Common Sense


Science Tools Backed by Research

A lot of tech tools claim to have learning benefits, but how do teachers know what's the real deal? One way is to look for either tech that's inspired by the latest research into learning, pedagogy, and instructional design or tech that's been evaluated by researchers. It's not always easy to find this information, so we've curated a list of science apps, games, and websites that fit the bill. 

Continue reading

Top Picks


PrintPrint list


Schoolhouse Rock meets Tupac in this delightful hip-hop-based platform

Bottom line: Flocabulary has the goods: It's savvy enough to keep kids focused, and teachers will be tapping their toes to the unorthodox learning method.

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.

Ansel and Clair: Little Green Island

Wonderfully engaging eco-sim lets kids become pollution fighters

Bottom line: Kids learn about pollution and what to do about it on this eco-friendly game.

Maggie's Earth Adventures

Follow eco-conscious Maggie on engaging, multidisciplinary journey

Bottom line: An expansive, thorough resource teaching core skills in all subject areas with a hint of green throughout.

Zydeco Inquiry

Record and organize scientific observations on the go

Bottom line: Record, organize, and explain observations from everyday experiences with your mobile device.

ExploreLearning Gizmos

Vast array of science and math simulations impresses

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


Clever animated hosts Tim and Moby masterfully tackle complex topics

Bottom line: Cartoon videos in this extensive collection break down ideas in clever and thoughtful ways.


Sandbox tool enables engaged, conceptual physics inquiry

Bottom line: A robust, free pedagogical tool that's like a digital workbench where kids build and apply conceptual science knowledge.

Possible Worlds

Entertaining, well-researched games correct scientific misconceptions

Bottom line: Offers a helpful supplement to teacher-led instruction backed by an expert understanding of how kids learn and the key scientific concepts they need to know but often misunderstand.

POX: Save the People

Engrossing strategy game offers lessons in public health

Bottom line: POX: Save the People is an incredible game of strategy, collaboration, and public health education.

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.

SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!

Truncated environmental city-planning sim geared toward classrooms

Bottom line: This version of the SimCity game still has something to offer, but it's probably not worth the subscription cost on its own.

Cogent Education

Think like a scientist: Solve biology case studies

Bottom line: Practice problem-solving skills and learn biology through interactive case studies.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources