Tuesday, October 10, 2017

8 Math and Science Simulation Resources For Any Classroom

"Science is fun. Science is curiosity. We all have natural curiosity. Science is a process of investigating. It's posing questions and coming up with a method. It's delving in." -Sally Ride

I was a Middle School Science and Math teacher. When I started in college I didn't set out to teach those subjects but found myself there after discovering my love for both. Science and Math form the foundation of our known knowledge about how the universe works, what happens in nature and why most of what we do every day is the way it is. 

Ask many students and they have a love/hate relationship with Math and Science. My third grade daughter is one of these. She loves math. In her spare time she will sit for hours and hours making up word problems and solving them or looking for math in her world. But sit her in a science classroom and she looses all interest. I tried to teach my students the relationships between science and math and help cultivate, at the very least, an appreciation for them both. 

Math and Science are very concrete subjects, set in laws and theorems and proofs that have stood the test of time. Examining formulas or problems on a page is an important part of the learning process. However, if we want to make science and math more real for our students we need better ways to help visualize science and math in the real world and physical spaces. 

Simulations are a great way to help students conceptualize math and science. The great thing is no matter how old students are there are tons and tons of great sites, apps and resources to choose from to help complex math and science more understandable, and frankly, more fun. 

8 Math and Science Simulation Resources For Any Classroom

PHET Interactive Simulations https://phet.colorado.edu/ -The mother of all simulators. There is something here for every science and math content area. On the surface it might look like it's only middle and high school but they have an elementary section that is perfect for our little learners. They also have apps for Apple and Android. 

CK-12 Flexbooks-https://www.ck12.org/student/ -One of my favorite resources on this list, these are open source, editable textbooks that come with tons and tons of simulations. You can create your own textbooks and resources or use what they have as a framework. And it's all completely free. 

Molecular Workbench-http://mw.concord.org/modeler/index.html This is an installed program that is more for the upper high school student but still valuable as a demonstration for lower levels as well. Lots to choose from here. 

Google Sky-https://www.google.com/sky/ -Ever wonder what the stars are in the sky? Or have you wanted to see the planets up close? Google Sky is the place to do it. You can even tour the moon and see the original landing sites of the Apollo missions. Take even Google Sky further but using it inside Google Earth. 

Gizmos-https://www.explorelearning.com/ -Another one of my favorites, there are over 400 simulations for math and science at all grade levels. Some are available for free while others due require a paid account. Definitely worth it. 

Virtual Chemistry Simulations-https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/students/highschool/chemistryclubs/activities/simulations.html -Looking to see how chemical reactions happen and work without the threat of burning down your classroom? Then this is the place!

NASA Simulations-https://www.nasa.gov/connect/apps.html -This is a collection of apps from NASA for all things science and astronomy. A wonderful collection. 

Visual Fractions-http://www.visualfractions.com/ -This site won't win any design awards but does have lots of great simulations and activities for Elementary and Middle School students on all things fractions. 
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