Website review by Kristina Duncan, Common Sense Education | Updated October 2018

ExploreLearning Gizmos

Vast array of science and math simulations impresses

Learning rating
Community rating
Based on 18 reviews
Privacy rating
56%| Warning Expert evaluation by Common Sense
Subjects & Skills
Math, Science, Critical Thinking

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Pros: Gizmos are simple to use, cover nearly every topic in math and science, and come with extra resources and assessments.

Cons: Subscription cost is high, but with a free account students can use certain Gizmos for free and any Gizmo for up to five minutes per day.

Bottom Line: This powerful and extensive set of math and science tools puts the learning in students' hands.

Teachers can use ExploreLearning Gizmos as a demo projected in front of the class, but Gizmos are best used when placed right in the hands of the students. After setting up a teacher account, educators go to their teacher home page, where they can create classes, access student login info, assign Gizmos, and view assessment results for each student. Teachers can select Gizmos aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and Common Core State Standards for math. Gizmos are also organized according to popular textbooks and curricula such as FOSS Science.

Each Gizmo has support materials including Lesson Plans, Vocabulary Sheets, Teacher's Guides, and editable Student Exploration Sheets. Each activity also ends with an online assessment, the results of which are available immediately to teachers and students. The ExploreLearning community allows teachers to share worksheets and lessons that they've created using the Gizmos, and ExploreLearning also offers professional development.

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ExploreLearning Gizmos is a site containing an impressive array of math and science simulations arranged by curriculum, topic, or textbook. These little applications explore hundreds of concepts that students learn in elementary, middle, and high school math and science. From number sense to algebra and from biology to physics, there are enough tools here for students to try a different one each week for every school year. Access to the full Gizmo library comes with a paid subscription, but there are some free Gizmos to teach with as well.

Each Gizmo comes with extensive support through the site and printable resources to help with deployment. The Exploration Sheet includes some questions that activate prior knowledge and others that allow students to record their learning during an activity. A short multiple-choice assessment is administered at the end of each Gizmo to measure student learning. All of these are of high quality and rigorous enough to be useful in any classroom.

ExploreLearning Gizmos encompasses a research-based approach that allows students to experiment and build their own understanding of the concepts involved. Many Gizmos are conducive to classroom demos for a larger group, but this method loses the magic that comes from kids tweaking the settings of a simulation to see what happens. For example, the Archimedes Principle Gizmo is perfect for teaching the idea of buoyancy and displacement. A student can learn a lot by adjusting the size of a "boat" and then adding mass until it sinks, observing how such factors affect whether a boat floats.

Gizmos embody the three-dimensional learning called for by the NGSS. Kids are engaged in science and engineering practices such as collecting and analyzing data while they also learn content. Woven throughout the Gizmos are cross-cutting concepts such as cause and effect and systems and scale. Simulations bundled with a few assessment questions help kids practice for the tech-enhanced items now appearing on many standardized science tests.

Overall Rating


Interactive and graphical activities will draw kids in and keep them playing. Students can experiment as long as needed, and then take the assessment when ready.


Students make changes to simulations and observe the outcomes -- a powerful way for them to experiment and learn how various factors are related.


A useful help section includes video demos of the most important tasks on the site. Students get feedback in each activity as they complete the simulation, and can check their answers on the assessments.

Common Sense reviewer
Kristina Duncan Classroom teacher

Community Rating

(See all 18 reviews) (18 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Jenny O. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
A.D. Henderson University School
Boca Raton, United States
Engaging Math and Science Interactives
We have recently renewed our school's Gizmo subscription. The student led nature of the interactives make them useful in a variety of classroom settings. My only complaint is that I find the way accounts are organized to be less than ideal for elementary students. (Students create accounts and then join a teacher class using a class code.) Overall, it is a helpful classroom resource.
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Data Safety
How safe is this product?
Unclear whether this product supports interactions between trusted users and/or students.
Unclear whether users can interact with untrusted users, including strangers and/or adults.
Unclear whether profile information is shared for social interactions.
Data Rights
What rights do I have to the data?
Opt-in consent is requested from users at the time personal information is collected.
Users can control their information through privacy settings.
Users can create or upload content.
Ads & Tracking
Are there advertisements or tracking?
Data are not shared for third-party advertising and/or marketing.
Traditional or contextual advertisements are not displayed.
Unclear whether this product displays behavioral or targeted advertising.

Continue reading about this tool's privacy practices, including data collection, sharing, and security.

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