California Academy of Sciences
By Emily Pohlonski,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Site brings the science museum experience into kids' homes.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this website.
Kids can learn science topics like animal behavior, geologic processes, evolution, and climate change. They can create a chart to track their energy use and carbon footprint. Controlling a live camera of the Farallones lets them observe whales, seals, and exotic birds. Kids can see how gene therapy has cured color blindness in squirrel monkeys. Even though videos aren't as fun as seeing exhibits at the museum, Discover Science provides opportunities for kids to make observations and build ideas about the world around them. If you can’t attend the Cal Academy in person, Discover Science is the next best thing.
Kids see than anyone can be a scientist.
Products & Purchases
Outside products are not sold, however Academy events are promoted.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Discover Science is a section of the website for the California Academy of Sciences, a museum and research institution in San Francisco. The site can be used to support both visitors and non visitors interested in science and research. Kids don't need to register to use Discover Science and there is no cost to access the resources. Users who have Facebook accounts can share their photos, videos, and experiences with the California Academy of Sciences Online Community. This is an opportunity to remind kids about safe online practices.
Based on 2 parent reviews
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What’s It About?
Visitors can access video collections, lectures, and Academy research. The site provides up-to-date science news videos, and Academy scientists and curators blog about their research experiences. The Science Heroes section highlights the men and women who work for the Academy. Three live webcams allow kids to view sharks, penguins, whales, seals, and exotic birds in their natural environment. Citizen Science allows kids in California to participate in actual research by collecting specimens and data.
Is It Any Good?
Discover Science is best for bringing museum experiences into your home. Webcams let kids manipulate camera angles directly from their home computer and observe organisms in their habitats. The video gallery has a broad variety of resources from quick clips to entire Academy lectures. It's particularly powerful to see what scientists are working on right now and how that relates to what kids are learning. The Science Heroes biographies and Science Today video clips both show kids examples of scientists in action. A key strength is that the featured scientists include men and women of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
Using the Discover Science resources before and after a visit can help kids maximize kids' learning at the California Academy of Sciences or local science museum. No website can top the rich learning opportunities that museum experiences bring. However, if visiting the California Academy of Sciences or something similar is not an option, then Discover Science comes pretty close.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how media typically portrays who scientists are. How can can we challenge these stereotypes using examples from this site? Check out our resource, "Tips for Battling Stereotypes."
Families can also discuss Internet communities like the California Academy of Sciences Online Community. How can scientists work together through these communities? What is ok to post on a site like this?
Enjoy your local science museum. Select resources from Discover Science in advance that support the exhibits you'll be visiting.
- Subjects: Science: animals, astronomy, biology, chemistry, ecosystems and the environment, geology, life cycle, plants, rocks and minerals, substance properties, weather
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: collecting data, making conclusions
- Genre: Educational
- Pricing structure: Paid, Free
- Last updated: June 11, 2020
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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