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Tools to Do Science!

Need some tools to do science? Measuring is one of the keys to doing science. On this page you will find free tools so that your students can measure, graph and calculate. We also highlight some fun sources of data and images.

"Equipped with his five senses, mankind explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science."

Edwin Hubble, The Nature of Science (1954)


Measuring, Calculating, and Graphing Tools:


Printable Rulers

1 This is a very well done page from Mitchell Charity. You can choose from a variety of rulers that can be printed from your inkjet or laser printer. Most are in pdf form. Scroll to the bottom to find a list of tips and suggestions. The first choice is a ruler with inches and centimeters.

Printable Decimeter Box 

2 Also from Mitchell Charity. Having a 10 cm cube helps you get to know how big millimeters and centimeters are. Here are pages you can print out, cut out, fold and tape, to make your own 10 centimeter box.

Printable Protractor

3 Thanks to Michael Ossmann we have a number of printable protractors so that your students can measure angles. Michael also advises us that "I suggest printing on transparency film. These protractors should not be used on-screen because computer displays generally distort image dimensions in such a way as to make the measurements imprecise."


4 The four most common things we measure are length, temperature, weight, and time. Now you can use this free stopwatch to measure time. Just choose the direction you want the timer to go and have fun! The "full screen" button allows the whole class to see one computer easily. You can also download the stopwatch to your PC or Mac.

Printable Graph Paper

5 This is an incredibly useful site from the people at Incompetech.com. Once you hit the page and choose "Graph Paper", you can set up the paper for any size grid you need. We like to set it for 1 centimeter squares so that it is easier for students to measure. Lots of other printing choices.

Create a Graph

6 Your students don't have graphing software? No problem, the National Center for Educational Statistics has developed a wonderful "learning tool" called Create a Graph. Students just pick the type of graph, input the data, choose formatting options and print it out or save it. A wonderfully intuitive site. Their Student Classroom is a fun web site to visit and well done.
Fun Data for You to Use:

Journey North


The name of this amazing "learning tool" and web site is Journey North. Data can be a wonderful gateway for inquiry. This tool allows students to follow the migration patterns of monarch butterflies, robins, gray whales, bald eagles and others. When you get to the site just click on the animal you would like to see the migration data of. You can even see who contributed the data. A tremendous site for students.

Earth Observatory: Data & Images


NASA continues to be a leader in science education! This "learning tool" is called the "Earth Observatory: Data & Images". Here you can explore data sets in a very visual way. Scroll your mouse over Atmosphere, Oceans, Land, Life on Earth, and Heat & Energy to see the specific variables you can choose. Select the variable and then build an animation to see it change over time. We recommend this tool many times.

Tagging of Pacific Pelagics

9 Good data can be the gateway to inquiry. The name of this "learning tool" is called Tagging of Pacific Pelagics and features the real time data tracking of blue fin tuna, sea turtles, sharks and many other large sea animals. Just click on the tabs at the top to select the type of animal you are interested in. This is an incredible site, full of interesting and accessible data for students to use.

National Data Buoy Center


The  name of this "learning tool" is the National Data Buoy Center.  When you get to the site, you will see a world map with rectangles, just click on the rectangle that you are interested in, then click on the buoy number to see data such as wind speed, water and air temperature, among others. A creative and groundbreaking site. Good data can be the bridge to inquiry based science lessons.

California Earthquake Data


This well done "learning tool" is from the United States Geologic Survey (USGS). This data rich and accessible site is called the Earthquakes Hazards Program - Northern California. The real time earthquake maps are especially good for students to see and use in their studies. The USGS does a wonderful job of science education for all age students.

Awesome Imaging Sites (some you can even collect your own data from!)

The Microscope Imaging Station

12 San Francisco's science museum is called the Exploratorium. It is an amazing place run by an amazing group of people. The Microscope Imaging Station is an incredible example of their work. Click on the Gallery first and see what they have for you. One of our favorites is the zebra fish page.

Google Maps


Google Maps is an incredible technical marvel. When you get to the site, just place your address, a comma, and then your zip code. Hit the search button and within a split second you have a map of your area, but the really amazing part is when you hit the "satellite" button on the far right side of the page. Zoom in and out and pan all over the American continent. An amazing feat from Google.

Google Mars


Google continues to supply amazing tools for students and teachers. Google Mars has made a giant leap beyond even the moon to give Googlers their first close up of Mars. You don't get the complete picture, but the locations of pretty much every landing, successful or otherwise, are depicted along with many of the most important geographical features such as Valles Marineris. The images were snapped some 250 miles out.

Web Enabled Virtual Microscope

15 This "learning tool" is called the Web Enabled Virtual Microscope. Neuroinformatica is a proof-of-concept project that is defining the future of microscopy for researchers, students, and pathologists. Large portions of material on slides are scanned using a microscope, the images are placed on a web server, and a java applet on the client allows navigation and annotation of the material. Stunning quality images. This wonderful site is produced by MicroBrightField Inc.