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Open source science goodies!

File this with the stuff you plan to share with the science department come September.  Better yet, do your colleagues a favor and email them n
ow so they can play.

I got a neat tip from Twitter buddies Karen Janowski and Paul Hamilton today.  The nonprofit Concord Consortium recently released a collection of open source online resources and downloadable software. 

Designed for secondary students and teachers, the Molecular Workbench is a browsable, searchable database of standards- and textbook-aligned curriculum, models, and activities.

Molecular Workbench offers interactive, visual simulations and activities that have been widely used in science teaching for students of all ages.

Our database is designed to provide teachers and students with easy access to our model-based activities. The activities are derived largely, but not entirely, from projects of the Concord Consortium sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The models are primarily of interactions of atoms and molecules, or rule-based genetics.

The rich resource includes 175 activities, 16 modules.  Separate views are available for students and teachers.  A selection of 10 Stepping Stones review background physical-chemical principles that underlie many biological processes.  Please note: this new project is still under development.  At this point, you’ll find fully developed units as well as starter models.

The interactive Molecular Workbench software (see the introductory Camtasia movie) may be downloaded and used workbench- or open source-style:

As a free, open-source and extensible modeling platform, it provides not only a powerful environment for creating interactive simulations (including molecular simulations, mechanical simulations and discrete-element simulations), but also an easy-to-use authoring tool for building user interfaces and writing guided activities. In addition, it is equipped with a report and assessment system for collecting data and measuring learning with models and simulations.

Can’t get enough open source curricular content? 

Happily the resources continue to grow.  Take a look at some of these portals:

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza

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