HOT TOPIC: Online Science Simulations
Volume 1, Issue 39 - June 17, 2005

Science experiments are always a class favorite, allowing students the chance to make use of laboratory equipment and natural materials to explore the properties of the world around us. Children enjoy the experience so much they typically forget that they're actually learning in the process. For teachers the pay-off is real-world application of what they're teaching and higher order thinking skills which promote the mastery of content.

Still, unless your class is housed in a science lab setting, bringing in hands-on science experiments on a regular basis is a cumbersome task. Allocating materials isn't always easy, procuring and setting up equipment is time consuming, there are the dangers in working with certain instruments and elements, and the mess and clean up are never fun. if you're not a science enthusiast to begin with, the average classroom teacher doesn't go out of his or her way to deliver in-the-classroom science experiments on a regular basis.

For all these reasons, online science simulations have a special allure for teachers. They are Web-based, ready to implement, never messy and the next best thing to setting up the experiments yourself. Moreover, if your goal is the process and concepts to be taught by going through a specific scientific experience, Web-based delivery of experiments can be just as effective as the real deal.

These simulations are more often than not Shockwave-based, so it pays to make sure you have the most recent version of your browser installed, as well as the Flash and Shockwave plugins. Not sure if your plugins are up-to-date? See to get the latest versions of these free applications!

I know you'll enjoy sorting through this weeks list of recommended online science simulations. They're just plain fun! Share them with colleagues and watch the excitement come alive in your classrooms!

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©2005 Walter McKenzie

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