Top Pick

Top Apps, Games, and Websites for Scientific Inquiry

These tools offer students the techniques to design their own "scientific method" through inquiry-based learning: making observations, asking questions, gathering data, uncovering answers, revising their thinking, and asking new questions. Use these tools to harness students' natural curiosity and inspire them to think critically and creatively as they make sense of the scientific phenomena around them.

Explore Models and Simulations

Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science Visit Website: http://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/kidsite/
First-class site for science games and investigations
Grades K-5
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
PhET Interactive Simulations Visit Website: https://phet.colorado.edu
Massive cache of excellent (and free!) science and math simulations
Grades K-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
ExploreLearning Gizmos Visit Website: http://explorelearning.com
Vast array of science and math simulations impresses
Grades 3-12
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Inq-ITS Visit Website: www.inqits.com
Virtual labs epitomize the NGSS Science and Engineering Practices
Grades 5-10
Type Website
Price Free to Try, Paid
Common Sense says
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Happy Atoms Publisher: Schell Games
Build molecules with physical models, explore with your device
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Collisions: Play Chemistry Publisher: PlayMada Games
Game-based challenges build crucial chemistry concepts
Grades 9-12
Type App
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Kerbal Space Program Publisher: Squad
Design and launch a rocket into space in realistic astrophysics sim
Grades 9-12
Type Game
Price Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Linux, Mac, Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say

Gather and Analyze Data

Playground Physics Publisher: New York Hall of Science
Fun video app lets students track motion to explore physics concepts
Grades K-10
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Journey North Visit Website: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/
Long-standing citizen science site continues to inspire learners
Grades 1-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Coach's Eye - Video Analysis Publisher: TechSmith Corporation
Robust video analysis for sports, science, fine arts performances
Grades 2-12
Type App
Price Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Windows Phone, Apps for Windows
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Zooniverse Visit Website: https://www.zooniverse.org/
Real research powered by volunteers makes classroom content relevant
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
Zydeco Inquiry Publisher: The University of Michigan
Record and organize scientific observations on the go
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
EarthViewer Publisher: Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Earth's deep geologic history and real science data at your fingertips
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Lab4Physics Publisher: Lab4U Inc.
Bring physics to life using lab sensors built right into your smartphone
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free, Free to Try, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say Not Yet Rated
PocketLab Publisher: Myriad Sensors
Gather and analyze live data anywhere
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, Chrome, Windows Phone
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Science Journal Publisher: Marketing @ Google
Turn your Android into a lab sensor to collect and analyze data
Grades 6-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
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Solve the Outbreak Publisher: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Become a disease detective -- read clues, analyze data, save lives
Grades 8-12
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad
Common Sense says
Teachers say

Make and Design Projects

Discover Science Visit Website: http://www.calacademy.org/explore-science
Bring the California Academy of Sciences into your classroom
Grades K-10
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say
DIY Nano Publisher: The Lawrence Hall of Science
Turn kids into budding nanoscientists who explore the tiniest things
Grades 2-5
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
littleBits Invent Publisher: littleBits Electronics Inc.
Top-notch tool empowers kids to invent, build, and control wirelessly
Grades 2-8
Type App
Price Free, Paid
Platforms Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
Common Sense says
Teachers say
Curiosity Machine Visit Website: https://www.curiositymachine.org
Kids build, share, receive pro feedback with awesome engineering site
Grades 2-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
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Design Squad Nation Visit Website: http://pbskids.org/designsquad
Classmates can compete to solve fun engineering problems
Grades 3-8
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
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DIY - Skills For Kids Publisher: DIY
From cardboarding to cooking, this app helps kids find the fun in DIY
Grades 3-8
Type App
Price Free
Platforms iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch
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Teachers say
Science Buddies Visit Website: http://www.sciencebuddies.org
A magic wand for those seeking science project support and success
Grades 4-12
Type Website
Price Free
Common Sense says
Teachers say