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10 Science Online Game Collections Kids Can Play in Their Free Time


10 Science Online Game Collections Kids Can Play in Their Free Time

Science in particular has a great many subjects which benefit from visual models and animated examples.  Furthermore, kids of nearly all ages naturally gravitate to things that resemble games since they understand and respect their mechanics and rules.  Take advantage of this match made in heaven and look over these curated collections of web-based science games that kids can play at school and at home to reinforce what they are learning in class.  Since science often gets less time in the limelight than subjects such as language arts and math, these games are also a great way to get in some extra practice that you may not have freedom to devote direct teaching time to.


Use the grade level categories below as a loose guide, as many of the collections also include games for adjacent grade levels!


Primary Science Websites

Turtle Diary 

Over eighty games, the vast majority of which are for students pre-k through grade 2, on a surprisingly wide variety of science topics appropriate to the age group.


PBS Kids 

Character themed science games about weather, gardening, ecosystems, basic physics and more.


Middle Elementary

Science Kids 

Almost thirty games subdivided into three sections: living things, physical processes & solids, liquids and gases.  


Sheppard Software 

Twelve chemical element games, six nutrition games and fifteen more science games on various subjects.


Upper Elementary

Mr. Nussbaum 

Over thirty different science-themed games, along with instructional activities and/or videos for each one.


Middle School

NASA's Space Place 

Space, weather and tech themed games, with some videos and craft ideas in the educator section.


Legends of Learning 

Earth and space science, life science and physical science games. Legends of Learning games align to national Common Core and NGSS standards for Math and Science, with thousands of games and assessment items for middle and elementary school.  


Game On Learning - Middle School Science 

Energy management, microbiology, physics and more can be explored in seven games and links to three more websites that host multiple games.


Early High School

Game On Learning - High School Science 

Chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, and more feature in this list of nine games.


Late High School

Science Game Center

Botany, biology, ecology, meteorology and more!  The game mechanics also offer enough complexity to engage older students.  Some of these games have to actually be downloaded onto your computer, so be sure to check the “Available on” part of the game profile if you only want to use web-based games.


If you’re having trouble finding what you need to support your teaching on one of these lists, try opening up Google and typing in “[[subject] or [standard]] game for [grade level]“ to find something aligned more closely to your unit. 


10 Science Online Game Collections Kids Can Play in Their Free Time


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8 Ways Non-Techie Teachers Can Incorporate Technology in the Classroom


 8 Ways Non-Techie Teachers Can Incorporate Technology in the Classroom



Here are some user-friendly, innovative ways that even non-techie teachers can integrate technology in the classroom. These things that don't have a big learning curve, and that can be implemented without adding stress.

But first, survival tips when trying any new technology:
  • Don’t worry about mastering everything. Pick one or two things to focus on getting better at this year.
  • Don’t compare yourself to the teacher down the hall. There will always be someone who is doing more with technology, or doing it “better”. So what?
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If there isn’t someone at school, get connected with an online community like my Facebook Group.
  • Expect to work some bugs out. I don’t know about you, but most new things I try need some polishing.
  • Don’t be afraid to stop using something that doesn’t work for your classroom (just be sure you’ve given it a fair chance).

Some easy-to-use tech you can try:

Canva



An amazing tool packed with templates for non-designers to create graphics, presentations, flyers and more. Both you and your students can find a myriad of uses for this eye-catching technology. It is free to use, though they do also have a paid option with additional features.

Google Slides



A little more updated than PowerPoint, cloud-based and ideal for collaboration. Convert a lesson or two per week that you would normally present in a less visually appealing way to Slides, or have your students use them to create their next report.

Prezi



Another presentation platform, but non-linear and with some serious pizzazz. If your kids aren’t paying attention during the presentation of creation of one of these, no visual technology is going to engage them.

Animoto



A way for you or your students to make video slideshows. The advantage of this type of “presentation” is that you set the timing and then it plays automatically, without the need to click through each slide as you go.

Google Classroom



An online learning management system may seem like a big step, but Classroom is a great place to get started even if you just want to begin posting announcements, assignments, grade-able quizzes, etc.

Kahoot



Host live events where students answer timed questions or give student-paced challenges. You can create a quiz from scratch, use their question bank to mix and match questions, edit a template, or reuse existing games. Visual reports help you assess how the class performed, and identify difficult questions. This is the most fun your kids can possibly have reviewing for a quiz.

ClassDojo



This online behavioral management system lets you award student-created avatars with points for desirable behavior and take away points for undesirable behavior. It also lets you connect parent accounts which allow for private messaging between the teacher and individual parents, or class-wide parent announcements that can include uploaded attachments such as handouts, worksheets, or permission slips. If the platform seems too cutsie for your students, there is Classcraft for older students but it has a lot more features so it may be a bit overwhelming when you first get started.

Learning Games (such as Arcademics or Sheppard Software)

Flash cards, but in a game format that students will want to practice with.  What’s not to like?  Set aside ten minutes at the beginning or end of class, or let early finishers put their time to good use.




One final thought…


You don’t have to be the master of a technology to have your students benefit from it. Introduce something and let your kids do the integrating. Seeing you trying to figure it out alongside them can be a great opportunity to model learning as an adult.

Here are some user-friendly, innovative ways that even non-techie teachers can integrate technology in the classroom. These things that don't have a big learning curve, and that can be implemented without adding stress.    But first, survival tips when trying any new technology:  Don’t worry about mastering everything.  Pick one or two things to focus on getting better at this year.  Don’t compare yourself to the teacher down the hall.  There will always be someone who is doing more with technology, or doing it “better”.  So what?  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If there isn’t someone at school, get connected with an online community like my Facebook Group.  Expect to work some bugs out.  I don’t know about you, but most new things I try need some polishing.  Don’t be afraid to stop using something that doesn’t work for your classroom (just be sure you’ve given it a fair chance).



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7 New Ways to Use Skype in the Classroom


 

Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.

Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.  


Practicing Foreign Language Skills

Help your students get hooked up with a pen pal who is a native speaker of the language they are learning.   Students of the World is designed specifically for connecting students, and there are also websites like Conversation Exchange, Language Exchange Community, PenPal World, or Speaky which focus on connecting people who speak different languages.


Touring a Different Part of the World

Video chat with someone from another place lets your students see sights and animals they wouldn't normally see.  Another fun idea is the “mystery call”, where you link up to a classroom in another region then have them offer up hints as to their true location, challenging students to guess where in the world their new friends live.  Virtual field trips are easily enabled using Skype too.


Interviewing Notable Figures

Find an industry expert through a website like Nepris or the Digital Human Library.  If you already have a subject matter expert in mind, you can just go ahead and contact them to set up a meeting!  


Watching Presentations and Experiments

You can use Skype to have your class tag along to any demonstration it isn't practical to take them to in person.  You can also plug into standard local presentations, like story hour at the library.  Skype in the Classroom is a free community that connects teachers with other educators and guest speakers from around the world.  Teachers have already created thousands of lessons on Skype in the classroom. Taking part in one of these is a nice way to start using Skype as part of your lesson plan.  Once you’ve found a lesson you like, simply click the ‘Register for this lesson’ button.  The community will notify the person running the lesson and you should hear from them soon.  


Collaborate

Hold a debate, build a band comprised of musicians who play and practice together over video, host a book club either as part of a classroom project or organized as an extracurricular, or even encourage your older students to use Skype for study groups.  


Teaching On-the-Go

Use Skype to teach from wherever you are.  Professional development through Skype lets educators themselves keep their career skills sharpened and broadened from anywhere too.


Parent-Teacher Conferences

Save time and energy by holding parent teacher conferences via video chat instead of in person.  This can be useful both at the regularly scheduled events and for issues that arise at other times.  You can also set up tutoring and office hours to help students who need help with their assignments. Special education classrooms might find this particularly valuable.


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Skype is a communication tool that allows you to video chat with people all over the world. In the classroom it can be put to many uses, such as practicing foreign language skills, touring a different part of the world, seeing animals you wouldn't normally see, interviewing notable figures, watching presentations and experiments, teaching on-the-go and more.



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Using Podcasts to Generate Deep Discussions in the Classroom


Listening to, dissecting, and responding to topics via podcasts can be a great way to get kids to engage in important discussions.  As an audio-only medium, podcasts also foster listening skills.

Listening to, dissecting, and responding to topics via podcasts can be a great way to get kids to engage in important discussions.  As an audio-only medium, podcasts also foster listening skills.  You can have a class-wide discussion about the selection, and/or whip up some reflection sheets to help focus your students and get them thinking critically about what they heard.  In addition to listening to podcasts whole-class, they can also be added in as an independent choice station.  


You can find podcasts on just about any subject!  A quick Google search for podcasts to use in the classroom will provide dozens of curated lists to get you started.  Alternatively, search for something specific by using wording such as “[subject] podcast for [age range]”.  Kids Listen is also easy to navigate, hosts podcasts all in one spot and if you click “Find Podcasts” it will categorize them into the age levels.  You can look for guidance on a podcast review website to get a feel for whether or not a podcast will be appropriate for your classroom.  If you’re unable to get good information about a podcast, you can always preview it for suitability by having it on the background while you grade, have lunch, or even on the drive home.  


Here are some of our favorite podcasts, loosely organized by topic and accompanied by a suggested age range:

  

Storytelling 

Primary - What If World, Circle Round, Story Pirates  

Middle/Upper Elementary - Storynory, The Story Seeds Podcast 

Middle School/Early High School - Eleanor Amplified, Flyest Fables, Book Club for Kids, StoryCorps

High School - This American Life, Welcome to Night Vale, Serial 


Science/Discovery 

Primary - But Why

Middle/Upper Elementary - Brains On, Tumble, Wow in the World, Flash Forward    

Middle School/Early High School - StarTalk, Science Friday 

High School - Freakonomics, Stuff You Should Know, Radiolab 


History 

Middle/Upper Elementary - The Radio Adventures Of Dr. Floyd, The Past and The Curious 

Middle School/Early High School - Stuff You Missed in History Class 

High School - 1619, Code Switch  


Current Events 

Middle/Upper Elementary - KidNuz, Short & Curly  

Middle School/Early High School - Listenwise, This I Believe, The Way I Heard It

High School - Youth Radio, Criminal 


Other Notable Podcasts

Primary

  • Pants On Fire seeks to help young students how to sort out truth from “fake news” using a fun game show format. 

Middle/Upper Elementary

  • Smash Boom Best is a kid-friendly debate podcast you can use in your speech class, or any class in which you want to teach your students how to defend their arguments.

  • Fate and the Fablemaidens or Dungeons & Dragons & Daughters are family friendly podcasts following Dungeons & Dragons games, which not only provide imaginative storytelling but also highlight ingenuity and creative thinking on the part of the players as they seek to meet challenges that arise in the game.  You may find one of them to be a great addition to your language arts or drama class.

Middle School/Early High School 

  • The Allusionist explores the roots of words and phrases that we use every day in a fun, humorous way.


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Listening to, dissecting, and responding to topics via podcasts can be a great way to get kids to engage in important discussions.  As an audio-only medium, podcasts also foster listening skills.




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Free Online Games that help make Reading Fun


Want to make reading fun in your classroom?  Here are some games to help you out.  Games can also help your students with various computer related fine motor skills such as clicking and dragging, typing and hand eye coordination.

Want to make reading fun in your classroom?  Here are some games to help you out.  Games can also help your students with various computer related fine motor skills such as clicking and dragging, typing and hand eye coordination.

Education.com

Games with verbal instructions for struggling or pre-readers, encompassing a wide range of game types and reading skills.  You can gain additional functionality with a premium teacher account if you’d like to create a class and assign different games directly to students.


Room Recess

A variety of game types, with a refreshingly heavy focus on games for mid-upper elementary reading skills. 


Mr. Nussbaum

A wide variety of game types that nevertheless remain focused on reading skills rather than game mechanics. The site also includes online reading comprehension and skill practice that is less game-based, but equally helpful and convenient.


Arcademics

Fast-paced, engaging games with multiplayer options on race-style activities to let your students challenge each other.


Primary Games

Several game types, including a focus on holiday and seasonally themed games.


Starfall

The primary classroom’s go-to, with sections to take students sequentially through ABC’s, Learn to Read, It’s Fun To Read and I’m Reading.


ABCya!

Games cover a good sampling of reading skills all the way from letter recognition to idioms.  The site also has many just for fun games, however.


PBS Kids

Basic letter recognition, vocabulary, rhyming and writing practice themed with popular PBS Kids characters.  Several games have more theme and less skill practice, however.


ReadWriteThink

Games that act like guides to walk students through completing an impressive number of reading and writing activities.  Many tasks are suited to use by middle and high school students in addition to some for elementary.


Teach Your Monster to Read

Adorable, and the series of games cover everything from letters and sounds to reading full sentences.


Quia

Battleship, hangman, and rags to riches games made by other teachers for their reading classes and shared with the community.


Sheppard Software

A small but mighty collection of grammar games, with quirky graphics to draw in students of many different ages.


Kiz Phonics

A game for every phonics rule you could wish for.


Fun English Games

Just four games, but each is well-done and teaches a separate mid elementary reading comprehension skill.



Bonus! Let Students Be Read To:

Storyline Online

Your students can watch stories read aloud by various actors.  The stories are from a variety of genres and have suggested grade levels K-4th.  They are also starting to add some titles read in Spanish, and even have one read with an ASL interpreter. 


School Radio

Animated shorts or video series representing various stories for ages 5-11+, as well as a collection of audio only stories.


PBS Kids

Stories about popular PBS Kids characters, with words and audio.  Many stories can also be read in either English or Spanish.


Starfall

Several stories organized by genre, with words and audio. 


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Want to make reading fun in your classroom?  Here are some games to help you out.  Games can also help your students with various computer related fine motor skills such as clicking and dragging, typing and hand eye coordination.



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