5 cool virtual science experiments for your interactive display

Published: April 25th, 2022

Do you have those fond memories of making a volcano with vinegar and baking soda in primary school science as a kid? What about the less fun memories of dissections in anatomy class when you became a little older? From clean up, to safety, even ethics, practical science demonstrations have their drawbacks in the classroom. Luckily there are so many fun, interesting virtual science experiments you can carry out on your ActivPanel. Heres’ some of our favourites:

Virtual science excursion

Why go to the observatory when you can Access Mars with clever AR and the ActivPanel? Experience NASA’s Curiosity Rover’s journey across the red planet in a 3D replica and learn about Mars and Curiosity along the way. Did you know in the ancient past Mars had the basic ingredients for life, and would have been habitable? We didn’t!

Move the rover by touching points on the terrain. Tap on various elements of the rover and you get a breakdown of its functionality. The terrain is modelled off real images taken by the Curiosity Rover, giving a glimpse into real-life Martian landscapes. It also gives satellite views to show points like the landing site.

Why we love this: this simple app is extremely user-friendly and can be used in a lot of creative ways like map-making, physics lessons and, of course, astronomy!

Digital dissection: an ethical virtual science experiment

There are plenty of reasons why real-life animal dissections are going out of style but, until recently, this had been the only way to get practical learning with anatomy. There are sourcing issues, clean up woes and, most importantly, many students and teachers alike have ethical objections to using animals for dissection. 

Now there are so many apps and programs that allow students to get hands-on (while keeping their hands clean) with animal and human anatomy with virtual dissections. Here are some great ones to consider:

  • Healthline’s free Human Body Maps can be accessed straight from your browser on the ActivPanel. These give an interactive demonstration of the 11 major organ systems in the human body, with scalable layers that allow you to get down to the heart (or pulmonary trunk if you like) of human anatomy.
  • Paid-for program Biosphera has fully virtual dissections of 12 animals, designed for different learning levels from basic anatomy teaching to veterinary students. If you don’t want to make a financial commitment just yet, their 3D Frog Skeleton is free and gives a more basic demonstration of the interface.
  • Then there’s Cat Explorer, a free program requiring a VR headset, that gives a full virtual experience of the anatomy of a cat. This one is a particularly fun one if you want to make full use of in-class VR edtech.

Build a virtual robot

These days, robotics experiments are all about coding. There are some great sites and programs that allow you to teach the modern fundamentals of robotics without the need for the wires and wheels of yesteryear.

Code.org is host to a huge range of free resources that teach students coding from games to tutorials, including BlocksCAD Robot – which gives you a full lesson plan on how to build a 3D-printable robot.

Webots is another great tool for virtual robot experimentation. An open-source and multi-platform application, it gives a completely simulated environment in which your students can create, program, and test digital robots.

Virtual groundwater experiment

Making groundwater experiments used to mean 2 kinds of sand or gravel, a glass container, a whole lot of water, and a hope and a prayer that nothing gets knocked over. Now there’s an app for that! 

Groundwater App is an interactive simulation of how water usage affects environment. Shift the levels and see how various elements of the water table impact available drinking water, groundwater, river water, even climate temperature.

This virtual science experiment goes so much further than the sand-and-water method and gives plenty different avenues for teaching content.

Model solar system 

Model solar systems are the archetypal science fair experiment. But you can put your Styrofoam balls and acrylic paints away, there’s an easier, mess-free and more scientifically accurate way to show your class the stars. Solar System Scope is a free app that allows you to navigate our solar system and beyond, and it works great with the ActivPanel. Reach out and touch the sky (literally) and learn facts about the celestial bodies around us. 

If you want to learn more about how you can bring fun and engagement into your classroom with clever edtech, request a free ActivPanel demonstration today.