The Web offers thousands of sites on every imaginable scientific subject. The sites below represent some of the most recent additions to online science education -- and a few of my all-time favorites. Whether youre a science teacher or a science enthusiast, youll want to check out these online science treasures. Included: A dozen great science sites for students and teachers.
The Web, of course, offers thousands of science sites on every imaginable scientific subject. A quick search will provide you with such excellent educational sites as Virtual Frog Dissection, The Atoms Family, Cells Alive, 4000 Years of Women in Science, and many, many more. The sites below represent some of the most recent additions to online science education -- and a few of my all-time favorites. Whether youre a science teacher or a science enthusiast, youll want to check out these online science treasures.
SITES FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES
Chemistry in Education
The mission of this site, maintained by the American Chemical Society, is to "promote excellence in science education and community outreach." To that end, the site offers a large number of resources for both students and educators. Students in high school and above will find information on science competitions and collaborative activities, as well as information about college planning and careers in chemistry. The Science for Kids section contains information and hands-on activities designed to increase their understanding of scientific concepts. The Educators' section of the site provides education resources for teachers of K-8 as well as high, school, college, graduate, and post graduate students. Teachers can also find courses and workshops and science reports, studies, and surveys for their own use. There truly is much accessible information here for everyone.
This online science magazine, maintained by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School, is not a new site; in fact, it might be one of the oldest science education sites on the Web. The Why Files is still one of my favorites, however, and if you're not using it to extend your students' knowledge of science and current events, you're missing a terrific educational opportunity. Each week, The Why Files posts a new story, a variety of interactive science animations, Cool Science Images, and a series of Teacher Activity Pages linked to national science teaching standards. If there's an earthquake in Mexico, you can be sure the Why Files will explain what caused it! Students can keep up with the latest Why Files topics by reading the site's blog, or access previously posted articles through the site's search engine. The site is well-written, visually appealing, fun, educational, interesting, and scientifically accurate. And you're not using it because...?
Jefferson Lab in Newport News, Virginia, is a Department of Energy facility; its primary mission is to "conduct basic research of the atoms nucleus at the quark level." The primary mission of the lab's Science Education Web site is to improve science and math education and to encourage students to explore possible careers in math and science. The site's Teacher Resources section offers online and printable worksheets, games and puzzles, as well as a number of hands-on activities on topics ranging from bicycles to ooblecks. Each activity includes an overview and materials list, printable worksheets, an answer sheet, and a related activity. Links to additional reference materials also are provided. The student Zone provides online games and puzzles, homework help, and information about internship programs. Your students will be amazed at the number of topics related to atomic research -- and at how interesting those topics can be!
Museum of Unnatural History
Are you having trouble getting some of your middle and high school students interested in science? Why not try motivating them with the science of the weird? The Museum of Unnatural History currently offers such online exhibits as Dinosaur Safari, Wierd Geology, Troubled History, The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mad Scientist's Laboratory, and many more. In addition, the site features a roundup of strange science news of the month and an opportunity to "Ask the Curator" your weird science questions. This site is a lot of fun and it offers a lot of real science as well, but it does contain lots of clickable ads. If your students using the site alone, make sure they know -- and will follow -- your rules for Internet use.
Geocaching -- using a Global Positioning System (GPS) device to hunt for a hidden cache by its latitude and longitude -- is becoming more and more popular in schools across the United States and around the world. A number of Web sites offer math, social studies, and science activities to accompany the geocaching games; there's even a geocaching listserv (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nygps), comprised of GPS users interested in creating "meaningful learning activities for students." If you're interested in joining -- or just learning more about -- the geocaching phenomena, this is a great place to start. Various sections at the site will answer your most basic questions about geocaching, tell you how you can get started geocaching, direct you to sources for GPS devices and geocaching supplies, and help you locate geocaching events and caches in your area.
How Stuff Works
Browse Featured Science Stuff to access this remarkable sites extensive science resources. Categories listed in those resources include earth science, engineering, physical science, life science, space, and the supernatural. Each category offers many individual tutorials that clearly and completely explain a particular topic. The earth science section of the site, for example, includes tutorials on volcanoes, rainbows, diamonds, quicksand, carbon-14 dating, and much more. Although this site is not new, the resources are constantly being updated and extended. Unlike many static science sites, How Stuff Works will provide you and your students with the most current information on any researched topic. Looking for a specific tutorial? Just type the topic into the sites Search engine!
The Physics Classroom
This truly awesome physics resource for high school students consists of 13 sections on 13 separate topics, from "1-D Kinematics" to "Refraction and the Ray Model of Light." Each section contains 2-6 separate lessons; each lesson is divided into a number of sublessons. The lessons are clear and well written, describing not just the concept, but also explaining why each concept is important to understand. Each lesson includes an animation to illustrate the concept and concludes with a quiz to test students understanding. The site also offers a Multimedia Physics Studio with additional animations to help students visualize the concepts discussed and activities to ensure students mastery of the subject matter. Whether you teach physics or always wanted to understand it yourself, this is a site you wont want to miss!
Forensics in the Classroom
Tru TV, in cooperation with the American Academy of Forensic Science and in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association, provides these five science units that incorporate scientific concepts and lab experiments into forensic-based mysteries. Each standards-based unit includes an overview, a list of required materials, background information, student handouts, extension activities, assessment tools, and more. The site also provides a glossary of forensic terms and links to additional forensics materials. These activities for high school students will help answer the perennial question, Why do we need to learn chemistry?
Middle School Physical Science Resource Center
Middle school physical science teachers will want to visit this site, designed to provide them "with the resources they need to be effective and critical educators. The site, maintained by North Carolina State University, is the result of a grant to review middle school physical science textbooks that the university received a couple of years ago. (See the 2001 Education World article Scientists Pan Middle School Physical Science Texts.) The site's resources have expanded to include relevant essays, a newsletter, and a discussion forum. The database of reviews available at the site also continues to grow, and some of the original reviews have been updated. This is where you want to go to find out what the experts are saying about the new text youre considering purchasing -- or to explore the accuracy of the texts youre already using.
National Science Digital Library
This digital library offers an enormous database of links to quality resources supporting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education at all levels -- from pre-kindergarten to post-doctoral. Links can be accessed by using the site's search engine or by browsing the library's index of topics. The library is funded by the National Science Foundation; sites are researched and vetted by university educators across the country. The project's goal is to develop "the nation's most comprehensive digital library for the sciences." If you're looking for quality Web sites to use to support your science curriculum, this is the place to visit.
Chemistry in Education
The mission of this site, maintained by the American Chemical Society, is to "promote excellence in science education and community outreach." To that end, the site offers a large number of resources for both students and educators. Students in high school and above will find information on science competitions and collaborative activities, as well as information about college planning and careers in chemistry. The Science for Kids section contains information and hands-on activities designed to increase their understanding of scientific concepts. The Educators' section of the site provides education resources for teachers of K-8 as well as high, school, college, graduate, and post graduate students. Teachers can also find courses and workshops and science reports, studies, and surveys for their own use. There truely is much accessible information here for everyone.
Article by Linda Starr
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