Elementary Science on the Web – Guided Tour

Are you looking for great resources to help you plan and deliver science instruction at the elementary level? Boy, do I have the sites for you! Sit back, relax, and take this guided tour of some great places to start planning for next year. Turn up the volume on your computer so you don’t miss the audio portion many of these sites contain. Are you ready? LET’S GO!

Why don’t we start with terms. Vocabulary can be a big problem for both students and teachers. Let’s look at a great site for science vocab. This site is has resources for grades 1-6. Select your grade level and check out a few terms. Don’t forget to click the speaker when you see it!

Harcourt Multimedia Science Glossary

Here are two more sites from Harcourt. First, take a look at the Science Up Close site. Click on your grade level to find a list of science movies for your students to view. Don’t forget to turn on closed captioning so that you (and later your students) can read along. After that, jump on over to the Student Activities page to find online games, biographies of scientists, and web links for grades 1-6.

Harcourt Science Up Close
Harcourt Student Activities

Scott Foresman is another textbook publisher that has produced many wonderful activities, many online, for students. Visit this site to search for an activity by by grade or by unit, where Unit A=Life Science, Unit B=Physical Science, Unit C=Earth Science and Unit D=Human Body.

Scott Foresman Science – Find an Activity

Science is a class that requires lots of hands on activities. Much of the work in the science classroom begins with measurement and good tools. If you want to learn how to make some of your own resources, these sites can help you get started.

Science Equipment Directions
Recipes: Solutions and Materials
Ooey Gooey Recipes for the Classroom
Make Homemade Science Toys and Projects
Tools for Investigation

Need some clipart, photographs, or movies to jazz up your lessons? Here are few helpful resources.

Free Science Clipart
Animal Web Cams at the National Zoo
Imagine Animals: Photos of Earth’s Endangered Animals
Plant Image Gallery
Welcome to the Planets


How’s your science saavy? Feeling a bit nervous about your content knowledge? No problem! Check out some of these sites designed to help you better understand the science you will teach.

Essential Science for Teachers (K-6): Earth and Space Science
Essential Science for Teachers (K-6): Life Science
Essential Science for Teachers (K-6): Physical Science
The Why Files: Science Behind the News
How Stuff Works: Science Channel
Sport Science

Are you looking for a good book to use during your science lesson? Here are some great sites to help you find titles that work for different concepts in science. Start your search with one of these searchable databases of children’s books. Enter a keyword and see what comes up. (Be careful entering keywords in the first database, as you are limited to 10 characters!)

Children’s Picture Book Database
Database of Award Winning Children’s Literature

In addition to these sites, you can also find annotations for science books online. The National Science Teachers Association, in conjunction with the Children’s Book Council, publishes a list of outstanding science trade books each year. (This appears annually in the March issue of Science and Children.) Also, PBS Teacher Source updates its list of science books monthly. Check out the new recommendations and search the archive.

NSTA’s Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12
PBS TeacherSource Recommended Books: Science

Now that you have your topic and a children’s book to go with it, you probably need an activity to conduct. Here are some sites that offer a wide range of experiments and hands-on activities.

Science With Me: Experiments
The Science Explorer
Magic Schoolbus: Science Fun Activities
Exploratorium Science Snacks (by subject)
Whelmers Science Activities
Try Science Experiments


If you would prefer to review fully developed lesson plans, try any one of these sites.

Science NetLinks Lesson Index
Educator’s Desk Reference: Science Lesson Plans
Academy Curriculum Exchange: K-5 Science
UEN Resources: K-2 Core Lesson Plans (Scroll to content to find science lessons.)
UEN Resources: 3-6 Science Lessons

So, your lessons are planned and you have all your resources ready. How are you going to assess student learning? Here are some sites with ideas for evaluating student work, developing rubrics, and more.

Assessment Ideas for the Elementary Science Classroom
PALS Performance Tasks (K-4)
Exemplars: Rubrics

For those of you looking for resources to differentiate instruction, here are some sites you may find helpful.

Meeting the Needs of Gifted Students: Differentiating Mathematics and Science Instruction
Mathematics and Science Instruction for Students With Learning Disabilities
Teaching Mathematics and Science to English Language Learners
Special Education in the Science Classroom
TeachingLD: Teaching How-to’s: Content Enhancement and Adaptation

Are you interested in making a home-school connection? Here are some resources to involve parents.

Engaging Families in Mathematics and Science Education
Helping Your Child Learn Science

By now you should realize that there are so many resources on the web for science, that I can’t possibly include them all here. I hope this tour helped you find some resources you can use and excited you about the possibilities of using online resources for both planning and delivering instruction.

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