Virtual Environments in Science Education

The term virtual is a concept applied in many fields with somewhat differing connotations, and also denotations. Colloquially, 'virtual' has a similar meaning to 'quasi-' or 'pseudo-' - the notion of creating virtual environments allows the student to enter an interactive environment that is similar to the real life situation. (Source: Wikipedia)
There are large variety of virtual environments: virtual microscopes, virtual field trips and virtual dissections are featured here.

PMI on Virtual Environments in Science Education
Plus: Allows the student to experience a learning outcome that may not be easily obtainable through normal means within the classroom or laboratory.
Minus: Virtuals are only similar in there overall experience
Interesting: Virtuals can become an excellent introductory activity to the learning experience or a worthwhile extension activity


Links:

Virtual Microscopes

http://school.discovery.com/lessonplans/activities/electronmicroscope/
Electron Microscope
http://www.livingchildren.com/swf/microscope.htm

Virtual Dissections

Frog Dissection – Free Demo - http://www.froguts.com/flash_content/index.html

Cow’s Eye Dissection - http://www.exploratorium.edu/learning_studio/cow_eye/index.html

Cat Dissection - http://bio.bd.psu.edu/cat/

Crayfish Dissection - http://biog-101-104.bio.cornell.edu/BioG101_104/tutorials/animals/crayfish.html

Virtual Pig Dissection - http://www.whitman.edu/biology/vpd/

Virtual Knee Surgery - http://www.edheads.org/activities/knee/index.htm

Owl Pellet Dissections - http://www.kidwings.com/owlpellets/index2.htm

Brains
Sheep Brain Dissection - from the exploratorium - http://www.exploratorium.edu/memory/braindissection/index.html
Great images and clear steps in understanding some of the brains structures - great resources for Year 5 to Year 10

PDF of a Sheep Brain Dissection - http://psych.hanover.edu/classes/neuropsychology/Syllabus/Labs/DISSECTION.pdf
This resource has excellent step by step instructions but is suitable for Year 11/12 students and teritary students

Interactive Sheep Brain Activity - http://www.gwc.maricopa.edu/class/bio201/brain/brshpx.htm

Other excellent resources:
http://www.hometrainingtools.com/articles/brain-dissection-project.html (using this resource with a Year 5 class)
http://www.brainu.org/resources.htm (excellent resources for students and teachers and also contains worksheets, and videos)



Virtual Field Trips

4-7
http://www.mda.state.mi.us/kids/pictures/dairy/index.html
http://www.ext.vt.edu/resources/4h/virtualfarm/main.html
Various types of farming and how it occurs
Science and Society Strand Level 2.3: Explain applications of science and how it affects their community

7-10 and Science21
http://www.field-guides.com/sci/hurricane/index.htm
Earth and Beyond Strand Level 4.2 Changes on Earth occur on different scales of time and space

http://seds.lpl.arizona.edu/billa/tnp/
This website is an overview of the history, mythology, and current scientific knowledge of each planet and the major moons in our solar system.
Earth and Beyond Strand Level 4.2 and 5.2 Collect and infer from data that the events that occur in the solar system can have effects at other times and in other places

7-10 and Biology or Science21
http://www.internal.schools.net.au/edu/atom/awardtwo/index.html
This site is an interactive, virtual field trip to North Stradbroke Island
Life and Living Strand Level 4.3: Interactions which take place in the living and non-living environment. Excellent as a practice activity prior to the actual field trip.

http://www.uen.org/utahlink/tours/tourFames.cgi?tour_id=13057
Wetland and Riparian Virtual Field Trip
http://www.kscience.co.uk/as/module5/seashore_web_site/index.htm
Virtual Rocky Shore Field Trip

Updated: 18th February, 2008
Nick Johnstone