For many of you, the school year is starting soon. Summer certainly flies by quickly! But if you have a little prep time left and are looking for new materials to add to your curriculum, check out SciLinks, NSTA’s online database of vetted web pages.
You can access the websites in the database either by using the codes in a SciLinked textbook or NSTA publication or by searching for a keyword and grade level on the site.
Keep reading to find out how can you use SciLinks.
Recommending sites to students. As a teacher, you can provide logins for students to search for sites, or you could give them a printed list of suggestions. Perhaps you’ve used the “Favorite Websites” feature of SciLinks, in which you can create your own selection of websites to share with students. For interested or advanced students, you might go to the next grade level or you could go down a level for students who may struggle with the text.
You could suggest sites to supplement or update the textbook information. Share a login with the librarian so that he/she can remind students of this resource. If your students use the technology at a local public library, perhaps the staff there could be alerted as to how and why students would access this.
In 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 photographs and video of various topics bring these topics to life. If you have a 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.
With the new Quiz Manager feature, you can create questions for a particular website in the SciLinks database and assign students to complete them. You can keep the questions just for your class, or you can choose to share the questions with other SciLinks-using teachers, creating a common item bank.
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 or climate change. I especially like 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.