Free online education resources are a must for every teacher today. With budget constraints and field trips non-existent trying to find a method to actively engage a student in learning can be expensive without the free resources. Finding high quality resources in the areas of math, technology, engineering and science will take a tremendous amount of time sifting through various sites to find age appropriate reading material for students. Conceptualization of concepts can be particularly hard for middle and high school students but there are some great free online education sources on the Internet.
The National Science Digital Library has an extensive collection of resources for STEM educators. The goal of NSDL is to put the latest results from research and outreach activities in reach of teachers, educational communities to be used in best practices in classrooms. While the site includes resources for the K-12 educator, NSDL also includes articles for higher education that can be used directly by a teacher or used to engage high-level students in an inquiry-based manner. The science refresher function provides quality, quick and easy access science content that is organized according to grade and specific science subject matter. In addition, the resource information for the subject content appears on the screen so the student or teacher can immediately find more information on that subject as needed. NSDL includes a science literacy map, which is a tool for teachers and students, which will allow the user to find resources that relate to specific science and math concepts. The maps also illustrate the connections between the concepts as well as how concepts have a vertical progression across grade levels.
PhET provides fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena that are all free online education resources for teachers and students. Simulations enable students to make connections between real-life phenomena and the underlying science, deepening the student’s understanding of the concepts and appreciation of the physical world. PhET simulations animate what is invisible to the naked eye through the use of graphics, click-and-drag manipulation, sliders and radio buttons. The simulations also use measuring instruments including rulers, stopwatches, voltmeters and thermometers. This replicates what the student would experience in the laboratory as closely as possible. As user manipulates the interactive tools, the responses are immediately animated. The interactive simulation illustrates the cause-and-effect relationships of the concept presented. All simulations, laboratory activities, homework activities and lesson plans are offered as free online education resources for the teacher, student and even parents.
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