Congratulations to our new colleagues! Whether you’re a new college grad or changing to a new role as teacher, NSTA’s SciLinks can be a valuable resource for you. Through SciLinks, teachers and students can access vetted web pages that provide real-time information and new content on a host of science topics. The websites were selected and reviewed by a team of educators (aka “webwatchers”) before being added to the database. Some are tagged as teacher resources if they address professional issues, instructional strategies, or lesson plan suggestions.
There are two ways to find websites in SciLinks:
- Use the codes in a SciLinked textbook or NSTA publication. These codes usually appear in the margins.
- NSTA members can search the site by keyword and grade level.
Once you find the websites related to your topic you can use them in several ways:
- Recommending sites to students. As a teacher, you can provide logins for students to look at particular sites, or you can give them a list of suggestions from your “favorites.” For interested students, you could go to the next grade level to search a topic or go down a level for students who may struggle with the text. Share a login with the librarian so that he/she can remind students of this resource. If your students use the technology at the local public library, perhaps the staff there could be alerted to how and why students would access this.
- In large group settings. Why just talk about science topics when there are many sites that lend themselves to illustrating the concepts? Building bridges, watching volcanoes erupt, seeing animals congregate around a water hole at night, or accessing videos and graphics of various topics bring these topics to life. If you have a smart board or projection unit, using a simulation or video clip with the class or a small group of students could be an engaging experience for them – and the resources are free and ready when you are. You can print some of the pages of a site to supplement or update textbook information.
- Teacher learning. One thing I’ve enjoyed over the years is using the SciLinks websites to keep current on topics such as the human genome and climate change. I especially enjoy the earth science topics (I taught life and physical science, so I’m continuing to learn). If you’re unfamiliar with a topic, searching for sites geared to middle or high school students would be a quick and painless way to learn more about it.
Recently, a “Quiz Manager” feature was added in which you can create questions for a particular website in the SciLinks database and assign students to complete them. Click here to read more about this feature.