A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What 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.
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.
For kids who love science
Our editors recommend
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.