Data Nuggets is an incredible online resource that provides ACTUAL, raw scientific data paired with ready-to-use lessons. The lessons are designed to help students process, analyze, and draw conclusions about the data sets that they are provided. The focus of Data Nuggets activities is always placed on analysis, interpretation, and critical thinking as students are guided through the process of science.
In one of their newest activities, data is provided about the Anole Lizards that live on the islands or Turks and Caicos. Students are given data from a Harvard University study that analyzed the effect of rats on the lizard populations. In addition to the data and interpretation guides, students are shown background stories on the scientists who started the study. Teachers are provided with data sets, classroom handouts, and even grading rubrics. Check out Data Nuggets today!
Google Science Journal
Science Journal from Google turns any cell phone into a high-precision data collection device that DOES NOT require the purchase of expensive probes. A cell phones microphone easily becomes a listening device that records the decibels of various sounds. The camera becomes a trigger that tells Science Journal when to start recording or timing various events. Even chemistry teachers can use the camera to analyze subtle color changes during the famous “iodine clock” reaction. Students can expect engaging activities on an easy-to-use platform. Teachers can expect a large collection of pre-made experiments that easily integrate with Google Classroom and other G Suite apps.
PhET for iOS
I know, I know… we all have used the simulations on the PhET website, but with a new iPhone app, students can use the simulations on on their Apple phone or tablet too! If you have never checked out the simulations provided by PhET, they are some of my favorite ones around. They are extremely user friendly and require little explanation before using. They also provide classroom activities and lesson plans to go along with each simulation, so much of the heavy lifting has already been done for you!
I often hear teachers criticize simulations for taking students away from real lab experiences. While this can be true, I would point out that when used properly, a simulation should enrich the lab experiences that students are already having, or can’t have. Imagine completing an investigation to determine the properties of acid-base solutions. Students measure pH, indicator color changes, and reactions with various chemicals. Now imagine, that as part of this lab, they also view a simulation that shows a “nanoscopic” view of the actual atoms and molecules in the solution. This would never be possible in real-life and helps students to build a strong link between large-scale observations and small-scale particle interactions. Check out the PhET simulations on iOS devices today!
Biology teachers: if you like PhET, you’ll love HHMI BioInteractive. The Howard Hughes Medical Institute teamed up teachers with scientists to create this incredible collection of simulations and resources. All of the simulations are based on actual scientific data. They also offer professional quality films, animations, 3D models, and case-studies. Most of the resources on this site are geared towards biology, but there are several simulations that could be used in any science course as well.
If you listen to our podcast, you’re probably tired of hearing us talk about Equatio. This extension is so great though, I can’t help but mention it again. Equatio allows you to quickly and easily incorporate typed equations into Google Apps. Normally, showing calculations requires a paper and pencil, preventing lots of science teachers from converting their paper handouts to electronic versions. With Equatio however, students can easily type out their calculations electronically. There is a talk-to-text feature that allows students to describe the equation verbally while Equatio types it out for them. Another option allows you to write the equation on a touch-screen, which Equatio then converts into text. You can also use a camera to photo-capture handwritten calculations which are then automatically inserted into the document. I love Equatio!