Free Contemporary Science

Lots of ideas here to check out. There is general science, basic computer literacy, keyboarding, electronics, programming, physics, biology, nature study, chemistry, earth science and space science. 

General Science
Peep and the Big Wide World 
Pre K to K Peep and the Big Wide World has some exciting science resources just for preschoolers. Scroll down the page to check out the whole science program including some resources for you to help you teach the concepts. 

Dinosaur George
Dinosaurs are pretty popular with kids. This site has some lesson plans and resources as well as teaching guides for several different grade levels. It’s not enough for a full year of study, but if you have a dinosaur fan at home it’s sure to be entertaining. 

CK12 Science for K to 5
Look no further, CK12 has added free science for kindergarten to grade five. Well, the site says kindergarten to grade five but the last time I looked at this stuff there was not much for kindergarten. I hope that changes soon. Now you can have free CK12 flexbooks for your student for all of your science needs. You don’t need to worry about the quality of the science in these books, and they are aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards. 

Science Kids
K to 3 General science site with a kid-inspired content on a wide variety of science topics for elementary level kids.  There are experiments, games, videos, and lesson plans. Click on a topic from the list and find clickable facts, videos, quizzes, project ideas and other resources. This is a great site to plan your science program for your K to third grade level student. 

Science World 
K to 6 Individual complete science lessons on a variety of topics from elearning for kids. There are enough science lessons in each grade level to make up a full science curriculum for the year, or you can pick out what you like that might supplement another curriculum. The lessons are online, animated, and engaging.

Utah Education Network 
Complete online science textbooks written by state educators with interactive science activities and projects for kids from grade three to grade nine from the Utah Education Network. It looks like content is still being added to these materials so I suspect they will be getting even better over time. 

DIY Science
DIY is a site where kids can earn badges by completing challenges in various skill areas. One of those areas is science. Kids can complete “challenges” in a number of interesting science-related areas like Chemist, Biologist, Geologist, Zoologist, and lots more. The challenges are fun and carefully planned. 


Interesting sites with lesson plans and supplemental resources

Reach Out Michigan Hands On Science Lessons 
This is a collection of science activities sorted into topics and written up in lesson plan format. It seems designed to be a sort of experiment or activity bank to supplement a science curriculum and not a curriculum itself. In any event, there are an awful lot of activities and if you are stuck for a hands-on project to illustrate a science concept you may find what you need on this website. 

Mr. Nussbaum Science
Science topics and games for elementary and middle school students. Lots of them. Mr. Nussbaum always has the best collection of content. Pick a topic that you want to study and click on the link. Mr. Nussbaum has put together comprehensive and interesting information on each topic at an upper elementary/middle school grade level including interactive materials. While it isn’t laid out in daily lessons, you do get a lot of assistance if you chose to use this as a science curriculum for your grade 5 to grade 8 level student. Some of the information and material looks like it was not exactly designed using state of the art web design, but the information is sound and it’s definitely a useful site. 

American Association for the Advancement of Science Science Netlinks Science Lessons
A collection of science lessons for grades K to 12. The lessons are interesting, searchable, organized by topic and grade level, and have links to related lessons, printables, videos, and other resources.  I especially like the sidebar that shows me “related lessons”. 

Sci Girls
A PBS show about science featuring girls. Explore various science topics with videos, activities, and games. Great for elementary and middle school level students. If you click on “videos” at the top of the page you can select from a menu of topics, and if you scroll through the menu you will find full episodes. I’d say this could be a starting point for learning about a specific topic maybe followed by a library visit or a web search, or a supplement, or a great show to let your kids watch endless videos when you’re sick and just can’t do much more than that. 

National Museum of Education Invention Central
Resources for lessons, activities, and invention competitions. There is also a database of lesson plans related to inventing, planned web quests, and information on invention related competitions for students.


Computer Science

GCF Learn Free: Computers 
Learn computer basics, learn to touch type, and learn about internet safety here. If you click to the main menu of the site there is also a guide to using Microsoft Office. 

Arthur’s Guide to Media Literacy
From PBS, a guide to using episodes of the cartoon series Arthur to teach children to think critically about media messages and marketing.

Podcasting Tutorial
Check out this podcasting tutorial for educators from Smithsonian Education.

Elearning for Kids Computer Curriculum
This is a free online computer basics curriculum from Elearning with animated lessons and probably best for grades k to 6. There are thirteen lessons which cover keyboarding and the use of popular Microsoft Office software.
This is THE site to check out if you are interested in finding out more about how to write code. This is the site for Hour of Code. There are tutorials for kids of all ages and lesson plans for educators. Don’t miss the twenty-hour Intro to Computer Science course for kids.

Code Academy 
Learn to code for free. Learn to build a website, learn to build web apps, learn to program in Python and more. All for free.

This amazing website from Carnegie Mellon teaches kids computer programming in a 3D environment. Includes instructional guides and tutorial videos.

Create stories, games, and animations to share. Perfect for elementary age kids. From the website: “With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.” My daughter really loved working with Scratch. It built her confidence by helping her create some really cool things. 

CS Unplugged
From the website: “CS Unplugged is a collection of free learning activities that teach Computer Science through engaging games and puzzles that use cards, string, crayons and lots of running around.The activities introduce students to Computational Thinking through concepts such as binary numbersalgorithms and data compression, separated from the distractions and technical details of having to use computers. Importantly, no programming is required to engage with these ideas! CS Unplugged is suitable for people of all ages, from elementary school to seniors, and from many countries and backgrounds.”

This website allows kids to create visual stories, using a curated collection of artwork to illustrate their own original story creations.

My teen daughter found this and apparently it’s quite popular among teens. It allows you to write stories and share them with the community. It’s free but you have to create an account. My daughter enjoys writing short stories and sharing them, then reading the comments from other teens after they have read her work. She also enjoys reading stories shared by other teens. It’s not just for teens but there do seem to be quite a few teens and kids submitting work. 

Free Code Camp
Learn to code and offer your newly acquired expertise to help non profit organizations! Learn to create websites and a lot more that I don’t even understand well enough to share here!

Unreal Engine 4
This is a professional quality software program used to create computer games and animations. The software is offered for free, though if you create a marketable game or product with it the company requires a royalty fee, and there are tutorials and instruction guides.

Another professional quality software used to develop video games available in a personal edition for free.

Totally free downloadable software. From the website: “Blender is the free and open source 3D creation suite. It supports the entirety of the 3D pipeline—modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing and motion tracking, even video editing and game creation. Advanced users employ Blender’s API for Python scripting to customize the application and write specialized tools”

Free Curriculum for Teaching Blender  Just in case the Blender site wasn’t enough, here is a free curriculum for teaching Blender.

Pixar’s Renderman Software
Pixar’s software is now free to download for non-commercial use! From the website: “RenderMan is now free for all non-commercial purposes, including evaluations, education, research, and personal projects. The non-commercial version of RenderMan is fully functional without watermark or limitation”. 

Google Apps Training for App Developers
This is a course from Google Play on how to develop apps and sell them on Google Play.

Learn to code in Python for free. Download the program, check out the tutorials, and even look for a job on this site!

Free computer tutorials
Free tutorials from basic beginning computing, using popular software programs, and beginning programming. 

Programmer 101 Teach yourself how to code
Free course from Lifehacker with links to further free books and resources

Google Developers
Free courses in current technology including Android development. 

Web Development Courses
Free web development courses

Free Techbooks
Free techbooks, Free Online Computer Science and Programming Books, Textbooks, and Lecture Notes


Duckster’s Physics
This site has an introduction to electricity section. Scroll down, it’s on the left. There’s electricity basics, sections on analog components, and more. 

Circuit Playground
Youtube videos go over the basics of electronic circuits for elementary and middle school level students. 

Logic Lab
This site lets you build simple circuits with logic gates and is set up like a game. 

Boolean Logic resources for kids
A small collection of information on George Boole himself and some fun kid-friendly resources for playing with Boolean logic. 

This site is set up to sell you monthly electronics kits, but you can sign up for free and get access to their free online electronics lessons. Totally worth it. 

Autodesk Circuits
An odd name for a great site that has free online electronics instruction, even Arduino programming. There are lots of projects and online labs to check out. Click on “Learn” from the menu to access step by step tutorials. 

Learning Electronics
Starts with the basics of direct current and goes from there. Includes worksheets, instruction on soldering, and projects and experiments. 

All About Circuits
Click on Education from the menu and you’ll get free textbooks, worksheets, and projects. 



Teach Engineering
A great site with free lesson plans to teach engineering to kids in grades K to 12.

Try Engineering
Cool free lesson plans for engineering that are grouped by age, ranging from age eight to eighteen. From the website “TryEngineering offers a variety of lesson plans that align with education standards to allow teachers and students to apply engineering principles in the classroom.” Lessons are available as a downloadable pdf. 


Physical Science and Physics

Rader’s Physics 4 Kids
A great site that can be used by elementary and middle school level students.

Duckster’s Physics for Kids
A middle school level physics course

CK12 has middle school physical science flexbooks including a teacher manual and a workbook, as well as high school physics flexbooks for basic, intermediate, and survey courses. 

Khan Academy
Khan Academy has a series of video lessons in physics. 

Dan Fullerton’s High School Physics
A collection of 99 video lessons on high school physics topics

The Physics Classroom
Classroom resources, practice questions, interactive resources, and tutorials for the study of physics by high school level students. Don’t miss this site whether you use it for a full curriculum or an engaging supplement. 

AP Physics Review
A video review course for AP Physics with 71 video lessons

Introduction to Physics 
An open source high school level physics course. 

Interesting things 

Color Me Physics
A whimsical coloring and activity book for elementary level students, free to download.

Amusement Park Physics
Not a curriculum but a really cool interactive to supplement your physics study

Minute Physics
Even physics can be cool in this series of short videos answering physics questions from simple to complex.

Physics Girl
A Youtube channel with interesting short videos on physics topics.

Crash Course Physics
A Youtube video playlist of 34 videos on high school level physics.


Earth Science

Rader’s Geoscience for kids
Geoscience for elementary and middle school students

Duckster’s Earth Science
Earth Science for middle school level students. 

Kids Know It Physical Geography
A complete online textbook on physical geography for the older elementary or middle school student. The site has lots of ads, so if you have a low tolerance for that beware. Also, don’t bother going looking for the matching worksheets. They are poorly indexed. And the geography songs…..Venture there at your own risk. 

Kids Know It Geology
The sister site to the textbook above. Scroll down the page a bit to find it and look on the left for the chapter listing. 

M. Rightler’s Introduction to Earth Science part one
A short series of videos on earth science created by an educator. Suitable for a high school course
M. Rightler’s Introduction to Earth Science part two
A continuation of the above series. 

CK12 has earth science flexbooks for middle school and high school

Introduction to Oceanography
A complete, open source college-level course. 
Mr. Hayes Earth Science
A teacher’s collection of earth science videos for his eighth-grade class.

Earth Documentary Playlist
Not exactly educational but a nice choice for a few rainy afternoons, check out this collection of around sixty documentaries about the earth including IMAX and National Geographic. 

Big Ideas in Earth Science
A video collection created by the American Geosciences Institute

New Path Learning Earth Science
A series of 65 very short video lessons on earth science topics. Seems like a good fit for middle school level students. 

Minute Earth
A series of short and interesting videos that answer earth and space-related questions.

Earth System Science 1: Introduction to Earth Science
A video series of Intro to Earth Science lectures from University of California Irvine

Earth Science Regents Review
Youtube playlist of a comprehensive review of earth science topics for the New York high school Regents Exams. 

Intro to Oceanography Lectures from UCLA
A Youtube playlist of 27 earth and space science lectures from UCLA

Geophysics Lectures
A comprehensive Youtube playlist of geophysics lectures and related videos

Coral Reef Ecology Curriculum from Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation. This is a fascinating curriculum with videos, quizzes, and more. 

Interesting Earth Science things

US Geological Survey
Lesson plans for grades K to 12 on climate, geology, ecosystems and more

The National Weather Service offers a free online weather school

A plethora of geoscience news and information. Includes a huge map collection


Space Science

My NASA Data
This site has lesson plans for grades K to high school. Click on the “Lessons” menu selection at the top of the page. An interesting feature of the lesson plans is that they involve manipulating real data collected by NASA which gives kids a chance to get a real feel for using scientific data. Some lessons include links to worksheets and songs and upper-level lessons require students to create powerpoint presentations to present their results. 

NASA for Educators
Check out another set of NASA lesson plans for grades K to 12 

NASA Quest Challenges
Quest Challenges are free web-based interactive challenges for students. There are links to workbooks and educator guides.

NASA Spaceplace
Another NASA site for kids. This one seems to be oriented more toward elementary level kids. 

Rader’s Cosmos 4 kids
An astronomy site for elementary and middle school kids

Kid Astronomy
Two different astronomy courses for kids of different levels. 

A complete course from Georgia Virtual Learning. 

Crash Course Astronomy
The most entertaining and educational video series on Youtube has an astronomy playlist. 

CK12 has a high school level astronomy survey flexbook.

Khan Academy
Khan Academy has a series of video lessons on astronomy.

SEGway Science Lessons 
From the University of California Berkeley comes this collection of space science lessons

The Inexplicable Universe with Neil deGrasse Tyson
A video playlist of lectures from The Great Courses featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson

Survey of Astronomy 
From Missouri State University comes this video lecture series

Gresham College Astronomy Lectures
A collection of lectures from Gresham College

Amazing Space
A collection of space science resources for middle school and high school students. 

A free open source planetarium for your computer



Duckster’s Chemistry
Chemistry for the middle school student. The usual topics for a middle school chemistry course are arranged in a logical sequence. There are some printables. You would only need to add in some experiments, possibly some Youtube videos, and some library books. 

Rader’s Chemistry 4 Kids
This site is a great introduction to chemistry for elementary and middle school level students. This site is similar to Duckster’s but a bit more colorful and fun. There are interactive quizzes between the topics. 

  Middle School Chemistry  
A complete middle school chemistry curriculum by the American Chemical Society. Indisputably the best site on the internet for teaching middle school chemistry. This really is a complete course, with videos, labs, activity sheets, and more. Best of all, they give you, the teacher, all the answers. Don’t let the kids find out about that part. If you plan to teach chemistry in middle school, you need this website.

You be the Chemist Activity Guides
Free downloadable chemistry lesson plans and activity guides for grades K to 8. This could be just what you need to add in some more hands-on stuff to your existing chemistry curriculum. 

CK12 offers free flexbook textbooks for basic chemistry and intermediate chemistry. There is a teacher’s guide for intermediate chemistry, with a workbook, tests, and quizzes.

Khan Academy
Khan Academy has a chemistry section that covers material found in a basic high school chemistry course. They also have organic chemistry! Scroll down the page to see the topics that are covered. 

Chemistry I with M. Rightier
Chemistry II with M. Rightier
A series of video lessons for a two-semester course in Chemistry for high school students.

AP Chemistry Review Videos
A collection of video lessons to review AP Chemistry

Crash Course 
Crash Course has very entertaining video playlists for review or for an overview of the subject. Check out the video playlist for chemistry. Suitable for middle and high school students. 

Mark Rosengarten’s chemistry videos
Scroll past the Kitty vids to find this teacher’s really great high school chemistry video playlists including labs, tutorials, and reviews. 


Biology and Life Science
Rader’s Biology 4 Kids
Rader’s science sites for kids are really great and include content. links, and quizzes. I have used these with elementary and middle school level kids and adjusted which content to cover based on the ability of the kids I was teaching. However, the Rader science sites can be confusing to navigate. They do organize their material in sequential topics, and there are quizzes to gauge comprehension. Overall, if you throw in some Youtube videos, some library books, and some enthusiasm, you have a decent curriculum. 

Classic Science Life Science
A complete life science curriculum with a student book and a teacher’s guide. Suitable for elementary and early middle school students and written by a public school science teacher in a flippant and happy sort of format that my son found very appealing. This course is offered for free as a sample of what the author has to offer. There are other courses available for purchase if you like his style.

Duckster’s Biology
This is actually a pretty good, almost complete biology course for middle school. Just follow the topics in order. Some of the topics are a bit thin on content, but you can throw in some links to Youtube videos and that kind of thing to flesh out some of the information. There are some printables in some of the individual lessons, and you’ll want to look for some library books with activities or projects to complement some of the topics as well as some labs.

Kid’s Biology
A free online biology textbook that would work with fourth grade and up. The covered topics are The Origin of Life, What is a Living Thing, Needs of Living Things, Cells, Tissues, Organs, Systems, Classification of Living Things, The Five Kingdoms of Life, Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plants, Animals, Viruses. Genetics, and Our Planet’s Biomes. Just be warned, the ads can be annoying especially since they appear in the middle of the content.

Kid’s Human Biology
A pretty simple site with information for elementary kids on the systems of the human body. It’s done by the folks who run the site above, so there is the same issue with annoying ads. 

Mrs. Smith’s 6th Grade Life Science
Mrs. Smith has shared with the world her sixth-grade life science course with lesson plans and links. The course is based on the Prentice Hall textbook Life Science but in rummaging around on the site I would think it could be done as a stand-alone course by substituting the CK12 middle school life science flexbook as needed and googling for other resources or just using Mrs. Smith’s ‘extra resources’ as topics came up in the lesson plans. Of course, versions of the textbook that are a few years old are available on Ebay and on Amazon for less than five bucks if you want that exact book. Mrs. Smith has linked Youtube videos and other resources to help get the concepts across. This is a great site. Don’t tell Mrs. Smith!

CK12 offers free flexbook textbooks for middle school life science and biology flexbooks for high school biology. You’ll find teacher’s books and student books as well as quizzes and tests. Unlike other sites that offer free books and curriculum, this one lets you register as a teacher and gives you access to the answers.

Neuroscience for Kids
Who knew a resource like this existed? The website is old school but the information is pretty basic so it shouldn’t be out of date. Check out lessons, worksheets, activities, games, and even a coloring book! And songs! There are sections on the senses, sleep, memory, and more. It would make an interesting unit study.

Khan Academy
Khan Academy is one of the best-known free educational sites ever. It has a biology section that covers material found in a high school biology course. You can pick the topics to study or you can follow along with their sequence. Scroll down the page to see all of the options. Khan even helps you study for your AP Biology exam. 

Crash Course 
Crash Course has very entertaining video playlists for review or for an overview of the subject. Check out video playlists for Biology, Ecology, and Anatomy and Physiology. Suitable for middle and high school students.

DNA Lesson Plans
A collection of fifteen lessons on DNA from the DNA Learning Center. Looks like high school level material. Great as part of a unit study.

Forensics Illustrated
A complete high school level curriculum for forensics! Includes a free text, tests, labs, and more.

Learn Genetics
Neat site that goes in depth to explain genetics and the related science. The content includes text, interactive activities, video, and more. High school level material.

A really cool genetics site with animations, videos, interactive activities, labs and experiments, and more!

Biology 1 with M. Rightier
Biology 2 with M. Rightier
A collection of video lessons for a two-semester biology course suitable for high school students.

AP Biology Video Review
A Youtube collection of video lessons for AP Biology


Nature Study

Nature Study is a great way to introduce children to science!

Nature Study is very popular among homeschoolers, especially for elementary school level children. I grew up in the public school system and I never did learn the names of the birds that visited our bird feeder, or the flowers that grew wild in the park, or the names of trees, until I was an adult and made a special effort to learn those things. I always felt a little sad that I was so disconnected from the natural world around me, even in my suburban hometown, and so I think it’s especially important for my children to learn about the plants and animals in the world around them as part of their elementary school science studies.

I haven’t found an easy to follow, contemporary, planned out nature study curriculum for children that is available for free, but I have put together some links to resources that will make it a lot easier to put together a plan that will work for you.

You can start planning a nature study curriculum by reading this page Practical Ways to Include Nature Study in your homeschool  From the creators of ‘Higher up and Further In’. “A series of discussions on how to incorporate nature study into your homeschool.” Another source of great ideas to include in your nature study can be found on this site of selected nature study related activities for children Easy Fun School: Nature Study Activities

Next you’ll probably want to download this free pdf from the Smithsonian Institute Introduction to the Nature Journal Nature study journals are a fun and easy way for your child to record what was learned and observed in nature on your nature walks and outings. 

Probably the best site to find free nature journal printables and nature study notebooking pages is Handbook of Nature Study Home of the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Just be aware that not everything on this site is free. 

Finally, check out the sites listed below for great content to include in your lessons.

Backyard Nature 
A colorful, appealing nature site created by Naturalist Jim Conrad for elementary age students, full of information and suggested outdoor activities. You will find suggested outdoor nature activities for all four seasons. You will also find links to fun and informative sections on animals, plants, ecology, and geology. Jim Conrad has also made his books available for free on this website and children will really enjoy his ‘year in the life’ series. 

Nature Detectives
This is a website from the United Kingdom offered for free to elementary age students by the Woodland Trust.  Check out the free themed activity packs. Now, I know that nature in the UK and nature in the US is a bit different, but there is a lot of material here, especially the material for very young children, that isn’t specific to nature found in the UK, so it looks pretty useful but do be careful to make sure that the nature you are investigating is actually found in your area. There is a subscription offer to avoid as well. 

 National Park Service Junior Ranger Program
Join with your local National Park or participate on your own with the national program. Check out the downloadable booklets. There are pages with links to specific national parks and content specific to those parks, so if you are planning to visit a national park remember to stop here first. If you have a child who is interested in archeology, they have a Junior Archeologist handbook and parent’s guide. There is also special material on the night skies, caves, underwater environments, and the wilderness in general. 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology
That’s the study of birds, for the rest of us. Check out their Youtube channel with a huge collection of bird videos. Look for birds by species, by location, or learn about bird biology.  Set up a bird feeder in your yard and do nature study all winter by looking out the window at birds of all types. Get an inexpensive pair of binoculars to make identifying birds easier.

This book is a vintage text, but you can complement your study of birds with this excellent nature study reference book Handbook of Nature Study by Anna Botsford Comstock. (1939).  There are lessons on the anatomy of birds, characteristics of birds, bird nests, bird songs, and specific birds your child may be familiar with including the robin, the pigeon, the crow, the owl and even the chicken.


Interesting Science Sites to Explore

Interactive Science Games
A collection of links to various science games for elementary and middle school level students. This is obviously not a curriculum, but you might find a game or two to add in to whatever you have planned. 

Soft Schools Science 
Quizzes, games, worksheets and flashcards on a wide variety of science topics. You can scan for material by grade level from kindergarten to high school. Some topics have a lot more material than others, and I think it could be arranged better. 

How Stuff Works
An entertaining science site geared towards adults but still fun for middle and high school kids. The articles are extremely interesting though the site has a lot of ads. I’ve found it very useful to add links to articles from this site to my daughter’s science class to pique her interest in various science topics. You can also use the articles to provide some controversial material for discussion and critical thinking. 

MIT+K12 Videos
Video series showcasing real science, made by MIT students to inspire kids to pursue careers in science. I think it would be of interest to students of any age. They offer several different shows, from physics demos to “Science out Loud”. This may be another of those sites that you just turn your kids loose on while you recover from the rigors of teaching them math. Hey, it’s produced by MIT, of course it’s educational. 

Lessons from TED Talks on a variety of subjects. Always interesting and thought-provoking.

Youtube Science Channels 
I have a whole page devoted to Youtube channels in the works, but here are a few good science channels to get you going. 

Sci Show
It’s Okay to be Smart
ASAP Science

Sick Science
Tons of short science videos on many different topics. 

Mr. Wizard’s World
Older tv show for kids on various science topics. 32 episodes available on Youtube.

Science and Math: The Great Courses
A Youtube video playlist of a collection of science and math lectures from The Great Courses

PBS Nova Science Documentary collection
A collection of 98 NOVA documentaries on Youtube

Bill Nye the Science Guy Full Episodes
Although Bill has gone on record stating he doesn’t like homeschoolers, homeschoolers continue to like him. 

Little Einsteins
Full episodes. Scroll through the videos to find what you want.

Sid the Science Kid
Scroll down for full episodes.