This list has been the hardest one for me to put together. I’m not a Science teacher. However, I often use Science experiments as a vehicle for teaching English to recent immigrants. It’s a “hands-on” activity, and provides a rich common class experience to talk, write, read, and speak about together.
Science (and, I think, just about everything else, too) is best learned by doing it in the physical world. However, many of the sites on this list offer great virtual environments in which knowledge learned in the “real” world can be reinforced. In addition, I found that many of my more advanced English Language Learners (who were taking other Science classes) found the accessible sites I posted on the Science page of my website very helpful to them.
Most of these sites are supposed to be designed for students at middle-school (fourteen-years-old) and below. However, I’ve got to say that not only do I think that they’re accessible and challenging to English Language Learners and native-English speakers, I’ve certainly learned a lot of new stuff from the sites myself…
The number ten site, as well as number nine, are webpages where teachers can get great ideas for science experiments to do in the classroom. The remaining top ones are all online sites for students.
And, lastly, as in my other lists, some of these sites were around prior to 2007. However, since I didn’t blog about them before this year, I’m counting them for this list.
So, after that lengthy preamble, here are my top ten picks for this year’s Best Science Websites:
Number ten is Science Snacks from San Francisco’s Exploritorium. It has examples of great science experiments to do at school.
Try Science is ranked at number nine. It, too, has numerous examples of simple experiments students can do in class. The site itself is very well-designed, attractive, and accessible.
I’ve put CARET Science Puzzles at the eighth spot. These are great activities designed by the Centre For Applied Research in Educational Technologies. I particularly like the fact that each puzzle has two options — one for younger and the other for older students.
Number seven is Ology from the American Museum of Natural History. It has numerous excellent activities on topics like biodiversity, archeology, and astronomy.
Number six is Harcourt’s online activities to support its Science Up Close textbooks. These are great interactive activities on numerous topics.
The fifth-ranked site contains the well-know BBC Science Clips. These are numerous, and well-designed, virtual science experiments.
Number four is Houghton Mifflin Science’s Discover! Simulations. These are extraordinary interactives covering many areas. It also has a good glossary with audio support.
The third-ranked site is Learning Science. A partnership, including Temple University and a local school district, has developed the site. It has a great collection online science activities.
Number two is FOSSweb. It’s the online component of the exceptional curriculum created by the University of California. it has a series of science experiments students can explore online. The activities are based on grade levels – from kindergarten to middle school. You need a password to access the middle school exercises, but you can obtain that in less than a minute.
And my pick for the number Science Website of the Year is…. California Science from MacMillan/McGraw Hill. It has some great online activities. However, what makes this site stand-out (and my ESL/EFL bias is clear here) is that it contains translations in many languages (including Hmong!) of the science concepts taught in the textbooks.
Again, all these links, and more, can also be found on my Science page.
If you found this post useful, you might want to explore my other lists of Websites Of The Year. More will be added later this week.