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 Homepage, where they can create classes, assign individual Gizmos, and view assessment results. Teachers can select Gizmos aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core State Standards for math. Gizmos are also organized according to popular textbooks and curriculums 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 have created using the Gizmos.Continue reading Show less
It's difficult to describe the entire array of interactive simulation tools (called Gizmos) that ExploreLearning makes available on this site. Arranged by curriculum, topic, or textbook, these little applications explore hundreds of concepts that students learn in elementary, middle, and high school mathematics 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.
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. An 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 allow individual students to experiment and build their own understanding of the concepts involved. Many are conducive to classroom demonstrations 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 to middle school students. 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 Next Generation Science Standards. Students are engaged in Science and Engineering Practices such as 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.
Key Standards Supported
Expressions And Equations
Write, read, and evaluate expressions in which letters stand for numbers.
Understand that rewriting an expression in different forms in a problem context can shed light on the problem and how the quantities in it are related. For example, a + 0.05a = 1.05a means that “increase by 5%” is the same as “multiply by 1.05.”
Use numbers expressed in the form of a single digit times an integer power of 10 to estimate very large or very small quantities, and to express how many times as much one is than the other. For example, estimate the population of the United States as 3 × 108 and the population of the world as 7 × 109, and determine that the world population is more than 20 times larger.
Interpreting Categorical And Quantitative Data
Represent data with plots on the real number line (dot plots, histograms, and box plots).
Measurement And Data
Tell and write time to the nearest minute and measure time intervals in minutes. Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of time intervals in minutes, e.g., by representing the problem on a number line diagram.
Recognize angles as geometric shapes that are formed wherever two rays share a common endpoint, and understand concepts of angle measurement:
Number And Operations In Base Ten
Recognize that in a multi-digit number, a digit in one place represents 10 times as much as it represents in the place to its right and 1/10 of what it represents in the place to its left.
Recognize that in a multi-digit whole number, a digit in one place represents ten times what it represents in the place to its right. For example, recognize that 700 ÷ 70 = 10 by applying concepts of place value and division.
Number And Operations—Fractions
Solve word problems involving addition and subtraction of fractions referring to the same whole, including cases of unlike denominators, e.g., by using visual fraction models or equations to represent the problem. Use benchmark fractions and number sense of fractions
Represent a fraction a/b on a number line diagram by marking off a lengths 1/b from 0. Recognize that the resulting interval has size a/b and that its endpoint locates the number a/b on the number line.
Statistics And Probability
Display numerical data in plots on a number line, including dot plots, histograms, and box plots.
Use measures of center and measures of variability for numerical data from random samples to draw informal comparative inferences about two populations. For example, decide whether the words in a chapter of a seventh-grade science book are generally longer than the words in a chapter of a fourth-grade science book.
Construct and interpret scatter plots for bivariate measurement data to investigate patterns of association between two quantities. Describe patterns such as clustering, outliers, positive or negative association, linear association, and nonlinear association.
Vector And Matrix Quantities
(+) Recognize vector quantities as having both magnitude and direction. Represent vector quantities by directed line segments, and use appropriate symbols for vectors and their magnitudes (e.g., v, |v|, ||v||, v).
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.
Use evidence to construct an explanation for how the variations in characteristics among individuals of the same species may provide advantages in surviving, finding mates, and reproducing.
Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.
Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.
Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment.
Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.
Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
Earth and Human Activity
Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.
Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Represent data in graphical displays to reveal patterns of daily changes in length and direction of shadows, day and night, and the seasonal appearance of some stars in the night sky.
Develop and use a model of the Earth-sun-moon system to describe the cyclic patterns of lunar phases, eclipses of the sun and moon, and seasons.
Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.
Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Construct an explanation of the Big Bang theory based on astronomical evidence of light spectra, motion of distant galaxies, and composition of matter in the universe.
Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.
Analyze and interpret data from maps to describe patterns of Earth’s features.
Describe and graph the amounts and percentages of water and fresh water in various reservoirs to provide evidence about the distribution of water on Earth.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of Earth’s materials and the flow of energy that drives this process.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of water through Earth’s systems driven by energy from the sun and the force of gravity.
Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
Develop a model to illustrate how Earth’s internal and surface processes operate at different spatial and temporal scales to form continental and ocean-floor features.
Develop a model based on evidence of Earth’s interior to describe the cycling of matter by thermal convection.
Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth's systems result in changes in climate.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
Develop a model to describe the cycling of matter and flow of energy among living and nonliving parts of an ecosystem.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.
Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
Use evidence to construct an explanation relating the speed of an object to the energy of that object.
Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents.
Ask questions and predict outcomes about the changes in energy that occur when objects collide.
Use models to describe that energy in animals’ food (used for body repair, growth, motion, and to maintain body warmth) was once energy from the sun.
Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.
Plan an investigation to determine the relationships among the energy transferred, the type of matter, the mass, and the change in the average kinetic energy of the particles as measured by the temperature of the sample.
Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.
Create a computational model to calculate the change in the energy of one component in a system when the change in energy of the other component(s) and energy flows in and out of the system are known.
Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative position of particles (objects).
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that the transfer of thermal energy when two components of different temperature are combined within a closed system results in a more uniform energy distribution among the components in the system (second law of thermodynamics).
Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.
Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions.
Evaluate competing design solutions using a systematic process to determine how well they meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.
Use a model to describe that animals’ receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways.
Support an argument that plants get the materials they need for growth chiefly from air and water.
Develop and use a model to describe the function of a cell as a whole and ways parts of cells contribute to the function.
Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsystems composed of groups of cells.
Use argument based on empirical evidence and scientific reasoning to support an explanation for how characteristic animal behaviors and specialized plant structures affect the probability of successful reproduction of animals and plants respectively.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how environmental and genetic factors influence the growth of organisms.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
Develop a model to describe how food is rearranged through chemical reactions forming new molecules that support growth and/or release energy as this matter moves through an organism.
Gather and synthesize information that sensory receptors respond to stimuli by sending messages to the brain for immediate behavior or storage as memories.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.
Develop and use a model to illustrate the hierarchical organization of interacting systems that provide specific functions within multicellular organisms.
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that feedback mechanisms maintain homeostasis.
Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms.
Use a model to illustrate how photosynthesis transforms light energy into stored chemical energy.
Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and/or other large carbon-based molecules.
Use a model to illustrate that cellular respiration is a chemical process whereby the bonds of food molecules and oxygen molecules are broken and the bonds in new compounds are formed resulting in a net transfer of energy.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence that plants and animals have traits inherited from parents and that variation of these traits exists in a group of similar organisms.
Use evidence to support the explanation that traits can be influenced by the environment.
Develop and use a model to describe why structural changes to genes (mutations) located on chromosomes may affect proteins and may result in harmful, beneficial, or neutral effects to the structure and function of the organism.
Develop and use a model to describe why asexual reproduction results in offspring with identical genetic information and sexual reproduction results in offspring with genetic variation.
Ask questions to clarify relationships about the role of DNA and chromosomes in coding the instructions for characteristic traits passed from parents to offspring.
Apply concepts of statistics and probability to explain the variation and distribution of expressed traits in a population.
Matter and Its Interactions
Develop a model to describe that matter is made of particles too small to be seen.
Make observations and measurements to identify materials based on their properties.
Develop models to describe the atomic composition of simple molecules and extended structures.
Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
Develop and use a model to describe how the total number of atoms does not change in a chemical reaction and thus mass is conserved.
Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
Construct and revise an explanation for the outcome of a simple chemical reaction based on the outermost electron states of atoms, trends in the periodic table, and knowledge of the patterns of chemical properties.
Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
Refine the design of a chemical system by specifying a change in conditions that would produce increased amounts of products at equilibrium.
Use mathematical representations to support the claim that atoms, and therefore mass, are conserved during a chemical reaction.
Develop models to illustrate the changes in the composition of the nucleus of the atom and the energy released during the processes of fission, fusion, and radioactive decay.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence of the effects of balanced and unbalanced forces on the motion of an object.
Make observations and/or measurements of an object’s motion to provide evidence that a pattern can be used to predict future motion.
Ask questions to determine cause and effect relationships of electric or magnetic interactions between two objects not in contact with each other.
Support an argument that the gravitational force exerted by Earth on objects is directed down.
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.
Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.
Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.
Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that an electric current can produce a magnetic field and that a changing magnetic field can produce an electric current.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Develop a model of waves to describe patterns in terms of amplitude and wavelength and that waves can cause objects to move.
Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.
Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.
Evaluate the validity and reliability of claims in published materials of the effects that different frequencies of electromagnetic radiation have when absorbed by matter.
Communicate technical information about how some technological devices use the principles of wave behavior and wave interactions with matter to transmit and capture information and energy.