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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.

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.

Grades: Pre-K–K
Price:
Free

Hero Elementary

Cute science and engineering activities can fill gaps, feed curiosity

Bottom Line: These games can be a great supplement to a science class, though each individual activity works best when played in a single session.

Grades: K–3
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 1–8
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 10–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 4–10
Price:
Paid

Tyto Online

Ambitious science role-playing game has bright future

Bottom Line: Diverse characters, immersive experiences, and useful teacher tools make this life science RPG worth checking out.

Grades: 6–8
Price:
Free to try, Paid

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

Cell Command

Immersive biology game keeps students interested during learning

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

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 6–12
Price:
Free

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Free

Physics and Chemistry

Thinkrolls

Fun physics platformer teaches, engages young elementary students

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

Grades: Pre-K–2
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: K–3
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: K–5
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 2–6
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 2–8
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 4–8
Price:
Free

Motion Force

Thrilling projectile puzzle game features solid physics principles

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

Grades: 5–10
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 7–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 8–12
Price:
Paid

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.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Paid

Collisions: Play Chemistry

Game-based challenges build crucial chemistry concepts

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

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

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.

Grades: 9–12
Price:
Free to try, Paid

Foldit

Challenging protein-folding puzzler helps science research

Bottom Line: While this still remains best for advanced students looking for a challenge, the education mode helps everyone give it a shot.

Grades: 11–12
Price:
Free

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