Common Sense Review
Updated October 2012

Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science

First-class site for science games and investigations
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Common Sense Rating 5
  • The main screen to Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science shows access to science games or collections of science investigations.
  • Keep scrolling down from the main page to see learning games, simulations, and online quizzes.
  • Activities such as "Sticky Situations" provide kids basic directions to do their own actual experiments but allow them to select materials they want to use and rank "stickiness" using a star scale.
  • The green milk simulation lets kids design a way to diagnose sick cows using nanotechnology.
  • “Whale Sounds,” one of three quizzes offered, has kids listen to whale audio files and then answer questions, with immediate feedback.
Pros
Both the lab investigations and the online simulations are high-quality and easy to complete.
Cons
You can't search for activities by topic or ability level.
Bottom Line
These well-designed and highly educational activities challenge and engage kids in all the right ways.
Emily Pohlonski
Common Sense Reviewer
Classroom teacher
Common Sense Rating 5
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 5
The site's bright, modern design gives it a level of polish some educational sites lack. Dozens of games and activities will keep kids coming back.
Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 4
The site lets students change variables in investigations and solve real-world problems in online simulations.
Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 4
Games have regular hints and clear instructions. Support isn't provided for English-language learners.
About our ratings and privacy evaluation.
How Can Teachers Use It?

Lawrence Hall of Science is such a well-organized and comprehensive site that you'll be able to use nearly all its interactive games or experiments in your classroom to supplement existing lesson plans on scientific topics, or construct lesson plans around them. You'll be able to return many times for new ideas, and even give your students a choice of which activities they'd like to complete first -- they'll want to do plenty.

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What's It Like?

Scientific experimentation and investigation are the focus of Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science, the kids' section of a science site created by the University of California, Berkeley. Young learners will find instructions on experiments they can conduct offline as well as games that teach scientific fundamentals, like measurement and comparing the properties of different substances. All activities illustrate basic principles of physics, chemistry, astronomy, and other scientific fields. Many of the games and experiments are based around real-world issues, such as how cigarette smoking damages the lungs or how to spot potential household hazards.

Rather than simple cookbook labs, kids get options. In "Sticky Situations," kids get basic directions but can choose the materials they want to use. Once they've ranked those materials' "stickiness" online, they can submit their recipe. Some investigations are relatively simple, like "How Old Is Your Penny?" where kids just enter the years of pennies they've collected. Kids learn about bar graphs, but the power of the activity is that kids' data is shared and compared with others instantly.

Standout Activities:
"Bridge Builders" -- Create different bridge structures and test their effectiveness.
"Bird Beaks" -- Use different household items as "bird beaks" and see which are best for eating certain foods. Compare data with other students' online.
"Save Ratty" -- Design nanotechnology capsules to deliver new cells that make insulin.

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Is It Good For Learning?

Lawrence Hall of Science does a great job of encouraging curious kids to interact with the world around them and record their observations. Experiments feature common household items and are easy to conduct, with very clear instructions.

Kids get choices about how to design their investigations. When conducting experiments, they can collect and share their data online. Each experiment includes links to other activities, so kids can learn more about their favorite topics.

Games and simulations are accurate, colorful, and creative. The NanoZone games are lots of fun and give kids real-world design challenges to solve using nanotechnology. Some of the Earth and Space Simulations like "Seasons" aren't that engaging; kids simply move a slider. However, these games still provide an opportunity for kids to look at data and form conclusions about it.

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See how teachers are using Lawrence Hall of Science: 24/7 Science