The Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) has been established to encourage innovation and excellence in education, as well as to encourage the use of high-quality on-line resources by students, teachers, and the public. Since 2009, the prize has helped promote science literacy by recognizing outstanding projects worldwide that provide freely available online resources that enhance science education. Nominations are welcome from all sources. Among the criteria for selection are the following:
- The project must focus on science education.
- The resources described must be freely available on the Internet.
- The project can be targeted to students or teachers at the precollege or college level, or it can serve the informal education needs of the general public.
- The Internet resources must be in English or include an English translation.
In this article we have selected some of the outstanding SPORE winners from the past several years and included links to information about these exemplary and free online resources.
Ask a Biologist
This resource is designed as an educational resource for students preK-12, and their teachers and parents. accessing the combined knowledge of more than 150 volunteer experts in the field of biology and related areas. (November 2009)
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears is an online magazine doe K-5 teachers integrating science, literacy, and the polar regions. Centered around the theme of polar regions, the site includes a media gallery, podcasts, and electronic books in addition to articles about teaching and learning. (January 2010)
Bugscope based at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign allows students to explore their own bug samples magnified 20,000 times. It enables live interactive control of an FEI XL-30 ESEM FEG microscope through a web browser. An ESEM is an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope that is similar to, and often operates as, a traditional scanning electron microscope. (July 2011)
Chem Collective contains scenario-based learning activities designed to provide interactive, engaging materials that link chemistry concepts to the real world. It includes virtual laboratories and online activities for introductory chemistry students. (April 2010)
From South Africa, this resource gives doctors a working knowledge of immunology through real-life case studies and news of breakthroughs. The content consists of clinical and immunological themes where the information is presented in various formats to maximize the readers understanding (September 2010)
MIT OpenCourseWare (OCW) is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity. (July 2010)
Molecular Worksbench is a computational tool that allows students to manipulate live visualizations of atoms and molecules according to the real laws that govern their interaction. (June 2011)
Neuroscience For Kids
This website includes activities, games, and articles for kids and teachers to spark an interest in learning about the brain. Portions of Neuroscience for Kids are available in Spanish, Slovene, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Korean, Dutch, Telugu, Japanese, Belarusian, Serbian and Turkish. (June 2010)
On the Cutting Edge
On the Cutting Edge helps geoscience faculty stay up-to-date with both geoscience research and teaching methods. The workshop series and website combine to provide professional development opportunities, resources, and opportunities for faculty to interact on-line and in person with colleagues around the world. (February 2010)
The Periodic Table of Videos
The site features YouTube videos on each of the elements in the periodic table presented in an engaging and irreverent fashion. For example there is a video of what happens to a cheeseburger after it has been lowered halfway into a beaker of hydrochloric acid and left for a few hours. Another shows sodium reacting with water in a dog bowl full of water—with a piece of the metal shooting out of the bowl and landing on the video camera.(May 2011)
PlantingScience is a learning and research resource, bringing together students, plant scientists, and teachers from across the nation. Students engage in hands-on plant investigations, working with peers and scientist mentors to build collaborations and to improve their understanding of science.(March 2001)
Science Buddies is a non-profit site that aims to empower K-12 students, parents, and teachers to quickly and easily find free project ideas and help in all areas of science from physics to food science and music to microbiology. (April, 2011)
Sloan Digital Sky Survery
This website presents data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a project to make a map of a large part of the universe. The site includes information, tools, and projects for teachers and kids.(August 2010)
This site comprises a global network of almost 500 astronomers, teachers and other and provides a platform for sharing ideas, best practices and resources between educators from around the world. It also conducts be used global projects, with the aim of broadening children’s horizons beyond their local area.