Common Sense Review
Updated May 2014

ExploreLearning Gizmos: Science Grades 9-12

Online simulations captivate and extend learning; worksheets may tire
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This module is part of the Website ExploreLearning Gizmos.
Common Sense Rating 3
Teacher Rating (1 Teacher Review) 4
  • Many of these online simulations allow students to do the otherwise impossible.
  • Teachers can set up classes, manage students, assign Gizmos, and view assessment results through the dashboard.
  • Assessment questions are a good check for mastery; both students and teachers can view and print the results.
Christie Thomas
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 3
How Can Teachers Use It?

The strength of these Gizmos lies in their ability to connect kids to the otherwise impossible through digital means. The Student Exploration Sheets (worksheets) are well-designed, and they force students to explore in a guided, step-by-step way. Still, completing them could feel tiresome -- kids might get frustrated as the directions are found only on the worksheets. Because of this, these activities are best done individually or in pairs; kids will need a computer and a printed worksheet. The Gizmos aren't designed for kids to simply "click around" -- they'll actually need to follow the directions. The five-question online assessments serve as a good culminating check for understanding. You can also display the Gizmos for the whole class, which can be useful in previewing directions or sharing results. The teacher guides, available for each Gizmo, provide specific teaching and content suggestions.

Because the teacher dashboard allows only class-level interaction, differentiating Gizmos for individual students isn't possible through the site. Still, with extra in-class directions, you can use the site as an extension for kids who have mastered other in-class topics. Gizmos can also be used to review and reinforce, but probably only when coupled with direct teacher support. ELLs and other students who struggle with reading comprehension may need extra support.

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