As a science teacher, I am always on the lookout for science websites that will either help me improve my teaching practice or provide excellent classroom resources.
The following is a list of some science organizations and the resources they provide.
Science Teachers Association of Ontario (STAO)
Overall, I found the STAO website to be valuable to me as a science teacher in an elementary school. This last point is of particular interest to me as my elementary colleagues and I are constantly searching for cross-curricular resources, lessons, and activities. Although many of STAO’s resources are only for members, the public access material is quite abundant and pertinent to my teaching. Another interesting point is that it is an Ontario based science website so it is directly connected to the Ontario curriculum documents. I did notice, however, that several of the resources were still based on the previous Ontario curriculum documents, so this is an area that needs a bit of an update.
Alberta Teachers’ Association of Science Council (ATASC)
Members are able to log into a secured database to access unit plans, assignments, tests, lesson plans, lab activities, teacher notes, worksheets, quizzes, and web links. Unfortunately, I could not log in to view these resources, as I am not a member. It does have an unsecured section with a variety of useful science and teaching links. There was however a useful section on Lab Safety that is available to all visitors.
The Science Teachers’ Association of Manitoba (STAM)
STAM’s website is easy for teachers to navigate and the links are categorized according to the clusters for each grade. I find this important as time is valuable and I do not want to spend all my time searching for classroom resources. There is an extensive list of links under the “Resource Links” tab. After exploring the grade 8 science links, I found that there was an excellent variety in the resources provided. Most of the resources are links to various websites, so this would enable teachers to use technology in the classroom more effectively. The resources listed under each cluster include: WebQuests, virtual labs, online guides, hands-on activities, teacher guides, unit plans, activities, videos, and worksheets. I particularly liked the variety of resources because students respond so well to technology in the classroom and it really allows them to explore concepts that are not easy to grasp. STAM’s well-organized website is user friendly and comprehensive.
National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA)
NSELA appears to focus primarily on the development of science education leadership, educational reform, assessment, and systemic change. Based on the previous PD Institutes described on the website, this organization would benefit science resource teachers, department heads, and administrators.
The Association for Science Education (ASE)
ASE has a fantastic website that is valuable to teachers and provides a variety of resources for use. The website is user-friendly and meets the needs of a classroom teacher. I found the teacher resources to be extremely valuable as they incorporated technology, activities, assessment, and theory. The only problem with this website is that since it is based on the U.K. curriculum, teachers need to search for the curriculum units that align with those in Ontario. This was very easy to do, however, and I found great resources on cells that I can use with my grade 8 students. A critical eye is needed to ensure that activities and resources cover Ontario curriculum expectations. Fantastic overall!
Science Across the World
I believe that Science Across the World is a wonderful opportunity for both teachers and students. There are a variety of topics listed for both younger and older students. The whole point of the program is to exchange ideas and findings on the topic by groups of students in various countries. Teachers are to find their own contacts either through Facebook groups, Factworld, eTwinning (Europe only), or English Language Teaching Contacts Scheme. The easiest way for a Canadian School would be through Facebook. Exchanges can take on many formats and be done in a variety of ways (Prezi, vimeo group, Blackboard, Moodle etc). Teachers would be able to bring global perspectives into their classrooms in a way that other forms of media or study would not allow. Students would be given an experience to communicate and learn from students from variety of cultures and backgrounds. Not only would students have a new found appreciate for other cultures, but they will see how other children throughout the world live and learn. Sounds amazing!
National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)
NSTA has an excellent website that is easy to use and provides a tremendous amount of PD opportunities for teachers. One thing that I like about this organization in particular is that they understand that teachers may not have the ability to travel to various PD opportunities. These online seminars allow teachers to work at their own pace and choose from an extensive list of topics. NSTA provides links to articles from several journals, including Science and Children, Science Scope, and The Science Teacher, that are thought-provoking and informative. There’s a great list of “Freebies for Science Teachers” to check out!
Of course this list is not exhaustive, so I will be updating it as I visit new sites.
Teachers! What are some great science organizations that I should add to this list? Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
Updated to add: Don’t forget to check out “10 Excellent Science Websites” for more resources!