Science   >>   Critical Thinking   >>   Elementary

Astronomy

Description
This website is set up by NASA’s Planatary Data System. It offers a variety of information in the form of colorful graphics and write-ups on the Planets. It is very easy to navigate. It provides authentic objects and specimens: Students get to see the planets in real life and color. (In addition to the planets, you will be able to find images of small bodies Marina 10, Viking 1 & 2, Voyager 1 & 2, Magellan, Galileo, Hubble and the Space Shuttle.) They will also be able to locate specific information about each planet such as its size and its special characteristics. It has a wealth of information on all aspects of the Planetary System and instruments used to study it. This website certainly promotes scientific literacy and invites the student to participate in the on-going discoveries about the planets. It also has a downloadable CD-ROM.
Appeal and User Friendliness
The site is easy to navigate and everything is literally just a click away. Each picture has a link to information about the picture. There is also a glossary where they can find out the definitions of terms used in the description of different planetary objects.

 
Astronomy

Description
This site is very interesting and is bound to hold the attention of students as they take virtual tours of any part of the world, from either the Sun or the Moon. The site allows students to view any part of the earth that they click on in “real time”. They get to see what that part of the world looks like at any time of the day. It is a very informative site, which is bound to stimulate curiosity and also provide information. You can also view the Moon from the Earth, and Sun.
 
The informative virtual tour of different parts of the earth at “real time” stimulates critical thinking about how the earth operates and in what position the earth is at different times of the day.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This site is very easy to navigate as points of interest are highlighted. Information is just a click away.
Sample Problem
There are no sample activities on this website but students and teachers can create their own activities based on what they want to learn.

 
Biology, Chemistry, Physics

Description
This is a fun site to navigate both for teachers and students. Topics covered in this website set up by the famous Bill Nye of Noggin, include biology, life, space science and chemistry. Through the different activities, it gives the children the opportunity to experience scientific phenomena first hand in their environment through outdoor and indoor investigation.
Appeal and User Friendliness
The site is a lot of fun to navigate as each link has a special sound. It also has demos that can be downloaded and used either at home or at school.
Sample Problem
How can I make mountains move? Bill Nye uses a very easy experiment to show how tectonic plates of the earth move to form mountains. Students get to see first hand how this happens as they do it themselves, and at home too!!
Website

 
Chemistry

Description
This website is a treasure trove of information on different aspects of Chemistry. The topics available on this web site include matter, Elements, Atoms, Reactions and Biochemistry. Each section of the site introduces the featured concept with clickable text that provides more detailed information. In a sample section on elements, students learn how scientists organize the periodic table. Clicking on one of the colored squares in the periodic table brings up information about each individual element. In the math section students learn how math is used in chemistry and covers some of the units, constants and symbols used in many of the formulas. The site allows students to take multiple choice quizzes on what they have learned. It also offers a glossary in which students can find brief explanations of highlighted words on the text screen.
Appeal and User Friendliness
Extremely easy to navigate. From this website you can also visit physics4kids.com, biology4kids.com.
Sample Problem
Click on Biochemistry, and then on the little box with the Palm tree icon – Kapili.com. this will take you to science, games, experiments, expeditions, and even tutorials on topics such as cells.

 
Earth Science

Description
This website is a wonderful source of information for children and teachers about the earth’s endangered drylands. Here they learn what drylands are, where they are located and why they are important to people all over the world. Activities that can be done on this website include games about animals that live in the drylands.
Appeal and User Friendliness
All necessary information is accessible from the homepage. This includes other resources on drylands and their preservation.
Sample Problem
The website offers an electronic exhibit for children. This exhibit describes the drylands and shows how they are important to people all over the world.
Website
airandspace.si.edu/research/earth-and-planetary [website no longer active]

 
Earth Science

Description
This is a meta-website that has many links to other websites about whales and other water animals and water bodies. One of the many websites on water is the “Lakes and Ponds Project”. This website has a section on a project on lakes and bodies of water around the world. Students will also be able to read about and in some parts, see ongoing research in different areas of marine biology and ecology. An example is the section on Bioacoustics and acoustic ecology. In this section, students get to see and hear some of the sounds that whales make as they communicate with each other.
 
As the website listed above is a meta website, it will be necessary for the teacher to do some pre navigation to be able to access the information needed.
Appeal and User Friendliness
Some of the sites in this meta web site are interactive site that encourages children to think about the water bodies, how they are formed, the kind of life form that lives there and why. It also includes several homework assignments to be done at a local library and will serve as a start on critical thinking and problem solving. From the homepage, one can access information on many different aspects of marine biology such as Bioacoustics and the whale watching websites to name a few.
Sample Problem
Sample activities include virtual whale watching, and other educational packets on whales. They are put together by different schools and are a comprehensive documentation of whale watching trips and descriptions of the different kinds of whales.

 
Earth/Environmental Science

Description
This free website is a rich source of information on global wildlife migration, a unique topic. It has a series of lessons on wildlife migration and seasonal changes. Students will be able to connect with researchers who are tracking animal migrations north and south. Students will be able to locate up- to-date information on the migration of different animals such as bald eagles, monarch butterflies, sea turtles, songbirds, peregrine falcons and loons at different seasons. Student will also be able to enter their own information and be part of an ongoing scientific exploration. Journey North allows students to interact directly with scientists. They can participate in current scientific research on problems yet to be solved. Younger students will need teacher or parent supervision. Lessons in math and science also add to the richness of the site and a Journey North manual can be ordered at 1-800-965-7373.
Appeal and User Friendliness
Extremely easy to navigate. Colorful and creative website. From the homepage, access different topics including Today’s News, How to Use Journey North and Report your Sightings.
Sample Problem
Students can participate the second year of a remarkable odyssey for the conservation of endangered whooping cranes! Starting in 2001, eight young chicks were followed on their first journey south to a new home for whooping cranes–with an ultralight airplane to lead them. They had no adult whooper parents to show them the way because whoopers have not lived in the eastern US for over a century. Follow and possibly help track their migration routes.

 
Energy

Description
This award-winning website has a plethora of information on energy, its sources, uses and conservation. It also contains extensive resources for teachers and students about the many facets of energy. Different materials and resources on environmental education can also be found. Students will enjoy the science projects such as the “Peanut Power Experiment” that demonstrates how chemical energy is released from the peanuts we eat to create energy in our bodies. There is also a forum where students can get help with homework on energy-related questions or problems.
 
This site is geared towards educating students on the different uses and sources of energy and specifically with a view to teaching an ‘energy ethic’ to conserve finite resources. Students will discover new means of energy production and innovative ways to use less energy. This is done through the different experiments that can be carried out at home or at school with or without the supervision of an adult. These experiments are meant to spur creativity through critical thinking. Students are also allowed to come up with their own solutions to the different problems that are presented concerning energy.
Appeal and User Friendliness
Parents, teachers and students will enjoy learning about energy at this interactive website. The colorful homepage has many clickable items that lead to different parts of the website. Each item is a link to an aspect of energy. Professor Questor guides users through the necessary information they need to obtain.
Sample Problem
How can you use a peanut to heat a cup of water? This is an experiment that can be done either at home or at school but with the supervision of an adult. Each experiment comes with detail directions and reasons for performing the experiment.

 
Energy/Physical Science

Description
Students can use this web site to increase their knowledge about the energy issues facing our nation, especially as seen through the eyes of industry. The site provides background information about energy sources, different forms of energy and energy storage. A colorful icon, the Energy Ant, guides the users through the web site. The kid’s corner presents interesting stories and biographies of pioneers in energy, including John Dalton, Isaac Newton, and Marie Curie. The Classroom Connection section provides information about National Energy Education Development’s Guideline for Energy Education and numerous classroom activities.
Appeal and User Friendliness
Follow the Energy Ant by clicking on this colorful character icon. Locate A Report from the Energy Ant, follow him to the National Atomic Museum, where students can learn about the development of nuclear weapons, as well as other uses of nuclear energy.
Sample Problem
Very colorful and clearly labeled. Click on the National Atomic Museum to locate the Virtualt Tour. Visit many different galleries that include pictures and descriptions along with the history of nuclear energy.

 
Environmental Science

Description
This website is set up to facilitate the exploration of basic weather concepts through the gathering and posting of local data, data comparisons and communicating with mentor scientists and peers. Its original inquiry-focused resources facilitate tens of thousands of learners, including teachers, middle school students, and volunteer atmospheric scientists, to collaboratively share their understandings and predictions of atmospheric science events, both past and current. This website is bound to stimulate further investigation on weather data collection and reporting, causes of pollution and ways of preventing it.
 
Creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills are bound to come up as students learn about the different aspects of weather and how to measure them. They will also find out what causes certain changes in weather and will learn how they can be controlled or prevented.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This website in set up to accommodate or be of easy access to students of all ages, parents and teachers. From the homepage, users can easily access information on current projects, information on the website and other weather and animal related internet resources that may be useful for further study or investigation.
Sample Problem
The Hurricanes program is a series of projects that give students opportunities to explore science concepts related to weather, communicate with others, and track live storms along with expert Hurricane Scientists. Participating classes gain access to several resources, including, a Hurricanes CD-ROM that contains many pictures, movies and other interactive resources, an electronic Message Board for communication with One Sky, Many Voices students, teachers and scientists, internet addresses to help you and your students search for hurricane related resources on the Internet, resources to help you explore and interpret current data (e.g., satellite imagery, hurricane tracking map, weather map, etc.) related to hurricanes. Students participating in the Hurricanes project will become familiar with the details of hurricane tracking and forecasting as well as the use of computers and the Internet in modern science and communication.

 
Environmental Science

Description
The Envirolink Network is a non-profit organization, which has been providing access to thousands of online environmental resources links since 1991. It is a rich source of information for students and teachers on topics such as ecology, the marine environment, pollution, and endangered species to mention a few. It has a collection of different websites where more information on specific information as well as teaching materials can be obtained. It also has a forum where students and teachers are invited to participate in critical discussions on current events such as causes of pollution in different states in America. There is also a search engine which can be used to obtain even more specific information on any topic in environmental issues.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This website is easy to navigate. Links to websites on Environmental issues such as air quality, climate change, and ecosystems to mention a few, are located on the homepage and can be accessed by just clicking on them.
Sample Problem
From the resources listed by topic on the homepage, click on Environmental Disasters, and from the new menu, select a subtopic such as Earthquakes. Under earthquakes, click on ‘Educational Resources’ to locate a list of websites where specific information can be obtained on earthquakes including virtual tours of earthquakes and regions affected by them.

 
Geography

Description
This website, set up by the University of North Dakota has a wealth of information about every aspect of Volcanoes and the people and scientists that study them. Kids could easily spend hours going through the pictures of different volcanoes all over the world and learning more about what makes them tick – or not! It includes not only pictures but also on-site activities of scientists or Volcanologists that study them. It also provides a forum where students can ask any question about volcanoes and these questions are answered by experts. In this way, it provides partnership between students and professional scientists and is bound to stimulate more questions and curiosity about volcanoes. To this end, the website has a section on career advising.
 
Not only children will enjoy this website but also teachers and parents as it has a lot of information on how to get materials for teaching about volcanoes. Certainly a good site for not only research but also problem solving and creativity!
Appeal and User Friendliness
This site is very easy to navigate and all that is needed is a click on a word or picture to locate information on that topic. From the homepage, click on topics such as “Current Eruptions”, “Volcanoes”, and “Teaching and Learning” to obtain further material on them. There is also a Kids corner and a glossary.
Sample Problem
The children’s section has a part on problem solving with questions such as: “Who would win a race between you and a volcano?” It has guiding ideas on how to tackle the questions. These on-site questions invite students to think critically not only about the scientific discoveries but also societal and socio economic problems that ensue as a result of natural disasters such as volcanoes.
Website
volcano.und.edu [website no longer active]

 
Mega Website: National Geographic

Description
Children, parents and teachers will enjoy this colorful and very informative website. It is has a plethora of links to different areas and a search engine to aid navigation of different topics covered in the website. This website is set up by the National Geographic Society and has information about the Society, its objectives, its magazines and TV program. It offers many opportunities for children of different grade levels to research different earth science, environmental and geographical issues. It also has specific information for parents and teachers. It is a website that promotes scientific literacy and inquiry. It also encourages the student to think independently and critically about environmental and earth science issues through the activities such as games and brainteasers about animals that live in the desert. Each month, it features an endangered species and includes all information about this species.
 
This site also offers a large spectrum of teaching materials for different subjects concerning earth issues. For children, the games, cartoons, audio and videos, not to mention coloring books will not only be fun but also very educational.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This is fun site to navigate. It has many clickable icons, that access necessary information on topics. To get to the students section from the homepage, click on students. On the new page select any topic of interest. A click on any specific topic locates more information on activities, news on ongoing research in that area and lots more.
Sample Problem
Click on student, then under science, click on Hubble Space Telescope to see the telescope in outer space. Click on different parts of it to know their functions.

 
Science Mega Site

Description
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis website is set up basically to augment or the support the museum’s activities but will also serve as a very good resource for parents, teachers and students. The site has information about bones, dinosaurs, and the circus. Their exhibits are useful in teaching science and will be lots of fun for students.
 
Among the contents of the high-tech section of the site are background information and a Quicktime Video on the different bones in the body, how they are linked to each other and what their functions are. Other online and offline activities include activities on balance, colors and patterns (camouflage), movement, and evolution theory. This website can be used as a classroom resource/activity, or as a follow-up to a classroom lesson. It is bound to jump start creativity, and critical thinking skills in students of all ages.
Appeal and User Friendliness
An easy to navigate interactive website.
Sample Problem
Click on Paleo Prep Lab, then click on ‘dinosaur facts’ in the Dinosphere to be able to see a fossil of Bucky, the first juvenile T-Rex ever discovered on Earth.

 
Science Mega Site

Description
Almost anything any student or teacher might wish to learn about chemistry is covered in this outstanding site. Unlike many other chemistry web sites, this one includes a brief history of the science. The usual features, such as an interactive periodic table, are here, but so are more unusual resources. An excellent collection of web chemistry links is included with each experiment, making this an essential site for young scientists.
Appeal and User Friendliness
Easy to navigate. Colorful website with clear concise directions and guided experiments. Experiments are analyzed at both and advanced levels. Click on HYPER CHEMISTRY ON THE WEB, then click on the ‘CLICK HERE TO VIEW’ then SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS YOU CAN DO AT HOME. What follows is a listing of all the experiments.
Sample Problem
Does the volume of a gas change with change in temperature?
 
The volume of a gas changes with changing temperature. When the temperature rises, the volume of a gas increases. When the temperature decreases, the volume of a gas decreases. In this experiment, the gas we used was air. When the bottle was placed inside the freezer, the volume of the air inside the bottle decreased. When the bottle was taken out, the air’s volume began to expand. However, the quarter was in the way of the expanding air. This allowed the pressure exerted by the expanding air to increase until it was enough to push the quarter off the top of the bottle.
Website
www.thinkquest.org/library/cat_show.html?cat_id=49&cid=1 [website no longer active] (check library archive at http://wayback.archive-it.org/3635/20140211214957/http://www.thinkquest.org/pls/html/think.library)

 
Science Mega Site

Description
This website is supported by the Discovery Channel Network and it offers a lot of options to students, teachers and parents. Students will be able to find lots of links for Homework help in different subjects and teachers and parents will be able to find lesson plans and sample activities to perform both at school and at home. The categories include learning experiences for students in Grades K-5, 6-8, 9-12. Featured lesson plans in science include Astronomy/Space, Earth science, Life science and many other topics. The site also includes learning activities games and puzzles that could be done at home or in class.
Appeal and User Friendliness
Click on For Students and locate Science Fair Central. This portion of the website provides everything students need to know to create a science fair project. A handbook and project ideas provide excellent guidance.
Sample Problem
Even though this is a huge website it is extremely easy to navigate. For example in the For Students section, there are easy links to Science in Action, where you can follow students who have won the Discovery Channel Science Contest and have gone on exciting expeditions all over the world.

 
Science Mega Site

Description
This site is for everyone who likes to have fun and learn a lot at the same time. It has a lot of information on a myriad of issues. One of the good things about the site is that it also offers the children the chance to experience these physics, chemistry phenomena first-hand. Children learn by discovery and this site has a lot of practical experiments that can be conducted at home with or without an adult, that teach a variety of interesting things. It certainly invites the children to think critically about these phenomena and stimulates further analysis and investigation.
Appeal and User Friendliness
The site is very easy to navigate and is interactive. It also has a forum where children can ask specific questions and have them answered by experts
Sample Problem
Is it possible to make a battery out of a vegetable? Yes it is! And this site has a step by step procedure on how to do this as well as a host of other experiments that test the validity of similar scientific phenomena in physics, chemistry, astronomy etc. The experiments are labeled Edible or Inedible!
Website

 
Science Mega Site

Description
This website is a treasure for both adults and students. It is an outstanding free education portal for K-12 schools that offers a redesigned, easy-to-use interface to deliver age-appropriate curriculum content selected by experts, searchable lesson plans, class projects, online references and homework help. It covers all topics taught in school and is very easy to navigate. It contains activities that will stimulate not only curiosity but also creativity and critical thinking as students are taken through real life situations and virtual tours of different parts of the world. Additional features include free e-mail services, education updates from each state, kid-safe search tools, and a special resource sections for teachers and administrators with online guides and discussion groups. The site also offers links to recommended suppliers of educational products and services and a free weekly newsletter.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This is an interactive website and all information is easily accessible with just a click on the topic of interest.
Sample Problem
Kids get to go on online virtual tours to any part of the world and are given information on that location. For younger kids, real-life decision making in critical conditions in the form of games and puzzles are available. They can also get tips on how to take notes, organize study times, and listen in class!
Website

 
Science Mega Site

Description
This website is a treasure trove of information in all subjects for all ages. It includes a full spectrum of quality Internet services with online projects, research collections, tutoring programs, HomeworkCentral resources and standards-based Web links in every content area. Some of the links are to the National Geographic website, which has lots of activities for children. These activities include games, virtual tours and trivia questions on different topics in Life, Earth and Environmental Science.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This website is easy to navigate.
Sample Problem
Play games and answer trivia questions as you make your way through the National Parks of America. Each question that is correctly answered either brings you to a New Park or closer to food supplies for the Pandas.

 
Science Mega Site

Description
This website is a resource center of information for kids, parents and teachers. It contains lots of activities in different subjects including science and math that are bound to stimulate problem solving and creativity through critical thinking. Such activities include lateral thinking games, brain boosters, and real life problem situations in the form of games and adventures.
 
It is an exemplary multimedia resource with tools such as quiz and puzzle makers, searchable lesson plans, materials to support Discovery Network programming, and Kathy Schrock’s guide to educational sites.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This is an easy website to navigate.
Sample Problem
From the homepage, click on Telescope – Upside down. This link accesses information on how to make a home made telescope. There are also other experiments that can be performed at home in different subjects such as Biology.

 
Science Mega Site

Description
This is a website that is connected to many other websites that contain very useful curriculum material for teachers and also lesson plans for different subjects. These materials on science and math and other subjects could jump start creativity, problem solving and critical thinking. It is a fun.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This is an easy website to navigate.
Sample Problem
Teachervision, Funbrain, Family Education Network, and online atlas, encyclopedia, dictionary and almanacs.
Website

 
Science Mega Site

Description
This website is a fun website where kids can learn by playing the math and science games. These games are designed to create curiosity and encourage critical thinking. As kids play the game, they use their mental computational skills and knowledge of basic arithmetic skills. The site uses colorful graphics, animations, sounds effects, humor and storylines effectively to captivate and engage learners.
Appeal and User Friendliness
This is an interactive website that is easy to navigate.
Sample Problem
Activities include a word builder, science labs, puzzle maps and math practice section but the complexity of the presentations requires high-speed connections.

 
Science Mega Site

Description
Study Works Online is a free learning site to help students discover math and science concepts traditionally taught from grades 7-12 through a variety of online investigations and creative learning activities. These include online strategy and eye-hand coordination games that are played against the computer, logic problems, and weekly puzzles and there is a large selection of explorations and demonstrations grouped by content, such as proving the Pythagorean Theorem visually. The site also includes news stories about math and science, homework hints, online tests, and links to related Web sites.
Sample Problem
Calvin wants to ride his new car to Joe’s house, but there is one problem. Calvin’s car has four flat tires. In fact, his tires are flat in four places, because the car has square wheels! Believe it or not, one of these two bumpy paths would give Calvin a smooth ride on his square-wheeled car. Can you guess which one? Click on the one you think will work.
Website
www.studyworksonline.com [website no longer active]

 
Solar Energy

Description
This is a useful site for information on solar energy, how to harness and use it for household activities. The SolarNow Project is set up by the United States Department of Energy and it’s focus is on educating the public about the use of alternative energy sources. Its main emphasis is on photovoltaics. It is a good site for teachers and students. The site has a “Kids Corner” with a glossary of terms. There are also two activities that should be suitable for elementary school kids (i.e., the solar oven). Teachers can get information on solar energy, learn more about an actual solar energy system, obtain information about teacher workshops and find out about SolarNow’s educational resources.
Appeal and User Friendliness
All information in and on this site is accessible on the homepage. Each topic is a link to further information.
Sample Problem
What stores energy best? How can I make an oven out of a Pizza box? These are samples of the experiments that are included on the web site. Each experiment comes with specific instructions and guidelines. It also offers provides an analysis of the experiments.