Common Sense


Top Reference Tools

Remember the imposing shelves of dictionaries, encyclopedias, and atlases you grew up with? Times have changed. Now, hundreds of handy reference tools can be accessed on just a single device. What's more, their sleek images and interactive content will wow students.

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Top Picks


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Google Earth

Cool geographical exploration tool has endless classroom applications

Bottom line: Google Earth offers less functionality than the PC version but still thrills.

American Chemical Society

Chemistry resources for teachers and kids, straight from the experts

Bottom line: Use the site to stay current on chemistry topics and tidbits, and to research some of your queries; just keep tabs on your time.

Barefoot World Atlas

Visually stunning 3-D globe piques students' interest in world facts

Bottom line: Dive right in to world geography with a beautiful, interactive globe full of narratives and photos of different cultures and traditions.


Vast word reference features tons of content and word games

Bottom line: Powerful tool crammed full of games, classic reference information, and flexible controls.

Geo Walk HD - 3D World Fact Book

Dazzling look at the world via an interactive atlas

Bottom line: Credible resource for introducing students to the world, which is likely to encourage them to research areas of interest further.

National Archives

Access U.S. history with treasure trove of docs, genealogy, and other resources

Bottom line: NARA's website wasn't designed for kids, but they can definitely use it to research and learn about history, genealogy, and the U.S. population and government.

Center for Young Women's Health

Maturely covers difficult physical and mental health issues

Bottom line: Girls can go here to get answers on health and wellness issues that affect them.

Digital Public Library of America

Impressive online collection of historic and cultural artifacts

Bottom line: This epic database of history and culture is a labor of love that all students can benefit from.

Math Open Reference

Visually plain, no-frills collection of math simulations

Bottom line: Free collection of math interactives and geometry construction tutorials.


Teen-focused collection of science snippets hosts class-ready content

Bottom line: A trustworthy go-to tool when hunting for kid-appropriate science content, especially when you're looking for real-world connections.

Wolfram Alpha

Calculations, computations, algorithms give kids just the facts, ma'am

Bottom line: Given a wealth of fact-based data, kids can apply findings in creative and meaningful learning activities.

WordFlex Touch Dictionary

Amazing interactive visual dictionary makes exploring words exciting

Bottom line: Dynamic, highly visual presentation makes learning new words exciting.


Definitive periodic table with all the bells and whistles

Bottom line: You won't need any other once you have probed the depths of this truly complete reference resource.

A.D.A.M. Interactive Anatomy

Explore detailed images with powerful, customizable anatomy curriculum

Bottom line: A stellar tool that tops other 3-D interactive anatomy sites with its extensive curriculum-building capabilities.

Google Scholar

Academic search engine, an excellent source for credible research info

Bottom line: This smart tool can help teens locate credible material for paper and report writing, general research, and other school projects.


Explore the world's nuts and bolts in this fab interactive info hub

Bottom line: Interesting, well-researched articles make this free resource a gem.

Sex, Etc.

Reliable, unbiased sex ed site keeps it real for teens

Bottom line: An engaging and informative destination for sex ed teachers and students.

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database

Deep, complex database is challenging but a peerless research tool

Bottom line: This is a highly academic site for better and for worse; it's filled with deep, research-backed resources and primary sources but is intimidating without clear guidance.

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