Teachers of advanced science students will appreciate the authentic nature of the articles, all of which are written and reviewed by scientists. The Scientific Communication topic room is great for students who are completing research projects, and the Career Planning room has tons of information about scientific careers. Teachers of more basic science can use the blog posts, Spotlights, and Knowledge Project sections to highlight science issues in everyday life -- all important for building students' interest in science.
Another useful aspect here is teachers' ability to set up a virtual classroom, which allows the creation of a custom online reading list. Teachers can assign Scitable's articles, post and moderate discussion groups, and create a science news feed. Teachers can also use and assign ebooks, or modify an existing one by rearranging or adding their own information, including web links and references.Continue reading Show less
Scitable is a searchable database of articles, blogs, and discussion groups focusing mainly on genetics, cell biology, scientific communications, and scientific career planning. The topic rooms have article listings, discussion groups, and ebooks (with detailed introductions for the various topics). Mainly a college-level resource, articles are often labeled as basic (intro university), intermediate, or advanced (graduate level). There's also a library of video resources, including content animations and interviews with scientists, and a built-in social media function to help build interest in the scientific community.
Standout features include the Ask an Expert page, which allows students to question and get an answer from a practicing scientist within 48 hours, and the Career Planning topic room, which is an excellent resource for students who want to pursue a future in science.
Teachers should know that the articles here are written at a college level (and beyond), making the site appropriate mostly for advanced high schoolers. There are a few embedded language supports, like graphics and a rollover scientific glossary for each article. A convenient search from the home page brings up a list of related definitions, articles, blogs, images, and discussions, making it easy to access the site's various resources. Alternately, content found in the Knowledge Project section comes at a more basic reading level -- it's accessible to a wider range of students. But the subjects here differ from those in the main topic rooms mentioned above, and they're covered in less depth.
Students may have trouble finding help, as there aren't obvious links to the site's help topics, setup tutorials, or the Ask an Expert feature. The most obvious help features are a FAQ page (accessed through a tiny contact link at the bottom of the main page) and a short tutorial accessed from the multimedia page. Clearer access to support features would make the site more accessible to a wider range of students.
Key Standards Supported
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.
Gather relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in terms of the specific task, purpose, and audience; integrate information into the text selectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoiding plagiarism and overreliance on any one source and following a standard format for citation.
Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
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.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
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.
Use a model to illustrate the role of cellular division (mitosis) and differentiation in producing and maintaining complex organisms.
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
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.