California Academy of Sciences
- collecting data
- making conclusions
ProsLets kids make observations on and build ideas about the world around them.
ConsVideos and classroom experiences aren't as fun as seeing exhibits at the museum.
Bottom LineIf you can't visit the Cal Academy in person, this site delivers highly interactive ways to access its resources and research.
There is no teacher dashboard. However, the Teacher’s Lounge provides opportunities to view lesson plans, be part of an online community of teachers, and ask questions about science content or equipment.
Common Sense Reviewer
The interactive website shows kids what's happening at the California Academy of Sciences right now.
Kids can view actual specimens and hear about current research. Videos and webcams show scientists in action and animals in their native environments.
Lessons and videos are available in English, Spanish, and Chinese. The Academy Community allows participants to upload photos and post about their experiences.
Teachers can design biology lessons around current research and experiments. "Anytime" lesson plans are available for classroom use. Other lesson plans support field trips to the California Academy of Sciences. These lessons cover pre-K to high school topics like animal behavior, geologic processes, biodiversity, evolution, and climate change. Lesson plans are currently aligned to California science standards. The site could be strengthened by organizing its lessons in a way that's more user-friendly to teachers outside of California. Local teachers can borrow classroom kits from the museum as long as they attend a training session at the California Academy of Sciences; training sessions cost $35 each.Read more Read less
The California Academy of Sciences site brings the resources and experience of San Francisco's museum into the classroom. Visitors can access multimedia collections, lectures, and Academy research. The site also provides up-to-date science news videos, and Academy scientists and curators blog about their research experiences. The Science Heroes section highlights these men and women who work for the Academy, and Citizen Science allows kids in California to participate in actual research by collecting specimens and data.
Standout lessons and videos:
"Energy: A Day in My Life Lesson Plan" -- Kids fill out a chart indicating how they use energy and how they could decrease their carbon footprint.
"Farallones Webcam" -- Control a live camera as you view the Farallon Islands, home to whales, seals, and exotic birds.
"Gene Therapy for Color Blindness" -- View a video clip showing how gene therapy has cured color blindness in squirrel monkeys.
It's particularly powerful to see what scientists are working on right now, and a key strength is that the featured scientists include men and women of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, encouraging kids to participate themselves. Kids can choose from a few highly engaging learning tools, including three live webcams that let them manipulate camera angles directly from their computers and observe sharks, penguins, whales, seals, and exotic birds in their natural habitats. Also, the video gallery has a broad variety of resources, from quick clips to entire Academy lectures.Read more Read less
See how teachers are using California Academy of Sciences
- Great resource for connecting concepts to real-world application.Teresa B.
Norris Middle School
Omaha, NE4June 15, 2013
Find the history of an invention within the past ten years.English Language ArtsGrade 6Susan A.
New World High School
Bronx, NY1 step
February 2, 2016