science & ecology

I love exploring our world through scientific frameworks- one of the many fascinating frames for understanding and interpreting the life around us and inside us. This first list of links includes generally excellent all-around science websites filled with experiments in various branches of science. After that, the lists are broken down by branches- it gets quite specific. We use these links to chase butterflies, answer questions, and open our minds to new ways of seeing.

Max taught me that there is no age-appropriate limit to scientific questions and explorations, so be open to your child’s curiosity. Chances are, if you don’t know the answer, you’ll find it (and much more) on one of these websites.

  1. 101 Science
  2. Ask Dr. Universe
  3. Bill Nye, the Science Guy
  4. Bizarre stuff you can make in your kitchen
  5. Confusion Research Center
  6. Cool Science for Curious Kids
  7. CurioCity
  8. Do Science
  9. Dr. Bob’s Interesting Science Stuff
  10. Dr. Williamson’s DIY Science Projects
  11. Engaging Science Online Games
  12. Exploratorium
  13. Flying Turtle Exploring
  14. Frank Potter’s Science Gems
  15. Fun Science Gallery
  16. Helping Your Child Learn Science
  17. Home Experiments From 1888
  18. How Everything Works
  19. How Stuff Works
  20. How To Smile
  21. Hunkin’s Experiments
  22. Innovative Lives
  23. Just for Kids
  24. Launchpad
  25. Learning Science
  26. National Library of Virtual Manipulatives
  27. National Science Digital Library
  28. Ology
  29. Pathfinder Science
  30. P.I.E. (Playfully Inventing and Exploring)
  31. Playing With Time
  32. Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab
  33. Sandlot Science
  34. Science At Home
  35. Science Explorer
  36. Science Library Adventures
  37. Science Out of School
  38. Scientific Explorations
  39. Scientific explorations with Paul Doherty
  40. Science for Citizens
  41. Science Lesson Links
  42. Science Made Simple
  43. Science Playwiths
  44. Science Sparks
  45. Scratch
  46. Sea and Sky
  47. Simply Science
  48. Strange Science
  49. Terrific Science
  50. The Annals of Improbable Research
  51. The Galileo Project
  52. The Mad Scientist’s Network
  53. The Nobel Prize Internet Archive
  54. The Rudiments of Wisdom Encyclopedia
  55. The Science Club
  56. The Science Spot
  57. The Skeptic’s Dictionary
  58. The T.W.I.N.K.I.E.S. Project
  59. Thinking Fountain
  60. Toys From Trash
  61. Try Science
  62. Vicki Cobb’s Kids Science Page
  63. WISE
  64. Wonderville

NATURALISM & LIFE SCIENCES – the study of living organisms

TAXONOMY- classification of animals and plants

  1. Taxonomy: The Family Album
  2. Sorting and Classifying Organisms
  3. Animal Classification
  4. What Is the Key to Classification?
  5. Basic Animal Classification Chart*
  6. Taxonomy and armadillos
  7. The History of Taxonomy
  8. Carl Linnaeus Biography
  9. Animal Classifications Game

BIOLOGY – life and cells

  1. Dr. Saul’s Biology in Motion
  2. The Biology Binder
  3. The Biology Place
  4. DNA Learning Center
  5. Tree Of Life
  6. Mendel Web
  7. Access Excellence
  8. Kids Biology
  9. Biology for Kids
  10. Lifeboat to Mars Game

ANATOMY- structure and organization of living things

  1. Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body complete and illustrated
  2. Eskeletons Project
  3. Learning Our Body Webquest
  4. The Human Body EBook
  5. Bone Biology for Kids

MEDICAL SCIENCE- human health

  1. Neuroscience for Kids
  2. Gene Gateway
  3. The Body and Medicine
  4. Genetic Science Learning Center
  5. CERES Project

ZOOLOGY- animals

  1. Mike’s Herpetology Pages
  2. Michael’s Zoology Information Site
  3. Infrared Zoo
  4. The Electronic Zoo
  5. National Museum of Wildlife Art
  6. Project Wild
  7. One Species At a Time Podcast
  8. Animal Diversity Web

ENTOMOLOGY- insects and bugs

  1. Insects.org
  2. What Bug Is This?
  3. BugInfo
  4. Live Monarch Foundation
  5. The Children’s Butterfly Site
  6. Cocoon.org
  7. Microangela Insect Gallery
  8. Stein’s Virtual Insectary
  9. Bugscope

BOTANY- plants

  1. WebGarden
  2. Music of the Plants
  3. Exploring the Secret Life of Trees
  4. Invasive Plants
  5. Paleobotany
  6. Agriculture in the Classroom

ORNITHOLOGY- birds

  1. Ornithology for Kids
  2. Ornithology.com
  3. The Owl Pages
  4. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  5. Ducks At A Distance
  6. KidWings
  7. National Audubon Society Birds
  8. The Great Backyard Bird Count
  9. Journey North
  10. Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center

ECOLOGY- relationship between organisms and their environment

  1. EcoKids
  2. It’s A Jungle Out There
  3. Bagheera
  4. Biomes
  5. Major Biomes of the World
  6. Desert Biome
  7. Rainforest Alliance
  8. Ecology for Educators and Students
  9. Habitats
  10. Kids Do Ecology
  11. 4-H
  12. Project Learning Tree
  13. Stop the Beetle
  14. “The Environment As Integrating Concept” (for parents and teachers)*
  15. “Natural Wonders: A Guide to Early Childhood for Environmental Educators” *
  16. Classroom Earth
  17. Forest Resource Environmental Education Network
  18. KidWind Project
  19. Meet the Greens
  20. Watershed Action
  21. Adopt-A-Watershed
  22. Give Water A Hand*
  23. Youth Riparian Education Initiative*
  24. Project Wet
  25. Soil Biological Communities
  26. Neighborhood Explorers
  27. Think Green
  28. Food Backwards
  29. Southern Forests for the Future
  30. If Trees Could Talk
  31. Green Teacher

PHYSICAL SCIENCES- the study of non-living matter

CHEMISTRY- elements and their behavior

  1. The Periodic Table in Printable Pictures
  2. Chemicool
  3. Science Is Fun in the Lab of Shakashiri
  4. The Delights of Chemistry
  5. Rader’s Chem4Kids
  6. The Periodic Table of Videos
  7. The Wooden Periodic Table
  8. Element
  9. Rader’s Chem4Kids
  10. Mixtures and Solutions
  11. Separating Mixtures

PHYSICS- energy, force, and matter

  1. Molecular Expressions
  2. Earth and Mars Educational Modules
  3. The Black Hole Gang
  4. MathMol
  5. Molecularium
  6. Physics Demonstrations
  7. Energy Quest
  8. Dr. Richard P. Feynman
  9. A Century of Physics
  10. Amusement Park Physics
  11. Cartoon Laws of Physics
  12. Crayon Physics
  13. One Motion
  14. The Physics Classroom
  15. Physics Central
  16. Physics Songs
  17. The Soundry
  18. Strange Matter
  19. The Many Colors of Sunlight
  20. Angles of Reflection
  21. Static Electricity
  22. Matter

ENGINEERING AND MECHANICS- practical application and invention

  1. Animated Engines
  2. Mike’s Electric Stuff
  3. “Electricity: The Mysterious Force” pdf booklet
  4. Robotbox
  5. Explore Technology
  6. OMSI Engineer It!
  7. Building Big
  8. Gizmos
  9. Fantastic Contraption
  10. eGFI
  11. Invent Now
  12. A Sightseer’s Guide to Engineering
  13. The Official Rube Goldberg Website
  14. The K-8 Aeronautics Internet Textbook
  15. Science Toy Maker
  16. Junior Electronics Fact Sheets
  17. The Tech Museum
  18. Spark Bang Buzz
  19. EdHeads

EARTH SCIENCES- the study of earth; also called “geoscience”

GEOLOGY- soil and land

  1. VolcanoWorld Earth Science Lessons
  2. The Rock Cycle
  3. Soil Net
  4. Volcanoes Online
  5. The Virtual Cave
  6. Plate tectonics
  7. Virtual River

METEOROLOGY- weather

  1. Earth Observatory
  2. The Weather Dude
  3. WeatherWiz Kids
  4. The Weather Channel Kids
  5. Interactive Weather Maker
  6. Web Weather for Kids
  7. Hail Forming
  8. Snow Crystals

OCEANOGRAPHY- oceans

  1. National Data Buoy Center

PALEONTOLOGY- fossils

  1. Dinosaur Time Machine
  2. Paleontology: The Big Dig
  3. Kids Dinos
  4. The Paleontology Portal
  5. Walking With Dinosaurs
  6. The Natural History Museum’s Dino Directory
  7. Dinosauria Online
  8. Field Adventures in Paleontology
  9. Birds and Dinosaurs
  10. Dinobase
  11. Dinosaur Timeline Gallery
  12. Fossils, Rocks, and Time
  13. Understanding Evolution
  14. Explorations Through Time
  15. Learning From the Fossil Record
  16. Kids Only at The Natural History Museum
  17. Zoom Dinosaurs

ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS- study of space, universe, and physics of the universe

  1. Windows 2 the Universe
  2. Your Sky
  3. Project Starshine

ANTHROPOLOGY AND ARCHAEOLOGY- human cultures and their material remains

  1. American Museum of Natural History
  2. Kids Habitat
  1. Learn about the scientific method with this video, “Put It To the Test”, by They Might Be Giants.
  2. Practice the scientific method as you conduct an experiment to discover how man drops of water can fit on a penny.*
  3. Lay the foundations for an experimental mindset by encouraging tinkering with Tinkerball.
  4. Practice testing and observing skills with Launchball.
  5. Create an online graph using a data set.
  6. Conduct an independent investigation using these guidelines.*
  7. Explore the scientific skill of classification.*
  8. Try a shoe classification lab.*
  9. Try your hand at animal classification practice.*
  10. Learn about the six kingdoms of classification.*
  11. Make a cladogram to explore phylogeny.*
  12. Conduct an activity which will teach you about dichotomous keys.*
  13. Find out everything you ever wanted to know about wood.*
  14. Sort and classify leaves.*
  15. Play a game that teaches you how to classify fish on a reef.
  16. Study the difference between “old wives’ tales” and superstition using the scientific method.*
  17. Have some fun with Harry Potter and the Dichotomous Key.*
  18. Observe and record the life around a stream by collecting data about insects.*
  19. Learn about our natural acquatic resources and water conservation with the Water Lion.*
  20. Color the 21 species in the Save Our Species coloring book.*
  21. Be a watershed tourist and learn to identify the parts of a watershed.*
  22. Watch and record what’s dancing in the water.
  23. Learn how forests and sedimentation play a role in erosion.*
  24. Learn about nonpoint source pollution and how it is connected to what we do with our storm drains.
  25. Find out how rain gardens preserve and improve our water.*
  26. Learn how to run soil comparisons.*
  27. Learn to observe and classify wildlife around you.*
  28. Explore the unfortunate behavior of invasive species.*
  29. Watch and see how sheep have become the new weapon against invasive plants.
  30. Find out how to practice habitat awareness.*
  31. Use a Venn diagram to show what animals need to survive and live.*
  32. Learn about the importance of adaptation in animal life.*
  33. Explore how seasons affect animal adaptations.*
  34. Research and communicate information about local wildlife.*
  35. Become a wildlife ecologist and learn about predators, prey, and camouflage.*
  36. Find out how hunters and rangers maintain balance and biodiversity in a forest.*
  37. Explore the anatomy of a fish by using gyotaku printing on a t-shirt.
  38. Find out why and how leaves change color in the fall.
  39. Enjoy nature’s alphabet and then make one of your own.
  40. Find out why mushrooms grow in circles that look like fairy rings.
  41. Compare the insulating properties of various materials and then create a data table with Keeping Warm.
  42. Cultivate imaginative musing and visual thinking with Clouddreamer.
  43. Observe insects in high detail with Bugscope, which allows anyone to access a scanning electron microscope.
  44. Explore the laws of motion by playing with Moovl.
  45. Learn about the different tools used in the science of archaeology.
  46. Google Flu Trends to explore epidemiology and how viruses move through human populations at the global level.
  47. Learn about the different types of energy and energy conservation with Energy Skatepark.
  48. Print a protractor and learn to measure angles.
  49. Learn about the elements of machines.
  50. Making solar ovens teaches engineering concepts as well as physics and chemistry.
  51. Create a graph which explains your scientific finds or data.
  52. Measure the area and perimeter of rectangles.
  53. Dissect a frog online.
  54. Learn about inertia with these two experiments.
  55. Use Journey North to track wildlife migrations and seasonal change around the world.
  56. Create a hurricane by experimenting with atmospheric conditions, sea temperature, moisture, and winds.
  57. Make vaccines in a virtual lab using a different technqiue to produce each one.
  58. Test the properties of gases by heating and cooling each one at Gases Around Us.
  59. Explore the universe with a family stargazing field trip.
  60. Explore the properties of different liquids and solids in a virtual lab.
  61. Discover the characteristics of materials.
  62. Use the Buoyancy Explorer to investigate the physical property of buoyancy and test various liquids and solids for buoyancy.
  63. Learn how to determine the mass of an object using triple beam balance.
  64. Discover the relationship between mass, volume and density by weighing and submerging various materials under water.
  65. Explore simple machines and compound machines with EdHeads.
  66. Learn how to separate mixtures.
  67. The Friction Explorer lets you see how a sliding object behaves when you vary the force you push it with and the coefficient of friction.
  68. Discover Newton’s prism experiments and what Newton learned about light and reflection.
  69. Experiment with Drawdio, a pencil that lets you draw music.
  70. Learn about sounds with the sound site.
  71. Create a clap sensor while exploring mechanics.
  72. Learn how to distinguish and diagnose with Disease Detectives.
  73. Listen to Wild Music and make your own.
  74. Investigate windmill-powered whirligigs.
  75. Explore monarchs, butterflies, and the mystery of migration.
  76. Learn everything about worms from Herman the Worm.
  77. Take a virtual tour of a black hole or neutron star to investigate gravity.
  78. Explore the biology of plants and begin your study of botany.
  79. Learn to identify the various biomes and ecosystems of the world.
  80. Learn about carnivorous plants from The Carnivorous Plant Society.
  81. Explore propane gas through the fun activities at Propane on the Brain.
  82. Learn about electricity and circuits by making your own zapping Pika shoes.
  83. Explore the physics of vacuum at The Bell Jar.
  84. Hone your estimation skills with A View From the Back of the Envelope.
  85. Learn about molecules with unusual and amusing names.
  86. Control and build your own dam in this online simulation.
  87. Explore skateboard science.
  88. Sing “Fifty Ways to Love Your Lever” as a family.
  89. Explore turbines and wind on wind farms.
  90. Engage the elements of forest stewardship.*
  91. Learn to identify and understand the seasons of trees.*
  92. Find out the various uses for a tree and why we all need trees.*
  93. See how Shel Silverstein’s book, The Giving Tree, can help you understandscarcity in natural resources.
  94. Play a game or two to learn how to identify leaves by their characteristics.
  95. Explore the parts of a tree and how to measure tree growth and maturation.*
  96. Learn how trees adapt to their changing environments in order to survive.*
  97. Go an an expedition to explore forest history.*
  98. Learn about the process and effects of harvesting trees.*
  99. Explore the difference between hardwood and softwood lumber.*
  100. Learn about the role forests play in maintaining our water supplies by studying watersheds.*
  101. Examine the history of paper and how the paper-making process operates today.*
  102. Learn about the role of wildfires in an ecosystem, and find out how to handle wildfire warnings or scenarios.
  103. Plant a tree and delve into the world of community forests.*
  104. Create a community tree tour with handmade paper.*
  105. Follow the steps through which trees become paper and learn about renewable resources.*
  106. Visit a forest and learn about various methods of forest management.*
  107. Explore the relationshi between trash and climate change.*
  108. Get educated about the details of recycling and conservation.*
  109. Create your own environmental exchange box to share with other nations.*
  110. Create a schoolyard habitat.*
  111. Plant a tree just right.*
  112. Create a local ecosystem guide.*
  113. Host a BioBlitz, or a wildlife scavneger hunt, to learn more about the life around you.*
  114. Learn about blood types in humans with the Blood Typing Game.
  115. Be a highway seismograph.
  116. Make your own preposterous polymer.
  117. Dissect a battery to learn more about the properties of carbon and zinc.
  118. Play Guess Who’s Squawking to match birds and their songs.
  119. Create your own bird and share your creation.
  120. Play with paper models of polyhedra.
  121. Make a butterfly chrysalis.
  122. Learn about ph values with ph painting.
  123. Make your own lava lamp.
  124. Make your own electrical circuits with dough and robots.
  125. Explore the chemistry of secret codes.
  126. Create your own cardboard gramophone. *
  127. Make your own plant press and start pressing those plants. P