Common Sense

TOP PICKS | 39 TOOLS

Top Tech for Advanced Science Students

This list focuses on science-related content for the gifted young scientists in your classroom. Students who need just a little extra freedom and a lot more science will find much to love here, whether it's simulations they can run, activities they can do outside of class, games that will test their perseverance, tools to explore STEM careers, or sites for designing and creating the next big idea. From biology to chemistry to physics, they'll make observations, notice patterns, conduct research, run experiments, formulate conclusions, and generate solutions with the help of these great tools.

Continue reading

Top Picks

RELATED

PrintPrint list

Advanced Biology

Learn.Genetics

Dreamland of multimedia resources for budding biologists

Bottom line: Biology teachers and students will find a lot of useful multimedia here to help them teach and understand complex genetics topics.

BioDigital Human

Explore every bit of the human body in this powerful, interactive 3D tour

Bottom line: This visually stunning, incredibly useful way to virtually explore the human body is a must for the anatomy classroom.

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.

AP Exam Prep Biology

Comprehensive array of study tools, solid content make studying a snap

Bottom line: Packed with plenty of study materials, if used wisely, this bio study tool will be worth the price.

BioInteractive

High-quality multimedia brings biological research to life

Bottom line: Superb multimedia tools and lesson plans help kids explore biology through real-world examples.

Cogent Education

Think like a scientist: Solve biology case studies

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

Scitable

Useful teacher tools, with articles suited for advanced bio students

Bottom line: Good resource for teachers looking to make a virtual classroom; the articles on current issues in science are great for more advanced students.

Labster

Impressive, advanced virtual biotech labs contain glitches

Bottom line: Take it out for a spin to get a sense of its limitations and those glitches, and then embrace this amazing virtual tool as an introduction, a review, or (sometimes) even a wet-lab replacement.

Citizen Science

Journey North

Long-standing citizen science site continues to inspire learners

Bottom line: Extensive resources can help kids collect, share, and analyze evidence about seasonal change.

Zooniverse

Real research powered by volunteers makes classroom content relevant

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

Project Noah

Contribute kid research to stellar crowdsourced field guide

Bottom line: An outstanding resource that makes science relevant with lots of classroom potential.

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.

Engineering and Design

Curiosity Machine

Kids build, share, receive pro feedback with awesome engineering site

Bottom line: Though it may not be an instant fit for your classroom, the exceptional quality of the site’s projects and processes makes it worth any problem solving.

Design Squad Global

Fun engineering problems encourage classroom competition, innovation

Bottom line: Design Squad Global makes learning STEAM concepts fun through hands-on activities and easy-to-understand scientific explanations.

Autodesk Design Academy

Outstanding project-based tutorials for popular engineering software

Bottom line: The projects found here are a great way to teach and learn digital design; all are truly fantastic (and free!), with everything you need ready to go.

Tinkercad

Amazingly simple yet powerful and flexible online CAD tool

Bottom line: A big step forward in making 3-D design more accessible and social.

Game-Based Learning

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.

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.

Collisions: Play Chemistry

Game-based challenges build crucial chemistry concepts

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

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.

In the Lab

Tuva Labs

Access to curated data sets has tons of potential, needs more teacher support

Bottom line: Partner with another teacher (preferably a data whiz) and work together to develop activities that will support learning in your classes.

CODAP

Drag and drop data to investigate nearly any subject

Bottom line: A bit awkward to use, but far more engaging than traditional spreadsheet/graphing tools.

Lab4Physics

Bring physics to life using lab sensors built right into your smartphone

Bottom line: Use your smartphone to gather data and study speed, gravity, waves, and other physics concepts.

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.

VelocityLab

Turn anything with wheels into a handy motion sensor

Bottom line: Pair your device with PocketLab sensors to gather position, velocity, and acceleration data on anything that rolls.

My Experiment

Collaborative scientific social network best for advanced HS students

Bottom line: While not for everyone, this resource can be useful for advanced students conducting their own scientific research.

Interest-Driven Learning

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.

NASA App

Visually super NASA-backed treasure trove may overwhelm

Bottom line: A visually stunning way to get kids interested in science and space exploration.

Science Friday

A weekly dose of curiosity for teachers and students alike

Bottom line: For a weekly rejuvenation of scientific learning, Science Friday is a source of inspiration for both teachers and students.

Science Buddies

A magic wand for those seeking science project support and success

Bottom line: Take the jitters out of science or engineering projects and fairs; this remarkable site coaches and supports students, parents, and teachers.

TED-Ed

Support kids' sense of wonder with outstanding short videos

Bottom line: Excellent, engaging videos and support for flipped-class lessons with an incredible community of thinkers and doers.

JASON

Excellent immersion in science community; digital tools could do more

Bottom line: Despite a few shortcomings, it's a gem among science sites because of the way it brings professional science into classrooms.

Brilliant

Challenge top students with adaptive math and physics problems

Bottom line: This leveled physics and math problem site can be an exciting challenge for passionate students, but may be too much for struggling students.

Simulations and Experiments

The Earth by TInybop

Explore challenging concepts with beautiful, interactive free play

Bottom line: When used in conjunction with the handbook, this interactive model is a good way to help teach kids about Earth.

Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science

Outdated site still useful for science games and investigations

Bottom line: These interesting and highly educational activities, though a bit disorganized, still challenge and engage kids in important ways.

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.

Algodoo

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.

Exploratorium

Science experiments and activities abound in this comprehensive resource

Bottom line: A host of mostly at-home activities are available if kids stick to the Explore tab of online resources.

Universe Sandbox

Superb sandbox for astrophysics experimentation

Bottom line: An impressive -- and complex -- tool that encourages a playful, systems thinking-oriented exploration of the universe and astrophysics.

Get tips for using these tools in the classroom

See related resources