12 Peer-Recommended Online Resources For Science Teachers

New Jersey Alternate Route candidates specializing in the sciences recently recommended free web resources that they’ve consulted when preparing classroom and at-home assignments, and lesson planning. Direct feedback from more than 200 teachers were reviewed when preparing this blog series on NJ Professional Standards for Teachers (NJPTS) aligned teacher resources.

Science teachers at the middle and high school level should find these 12 resources to be useful:


“Simulations of scientific phenomena that students can run on their computers. The simulations come with activities and games in order to keep students engaged.”

“PhET Interactive Simulations  is a project at the University of Colorado Boulder that creates free interactive math and science simulations. PhET sims are based on extensive education research and engage students through an intuitive, game-like environment where students learn through exploration and discovery.  The simulations are comprehensive covering topics in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics.  Additionally, many of the simulations have pre-formed teacher resources, including activities and corresponding paraphernalia.”

“I also regularly utilize the simulations available on the University of Colorado, Boulder's PhET website  allows students to explore concepts that may otherwise be difficult to explore in class (e.g. planetary orbits).  Simulations are available in many topics in physics and chemistry, as well as a growing number of topics in Earth science, biology, and math.  New simulations are added each year, and many of the simulations are now offered in HTML5, rather than Java programming language, which is compatible with Apple devices.  This has made a huge difference for my classes because we have regular access to iPads.”

Build An Atom
“Using this interactive website, students can manipulate subatomic particles to better understand how changes can affect the atomic number, mass number, and charge of atoms. There are also options to alter the type of display (orbitals vs, electron cloud). This tool helps students visualize the basic building blocks of chemistry.”


The Middle School Science Blog

“This website is wonderful for middle school science teachers. It gives ideas, links, lesson plans, and projects for students to do surrounding science.”


Phenomena For NGSS

“This site has been very helpful to me because I am trying to make my instruction phenomena-based because I find that to be the easiest way to engage the students in a way that they are able to perform the scientific practices, apply cross cutting concepts and also master the disciplinary core ideas in focus.”


Cornell Institute For Biology Teachers
“This Cornell University site has resources for each branch of science and even has sub branch resources. There are lesson plans and even several links and resources for hands on labs and or simulations.”


Kitchen Chemistry

“This site has also been very helpful because it allows to perform simple experiments in the classroom to provide simple phenomena for my students to observe and open up their minds which allows the students to build models and also argue from evidence as they observe the experiments. There is nothing better than make instruction phenomena based for science.”


Mystery Science   

“My school used this website.  The lessons are prepared for you.  All you have to do is review the lessons briefly and implement them.  The lessons focus on a student's curiosity and aim to inspire students to explore things.  My students loved it.  They didn't consider science lessons learning, they considered it fun.  Each lesson is presented as a scientific mystery that needs to be solved.  Overall, the lessons kept the students engaged, addressed the NGSS, and the students completed the lessons successfully.”


The Science Spot

“This website is beneficial to teachers of Forensic Science because it has powerpoints, guided notes, and activities for students. There's about half a year’s worth of material (if not more) on this website.”

“This site has a vast amount of classroom organization and management resources posted on it. One of its features that I think will be really helpful is their board labeled, "While You Were Gone". This section can be used to post copies for students who were missing.”


Nuclear Science Week

“This site has great ideas for hands-on nuclear science lessons. Due to the nature of nuclear reactions, demonstrations of the actual chemistry behind them are near impossible. The lessons offered on this website simulate important concepts of nuclear energy using readily accessible household items.”


The Physics Classroom

“ This is a great site, specifically for Physics.  It has working problems with answers a button away. But, the best part of the site are the "Interactives".  These are basically labs on the computer that show first hand what the lesson means, and lets the student manipulate different variables and run the experiment over and over every few seconds.  Most include handouts that can be printed and used with the interactives to guide the students and explain what is happening.”


The Encyclopedic HyperPhysics

“This encyclopedia authored by Dr. Rod Nave of Georgia State University, provides short, technical explanations of a wide variety of physical concepts, from musical consonance and dissonance to radioactive dating.  I use this site often as a reference to look up particular physical quantities (e.g. wavelength range for blue light) or explanations of advanced physical concepts that I do not use regularly (e.g. 3K cosmic background radiation).  This is a great site for furthering a physics or physical science teacher's content knowledge.”

Science A-Z

“I found this to be a valuable resource.  Lessons were easy to align to the NGSS and each reading activity is differentiated for low, mid, and high level readers.  All of the lessons also support literacy skills, so besides being differentiated, all lessons are interdisciplinary.  Made constructing lesson plans very easy.”

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Heather Ngoma

Heather Ngoma has over 20 years experience collaborating with educators across New Jersey to drive education innovation. She currently serves as the Director of Rutgers University's Alternate Route Teacher Training Program at the Center for Effective School Practices, a program which helps career changers, recent college graduates and other aspiring education professionals become licensed teachers in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @heatherngoma.