Like the PHeT simulations I mentioned last week, the Concord Consortium has all kinds of virtual labs and simulations perfect for the middle school Science classroom. They put a big emphasis in STEM education, so there are also lessons and activities for math and engineering, as well. I am making sure to bookmark simulations on Earthquake prediction and graphing motion for future use in my 8th grade classroom this year.
The University of Colorado Boulder continues to update the interactive science simulations on the PhET website. These free sims are excellent ways to expose students to often complicated topics in new ways. The site was originally designed to deliver physics simulations and virtual labs, but they now offer all kinds of tools for chemistry, biology, graphing, and other math/science topics. I recently discovered the teacher resources, that include lesson plans, handouts, and assessments that help teachers better integrate these simulations into their classrooms in a meaningful way. Users can upload their own activities or documents, and as they are reviewed, the best ones are given “gold star”, high quality status.