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Best Science Games for Students

Teaching science often involves the use of models -- everything from microscopic chemical structures to population dynamics. Playing games can help make these models less abstract for students. From physics puzzlers to genetic simulations, you'll find terrific game-based learning experiences on this list. Whether students are taking command of a cell or sending a rocket into orbit, these games encourage kids to observe the world around them. And many of these great picks come with extension activities and experiments within.

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Ecology, Earth, and Space Science

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.

Space by Tinybop

Zoom into our solar system, solve mysteries with open-ended play

Bottom line: Learn about the sun, moon, and planets through interactive open-ended play.

Habitactics

Keep your ecosystem from crashing in this addictive puzzle game

Bottom line: Habitactics employs game-based learning to help students discover relationships in ecosystems.

Tyto Ecology

Well-developed biome sim provides cheap, endless learning

Bottom line: This affordable ecosystem balancing game teaches life science skills while keeping students engaged.

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.

Fate of the World: Tipping Point

Complex global-influence game in which players’ choices rule the world

Bottom line: Complex multi-issue game succeeds in teaching world politics and global development while building perspective and decision-making skills.

Biology and Botany

Crazy Plant Shop

Shop sim makes Punnett squares playful

Bottom line: Key science skills and competencies serve not as add-ons to the game but core mechanics, allowing genetics learning to occur naturally through play.

Cell Strike

Fight infections on compelling biology-based missions

Bottom line: A fun and efficient way for students to learn how components of the immune system work, with a bonus lesson in strategy.

Who Wants to Live a Million Years?

Fast, focused natural selection game encourages experimentation

Bottom line: Gives students a thoroughly interesting and interactive introduction to natural selection, paving the way for deeper study.

Cell and Cell Structure

Visually stunning tool great for supplementing lessons about cells

Bottom line: Cell and Cell Structure is an interactive and engaging reference tool that takes kids on a journey to learn about cells.

Cell Command

Immersive biology game keeps students interested during learning

Bottom line: Students take away a broad knowledge of cell anatomy and function.

Re-Mission 2

Six arcade-style games tackle tough subject of cancer

Bottom line: Hours of engaging gameplay will grab even non-gamers and, with some guided reflection, can spur serious learning about the human body.

Niche - a genetics survival game

Immersive genetics sim puts evolution in students' hands

Bottom line: This hands-on genetics game allows students to experiment, explore traits, and come away with a sophisticated understanding of the subject.

Solve the Outbreak

Become a disease detective -- read clues, analyze data, save lives

Bottom line: Solve the Outbreak is a free, engaging resource that teaches kids about disease control and prevention.

Physics and Chemistry

Thinkrolls

Fun physics platformer teaches, engages young elementary students

Bottom line: Highly engaging game packs in physics learning and puzzling fun.

Crazy Gears

Highly applicable STEM-themed free play; easy appeal for wide audience

Bottom line: A clear, simple, and fun introduction to science and engineering topics that may otherwise feel unapproachable for some kids.

Simple Machines by Tinybop

Excellent elementary NGSS engineering practices embedded in fun games

Bottom line: Fun gameplay lets kids explore important physics concepts in a solid standards-aligned context.

Bobo Explores Light

Cute robot guides kids through concepts in excellent science app

Bottom line: New ways to play with light inspire kids to learn more from this hands-on science app.

Inventioneers Full Version

Budding engineers create design solutions with fun physics puzzler

Bottom line: A fun, engaging way to boost critical-thinking and problem-solving skills while learning about important science and engineering practices.

Sound Rebound

Make musical contraptions with playful sound and physics sandbox

Bottom line: This engaging and open-ended sandbox app has limited functionality but will engross students for extended periods.

World of Goo

Fun puzzler about building structures with unique materials

Bottom line: This game offers a dependable hook for getting kids interested in geometry and the elements of building structures.

Motion Force

Thrilling projectile puzzle game features solid physics principles

Bottom line: This fun, gentle introduction to projectile motion will stick with students.

Portal 2 Puzzle Maker

Mind-bending level editor for beloved physics game

Bottom line: For STEAM educators with the right tech and know-how, it'd be puzzling not to use this tool.

Garry's Mod

Complex physics sandbox is daunting but rich

Bottom line: This physics sandbox ramps up the complexity but not the usability, leaving it up to the right teachers and students to unlock its benefits.

Chairs! Organic Chemistry Game

Learn chemistry chair conformations through a tactile puzzle game

Bottom line: This fun puzzle game helps students draw chair conformations; teachers will need to add context.

Collisions: Play Chemistry

Game-based challenges build crucial chemistry concepts

Bottom line: Learn about atoms, ions, and bonding through challenge-based gameplay.

Kerbal Space Program

Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim

Bottom line: This accurate rocket sim encourages trial-and-error learning and makes for great (and often explosive) physics and engineering experiments.

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