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Interactives for Engaged Science Discovery

by Lori Gracey
If there’s any subject area that can benefit from powerful Web 2.0 tools and interactives, it’s science. Complex topics, messy hands-on activities, and dangerous chemicals cry out for a technological solution. These hands-on resources can help your students better understand a difficult topic or extend their learning.
  • If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel shows students the true size of our solar system. Scrolling (forever) gives us a taste of the vastness of space in this accurate portrait.
  • The Compound Machine from EdHeads teaches how forces and simple machines can work together.
  • Learn the parts of animal, plant, and bacterial cells with Cell Games (for middle school students).
  • The BBC offers several different interactives on the human body at this website for high school students.
  • Are you really in danger when you are taking those hairpin turns and death-defying loops on a roller coaster? Discover how amusement park rides use the laws of physics to simulate danger, while keeping the rides safe.
  • In this interactive from Nova, take a look at the population ecology of the mass-seeding oak tree.
  • Learn about hearing in this series of interactives called How Your Brain Understands What Your Ears Hear.
  • Build your own interactive models of almost anything with the Molecular Workbench. These interactive simulations for high school students can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
  • Wonderville is a fun, interactive destination for elementary kids to discover the exciting world of science.
  • Be a virtual rocket scientist as you launch rockets with this fun interactive from NASA. Three different missions are available to allow for a variety of skill levels.
  • Explore all of the systems of human anatomy with InnerBody, an amazingly detailed website.


 Additional science interactives can be found here and here. And you can find an excellent list of science interactives broken down by topic here. These should keep you going all year long!

How can you ensure success when using any interactive in the classroom? Here are some tips:

  • The key to using any interactive with students is to first test it yourself. Try doing some things correctly and also wrong, just to see how the interactive responds.
  • Notice any key concepts during the interactive that you think students may have difficulty with and prepare to pre-teach those before they begin.
  • Also, determine if the interactive is best used individually, in pairs, in small groups, or as a whole group.
  • Next, decide how you will evaluate what students learn from the interactive. Will they do a brief report? Complete an exit ticket? Do a Pair/Share? Take a quiz?
  • Finally, you may want to ask students to share with you what they liked about the interactive and what they didn’t like to help you decide if you will use it again.

If you’re interested in using technology to teach science concepts, join us for the free-to-members webinar “iOS Apps for Science” on Sept. 30 at 11:45 a.m. Central.

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