It’s time again for another list to join these previous year-end lists:
The criteria is the same as it has been in previous years. They have to be:
* Engaging and accessible to English Language Learners
* Provide English-language development opportunities as wells as science or math content
I’m not listing them in any order of preference, except for at the very end of this post. There, I’ll highlight the number one site for both Science and Math this year — it’s the same for both.
Here are my choices for The Best Science & Math Sites — 2009:
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. It’s a Danish-based effort that provides large cash prizes for “designs to improve life.” You can also read more about it at this San Francisco Chronicle article. It’s really a neat idea, and a great site. If you click on any of the categories at the top of the Index page — Body, Home, Work, Play, Community — it will bring you to very short multimedia presentations on each invention, and they’re very accessible to English Language Learners.
Share Your Ideas is a neat feature on the California Academy of Science website. Users can easily leave their ideas on how to help the environment, which then appear on sort of 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. It’s called the Solar Symphony Game. I really can’t explain it — you have to check it out for yourself. It also has relatively accessible nuggets of information about each planet, too.
NASA At Home & City is a terrific interactive where NASA shows the practical implications of how space travel has affected out lives. It’s very well done, and audio support is provided for the text. It’s quite accessible to English Language Learners.
The BBC has put together a nice summary of NASA”s Fifty Years In Space. It’s mainly a collection of short video clips highlighting key moments.
Before and After Humans is an intriguing interactive with images from MSNBC that forecasts various paths human evolution might take in the next few million years. The vocabulary is going to be challenging — even for advanced Intermediate English Language Learners — but the images and potential paths are going to be intriguing enough, I think, for students to “fight through” for understanding.
Max’s Math Adventures is from Scholastic, and offers a variety of relatively simple math games. The key feature, though, that makes it so useful to English Language Learners 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 the concept (the British accent might make things difficult for some students). Then, users play games reinforcing the idea. You have to first register for the site. It’s worth a visit. They do have a notice, however, saying that some of their exercises will only be available for paid subscribers after January 16th, 2010. I hope most of them are still accessible for free.
CyberChase from PBS has a great online talking calculator. It’s a perfect way for English Language Learners to do their math and, through listening skills, developing their language abilities.
THE NUMBER ONE SITE FOR BOTH SCIENCE & MATH:
The BBC has recently announced a new website in their exceptional “Bitesize” series. This one is called KS3 Bitesize. It includes activities for Math, English and Science. What makes it truly exceptional — at least for English Language Learners — is that all the neat exercises listed as an “Activity” on the site not only are very engaging and informative, but have subtitles which make them more accessible to English Language Learners.
You might want to look at the other over 350 “The Best….” lists, including many related to Science and Math.
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