Seven Great Science Games Websites for Children
Educational Computer Games
The Internet is a wonderful resource for teachers. It offers activities that are both entertaining and educational for students. Playing online games can be a great way for students to learn about science and have fun at the same time.
A wide variety of science games are available on the Internet. They cover many different topics and are available for all ages, from kindergarten to high school. Some games are only weakly related to science, however. Others are very educational but can be boring for children. The best games sites get the balance between education and fun just right. Luckily, there are many websites which meet this requirement.
The seven websites that I describe below are the ones that I use most often with my students. Some are best for younger students while others work better for older ones. All of them provide a free and entertaining way for students to learn about science.
Sheppard Software Games
The Sheppard Software website has a large collection of online games in science, math, language arts, geography and history. The site also has informative articles, quizzes, puzzles and brain games. In addition, it includes a paint program for very young children. The program lets children choose a habitat, colour the different parts of the background and then drag appropriate animals into the picture.
The games are both entertaining and educational. There are age-appropriate activities for everyone, from preschool to adults (or so the company claims). An example of one of the games is shown in the video below.
Sheppard Software is a useful site for educators and students. There's a link to science games on the home page. There are other sections that would also be helpful for a science curriculum. These include the Animals, Health, Nutrition and Chemistry sections. There are games in these sections as well. It's definitely worth exploring everything that this site has to offer.
A Review of Sheppard Software Cell Games
We’re not saying the whole curriculum turns into this big game. We’re saying it’s an adjunct to a serious curriculum.— Bill Gates
Science Kids has lots of games for children. The games teach important concepts in science. The main topics covered by the site are animals, biology, chemistry, physics, space, weather and technology.
The Science Kids website is very useful because it contains far more than science games. The site also has facts, instructions and explanations for experiments, project suggestions, quizzes, videos, free photos for presentations, a science joke page and a lesson plan section for educators. Like the Sheppard Software site, Science Kids is a big website that is worth exploring.
The Lawrence Hall of Science
The Lawrence Hall of Science 24/7 Science page has an interesting collection of online games and activities on a variety of science topics. One section, called the Nanozone, teaches children about the rapidly developing field of nanotechnology. There is also an Earth and Space section and an Arcade Game section. In addition to the games, the website has quizzes and instructions for science experiments that students can perform at home. It also contains links to useful activities on other sites.
The Lawrence Hall of Science 24/7 Science page has a professional development page, which contains helpful videos. The site contains fewer resources than the two websites described above, but it's still worth exploring.
It is important to remember that educational software, like textbooks, is only one tool in the learning process. Neither can be a substitute for well-trained teachers, leadership, and parental involvement.— Keith Krueger
PBS Kids Science Games
The PBS site has an extensive collection of science games for young elementary children. The games have a colourful and attractive design and are fun to play. They teach kids basic science facts in an entertaining way. Some require the Flash plugin in order to run, but many don't.
One very nice feature of the PBS site is that some of the game screens have a link to related information or activities. The linked sections include science facts for teachers and parents and printable puzzles and worksheets for children. There are also "Tell me more" tabs on some of the screens. These give kids additional facts and suggest new activities that they can perform at home. Some of the games are based on the PBS Kids television show called "Sid the Science Kid". The game screens have a video button which lets children see scenes from the show.
Edheads is a very interesting site that includes eighteen different activities for students. The site offers activities (or games) in which students perform virtual surgery while learning about surgical techniques and the human body. Virtual operations include brain surgery, knee surgery, hip surgery and aorta surgery. The site classifies the virtual surgery games as being suitable for grades 7 to 12+.
The Edheads site contains other science themed games in addition to the virtual surgeries. These include a simple machines game and a compound machine game for grades 2 to 6, a weather game for grades 4 to 9, a crash scene investigation activity for grades 9 to 12+ and a nanoparticle activity for Grades 10 to 12+. The site also has an activity in which students help to design a cell phone for seniors. In addition, it contains several stem cell activities. There are teacher's guides and a resources section.
My favourite site out of all the ones that I've reviewed is the Edheads site. I like its detailed and very original games. It's a good site for the older students that I currently teach. Unfortunately for visitors, some of the games are no longer free. Schools must purchase a membership in order to use them. The cost of this membership currently ranges from $20 a year for up to thirty students to much more for a whole school district. At the moment, five games can be played without payment, however.
Television didn’t transform education. Neither will the internet. But it will be another tool for teachers to use in their effort to reach students in the classroom. It will also be a means by which students learn outside the classroom.— John Palfrey
Edheads Simple Machines and Design a Cell Phone Overview
Kids.gov Science Games Links
The Kids.gov website is very useful. The website isn't as visually attractive as the other ones described in this article and doesn't contain as much for students to do. Its value lies in the fact that it contains lists of helpful and interesting links for teachers, parents and students.
When the "Learn Stuff" tab is clicked, videos and downloadable posters are displayed as well as links to information sites about various curriculum areas. Clicking on the "Play Games" tab brings up a page showing a few games stored on the Kids.gov website as well as links to games on other sites. The games relate to various subjects, including science. Similarly, the "Watch Videos" tab links to a few videos stored on the Kids.gov website and also provides links to videos stored on other sites.
Three big tabs at the top of the page let visitors explore information suitable for Grades K to 5 or Grades 6 to 8. Other tabs on the "Play Games" page provide useful pages for teachers and parents.
There can be infinite uses of the computer and of new age technology, but if teachers themselves are not able to bring it into the classroom and make it work, then it fails.— Nancy Kassebaum
Woodlands Primary (Junior) School Science Games Links
Woodlands Primary School is located in Kent, England. Until recently, it was known as Woodlands Junior School. The school has a very useful and well known website, thanks to Mandy Barrow, its creator. The site contains a rich collection of resources for educators and students.
The resources on the website include information, activities and links relating to science, math, literacy, history, geography and British customs. There is also a science games page, which consists of links to other sites categorized by science topic. Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Science and Space Science are all represented. For example, there are links to game sites that let students assemble a skeleton, build electrical circuits and play different instruments.
Mandy Barrow has now left Woodlands School. The resources— including the games in the Science Zone—can still be accessed from the website, however. The site is interesting for the general public as well as children. In fact, I found it when I was searching for information about an aspect of British culture that interested me. When I explored the website I realized how useful it would be to educators.
Learning Science via the Internet
The Internet is a great source of science information for all ages. Facts, virtual experiments, videos, podcasts, practice exams, online courses, the latest science news and games are all available for someone who has access to the Internet.
Playing games can be a very effective way to help students learn about science. I've reviewed my favourite games websites, but many others exist. Teachers can choose from a wide variety of online activities. It's highly likely that at least some of these activities will be both fun and educational for their students.
What is your favourite science games website?
© 2012 Linda Crampton