What it is: I Know That Science is a collection of games and activities that will teach and encourage students kindergarten through sixth grade in their science knowledge. Activities include, a science lab where students can explore the universe, matching animals and their habitats, energy and forces, optics, underwater expeditions where students can learn about ocean creatures and more.
How to integrate I Know That Science into your science curriculum: Use I Know That Science activities to introduce a new unit, students can construct their own knowledge on a new topic. These activities can also be used as an expansion to your current curriculum.
Tips: I Know That has some advertisements on its site, these can be removed by purchasing a subscription. I use the sites advertisements to teach my students about how to spot ads on a website and to teach why some sites have ads. Check out the teachers guide for each game and activity for some great ideas.
What it is: e-learning for Kids offers schools free and unlimited use of their courseware and access up-to-date content on children and learning. e-Learning for Kids provides a fun place to help your students build and strengthen skills in math, science, reading, computers and keyboarding. The programs are designed for kindergarten through sixth graders.
How to integrate e-learning for Kids into your curriculum: You can easily incorporate the e-learning for Kids courses into your current curriculums. Match up the e-learning for Kids courses with your current curriculum. Students can work on specific skills and access the self-paced programs independently. Students will be engaged and work at a level where they can perform successfully.
Tips: e-learning for Kids offers a free CD version of the courses. This is the perfect solution for computers that are not connected to the Internet or have an unreliable connection.
What it is: Tux Paint (http://www.tuxpaint.org) offers open source software aka FREE. Tux Paint is a painting and creativity program similar to Kid Pix. tuxpaint.org offers the free download for both Macintosh and Windows computers. Tux Paint is easy to use, includes fun sound effects, and a cartoon mascot who guides students as they use the program. Students use a variety of drawing tools to create masterpieces.
How to integrate Tux Paint into your curriculum: Use Tux Paint as part of your publishing center. Students can illustrate their writing pieces using Tux Paint. Tux Paint can be used to enhance your literacy program. For example, I use Tux Paint when I am introducing kids to the Caldecott award. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems is a Caldecott Award winning book. The Pigeon is created with very simple shapes and can be easily recreated with the tools in Tux Paint. As part of this unit, I let kids create their own Pigeons. They look so close to Mo Willems Pigeon that the students feel like successful, award winning artists. This program is flexible enough to use in math (think patterns, money units, etc.), science, and history.
Tips: Make sure you have printing abilities. The students will be proud of their work and want to print it out! Be sure to download the stamp set. This is a free download but offers hundreds of stamps (including money) that enhance this already great program. Visit the school page to find out how other schools have used Tux Paint to enhance their curriculum.
Allow students to save their masterpieces and upload them to Artsonia (see archive).
What it is: Wonderville is a place where your students can explore science in a fun, interactive environment. Wonderville has science games, interactive activities, printable activities, science works videos, ever wonders (fun facts), and downloads. Topics covered include photosynthesis, energy, fossils, forces, weather, basic physics, robots, moon phases, water treatment, levers and much more! This website is best for 3rd-8th grade. Most of the activities are a little difficult for 2nd grade.
How to integrate Wonderville into your science curriculum: Wonderville is a wonderful way to introduce an activity or as a culminating activity. In the one or two computer classroom, set it up as an experiment station. In a computer lab or mobile lab setting, all students can complete experiments together. Use the free printable activities to enhance your current science curriculum. Students will love this hands on approach to science!
Tips: Bookmark www.wonderville.ca for quick access. There are two options on the site, Wonderville, and Wonderville 3-D. Unless you have an incredibly fast T1 line, stick to Wonderville. Wonderville 3-D is generally VERY slow running, especially when multiple students are trying to access it at once in a lab setting. Invite students to play the 3-D version at home.
What it is: Knowledge Bears (www.kbears.com) is a site dedicated to learning and fun for kids. It offers students information about animals, dinosaurs, geography, space, science fair projects, weather, farms, and underwater animals. This interactive site is a good place for learning to start!
How to integrate Knowledge Bears into your curriculum: Use Knowledge Bears to introduce a new concept…invite your students to fill out a graphic organizer such as a KWL chart while they explore. Knowledge Bears is also wonderful for teaching the basics of research. Primary elementary students can use knowledge bears for a research project. I play Knowledge Bear Jeopardy with my students when I am teaching them how to navigate the internet (use links). Separate your class into teams (each team needs a computer or group of computers, I use a projector for the Jeopardy game board) then play Jeopardy, the first team to find the answer on Knowledge Bears gets the point. The kids love this activity and it is a wonderful way to teach research skills.
Tips: Let kids explore this site on their own…they will love it! Download the Jeopardy activity from here: kbears jeopardy.ppt or kbears jeopardy.key.zip