Science offers some of the most entertaining and amazing learning opportunities for students. Chemical reactions, engineering feats, electricity and the development of life are all remarkable processes to discover in the classroom, but it’s easy to get bogged down with the details, definitions and formulas, losing the magic along the way.
Edheads.org is a site that offers free educational games focusing on math and science. With topics ranging from biology and forensics to physics and geology, Edheads is a great tool to put the fun back into science class.
Engaging graphics and storylines flow through the activities, keeping kids interested. And education is not forfeited for design. Each step of every game includes background information about the process or a question requiring players to consider why an action is taken before they see the result.
In the Compound Machine game, students have to select which simple machines will work in their plan to help a doomed lobster escape from a boiling pot. During the breakout, questions about gravity, friction and momentum are asked, broadening the lesson.
The Design a Cellphone game gives students the opportunity to be an engineer and explore the research, design and test phases of the engineering process to create a product that serves a specific consumer group – senior citizens.
Students can’t just skip to the fun part and begin designing the phone. A significant portion of the game is dedicated to the research phase, where students are shown charts and graphs detailing what senior citizens need in a cellphone. This is a great way to introduce students to reading graphs and processing data.
In the design stage, students create a phone by selecting several options like phone shape, button size, display options and color. Their product is then put to the test by a group of senior citizens. The cartoon characters give a good imitation of real seniors with their blunt honesty about the product.
Biology and anatomy are covered as well with a series of operation games. Students can join a surgeon as he performs hip replacement surgery. Before the surgery even begins, the doctor asks critical thinking questions, encouraging the student to consider the events that lead someone to need a hip replacement.
The game gets graphic, when the surgery begins and you’re prompted to make an incision opening the patient’s leg, but it’s nothing worse than actual in-class dissection. And the graphics are all cartoon images – so there’s no real blood (thankfully). Though, even in cartoon-form, popping out a femur bone and drilling into the femoral head can cause a little queasiness.
This step-by-step procedure is interspersed with critical thinking questions. And the detailed process gives an accurate depiction of what a real surgery is like, without the mess and distractions of typical school lab dissections. No “catch the frog heart” games going on in this lesson.
Each activity comes along with a detailed teacher guide, giving suggestions as to how to incorporate the games into lessons for different grade levels. Discussion questions and suggestions for follow up lessons are also provided.
Try some of these activities with your students, and see if you can make science their favorite subject again.