Make Sparticl a stop on your quest to find good online content for your classroom. Create an account and click on “Collect this” to acquire resources for next week’s unit on tornadoes. Use a Wile E. Coyote video clip to start the day’s discussion of kinetic energy, or practice brain biology with a game of building neurons. Have kids skim online articles on ghost snails and pink slugs to get excited about gastropods. Remember that some resources are rather advanced; a worksheet (made by you) may help them focus on important aspects. Note that kids may need guidance finding specific resources; unfortunately, they can’t search for your collections or even link to them from a shared group.
Feel confident letting your kids loose on Sparticl; its content is well curated and safe. Use this as a place to send kids for research articles on the science of sports, class debates on GMOs, or extensions for your space unit.Continue reading Show less
Sparticl is a curated collection of science resources geared toward teens. Topics are organized into six major categories (like Living Things and Earth & Space), each further separated into subcategories. The search bar ("What are you curious about?") will autofill with possible topics, or searchers can view a list of results filtered by type. Content includes text (articles or websites), video clips, games, online quizzes or interactives, images, hands-on activities, and also profiles of scientists. Helpfully, content is labeled and color-coded by type.
Accessing content does not require an account, but logged-in users connect to the site’s social media and game-like components. Users can create eccentric avatars and earn points for viewing resources, adding comments, and answering quiz questions. Users can also create their own collections (private or public) and create or join groups.
Sparticl is definitely good –- and safe –- for student exploration. Kids will love viewing short videos and stumbling on the weird-but-maybe-true ("Does the crunch in a fig cookie come from wasp parts?"). Interactive websites, games, and hands-on activities add “something to do,” and embedded quiz questions challenge kids to find specific info. Though there’s nothing inappropriate, some resources will be too advanced for many kids. Also, most topics don’t lay groundwork for developing deep understanding; a few may even support misconceptions.
Students with accounts can join a class group, but teachers will wish for options to assign info to the group, evaluate the class’s use of specific resources, or monitor comments. As it is, student comments aren't really moderated, and they're mostly uninspiring or unhelpful. Teacher-created collections can support classroom learning, though they would be even more powerful if they included supporting text, sequencing content, or related links.
Key Standards Supported
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
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.
Analyze displays of pictorial data to compare patterns of similarities in the embryological development across multiple species to identify relationships not evident in the fully formed anatomy.
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.
Earth and Human Activity
Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
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.
Earth’s Place in the Universe
Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.
Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history.
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.
Evaluate evidence of the past and current movements of continental and oceanic crust and the theory of plate tectonics to explain the ages of crustal rocks.
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth’s surface at varying time and spatial scales.
Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.
Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
Construct an explanation that predicts patterns of interactions among organisms across multiple ecosystems.
Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.
Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and reproduce.
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.
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.
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.
Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
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 the role of photosynthesis in the cycling of matter and flow of energy into and out of organisms.
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.
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.
Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from: (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors.
Matter and Its Interactions
Gather and make sense of information to describe that synthetic materials come from natural resources and impact society.
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.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
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.
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.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Integrate qualitative scientific and technical information to support the claim that digitized signals are a more reliable way to encode and transmit information than analog signals.
Evaluate questions about the advantages of using a digital transmission and storage of information.