Friday, May 23, 2008

K-12 Science Online

There are thousands of websites with science content or lesson plans or activities but where do you start? How do you know it's any good? How can you avoid wasting your time? Sean Cavanagh reports in Digital Directions on three great sites to go to for science resources.

The best-known site in the article is the National Science Digital Library, supported by the National Science Foundation. The resources range from K-12 to college. The search engine gives more focused hits than a general search engine like Google. "Pathways" offers a series of links "arranged by the library in cooperation with outside organizations, which offer specialized information grouped by topic, grade level, or some other designation" on chemistry, biology, computer science and other subjects. All material is reviewed before being put on the site and is removed if it becomes out-of-date or proves to be questionable. Most of the resources are free but look carefully--some links charge a fee for resources.

The National Science Teachers Association also offers online resources for K-12 teachers. Since the NSTA wants to reach as many science teachers as possible to help increase the quality of science instruction across the board, vetted resources are offered at the website free of charge. Soon, NSTA hopes to organize all its resources for teachers under a single Learning Center site. Two of the most popular resources at the NSTA site are SciLinks, "which offers teachers connections between textbook topics and NSTA-approved Web resources," and SciGuides, which organize lesson plans and activities by topic for easy reference.

Teacher's Domain offers multimedia resources for science. Teacher's Domain was developed by WGBH in Boston. Links at Teacher's Domain provide brief essays. discussion questions and videos. While studying tsunamis, for example, students can click on a map of the Indian Ocean to see the science of how the wave formed and caused the destruction it did.

With so much on the Web to choose from, it helps to know of a few trustworthy and vetted online resources to help you round out this school year or plan the next.

SOURCE: "Finding Online Science Sources" 01/23/08
photo courtesy of spacepleb, used under this Creative Commons license


Anne Johnson, Amador HS said...

I use Teachers' Domain in my classroom at least once a week, and my student's love it! It's a great resource to tie in with your lesson plan. The video lengths are perfect, and so are the lesson plans and discussion questions.

Dedra Johnson said...

Thanks for the feedback, Anne! It's great to know what's working.