Common Sense

TOP PICKS | 27 TOOLS

Awesome Earth Science Apps, Websites, and Games

The best Earth science lessons help kids build a greater understanding of the world around them. The subject gives students opportunities for inquiry into the complex workings of our planet and the natural phenomena that affect us on a daily basis. Students gain insight into the issues we face as a community, including natural disasters, climate change, fuel scarcity, and environmental pollution. Encompassing a wide range of terrestrial topics that include geology, meteorology, astronomy, and oceanography, here's a list of digital tools to support your Earth science lessons.

Continue reading

Top Picks

RELATED

PrintPrint list

A Changing Planet

The Earth by Tinybop

Explore challenging concepts with beautiful, interactive free play

Bottom line: When used in conjunction with the handbook, this interactive model is a good way to help teach kids about Earth.

Mystery Science

Big questions, kids' curiosity drive impressive science curriculum

Bottom line: These powerful science units capitalize on elementary school students' natural curiosity.

Earthquakes for Kids

Fact-heavy site could shake things up with more kid-friendly design

Bottom line: Lots of great earthquake facts and data to be found, but most of it needs to be filtered through an adult.

ExploreLearning Gizmos

Vast array of science and math simulations impresses

Bottom line: This powerful and extensive set of math and science tools puts the learning in students' hands.

WWF Free Rivers

Gorgeous ecology AR model is simple but compelling

Bottom line: The free price tag makes this app a no-brainer for including in any lesson on water resources, though teachers will still need to provide context.

Puzzling Plates

Piece together Earth's plates with fun science activities

Bottom line: This great Earth science tool gives kids an opportunity to interactively explore concepts related to plate tectonics.

Inq-ITS

Virtual labs epitomize the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Bottom line: Earth, life, and physical science simulations coach kids through the NGSS Practices.

Focus on Earthquakes

Content-rich resource digs deep into the causes and consequences of earthquakes

Bottom line: This content-rich Earth science resource uses a range of formats to engage kids and to support diverse learning styles.

Stop Disasters!

Slick sim explores global natural disasters

Bottom line: Few other browser-based sims better illustrate the potential of gaming for learning about serious issues in our world.

Earth's History

National Geographic Education

Top geography resource site provides global exploration opportunities

Bottom line: This is a must-bookmark site for classrooms across the curriculum hunting for inspiring geography-based resources.

NOVA

Compelling science videos have high-quality classroom applications

Bottom line: Stellar simulations, teacher guides, and other activities can stand on their own, and they're enhanced with high-quality video content.

CK-12

Super STEM resource with highly accessible content

Bottom line: Making STEM content accessible to kids with different learning styles, CK-12 could be the key to mastery for some students.

NASA

Visually super NASA-backed treasure trove may overwhelm

Bottom line: A visually stunning way to get kids interested in science and space exploration.

EarthViewer

Earth's deep geologic history and real science data at your fingertips

Bottom line: An unbeatable Earth Science app for its data, scope, and potential for learning.

Big History Project

Fascinating look at life's bigger questions with a fresh perspective

Bottom line: A wonderfully innovative and divergent way to teach foundational concepts in history, humanities, critical thinking, and science.

Focus on Climate

MarcoPolo Weather

Adorable sandbox tool lets kids safely explore, experiment, observe

Bottom line: A fun, cheerful way for kids to explore weather while appropriately touching on more serious issues like safety.

Climate Kids

Kid-friendly, expert site explores key climate issues

Bottom line: A great launching point for engaging in accurate and timely climate change information.

Tuva Labs

Dynamic data exploration tool offers large collection of data sets

Bottom line: Partner with another teacher (preferably a data whiz) and work together to develop cross-curricular activities.

BiomeViewer

World habitat app full of intriguing visual comparisons, useful data

Bottom line: This biome reference app helps students get local when understanding their planet Earth.

Earth-Now

Enticing display of climate data updated regularly

Bottom line: There's a lot of potential in this visually stimulating resource tool, but teachers will need to do some serious legwork to make the data meaningful.

NASA Global Climate Change - Vital Signs of the Planet

Tons of climate change info from expert sources in one easy place

Bottom line: This is a one-stop shop for climate change info, from basic intro content to practical guides and raw data; good for middle schoolers and up.

Structure of Earth

MarcoPolo Ocean

Young explorers discover oceans through puzzles and free play

Bottom line: This fun app helps kids gain an appreciation for the waters that cover much of the Earth's surface.

Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth is an engaging and completely open-ended app perfect for use across the educational spectrum.

PhET Interactive Simulations

Massive cache of excellent (and free!) science and math simulations

Bottom line: Instantly add meaningful lab experiences to math and science classrooms for exactly $0? It's tough to beat that.

Earth Primer

Earth comes alive with interactive textbook; some content lacks depth

Bottom line: Though it's pricey and its progress tracking is limited, these interactive graphics will spark curiosity while teaching kids about a variety of Earth Science concepts.

Google Earth VR

Explore the world with an incredible new perspective and sense of scale

Bottom line: An amazing experience that brings the world to life, despite the heavy investment in VR required.

Google Treks

Cool tool uses maps to create fun projects, could use some updating

Bottom line: The site offers a good variety of subjects and grade levels, but project quality across the site could use more consistency.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources