Science Sites

Science Learning Quests - Learning Quests for use in Science
Lesson Plans & Units of Instruction - Practical teaching information. teaching strategies, classroom management, lesson plans, activities and ideas related to Science
Life and Living - Biology, biodiversity, living together, structure and function
Earth and Beyond - Earth, sky and people; the changing earth; and our place on earth


Amazing Space
This website is sponsored by the Formal Education Group of the Space Telescope Science Institute. Their mission is to promote the science and majestic beauty of the universe for use in the classroom. The materials they specifically develop for educators are considered to be classroom-friendly, visually appealing, and carefully crafted to adhere to accepted educational standards. This organization hopes that by producing and sharing classroom resources based on the Hubble Space Telescope's greatest discoveries, that young people will enjoy learning more about the universe. Amazing Space has also earned accolades by many scientific organizations for its incisive and creative approach. The website won a Scientific American's Science & Technology Web Award in 2005; was considered a SciLINKS Outstanding Web Resource for Classroom Teachers; and received an A+ from EducationWorld.com.

The website itself is very visually appealing and engaging for those young minds who crave stimulation. The online explorations are amazing and very game-like, yet infused with tons of educational material. These explorations include: Planet Impact!, which lets students discover the force of gravity through speed and angles and pelt Jupiter with comets! There’s also No Escape: The Truth About Black Holes, where students can take the plunge into a virtual black hole and learn about Fall into one of Earth’s eeriest phenomena, as well as, the hypermedia presentation on Telescopes from the Ground Up, where students can learn at their own pace about the history of the telescope from Galileo's first look at the stars to the work of modern observatories. Most of these explorations are also provided with printable lesson material for in class use. Science teachers will also be interested in the solar system section under, “Capture the Cosmos”. This entire section deals specifically with the planets and materials found in the solar system. There are plenty of printable materials here for your use, as well.

Overall the website, features a glossary, the online explorations mentioned above, a science and space newsletter called The Star Witness for students and teachers, in-depth articles which provide Q’s and A’s, pictures, and online adventures, and finally videos featured for every month of the year. There’s even a homework help section! This is great if your students saw something on this site and have questions, they can come back and find out the answer!

Discovery EarthLive
This website is chock full of information about the Earth and the effects of global warming on the environment. Viewers can be connected with scientists in the field, receive current news and visual representations of data that have been gathered over the past 30 days, giving you a near-real time glimpse of the state of the earth. You can also view featured stories and create your own stories.
Creating your own stories is a special section that by uses layers. As the data that scientists collect increases, the number of layers will also increase giving the viewer numerous ways to create a story. Students can be as creative as they want-- adding and subtracting layers to see what stories develop. Students can even share their creations with others by clicking the Share Your Story button and posting the Discovery Earth Live widget to a web page.


Dive and Discover
An interactive distance learning website designed to get you excited about the discovery and exploration of the deep seafloor. While visiting this website, students will learn about problem solving, data analysis, and technology integration. Dive and Discover “brings you right on board a series of research cruises around the globe, and gives you access to the latest oceanographic and deep submergence research as it happens!”

Dive and Discover offers a chance to join scientists who are making amazing deep-sea discoveries and learn about scientific inquiry. Daily updates, photos, videos, and e-mail correspondence with scientists aboard research vessels allow you to follow the progress of the scientific mission and find out about life on the floating laboratories at sea. Currently, the website offers 12 different expeditions to explore with dates from 2000-2008.

There is also a section for teachers detailing how they can use information from Dive and Discover in their classroom. One of the most useful tools on the site could very well be the Glossary. Some of the topics might be older than the level of our kids, and the glossary is a great way to add vocabulary and knowledge and eventually understanding for our students. The glossary also provides links in which to jump from letter to letter, making navigation easier.

Most of the lesson offered on the teacher's section is for 8th grade and up. Although, one class contributed acrostic poems to the site and 6th grade is getting ready to head into poetry soon!


The Exploratorium
Online since 1993, the Exploratorium was one of the first science museums to build a site on the World Wide Web. Housed in San Francisco’s Palace of Fine arts, the online museum serves 20 millions visitors a year, making them the most visited museum on the web. Our site now contains over 18 thousand award-winning Web pages exploring hundreds of different topics, as well instructions for over 500 simple experiments, a variety of online exhibits using Shockwave, Flash, QuickTime VR, and other technologies, patterned after real exhibits on the museum floor. The Exploratorium has also recently added webcasts and podcasts to its website, which are broadcast live directly from the museum floor. These are providing access to events, scientists, artists, educators, and other museum resources for audiences on the Web.

Teachers can look for specifically for educational related materials under the “educate” tab located at the top of the home page. This page covers a range of materials from spotlighting specific questions, or offering instructional activities. This website can work for math and language arts, as well. There’s a math explorer database, that houses math activities at: http://www.exploratorium.edu/math_explorer/search.php?help=no. Language Arts teachers can use videos or photos for writing prompts. If you’re looking to get away for the summer, you could check out their summer institutes for teachers too!

The Exploratorium has a website listing their top 10 picks for coolest websites. Check it out at:
http://www.exploratorium.edu/learning_studio/sciencesites.html

National Science Digital Library (NSDL)
The NSDL was created by the National Science Foundation in 2000 to provide organized access to high quality resources and tools that support innovations in teaching and learning at all levels of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. The resources provided are aggregated from a variety of other digital libraries, NSF-funded projects, and NSDL-reviewed web sites. NSDL also provides access to services and tools that enhance the use of this content in a variety of contexts. NSDL is designed primarily for K-16 educators, but anyone
can access NSDL.org and search the library at no cost. Access to most of the resources discovered through NSDL are free. There is also an area on this site that focuses on resources for librarians. There are links for resources of interest, research articles, and newsfeeds, as well as, tools you can use in the library.

You can browse and search for resources by using:

  • Concept Maps, which help teachers connect concepts and standards and discover how scientific concepts relate to each other.
  • Topics of interest
  • Alphabetical List of Collections

When doing my own search, I typed in cells and came across a resource called “Quick Take on ... Sunshine, Rainbows and the Electromagnetic Spectrum”. I was sent to NASA’s Imagine the Universe website that shares information on Measuring the electromagnetic spectrum. This website included great graphics and images of the process, as well as, an activity for students to try and a quiz.
Another website under this same topic, was actually a WebQuest called “Visit Cell City”, that was looking for Middle School Internauts needed for an amazing intercellular adventure!!

I tried another search with biomes that led me to a website by the University of California’s Museum of Paleontology, that gave me some great resources (and nicely organized) facts and images about the biomes of the world.

My last search involved energy, in which I was taken to a website with a specific lesson already developed that helped students understand what energy is and how it works.

There’s an amazing amount of free resources on this website and I hope you find it helpful to you. If this is your first time using NSDL, they provide guides and resources for how to use the site effectively, such as how to navigate the site, what you can on the site, FAQ’s, and best ways to search for resources related to content.


ScienceFriday.com
Science Friday is a weekly science talk show, broadcast live over public radio stations nationwide from 2-4 p.m. Eastern time as part of NPR's 'Talk of the Nation' programming. Each week, they focus on science topics that are in the news and try to bring an educated, balanced discussion to bear on the scientific issues at hand. Panels of expert guests join Science Friday's host, Ira Flatow, a veteran science journalist, to discuss science - and to take questions from listeners during the call-in portion of the program.

In October 2002, the Kids Connection made its debut from Science Friday and offers a more teacher-friendly educational component. Kids Connection includes discussion ideas, activities, selected resources, and related science standards to link programming to the classroom curriculum and to help teachers freshen and energize the required curricula in middle schools. Used together, educators can make Talk of the Nation: Science Friday their weekly backgrounder, and the Kids Connection a springboard to curriculum enhancements, extra credit projects, or an accelerated learning program. Choose the ideas that best suit your students. Curriculum correlations in the Kids Connection are posted approximately one week following the original broadcast. Links in the Kids Connection were live at the time of posting. Check out the Kids' Connection here.


Science Friday also now offer “podcasts” of these live sessions so teachers and students can listen to the show at a later time. Visit the podcasting page for more information, or subscribe to this feed:http://www.sciencefriday.com/audio/scifriaudio.xml.


Science NetLinks
This website
provides a wealth of resources for K-12 science educators and is a great guide to finding meaningful standards-based Internet experiences for students. It is packed full of lesson plans, online resources, interactive activities that can be used on the Smart Board, and much more. Science NetLinks is part of the Thinkfinity program featured above. The best part of this website is the search function, which allows you look for material for your classroom. There are many activities under the 6-8 category that also can be used with the Smart Board. Look for this symbol which represents which lesson plan includes this feature. Below are some examples:

Lunar Cycle Challenge - The primary component of this tool is an online activity in which students "drag" moons to their correct places in lunar cycles. The activity is narrated and provides students with ongoing feedback and guidance. There are three levels in this Lunar Cycle Challenge, and after students successfully complete all three levels they can print out a certificate of completion. There is also a printable version of this tool, allowing for a hands-on activity in which students manipulate illustrations of the phases of the moon, placing them in the correct sequence in lunar cycles. This activity would probably be a good bet for ESL too. View the Lesson Plan.

All Systems Go - In this online activity, a fictional character, Arnold is missing a number of body parts. Students must choose the various body systems and from a variety of organs to put him back together again. Students can drag and drop all the organs that belong in that particular body system to Arnold's body. Once all four systems are complete, a clothed Arnold will appear. View the Lesson Plan.

Break It Down! - In this activity, students manipulate a system made up of ramps, switches, and gears. Marbles roll through the system and eventually hit a lever attached to a flagpole on the right side of the system. Each time the marble hits the lever, the flag goes up. If the flag falls all the way to the bottom, the system has broken down. Students must keep the flag from falling all the way to the bottom while removing parts of the system. The "Learn More" button provides students with background information about systems and encourages them to think about what they have learned in the context of other systems. View the Lesson Plan.
*Information provided by Science NetLinks and Teachers Love Smart Boards.

Windows to the Universe

Windows to the Universe
is a user-friendly learning system covering the Earth and Space sciences for use by the general public and has been in development since 1995. This organization’s goal is to build an internet site that includes a rich array of documents, including images, movies, animations, and data sets, and the historical and cultural ties between science, exploration, and the human experience. Due to the broad audience this organization covers, they have broken the site into three reading levels approximating elementary, middle school and high school reading levels. These levels may be chosen by using the upper button bar of each page of the main site. Middle school students would fall under the intermediate category.

This website looks to be full of various resources, including art, music, and mythology resources that correspond to the earth sciences. Sections of this website include, Postcards from the Field, which give students an opportunity to read scientists observations and experiences from places such as Antarctica; Citizen Scientist, where students can become the scientist and participant in web collaboration activities; and the Journal, a secured section where students can store their observations and writings. There is also a teacher resource section where teachers can find matching curriculum lesson plans and ideas, a teacher newsletter, educational links, and online professional development courses.