10 Online Tools That Can Bring Science to Life for Your Students

By Christine Feher

In a time when there’s a lot of focus on STEM education, finding great resources for students is important. A great resource for students is engaging, informative, and fun—it makes sure they keep coming back. At CalPac (the public, online California charter school I lead), our team of science teachers has experience in teaching and private industry science labs, and we wanted to take a moment to share our top list of web resources that we use in the online classroom, for independent student learning, and when tutoring.

1) Kahoot! (See their Biology and Chemistry offerings)

Kahoot! is an educational tool that can be used on any device that has wifi (even smartphones!). This tool can be used in a classroom to pit students against one another in a game setting. Or students can play by themselves to test their own knowledge. Either way, this resource appeals to the competitive spirit!

2) Discovery Education

If you are looking for free, standards-based digital content, look no further. This website has resources for students, parents, and educators. On this site, you’ll find games and get homework help. There are even resources for other subjects, though their Science tools are exceptional. For teachers (including homeschool parents), this website acts as a great way to connect with other educators.

3) Froguts

If you don’t want to cut open a frog on your dining room table, this software has incredible virtual dissection labs that bring science into your home (but not on your table). Though this resource is a paid subscription, the experience is well worth the cost. Topics integrate new NGSS standards (Next Generation Science Standards) and inquiry-based learning.

4) The Physics Classroom

Need a resource that’s active on twitter? Follow @physxclassroom and your students will love the real-life examples that bring Physics concepts to life. Their website features tutorials, interactives, concept builders, and teacher resources. You won’t want to miss this one-stop Physics shop!

5) Science Friday

People spend, on average, 4 hours a day listening to audio. Want to tap into podcasts as a medium for your students? Science Friday produces a weekly podcast that tackles various scientific topics. A few recent topics include:

  • October 6, 2017: The U.S. government has big trouble managing mustangs. Plus, the ABCs of altcoins, blockchains and cryptocurrency.
  • September 22, 2017: Why long dead dinosaurs have plenty to teach us about our future earth. And wildfires have scorched 8.5 million acres of land this year—a look at what’s fueling these fires.

6) PBS Learning Media

This website is multisubject, but can be sorted by grade level and subject. Resources include audio, video, images, PDFs, etc. Here’s one of our favorites for Chemistry—a lesson on ionic bonding.

7) Cells Alive!

If cells, microbes, and the immune system are your thing, this website has games, puzzles, and models to help students interact with science. This resource is great for teachers who are looking for worksheets or quizzes to use in class.

8) Periodic Table of Elements

This online resource puts everything you ever need to know about the elements in one place. It will link every element to its Wikipedia page, give the electron count, state the properties of each element, and more. It’s got everything you will ever need if you’re cramming for a Chemistry Periodic Table quiz.

9) Live Science

For “the science geek in everyone,” Live Science is perfect for the student who wants to browse. The website covers the latest scientific news, and includes other topics such as health, technology, earth, space, etc. A compelling section of the website is “Strange News,” which features such headlines as “People Are Freaking Out Over This Monster Fungus That Smells Like Rotting Crab” or “’Yeti’ Hair? Nothing So Abominable, Scientists Find.” For those with an inquisitive mind, this site is a must.

10) Science Buddies

This resource rounds out the top 10 with a focus on Careers in Science. Though there are other resources such as science fair ideas, parent/student/teacher tools, and “ask an expert,” it’s the career section that is particularly engaging for students. Careers are labeled as “in demand” for the job market, and students can explore key facts and education requirements for each area. This is a crucial resource for College and Career Readiness standards.

For more STEM resources, see:

Christine Feher is the Principal of CalPac, a tuition-free public online charter school open to students across eight Southern California counties. Connect with CalPac on Twitter: @CalPac_Online

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