Common Sense


Resources for Student Science Projects and Experiments

It's important for students to see how science works out in the real world, beyond the limits of classrooms and textbooks. Students can make thousands of fascinating observations just by roaming around in nature or doing experiments with everyday items. They can collect and interpret data, create theories, test them, and develop models to explain real-world phenomena. To help, some of the tools on this list get students observing the behavior of animals on a webcam, listening to and analyzing the sounds of whales, watching the stars in the sky, and identifying plant or animal species. Often students are given the chance to work with -- or at least give the data to -- real-life scientists. These websites and apps seed ideas for fun, safe experiments and encourage students to actually try them to benefit the greater good.

Continue reading

Top Picks


PrintPrint | Save as PDF

Playground Physics

Fun video app lets students track motion to explore physics concepts

Bottom line: This is a cheap way to get students out of their chairs to make physics real and tangible, empowering learners and encouraging curiosity.

California Academy of Sciences

Expert research and diverse, rich lessons inspire future scientists

Bottom line: A perfect companion to (or substitute for) the Academy, this site delivers highly interactive resources and research with a lot of depth.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

STEM lessons creatively build off of NASA data and real space missions

Bottom line: These hands-on lessons approximate the work of NASA scientists, engineers, and astronauts and make use of actual NASA satellite data.


Learn about ocean life and help NASA map the ocean floor

Bottom line: Simple actions to save the reefs empower students as citizen scientists.

Project Squirrel

Solid citizen-science site with good extension projects

Bottom line: This online, collaborative science project is a solid resource for making data collection relevant to kids.


Real research powered by volunteers makes classroom content relevant

Bottom line: Engage in meaningful, relevant research with citizen scientists from around the world.

Esri GeoInquiries

Captivating, focused map activities support larger curricular lessons

Bottom line: These inquiry-based activities are a valuable visual and investigative resource for teachers and students in many different subjects.

PlantSnap Plant Identification

Snap pics to (maybe) identify flowers and plants

Bottom line: If teachers help students learn how to evaluate the plant matches provided, this could be an excellent nature reference source.

Project Noah

Engaging online community for relevant, hands-on science fieldwork

Bottom line: Project Noah is a free and easy way to take part in biodiversity research with the support of a knowledgeable and global community.

Technovation Families

Family-focused site for learning AI well-suited to classrooms, too

Bottom line: Makes artificial intelligence and machine learning accessible to students of many ages and abilities.

Common Sense Selection


Microscope attachment for mobile devices inspires field investigation

Bottom line: The use of stickers instead of slides helps students examine their world at the microscopic level with safety and convenience.

The Explorers

Eco-minded app's quality visual content might inspire deeper learning

Bottom line: The wide range of cool content is sure to fascinate students, but teachers will need to make sure that interest leads to deeper learning and research experiences.


Statistical analysis for science classrooms made easy

Bottom line: Perform a t-test or chi-square analysis using your own data or provided data sets.

Galaxy Zoo

Citizen science site involves, inspires budding astronomers

Bottom line: Classifying, comparing, and analyzing galactic data with this great, free tool can be influential to kids' involvement with science.

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science

Science-based debates, discussions, role plays, and more for research, analysis, and critical thinking

Bottom line: Great resource to address many skills, apply science, and adapt to work in your classroom.

Arduino Science Journal

Turn your phone into a lab sensor to collect and analyze data

Bottom line: Science Journal does a good job recording real-time motion, sound, and light data using phones.


Collect and share class data, pictures, and videos

Bottom line: Works within Google Classroom to help kids record and share observations of the world around them.

The PocketLab

Gather and analyze live data anywhere

Bottom line: A science sensor that pairs with your device to gather and analyze data is perfect for inquiry-based learning.


Global citizen-science community for real-world research

Bottom line: Teens can do hands-on nature research, but in a limited way.

Mars Student Imaging Project

Take science research out of this world with NASA's Mars project

Bottom line: One of the best authentic inquiry space experiences out there: Use this tool to grow the next generation of researchers in your classroom.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources