck Activities. Look for "Pear Deck Activity" on the Pack cards to identify the Packs that include this interactive resource, or you can view a list here.
In order to use a Pear Deck activity, educators will need to have a Britannica personal account and be logged in. Personal accounts are easy to create if you don't already have one. Students must be authenticated to Britannica LaunchPacks or they will not be able to access some of the resources referenced in the Pear Deck Activities.
Watch a video about favoriting, customizing, and sharing Packs.
Clicking the Favorite button with the star icon from the Pack page is a simple way to save a Pack you want to quickly return to in the future. The star icon will turn solid orange when the Pack has been favorited. Clicking on the My LaunchPacks link in the header will take you to a page with all of your favorite Packs. Just look for the orange stars!
Clicking the Customize button with the wrench icon from the Pack page opens up an edit mode that allows you to personalize any Pack. Upload document files of your own, add external links, add a Pack Note or notes about individual content items, remove individual content items from your customized Pack, and/or retitle the Pack. When you’ve finished editing, click the Save Changes button to store your Custom Pack. Clicking on the My LaunchPacks link in the header will take you to a page with all of your Custom Packs. Just look for the green banners!
Clicking the Share button with the envelope icon from the Pack page provides you with two great options for sharing your own Custom Packs (or Britannica Editors’ Packs.) You can choose to copy a shortened URL link or send it via e-mail.
Copy Link is perfect for reaching others through your existing channels for sharing. For example, you may wish to write it on a physical classroom board, embed it on your class web page, include it in assignment directions, or integrate it into shared electronic documents.
Send allows Britannica to share the Pack link with others on your behalf. You may select this option after you provide the e-mail addresses of your recipients and your name and e-mail address.
In order to use the Favorite and Customize features, you must create a personal account. Personal accounts are free for all LaunchPacks users and are easy to create. When prompted, follow the onscreen instructions to create an account. Learn more about personal accounts and My LaunchPacks.
Please note that not all tools are available for all types of content, grade levels, and/or user devices.
Use the toggle to switch an article from read to annotate mode to highlight text and take notes. Learn more about how to use LaunchPacks’s annotation tools.
Access alternate versions of the same core article content by clicking on the purple numbers.
Use the play icon at the top of each section to hear it aloud. Follow along with a visual highlighting cue and use pause, skip backward, and skip forward icons to control the reader.
Learn the meanings and pronunciations of words in an article by double clicking on them. Definitions provided by Merriam-Webster.
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Create or join a class to interact with customizable, Pack-based activities that boost critical skills.
Create customized Packs by adding notes and uploading your own content, or bookmark your favorite packs for quick access.
With a free personal account, you can gain access to LaunchPacks and any other Britannica subscriptions while away from your institution.