Review by Paul Cancellieri, Common Sense Education | Updated April 2012


Science experiments and activities abound in this comprehensive resource

Subjects & skills
  • Math
  • Science

  • Character & SEL
  • Critical Thinking
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
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Pros: Student-friendly content is carefully explained, and the use of multimedia is engaging.

Cons: Much of the material is promotional information about museum exhibits.

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

Videos cover the gamut of science content and come with helpful information like duration, age appropriateness, and curricular alignment. Students can use the site to gather information on a variety of topics, but teachers should assign follow-up activities to help them apply the new information. Some of the activities would make great classroom experiments, especially in non-lab classrooms. Home-school educators, and parents in general, will find the activities to be a great extension of classroom lessons.

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Exploratorium, the website for the San Francisco-based science museum of the same name, includes an educational section with links, activities, and videos covering nearly every aspect of science from biology and geology to physics and space science.

From the Explore tab, users can choose Websites, Activities, Video, or Apps -- a page of Exploratorium's iOS applications that are available for download in the App Store. The Websites page has curated links to high-quality sites with engaging activities. Activities offers a collection of interactive (Flash-based) games and simulations, and has instructions for simple experiments kids can view online or print out. Videos is an online TV channel with videos sorted by topic.

The games and simulations on Exploratorium are well-designed and connect to topics of high interest to tweens and teens, such as the chemistry of candy and electrifying pickles. Students can use the site independently to delve into topics that interest them. Unfortunately, most of the activities aren't interactive; they're largely at-home experiments, but they're also clearly explained and require only simple supplies.

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

The interactive games are well-designed, and both the Web-based and printable resources for at-home activities are attractive and full of graphics. Video clips and written passages cover topics of high interest to young people.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Some activities are inquiry-based, requiring a prediction before kids perform experiments. Text passages and videos are aligned to science curricula. Many activities lack feedback, and there’s limited opportunity for collaboration.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?
You get no community or network in which students might interact with each other or experts. Limited help is available, but most activities are simple enough that kids won't need it.

Common Sense Reviewer
Paul Cancellieri Classroom teacher

Teacher Reviews

(See all 7 reviews) (7 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Brianna G. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Norris Middle School
Omaha, United States
Great Activities with eye catching graphics
The Exploratorium website is a great resource for teachers and students. It has many different activities and labs that students can use to help encourage their interest in Science. The web site is well designed and easy to navigate. The website also uses student friendly language to explain the more difficult concepts.
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