By Jessica Sanders
The Internet offers a seemingly endless amount of websites to explore. A simple Google search for “coolest websites” provides dozens of lists, boasting handfuls of websites that you’ve never even heard of before.
Use this list to spice up your usual collection of classroom websites, instead of returning time and time again to the same ones, and you’ll give your students an unforgettable learning experience, whether you’re exploring unknown lands or listening to the sounds of nature while doing work.
You may use Google Earth to explore far away lands from the comfort of your own classroom, but the Google Earth blog gives context to what you’re looking at. Use it to browse through a collection of crater images, with details about each one, or show your students The Jefferson Grid in action. You may need to do a little digging to find something for your lessons, but this website is worth looking through.
Bring STEM into your classroom with this tutorial website. You and your students can learn how to create basic circuits and more, even if you don’t know how to do it yourself.
Make every lesson more interesting by finding answers to interesting questions related to a topic of discussion. For example, learn about the most un-talked about presidents with this post. The tone is fun and conversational, and will definitely get your students laughing.
Make time for creativity in your classroom with an “Instuctables project.” Allow students to pick what they want to make, options range from homemade peanut butter to a Raspberri Pi, to be completed using only the instructions from this website. Create a classroom gallery at the end, where each student presents and displays their final product.
Instead of having students write a paper, allow them to create their own e-zine filled with content related to that subject. For example, a book report on To Kill a Mockingbird could have sections like, What’s Happening Down South and Famous Court Hearings—subjects that loosely related to the book. This allows students to put their reading, the characters and common themes, into a realistic perspective.
Start every Friday with a fun fact. Allow each student to pick an interesting fact from this website that relates to something you learned that week. With categories ranging from Happiness and Health to Persuasion and Sleep, they’ll love uncovering these tidbits of knowledge.
7. Smarty Pins
If you, or your students, aren’t quite ready for Mystery Skype, try this instead. Students are given one question (and can choose to see hints) about a secret location that they have to figure out. Once they get one location right, they’re given another. They only have a certain amount of “miles” to use (when they get a location wrong, they lose the amount of miles that are between the right and wrong answer) and level up as they get more correct. Play as a class or have small groups compete against each other.
Students often learn about the most famous monuments, like the Tower of Pisa and Easter Island. With Atlas Obsurca, they can learn about obscure locations; places they may never otherwise learn about or get the chance to see. Use this to unveil cool, secret spots during geography lessons.
9. The Mighty
Remind your students that sometimes it’s the non-newsworthy events and people that make the biggest difference. Take a break from Science and English to highlight the people who are doing good things for the world and their communities.
Use this website as a catalyst for lessons on digital citizenship. The documentary-style videos touch on a variety of subjects with the lens of The Seven Deadly Sins. For example, click on Envy, and you can watch a video about the world of social media and selfies.
Unmapped is another website that helps you and your students discover places unknown to most people. Check out a post like “Metropolis in the Jungle” for a combined geography and history lesson. Give students a detective assignment, where they’re tasked with finding more information about the location after or during the lesson.
Some of the best art can’t be found in a gallery or museum, but on the streets we walk every day. Use this website, bursting with vibrant photos and delicate descriptions, to uncover amazing works around the world. For example, head the streets of Buenos Aires, and watch as the video (with audio) takes you on a tour of this city’s most beautiful street art.
LeanIn.org was created after Sheryl Sandberg released her now-famous book “Lean In.” This website is populated with inspiring and educational stories about women breaking the mold. Use it to spark conversation during Women’s Rights lessons or discussions.
14. We The Economy
Economics is a tough subject to learn about, and this website aims to make it easier to understand. We The Economy is a great tool for teaching economics in a flipped classroom. Have students watch one video for homework, and discuss it together in class. Start with “What is the Economy” and make your way to “Supply & Dance, Man!” and “GDP Smackdown.”
Make silent work more enjoyable and productive with this simple website. Choose how much or how little you want of various sounds, such as rain, campfire, and wind to create a natural-sounds wonderland for your students.