Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Digital Resources to Support Science Instruction

Today's blogger is Michele Eaton, Virtual Education Specialist for MSD of Wayne Township.

As educators around the state are working hard to create digital content for their students, many teachers are left wondering what a hands-on subject like science looks like online.  Lucky for us, there are several fantastic resources online that provide engaging and interactive content for science students.  In this blog post, I'd like to highlight eight of my favorites.

BrainGenie

BrainGenie is a resource by CK12, a nonprofit organization that creates STEM content for educators and students.  This site allows students to practice math and science skills through a series of individual or multi-player activities.  The students can also compete to win badges and spots on the site's leader board.  No account is necessary, but if the teacher sets up an account, he/she can track student progress on the site.

BrainGenie is a great remediation or enrichment tool for K-12 math and science students.  Students will see instructional videos, have opportunities for guided practice with immediate feedback, and try to achieve mastery through game-like competitions.



NBC Learn Original Collections

Many in the state of Indiana have heard of the resource NBC Learn, which is currently being funded for all Indiana schools by our Department of Education.  In addition to the primary sources and news archives available, NBC Learn also develops original content specific to academic standards.  The collections cover the Science and Engineering of the Olympics, the Science of NFL Football, series on innovation, sustainability, our changing planet, and much more.

Every video in these original collections comes with lesson plans for various grade levels.  These short, engaging videos are a great way to make content meaningful for students.



PHET Simulations

This site was created as a project at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  It provides fantastic science and math simulations to share with students.  Demonstrate science concepts digitally with this great resource. They are interactive, engaging, and research-based.  These science simulations can be downloaded to a device or in a browser using HTML5, which is supported on most devices.  

Many of the simulations come with additional teacher resources, teaching guides, and ideas.



Biology Pop

Biology Pop is a website specific to biology concepts.  It includes videos, articles, and recommends apps for topics in this subject area.  This resource is especially great for connections to current events in biology. A great resource to bring relevancy and authenticity to your digital science content!



Gooru

Gooru is a large repository of interactive learning materials for science, math, and social studies.  All materials are rated by other teachers and the collection is growing from the contributions of teachers all over the world.  

Once you join, you can search by subject or media type (videos, interactives, slides, text, lesson plans, etc.). This is a great place to find lesson plans and digital content to share with students.


Science Netlinks

The Science Netlinks website is a project from AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science).  At this website, teachers can find full lesson plans, interactives, audio files, and other teaching tools.  One thing that is especially great about these resources is that they were created to be used in a variety of classroom settings (limited technology, smartboards, 1:1 environments, etc.).  

All lesson plans and resources are standards-based and have been reviewed before being posted.  In addition to that, each lesson and tool uses research-based instructional strategies.  



ACS Science for Kids

This website, put together by the American Chemical Society, is specific to chemistry related topics (with some physics, geology, and anatomy resources as well).  Teachers can use this resource to find experiments, lesson plans, activities, and games.  This site is easy to navigate and provides great digital content for students.




Annenberg Learner

This particular site is not specific to science alone, but rather has interactives for various subject areas.  Personally, I feel the science resources are very high quality and are worth adding to this list.  The interactive activities on this site are some of the best I have found on the web.  

Activities and resources are identified by audience.  Some can be given directly to students as part of the digital content teachers are creating.  Other resources are created for the teacher as he/she is planning lessons.



Did you find a resource or two in this list that you can use in your classroom? Tell us how you will us it.

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