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Larry Ferlazzos Best...

The Best Science and
Math Sites for 2009

Note: In order to qualify for most of Larrys lists, a site has to be

  • accessible to English Language Learners and non-tech savvy users.
  • free-of-charge.
  • appropriate for classroom use.
  • completely browser-based with no download required.

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Below are my choices for The Best Science and Math Sites 2009. Im not listing them in any order of preference, except at the very end of this post, where Ill highlight the number one site for both Science and Math this year. (Its the same for both.)


Planet Quest is a pretty amazing multimedia timeline of space exploration that begins at 500 B.C. In addition, it provides audio support for the text.

The INDEX Award winners for this year were announced in August. This Danish-based effort provides large cash prizes for designs to improve life." You can read more about it in this San Francisco Chronicle article. Its really a neat idea, and a great site. Clicking any of the categories at the top of the Index page -- Body, Home, Work, Play, Community -- will bring you to very short multimedia presentations on each invention; theyre very accessible to English Language Learners.

Share Your Ideas is a neat feature on the California Academy of Science Web site. Users easily can leave their ideas on how to help the environment, which then appear on a bulletin-board-like page. You can read more about the site here.

The Discovery Channel has come-up with just about the most creative way imaginable to help students remember the names of the planets in our solar system. Its called the Solar Symphony Game. I really cant explain it -- you have to check it out for yourself. It also has relatively accessible nuggets of information about each planet.

NASA @ Home & City is a terrific interactive site where NASA shows the practical implications of how space travel has affected out lives. The site is very well done, and audio support is provided for the text. Its quite accessible to English Language Learners.

The BBC has put together a nice summary of NASA"s Fifty Years In Space. Its mainly a collection of short video clips highlighting key moments.

Before and After Humans is an intriguing interactive site -- with images from MSNBC -- that forecasts various paths human evolution might take in the next few million years. The vocabulary is challenging -- even for advanced Intermediate English Language Learners -- but the images and potential paths are intriguing enough, I think, for students to fight through" for understanding.


Maxs Math Adventures is from Scholastic, and offers a variety of relatively simple math games. The key feature that makes it so useful to English Language Learners, though, is that audio support is provided for much of the text.

Learning Clip provides a ton of free interactive math activities. First, students listen to a brief cartoon video explaining a concept (The British accent might be difficult for some students). Then, users play games reinforcing the idea. Users have to register for the site, but its worth a visit. Note that some of the exercises now are only available for paid subscribers, but many are still accessible for free.

CyberChase from PBS has a great online talking calculator. Its a perfect way for English Language Learners to do their math and --through listening skills -- develop their language abilities.


The BBC recently announced a new Web site in their exceptional Bitesize" series. This one is called KS3 Bitesize. It includes activities for math, English, and science. What makes this site truly exceptional -- at least for English Language Learners -- is that all the neat exercises (listed as an Games") not only are very engaging and informative, but also have subtitles that make them more accessible to English Language Learners.

If you found this article useful, you might want to check out Larrys entire Best Of series, or consider subscribing to his free blog.

Larry Ferlazzo
Education World®
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