My daughter and I have enjoyed playing the Simple Machines Game, hosted by the Museum of Science of Industry in Chicago, IL. Twitch and his friend are sent on a mission at night to find some needed spare parts for a robot. The parts are scattered all over the museum. Twitch needs your help to get the parts. You use everyday objects, such as pencils, buttons, spoons and cookies, to create simple machines that use the least amount of force. If the inclined plane, fulcrum, pulley or wheel and axle you create requires too much force, Twitch falls asleep, exhausted.
The graphics are amazing, the music and sound effects captivating. Kids are drawn to the assortment of objects in each room. Teachers will enjoy the book shelves with titles such as "The Universe in 20 Words."
When a part is collected, Twitch provides a mini-lesson, illustrating how the force is changed by the changing the angle of an inclined plane, number of wheels in a pulley, etc. He also shows other examples of the same simple machine.
Be sure to add the Simple Machines Game to your list of sites for K-5 kids to explore in science.
There are many more interactive websites to help kids learn about forces and motion and simple machines. You'll find them at LearningReviews.com > Science > Forces & Motion.
The ETV Commission and public school systems of South Carolina have put together an entertaining interactive on the visual and performing arts called Artopia, designed for middle school students. In rooms for dance, media arts, music, theater, painting and sculpture, kids can observe performances and works of art, critique what they see and hear, and learn some of the basics.
Students in grades 4 and up can submit their work to a student gallery. The work must be in the form of an image, audio or video file. For teachers, there are plenty of resources with links to lesson plans and classroom materials.
The Internet offers many ways for kids to express themselves creatively and learn more about the arts. Stop by LearningReviews.com > Visual & Performing Arts to see nearly 140 more sites that teach and inspire your kids.
I wish you all a fun-filled, learning-ful school year.