June is Hot Air Balloon Day. Ever wonder why and how hot air balloons float? This resource from the NOVA Web site offers a series of interactive activities that help you understand the science of hot air balloons. Look into the rising and sinking of air, the impact of air temperature on hot air balloons, and even take a virtual hot air balloon journey across the globe.
Wisconsin Fast Plants
Easiest way to use plants in K-12 science classrooms
Pros: Teachers will find this site exceedingly helpful in making sure that students get the most out of a plant-based inquiry experience in the classroom.
Cons: Most resources are only useful to teachers who purchase the plants and other supporting materials.
Bottom Line: Detailed resource and support website for those teaching science through plants.
It's almost summer and a great time to check out the 3M and Discovery Education Wind Energy Virtual Lab. Use 21st Century skills as you harness renewable energy. Design, build, and test wind turbines. Choose different locations, blade shapes, and materials to enhance virtual wind turbine creations. Share input/output charts that contain design specs.
Kid conservationist's paradise with great images, vids, animals galore
Pros: Bring Back the Wild lesson plans are well-written with tons of inquiry and exploration.
Cons: Although they're not a huge part of the site, games don't really prioritize learning.
Bottom Line: Great ecology lesson plans and videos are rich with engrossing animal goodies, but the accompanying games don't teach much science.
Happy Big Wind Day! Let's celebrate the benefits of wind with this hands-on science experiment! In this science fair project, you'll blow on different kinds of pinwheels with a blow-dryer and see how far away you can get before they stop spinning. This will give you clues about how sensitive the pinwheels are to wind, and why. The next time you see a wind turbine you will have a better understanding of how wind creates energy.
Celebrate a staple in all chemistry labs~ the Bunsen burner! Bunsen burner day celebrates the inventor of this laboratory equipment, Robert Wilhelm Eberhard von Bunsen. This standard tool in chemistry can create a hazard if lab safety is not practiced. This site includes an interactive lab safety tutorial. Here students can explore what to wear, safe practices, emergency scenarios, and take a quiz on their knowledge.
Celebrate Earth Day on Glossopedia. People all over the world celebrate our efforts to protect plants and animals and to clean up the world we live in. Most people celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd each year. In some countries, it is celebrated a month earlier on the vernal equinox.
California Academy of Sciences
Expert research and diverse, rich lessons inspire future scientists
Pros: Students and teachers have access to extensive virtual specimens and labs, lesson plans, and rich materials to augment classroom learning.
Cons: The website's organization makes finding some of the best classroom resources a challenge.
Bottom Line: A perfect companion to (or substitute for) the Academy, this site delivers highly interactive resources and research with a lot of depth.
Celebrate National Weatherman's Day on the 5th by learning from Nick Walker, the weather dude, how meteorologists predict the weather. Sing along with his song, find out the different methods to forecast weather, and complete weather based activities.
Celebrate dragons in real life rather than on Game of Thrones on the 16th for Dragon Appreciation Day. Check out National Geographic's coverage of the formidable Komodo Dragon.
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Valerie Bourbour is a certified educator and past Co-Director of The Academy of Ormond Beach. Ms. Bourbour has experience in online learning platforms and aims for student success.