Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Science & Math Websites — 2008

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Last year I posted two separate lists — The Best Math Websites For English Language Learners — 2007 and The Best Science Websites For Students & Teachers — 2007. This year, though, I’ve decided to combine the two since I wasn’t able to find as many math sites I thought were worth highlighting.

The criteria remains the same — they have to be free, engaging, and accessible to English Language Learners.  They might have been around prior to this year, but since I didn’t know about them earlier I’m including them in this year’s list.

Links to all of them and more can also be found on my website on the Math and Science pages.

You might also want to see The Best Sites To Introduce Environmental Issues Into The Classroom.

My choices for The Best Science & Math Websites — 2008 are not generally in order of preference.  However, I do have a clear choice for the number one site — and the same site is number one for both Science:and Math.  Plus, I haven’t posted about it before.

Here are my picks:

SCIENCE

The Global Warming Facts and Our Future from the National Academy of Sciences is a very engaging and extensive site, and includes audio support for the text. The vocabulary may be pretty challenging for Intermediate English Language Learners, but it’s worth the attempt.

The Human Footprint Interactive is an engaging activity that helps the user determine how much they consume each year, and how that compares with residents of different countries.  The language is accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.

Safe Drinking Water is a site developed by the Academy of Sciences to highlight worldwide water issues. It has several good videos that are closed-captions, along with an atlas showing which countries have less or more access to water resources. It’s definitely accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.

Science Activity Movies from Primary Science in Ireland are movies about….science.  They’re well-done animated movies with subtitles on topics such as triangles, crystals, periscopes and rockets.  They’re presented in very simple English, and would be accessible to Early Intermediate and above English Language Learners.

Glossopedia is an interactive site about nature, the environment and animals.  It seems to be geared toward elementary school students, and is also accessible to early Intermediate English Language Learners.

Discovery Education recently announced the We Can Change the World Challenge. On the new website they have a number of environmental-related interactives called Virtual Labs that are accessible to Intemediate English Language Learners.

Engaging Science hosts several excellent interactive games, including ones on sound, space, and wetlands. They’re great for English Language Learners since the text is simple, audio support is provided, and the graphics are good.

Pearson has a nice Earth Science Audio Glossary. it shows the text, and pronounces, both the word and the definition.

A Walk In The Forest is a series of animated interactives using scientific research to learn about forests. You’re “accompanied” by virtual scientists from the Smithsonian Institution. All the animations provide image and audio support for the test, and are accessible to Early Intermediate English Language Learners.

Smash Lab is a game from the Discovery Channel where you can play physics and engineering-related games that allow you to… smash things. There is some language-development activity involved in having to play the games, but not a whole lot. However, if you register (which is easy to do, though you can play games without signing-up) you can create various levels for the games. Developing levels and then describing what you’ve done in writing and/or orally can indeed be an excellent activity for English Language Learners.

The American Museum of Natural History has an excellent feature called Science Bulletins.  It has an extensive collection (and appears to be regularly updated) of short interactives and videos about important science issues. They are surprisingly accessible to English Language Learners, and the videos provide closed-captions.

MATH

Tutpup is a new site where students can compete in math or spelling games against other students from around the world anonymously — either with a made-up name or no name at all.  There are a number of sites where users can compete in learning games like these. The problem I’ve had with them is that there is no way to “level the playing the field.” In other words, an English Language Learner might be playing against a native-English speaker. A situation like that does not create much encouragement for an ELLer if they are going to lose all the time.  However, the key difference between Tutpup and these other sites is that Tutpup has multiple levels of play to choose from going from extremely easy to extremely hard. This ability to choose your level helps a lot.  Plus, there’s a teacher’s option that allows students to sign-up in a class and students choose to play online with their classmates.

Math Moves U is a pretty cool looking series of interactive math activities that would be accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.

Math Hunt comes from Scholastic, and consists of many science and social studies related math problems. Users connect math to issues like sports, natural disasters, and ancient civilizations, and “hunt” for math answers among various resources. There are lots of opportunities for language-development in the process, too, and its accessible to Intermediate English Language Learners.

THE NUMBER ONE SITE FOR BOTH SCIENCE AND MATH — 2008

My choice for the Best Science and Math Site for 2008 is…Skool. Go to the site and click on the menu at the top for Key Stage 3 or Key Stage 4. It will lead you to many excellent audio and animated lessons related to Science and Math. They’re all very accessible to English Language Learners.

Feel free to contribute your own favorites, too, by leaving a comment.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Tangled Bank #118: Yes We Did Edition

  2. Pingback: The Computer Lab : Google

  3. Hello Larry
    both mathematics based

    http://www.wtamu.edu/academic/anns/mps/math/mathlab/

    http://www.purplemath.com/modules/index.htm

    You could build a virtual H.S. math curriculum!
    James

  4. Pingback: My Weekly Diigo Bookmarks (weekly) | My Squirrelly View of Education

  5. Really good article. And I agree that websites mentioned here are really good.
    I would also like to let you know about our website http://www.edugain.com for Math practice. Kids can either print the worksheets or solve online.
    The main feature of this website is that questions on this website never repeats!

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