At an early age, children are intrigued with the world around them, with the way things work, why animals act the way they do, and what would happen if…This interest, however, rarely turns into a passion for science at a higher level. Students need creative and proactive science education if they are to become excited enough to want to cure cancer, design the next Generation Mars rocket, become the next Bill Gates; simply put, to consider science as a career. To that end, we've chosen some BESSIE winners that highlight science.
WebCam Laboratory turns a computer - desktop or laptop - into a potent research tool, offering users the ability to scientifically observe, analyze, measure, and record using the built-in tools: Kinematics, Microscope, Motion Cam, Time Lapse Cam, Pathfinder, and Universal Logger. We'd like to see what a film student and science geek could do with this marvelous tool, but ways to explore WebCam Laboratory are limited only by the imagination of the user.
For upper elementary students and their teachers or parents, PowerKids Earth & Space Science (Rosen Publishing) is a terrific online science resource. Impeccably organized by topic (toggle between Earth and Space), information is kid-friendly, accurate, and timely; the games educational and fun. So, the next time little Johnny wants to know why the sky is blue, if the moon is really made of green cheese, or what to do for the Science Fair, let PowerKids Earth & Space Science answer the question.
Middle schoolers will get a kick out of Science Alberta Foundation's Wonderville, an edgy website specifically designed to create and promote interest in science. Organized around the major topics of Fun Science, Neat Jobs, and Awesome Tech, pre-teens and teens can choose from Activities (hands-on), Comics, Games, or Videos. Free to all, Wonderville, while still in development, offers an invaluable tool to teachers, providing a very contemporary resource with which they can tackle topics such as nano technology, facial recognition, robotics, and Virtual Reality.
Rocks and Weather and Seasons are two "Learning Spot Lessons" from Carson-Dellosa. These interactive whiteboard software units have colorful graphics, and offer lots of opportunities for interaction to help elementary level kids grasp basic science concepts. The Rocks unit teaches about metamorphic, igneous and sedimentary rocks. Sorting and classifying activities reinforce learning.
Science Simulation Tools (grades 9-12) brings scientific inquiry to life with its high-definition graphics and hands-on interactive (virtual) experiments: Rock Kit (the child is a geologist, and uses 3D tools and investigative videos to explore the properties of rocks and minerals); Virtual Pan Balance (students weigh objects, compare measurements and examine conversions); Spring Scale (a simulation tool for measuring mass and force); and Chemical Reactions (an interactive periodic table and equation editor allow students to build chemical reactions and compounds, view videos of chemical reactions, and record observations).
The Science of Everyday Life website is chock full of science facts, activities and virtual experiments for everyone: Teachers - Find printable lesson plans that address key areas of life science, physical science, earth science, and technology/innovation, aligned to national standards. Families - Is there chemistry in the kitchen? Is there physics at the park? Fun, family activities and high quality videos help students discover the real-world science around them. Students - Virtual labs give students practice with creating and conducting investigations. The 3M Wind Energy Virtual Lab is a sophisticated model, where students can design, build and test a wind turbine that can supply 400 homes with electricity. How cool is that!