There are gajillions of education related websites out there. Some focus on the ins and outs of homeschooling. Others provide subject content, science, history, foreign language, you name it-it’s there. And then there are the ones on how to teach the content. Some are amazing, others not so much. Some are current, others are populated with dead links. It’s really overwhelming. You can’t possibly keep track of them all.
I don’t know about you but I can start of looking for specific resources on the Battle of Gettysburg and find myself an hour later on a site for poetry about science. In the process, I’ve bookmarked about half of the sites I traveled to in between because they are really very cool sites and I’m sure that I’ll use them one day. Did I mentioned that I’ve recently abandoned my bookmarks and decided to just start over?
Anyway, over the years, I have found some sites to be more reliable than others and always a good place to start a search for lesson plans and contents. So I’m listing them here. I’m sure I’m missing many good sites, please feel free to let me know which ones. However, I do have a few criteria for sites to be included on the list.
They have to have been around for a while. There are some great new sites out there and they may be in for the long haul but it’s not yet an establish fact. I have consistently used these sites over many years and many grades.
And so comes requirement two, they need to cover a wide age range, within reason. So this list excludes Khan Academy, Connexions, HippoCampus, and the open courseware available from a number of universities. These are excellent sites for high schoolers but don’t do much for elementary level.
The final requirement is that they have to be easy to use. No long registration requirements (too bad C-SPAN) and not be glitchy or result in frequent encounters with broken links (sorry CASES Online.)
Ultimately, the majority of these sites “curate” other sites which means that they are keeping track of new sites and which sites are still functioning. This is good news for you since you don’t have to bookmark every site you come across and tag them appropriately. These sites are doing it for you.
Must Know Sites in No Particular Order
Federal Resources for Education Excellence
Includes more than 1,5000 federally supported teaching and learning resources from dozens of federal agencies. New resources are added regularly. You can search by subject or views new sites in the New Resources section.
This site is maintained by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It has three major sections: Lesson Plans, Websites, and Student Resources. You can search lesson plans by grades, subjects, and the number of class periods required. The website section is useful since it includes non-federal websites. And if you ever need to scrap your lesson plan for the day and want to find a quick substitute, check out their calendar of historical events.
NASA for Educators
You will find everything NASA for educators at this site. It includes an education calendar, TV schedule, programs for students and teachers, podcasts, and, of course, teaching materials. You can search the teaching materials by grade, type of material, and subject area.
Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE)
Here you’ll find anything related to teaching and learning about the Earth System. The resources include lesson plans, data, interactive models, and field trips. You can search by grade, resources type, collections, or standards.
PBS provides web resources that go beyond what appears on it’s stations. The site includes lesson plans for various programs along with media clips and supporting activities. Not only can you search by the usual grade, topic, and resources types, but you can also select specific programs.
Nice collections of videos, animations, lectures, and virtual labs. There’s also a section where you can “Ask a Scientist.” If you’re looking for something different than your set curriculum for science, this is a place to start. And you can search for resources by type, topic, and grade level.