One app to rule them all? Not a chance. There are so many apps out there but none really fall into the “one size fits all” ideal. Since there is no “silver bullet”, I reached out to hundreds of teachers just like you in order to find out which apps they rely on day-after-day. From those discussions, I compiled this categorized list of essential classroom apps for middle and high school science teachers.
When used properly, a combination of these apps will:
a) significantly reduce your workload.
b) increase your student productivity and engagement.
c) create a learning community that nurtures development and parental involvement.
Of the essential middle and high school science apps listed below, some are free while others are paid. Please note that I am NOT affiliated with apps listed below.
Enjoy and please leave a comment below with your favorite.
Essential Classroom Apps For Middle and High School Science Teachers
Looking For Something Specific?
Phet – https://phet.colorado.edu/
- Free science simulations for all topics K-12
- I’ve personally used Phet for years with tremendous success
- Each simulation comes with worksheets and full student walkthroughs
Phyphox – https://phyphox.org/
- Free IOS and Andriod App
- It basically lets you access all the sensors in your phone, and has some basic experiments set up to use them
- Includes sensors, data export, and tons of useful experiments to use in your physics class
- Fun for students as they get to use their phones to do physics!
CK-12 Simulations – https://interactives.ck12.org/simulations/
- Free to use
- Physics and Chemistry Simulations that cover most middle and high school topics
- I’ve used some in my classroom
ExploreLearning Gizmos – https://www.explorelearning.com/
- Free and Paid Subscription
- Gizmos are interactive math and science simulations for grades 3-12
- There are over 400 Gizmos aligned to the latest standards to help educators bring powerful new learning experiences to the classroom.
Google Science Journal – https://sciencejournal.withgoogle.com/
- IOS and Andriod
- Science Journal transforms your device into a pocket-size science tool that encourages students to explore their world. As they conduct eye-opening experiments, they’ll record observations and make new, exciting discoveries.
- Students can measure their experiment results, take quality photos, and jot down important notes.
- Students can explore over 70 hands-on science activities from education experts.
Brainpop – https://www.brainpop.com/science/
- $ Paid subscription
- BrainPOP creates animated resources that support educators and engage students – in school, at home, and on mobile devices
- The content includes movies, quizzes, games, mobile apps, activity pages, and much more covering hundreds of topics within Math, Science, Social Studies, English, Technology, Arts & Music, and Health
- All content is aligned to and searchable by state standards including Common Core.
Planning and Marking:
ZipGrade – https://www.zipgrade.com/
- Unlimited Scanning: $6.99 for 1 year
- IOS and Andriod Apps
- ZipGrade for auto-marking MC and giving instant data analysis
- ZipGrade turns your phone or tablet into an optical grading machine similar to a Scantron. It reads free-to-download answer sheets in multiple sizes. Provide instant feedback to students by grading exit tickets, quizzes, and formative assessments as soon as they finish.
- Free download and 100-scans per month
- I’ve never used it myself but everyone that I’ve spoken to about it, loves it.
GradeCam – GradeCam.com
- Free 60 day trial then $15 per month
- Flash assignments in front of your smartphone, tablet, webcam or document camera.
- Grades instantly populate onto your computer and can be transferred into your electronic grade book with one keystroke.
- Use results analysis for live formative assessment.
Groovy Grader – https://apps.apple.com/ca/app/groovy-grader/id376433959
- Free IOS App
- Groovy Grader is an App designed to replace your “old school” paper grading calculator.
- Groovy Grader provides more flexibility, convenience, and ease than other popular slide graders.
- Note: I’ve never used this app and therefore, cannot validate their claim
- It can be configured to work for 100’s of questions and has the option to display the grade as a whole number or with one decimal place.
- Groovy Grader can show the number correct, the number wrong or both.
Assessment and Review
Flippity – https://www.flippity.net/
- $10 per month fee
- Google Add-On
- Easily turn a Google Spreadsheet into a set of online flashcards, name generator, timeline, a quiz show, word search, scramble, and tons more.
JeopardyLabs – https://jeopardylabs.com/
- JeopardyLabs allows you to create a customized jeopardy template without PowerPoint.
- The games you make can be played online from anywhere in the world.
- Just use their simple editor to get your game up and running.
- You can also browse other jeopardy templates created by other people. They have over 2 million games that cover any subject you can think of.
Kahoot! – https://kahoot.com/
- Free Web, IOS, and Andriod App
- Kahoot! is a game-based platform that makes learning enjoyable for teachers and students
- Create assessments to test your students’ understanding
- Have your students create quizzes to use within presentations, as submissions, etc.
- Students love using their phones in the classroom and Kahoot! is an excellent way to allow them to do so in a constructive way
- My students use Kahoot! all the time and really enjoy it.
Peardeck – https://www.peardeck.com/
- Free and paid plans with a free trial
- Overview → https://youtu.be/evoJy4WcReM
- Add on for Google Slides
- Allows you to transform Google Slides into a more interactive and engaging experience
- I’ve never used it myself but it looks really useful
Plickers – https://get.plickers.com/
- Formative assessments that are fun, quick, and interactive
- Great for review and to assess student/class understanding
- I love using Plickers to determine my students’ understanding. They can commit to an answer without the fear that others will make fun of them as answers are anonymous. You can then go into the data and determine which type of problems your students are struggling with and clarify/re-teach if necessary.
- Previously I wrote a review of Plickers and how you can use them to assess your students understanding. Click here to have a look.
Quizizz – https://quizizz.com/
- Free gamified quizzes for every subject to play in class and at home.
- Pick an existing quiz or create your own for review, formative assessment, and more.
Socrative – Socrative.com
- Free and paid plans
- Your classroom app for fun, effective engagement and on-the-fly assessments.
- Activities, Quizzes, Reporting, etc.
- Great for exit tickets, student assessment, etc.
- I have used Socrative before and enjoy it.
Quizlet live – https://quizlet.com/help/2444125/how-to-use-quizlet-live
- Quizlet Live is an engaging, in-class game where students work in teams to correctly match the terms and definitions.
- The first team to match all terms and definitions correctly in a row wins the game.
- Great for review, team building, etc.
GimKit – https://www.gimkit.com/
- Free and paid plans
- From their website “Gimkit is a game show for the classroom that requires knowledge, collaboration, and strategy to win.”
- Students answer questions on their own device at their own pace. Throughout a Kit, each student will get exposure to the questions multiple times to ensure mastery.
- Students earn in-game cash by answering the questions correctly. Incorrect answers cost them cash.
- Students can reinvest their money by purchasing upgrades & powerups.
- After every game, Gimkit generates a report detailing what your class needs help on. Individual reports allow you to help specific students.
- Can also be used for homework
- Create your own or Import any of the existing 200 million Quizlet sets with only a few clicks. Or search and reuse Kits made by other Gimkit users.
- I’ve never used it myself but it looks great and it comes highly recommended
USATeTprep – https://www.usatestprep.com/
- Paid plan with a free trial
- Curriculum resources and test prep for high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools
- They offer a multitude of review products for subject area end-of-grade, end-of-course, graduation level, career readiness, and college entrance assessments
- Programs are tailored to both individual state and/or Common Core standards.
- Videos, games, and other resources to help students succeed
Note Taking, Screen Sharing/ Recording and Other Time-Saving Applications
Speechify – https://www.getspeechify.com/
- Video Overview – https://youtu.be/Hx8H9-jmYPw
- Free IOS and Mac App
- I use it for a variety of things that really save me time. It’s truly amazing.
- Human Quality Text to Speech
- Scan a book with your camera, have it read out loud.
- Listen to your favorite Books, PDFs, and Articles.
- Speed through emails on your laptop at 2-3x normal reading speed.
- You could use Speechify to have my book – Teach Well and Maintain Your Sanity read directly to you.
Screencastify – https://www.screencastify.com
- Screencastify is a Chrome extension that allows you to capture your entire desktop, browser tab or webcam
- Record your lessons, etc. in just a couple of clicks
GoodNotes – https://www.goodnotes.com/
- Paid IOS App
- GoodNotes transforms your iPad into digital paper
- It’s a single place for all your handwritten notes and formerly paper-based information.
- Many free apps in the app store. Simply type in ‘Decibel Meter’
- I use it alongside my soundproofing project to determine the effectiveness of the students’ design
- The project I use it for is called “The Silencer“. You can download it here.
Classroom Timers – https://www.online-stopwatch.com/
- Probably the most used app on this list in terms of my classroom.
- There are tons of different timers to use in your classroom
- I use a looping countdown timer in my Lab Station Activities and project it on the board so the students know how much time they have left.
Presentations and Student Submissions
PopBoards – https://www.popboardz.com/
- Free and Paid
- IOS and Mac App available
- PopBoardz is presentation software.
- It lets you create simple tile-based presentations that allow you to import videos, images, PDFs, websites and more
Prezi – Prezi.com
- Create engaging and interactive presentations
- Free and paid plans
- Lots of available templates and very user-friendly
Comic life – http://plasq.com/apps/comiclife/macwin/
- Free and paid plans
- This software gives students the opportunity to not just add an illustration, but to use sequential images and text to tell a story or relate their understanding of learned materials in the past has been difficult.
- I love getting my students to write in my science class but sometimes it isn’t practical to have them create an entire story. Comics can be a great alternative.
Tinkercad – https://www.tinkercad.com/
- Free 3D design studio
- Have your students design projects before they build
- I have my students create a soundproof box in physics and I have them use Tinkercad to do the initial design work
Google – Google Drive, Google Forms, and Google Classroom
- This is the software I use for all my classes. I find it very intuitive and easy for the students to utilize. Plus, it’s Google so you know it isn’t going anywhere.
- If you’d like to get started (or refreshed) with Google Classroom, I created a walkthrough to get your class up and running quickly even if you don’t have any tech knowledge. The overview is in both written and video format. Click here to have a look.
- Create a classroom space for your lessons, assessments, etc.
- Google Forms can be used for assessments and surveys
- Comes with plenty of add-ons to improve your classroom experience
- I.e. An Add on Flubaroo – http://www.flubaroo.com/
- Grade assignments and assessments in under a minute!
- Get reporting and analysis on student performance.
- Quickly send scores to students.
- I.e. Orange Slice
- Lets you customize rubrics and score them inside Google Classroom.
- I.e. An Add on Flubaroo – http://www.flubaroo.com/
Seesaw – https://web.seesaw.me/
- Free and paid plans
- Create a space where students can learn and engage
- Set up student portfolios, create assessments, and create classroom notes
- Seesaw is a great platform to meaningfully engage students in their learning
- Students explore a variety of powerful tools (like drawing, voice recording, taking videos, and more!) to show what they know in the way that works best for them
Classdojo – https://www.classdojo.com
- Free online community for your classroom
- ClassDojo connects teachers with students and parents to build amazing classroom communities
- Teachers can encourage students for any skill or value — whether it’s working hard, being kind, helping others or something else
- Students can showcase and share their learning by adding photos and videos to their own portfolios
Remind – https://www.remind.com/teachers
- Free App
- An easy way to manage communication
- Schedule class announcements and setting your availability.
- Send home updates—and check read receipts—to increase participation.
- Personalize communication with two-way messaging and in-app translation.
- Teachers can use OneNote to organize lesson plans in searchable digital notebooks, and staff can create a shareable content library.
- Revise your notes with type, highlighting, or ink annotations. W
- You can sync OneNote across your devices
Nearpod – https://nearpod.com/
- Allows you to create interactive lessons in minutes
- Import existing lessons (pdfs, jpegs, ppts) and add interactive features such as Virtual Field Trips, 3D Objects, Quizzes, Polls, Open Ended Questions, etc.
- Choose from thousands of free or paid lessons from expert educators and our educational partners. Customize any lesson to fit your students’ needs.
- Synchronize and control lessons across all student devices
If you’d like to learn more about how to integrate technology into your classroom, please check out Chapter 9 of my book – Teach Well and Maintain Your Sanity. You can read it by clicking here for free. It’s a great time to give Speechify a go.