Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

March 5, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

New Online Learning Games For Language-Learning (Plus, A Little Science)


I’ve previously posted
how I use online video games for language learning, and have shared links to many of them. Here are two new ones:

Here’s a link to the game, Words (click English), and here’s its Walkthrough.

Escape from Mr. K’s Room 4 and here is its Walkthrough.

This next game is a little different. Citizen Sort creates free online video games where players sort and identify items as part of a serious science investigation. One of their series of games is called “Happy Match” where you have to describe various images. You can see the screenshot above. It appears to me that it could be useful for English Language Learners to learn some vocabulary, plus learn a little science, too. They have some other games on the site, and say they’re coming out with another one that looks particularly interesting called “Mark With Friends” that might also have ELL potential.

Print Friendly

March 1, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The “All-Time” Best Science Sites


I’ve been posting annual lists of The Best Science Sites for a number of years.

I thought it would be useful for readers, my students, and me to review them all and identify my choices for the “all-time” best ones.

I’ve begun creating a number of these “All-Time” Best list, with The “All-Time” Best Ways To Create Online Content Easily & Quickly being the first ; The “All-Time” Best Web 2.0 Applications For Education second;  The “All-Time” Best Videos For Educators third;  The “All-Time” Best Online Learning Games was the fourth one; and The “All-Time” Best Social Studies Sides was fifth.

Look for quite a few more “All-Time” Best lists over the next couple of months.

There are nearly 1,300 Best lists now that are categorized and updated regularly.  You can see them all here.

Here are my choices for  The “All-Time” Best Science Sites (let me know which ones I’m missing — I’ll also be adding to this list after I do a complete review of Science sites I’ve published on this blog. Also, these are not listed in any order of preference):

The New York Times has begun producing one minute “Science Takes” videos on its website. You can see them all here.

Big Facts On Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security is an extremely impressive new interactive site on the effects of climate change. It shows its effect in a variety of ways on every region on the earth.

Here’s how it describes itself:

Big Facts is a resource of the most up-to-date and robust facts relevant to the nexus of climate change, agriculture and food security. It is intended to provide a credible and reliable platform for fact checking amid the range of claims that appear in reports, advocacy materials and other sources. Full sources are supplied for all facts and figures and all content has gone through a process of peer review.

The Guardian has  published an interactive infographic that lets you see the temperature change over the past one hundred years in most locations in the world. Just type in your city and country and, voila, you see it graphed for your location.

100,000 Stars is a new interactive from Google that is an amazing visualization of the universe.  I liked “taking a tour,” which you can click on in the upper left hand corner.

Science Friday, the popular NPR program, has an amazing amount of resources for teachers, and everybody else, online.

Planet Quest: The Search For Another Earth is an “out of this world” site from NASA.

CronoZoom is a wild browser-based history of the universe — about 14 billion years worth.

If you were as amazed as I was by the original Scale Of The Universe, you have to check out Scale Of The Universe 2. This interactive shows you — literally — the scale of the universe.

McDougal Littell’s Class Zone site is on many of my Social Studies related “The Best…” lists — their interactives are incredible (the links I have in this post may, or may not, bring you directly to the interactives. If you get sent to a map, just click the subject you’re interested in and click on California. That will lead you to different textbooks — then click on one of them. That will lead you to the interactives). However, I realize I’ve never written about their equally as impressive high school biology sites. It, too, has plenty of interactive, and most provide audio support for the text.

The Exploratorium has reorganized all their interactives into one Explore page.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has a site with a number of excellent science interactives which provide audio support for the text.

A Journey Through Climate History is a very, very impressive interactive from ABC in Australia. It highlights key events affecting climate change over the past one hundred ten years.

Curiosity is a website — and a television series — from the Discovery Channel. People send in their questions — and there are some fascinating questions — and get accessible multimedia answers in return. You can also apply to become an expert to help answer questions, too.

A couple of years ago, Richard Byrne posted about a neat BBC interactive on rocks. I was pretty impressed, because it had subtitles and was relatively accessible to English Language Learners. So I explored the site a little further and found that the BBC Schools Bitesize KS3 site had a whole series of similarly accessible activities.

First, go to their main Science page. Next, click on any of the four primary categories:

Organisms, behaviour and health

Chemical and material behaviour

Energy, electricity and forces

The environment, the Earth and the universe

Each of these four sections has multiple “activities,” which are animated exercises that have audio and subtitles.

Universcale compares various microscopic entities. That description does not do justice to the site — you need to go there to check it out. It can be a bit confusing, and much of the language will not be accessible to English Language Learners. However, the images can be used effectively by teachers of all students.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of National History has a website from their Human Origins program called “What Does It Mean To Be Human?” It’s an amazing multimedia site on human evolution.

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History sponsors its “Ocean Portal.” You can find just about anything about our oceans there, including slideshows, videos, interactive timelines, etc.

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.

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.

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.

Ology is from the American Museum of Natural History.  It has numerous excellent activities on topics like biodiversity, archeology, and astronomy.

Harcourt’s online activities to support its Science Up Close textbooks are available free online. These are great interactive activities on numerous topics.

BBC Science Clips  are numerous, and well-designed, virtual science experiments.

Houghton Mifflin Science’s Discover! Simulations are extraordinary interactives covering many areas.  It also has a good glossary with audio support.

Learning Science has a great collection online science activities.

FOSSweb is the online component of the exceptional curriculum created by the University of California. It has a series of science experiments students can explore online (click on “enter as a guest.”  The activities are based on grade levels – from kindergarten to middle school.

California Science from MacMillan/McGraw Hill 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.

Print Friendly

January 21, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

A Beginning List Of The Best Resources On California’s Drought

'scientists prepare for planet mars via the mojave' photo (c) 2009, woodleywonderworks - license:

As you may already know, here in California we’re experiencing the driest winter in recorded history.

I figured now is as good as time as any to being a “Best” list that I’m sure will be expanding greatly over the coming months.

Feel free to offer suggestions of resources I should add to list.

You might also be interested in The Best Resources For Teaching & Learning About World Water Day.

You probably want to start with pretty good overview, including charts, graphs and images, from The Atlantic — After Its Driest Year Ever, California Desperately Needs the East Coast’s Snow.

The San Francisco Chronicle has a great site on the drought.

Then, visit The Best Resources For Learning About The Drought Of 2012 (& Beyond). I created that list in….2012, about the drought that was affecting other parts of the U.S., and it has a number of applicable resources.

The U.S. Government has a special “Drought Portal.”

California’s drought situation in pictures – what a difference one year makes is from What’s Up With That?

California’s historic drought – in pictures is from The Guardian.

6 Scary Facts About California’s Drought is from Mother Jones.

Check Out Shocking Map of California’s Drought is from Mother Jones.

Calif. calls for water conservation in response to record drought is from The PBS News Hour.

California’s drought could mean bad news at the grocery store is also from The News Hour.

Stunning Before and After Photos of California’s Lakes Depleted by Extreme Drought is from The Weather Channel.

Infographic: 10 Ways to Stop Wasting Water is from GOOD Magazine.

5 ways to teach kids about the California drought is from Southern California Public Radio.

This 60 Minutes 2009 report on California’s drought then has a lot of relevance for today.

California’s Historic Drought is a photo gallery from The Atlantic.

Parched is a chart from The Economist.

What the Devastating Droughts in California and Texas Look Like When Graphed is from The Atlantic.

Mapping the Spread of Drought Across the U.S. is from The New York Times.

The Most Water-Consuming States Are The Ones In Drought

Drought in California – in pictures is from The Guardian.

Tapping the final reservoir is an infographic from The Washington Post.

14 Facts Everyone Should Know About The California Drought is from BuzzFeed.

You might want to explore my 1,200 other “Best” lists, too.

Print Friendly

January 10, 2014
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Sites For Learning About The International Space Station

'RRM Installed onto Permanent Home on the International Space Station' photo (c) 2013, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center - license:

With this week’s decision by the Obama Administration to extend the life of the International Space Station until 2024, I figured it was time for me to create a “Best” list on the facility.

It’s a quick one for now, and I’ll be adding more over the coming weeks.  Of course, I invite readers suggestions, too!

Here they are:

Deconstructing The ISS is a neat interactive about the International Space Station from The Washington Post.

I have a ton of videos and images take from the station on The Best Images Taken In Space list.

A Decade on the Fly: Building the International Space Station–Module by Module [Slide Show]

NASA has created an amazing slideshow of the International Space Station compiling photos taking from a recent Soyuz flight.

NASA’s multimedia presentation on the International Space Station provides excellent info.

This MSNBC video showing images of the recently-completed Station is pretty amazing.

The New York Times has a nice interactive timeline called “Assembling The International Space Station.” USA Today has a similar graphic.

Space Walk, from “Life In Space,” lets you simulate being an astronaut repairing the International Space Station.

The Boston Globe has some pretty amazing images of the International Space Station .

NASA has a great site about the International Space Station.  It has cool images and interviews with astronauts.

The interviews have a closed-captioned option, so that will make it more accessible to English Language Learners.

You might also be interested in A Collection Of “The Best…” Lists On Space.

Print Friendly

December 22, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

The Best Science Sites Of 2013 – Part Two


Well, this is the last of my annual lists for this year. You can see all twenty-one “The Best of 2013″ lists here.

You might also be interested in:

The Best Science Sites Of 2013 – So Far

The Best Science Sites Of 2012 — Part Two

The Best Science Sites Of 2012 — Part One

The Best Science Sites Of 2011

The Best Science Sites Of 2011 — So Far

The Best Science Websites — 2010

The Best Science & Math Sites — 2009

The Best Science & Math Websites — 2008

The Best Science Websites For Students & Teachers — 2007

Here are my choices for The Best Science Sites Of 2013 — Part Two (not in any order of preference):

I’ve added this video to The Best Images Taken In Space:

The New York Times has begun producing one minute “Science Takes” videos on its website.

You can see them all here.

I’ve embedded one below, though you may have to click through to see it if you’re reading this post in an RSS Reader:

I posted about an ambitious special New York Times feature on science education. I think the best part of it was their inviting people to respond to this question: What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?

Here are student responses.

Here’s a video by Symphony of Science — learning about black holes has never been so interesting!

You just have to love this infographic:

Moon Phases Explained (with Oreos)

by mhars.
Explore more infographics like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

You can read more about NASA’s latest video on climate change showing what happens to the United States.

I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn About Climate Change.

You better believe I’m adding this photo of earth from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft near Saturn to The Best Images Taken In Space. You can see more of NASA’s photos here and read about the mission here.




The Best Resources For “Moon Day”

How Big Is The Ocean? is a TED-Ed video and lesson plan.

I’m adding it to The Best Web Tools That Show You Objects To Scale.


Four Ways To Visually & Musically Chart Global Warming

TED-Ed just published a series of fun videos and accompanying lessons on the topic “If Superpowers Were Real.”

The videos and lesson are on super speed, super strength, invisibility, body mass, immortality and flight.

Here’s the introductory video:

Print Friendly

December 22, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: “NASA | Earthrise: The 45th Anniversary”

From NASA:

In December of 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first people to leave our home planet and travel to another body in space. But as crew members Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders all later recalled, the most important thing they discovered was Earth.

Using photo mosaics and elevation data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), this video commemorates the 45th anniversary of Apollo 8′s historic flight by recreating the moment when the crew first saw and photographed the Earth rising from behind the Moon. Narrator Andrew Chaikin, author of A Man on the Moon, sets the scene for a three-minute visualization of the view from both inside and outside the spacecraft accompanied by the onboard audio of the astronauts.

I’m adding this to The Best Images Taken In Space:

Print Friendly

November 20, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Video: Rube Goldberg Machine Ad To Show That “girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses”

In case you haven’t yet seen this ad that shows ” girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses,” here it is (you can read more about it at The New York Times).

I’m adding it to The Best Resources For Learning About Rube Goldberg Machines.

Print Friendly

September 12, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Voyager Has Left The Solar System — Here Are Some Useful Resources

September 3, 2013
by Larry Ferlazzo

Special NY Times Section On Science Education

'The New York Times' photo (c) 2008, Joe Shlabotnik - license:

The New York Times just published a special section on science education called Science Times Special Section: Learning What Works. It seems surprisingly ambitious. Here are just a few of the articles it includes:

Sesame Street Widens Its Focus

Young Students Against Bad Science

Standard-Bearer in Evolution Fight: Eugenie C. Scott Fights the Teaching of Creationism in Schools

Guesses and Hype Give Way to Data in Study of Education

Field Testing The Math Apps

Two interactive features — first, where suggestions on how to improve science education (many which sound pretty good) are shared and, secondly, a science “quiz.”

The New York Times Learning Network is inviting students to contribute their answers to this question: What Memorable Experiences Have You Had in Learning Science or Math?

Print Friendly