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Pros: Student-friendly content is carefully explained, and the use of multimedia is engaging.
Cons: Much of the material is promotional information about museum exhibits.
Bottom Line: A host of mostly at-home activities are available if kids stick to the Explore tab of online resources.
Videos cover the gamut of science content and come with helpful information like duration, age appropriateness, and curricular alignment. Students can use the site to gather information on a variety of topics, but teachers should assign follow-up activities to help them apply the new information. Some of the activities would make great classroom experiments, especially in non-lab classrooms. Home-school educators, and parents in general, will find the activities to be a great extension of classroom lessons.
Exploratorium, the website for the San Francisco-based science museum of the same name, includes an educational section with links, activities, and videos covering nearly every aspect of science from biology and geology to physics and space science.
From the Explore tab, users can choose Websites, Activities, Video, or Apps -- a page of Exploratorium's iOS applications that are available for download in the App Store. The Websites page has curated links to high-quality sites with engaging activities. Activities offers a collection of interactive (Flash-based) games and simulations, and has instructions for simple experiments kids can view online or print out. Videos is an online TV channel with videos sorted by topic.
The games and simulations on Exploratorium are well-designed and connect to topics of high interest to tweens and teens, such as the chemistry of candy and electrifying pickles. Students can use the site independently to delve into topics that interest them. Unfortunately, most of the activities aren't interactive; they're largely at-home experiments, but they're also clearly explained and require only simple supplies.