What Happens When Science Mixes with Online Learning?
When I first started teaching with online curriculum, I was a bit skeptical when it came to science. After all, science is best-learned hands-on and online learning seems the exact opposite. I wasn’t so sure a student could really have an authentic science learning experience being directed by a computer.
Well, I was wrong.
Global Student Network offers courses that facilitate hands-on learning in science. Here are some of my favorites. Each incorporates the scientific method and train students to think scientifically.
I used Plato science courseware when I homeschooled my sixth-grade boys last year. What I loved about it was that it included an adequate number of course activities – about three per unit. Enough to apply concepts and skills but not beyond the realm of what a homeschool family could realistically complete. The materials (usually things easily found) were clearly listed and procedures were easy to follow. The process was always broken down into steps with students recording and writing at each part of the process.
Science at the kitchen counter with Edmentum Plato science courseware
As a teacher with International Virtual Learning Academy, I work with Accelerate Learning. What I like about Accelerate is all the links to enrich and expand learning. Activities walk students through experiments or direct them to a virtual lab. Accelerate’s projects are inquiry-based, encouraging students to learn through investigation.
OdysseyWare has many experiments and projects for students to complete. In addition, there are online labs for students to observe. As a teacher, I like the opportunities I have to frequently view student responses. Each unit has a number of experiments and projects to reinforce what students are learning in the lessons. Many of the experiments and projects have online alternatives, where students can watch the experiment online if they do not have access to the materials for the experiment. The activities are broken down into simple steps with opportunities to respond as they work through the process. As a teacher, I can see what questions or sections to which students are responding. If they have a question, they can send me a message directly from the section and I can see exactly what they are asking about.
Through these online curricula, students not only learn in-depth science content through lessons, quizzes, and tests, but also have opportunities to think, explore, and experiment. The result is a strong foundation, preparing students for continued science learning. If online learning is the choice for your students, rest assured their science learning can thrive – both in content and skills.
JanElle Hoffman teaches middle school math and science with International Virtual Learning Academy.