Curriculum / Resource Review

A Review / Opinion of ExploreLearning


April 4, 2012 - Free 30-Day Trial for "Gizmos"


courtesy of ExploreLearning Gizmos™ has a free 30-day trial where you can have full access to their entire library of 450 Gizmos. The Gizmos are interactive math and science simulations that really help make learning concepts clear and easier to understand. ExploreLearning has a variety of Gizmos for grades 3-12 that cover topics like:

  • Number and Operations
  • Algebra
  • Geometry
  • Measurement
  • Probability
  • Precalculus
  • Earth and Space Science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Physical Science
  • Life Science

Once you choose a grade range and category, you get to choose specific Gizmos to play with like some of these:


courtesy of ExploreLearning Gizmos™

When you choose the Gizmo you want you then have the option of choosing some of the available printables to use with it like a student exploration sheet, teacher's guide, vocabulary sheet, assessment questions, etc. (each Gizmo will not necessarily have every option available). In the screenshot below you can see that this Gizmo on pollination has a printable student exploration sheet as well as a vocabulary sheet available. Available printables are highlighted in blue.


courtesy of ExploreLearning Gizmos™

The student exploration sheets are a terrific help. This particular one is 5 pages long with various questions, activities and specific directions to help your student get the most out of the Gizmo. They are totally optional though. Sometimes your student may just want to plunge into the Gizmo and "play". Other times he may need more assistance or you may want him to get a bit extra out of the lesson. The student exploration sheets offer both. They also look good in a notebook and/or give mom some tangible evidence of the kiddo having done some actual work and gained some understanding. wink


courtesy of ExploreLearning Gizmos™

The Gizmos themselves are interactive. In this demonstration of cross pollination I'm moving some pollen grains from one flower to another. The activity continues with animation and more opportunities for interaction.


courtesy of ExploreLearning Gizmos™

I've used Gizmos in the past with Otter and found that they are excellent in making various concepts clear and easy to understand. Some of my favorite Gizmos are in the math section. Gizmos take abstract concepts and help make them concrete - something your student can "touch" and manipulate. I've found them to be a big help in supplementing Otter's middle school math lessons.

Look at this Gizmo where you get to learn about square roots:

Gizmo on square roots

courtesy of ExploreLearning Gizmos™

Suddenly square roots aren't just some abstract concept! You can SEE what a square root is instead of having it be scary, weird looking math term.

Anyway, I thought I'd pass on that ExploreLearning has a free trial. I know a lot of you are still ironing out curriculum choices for next fall and perhaps this might help a few looking for a boost in science and math. It also would make a great resource for some "summer learning fun".

Click here to visit ExploreLearning's website ( You can also contact them toll-free at 1-866-882-4141. If you decide to order a subscription, be sure to ask them about a home account.

*Note: All our reviews reflect only our personal opinion(s) of materials. We aren't experts! We're just a homeschooling family with 3 kids and ideas of our own about what works and what doesn't for US. smile




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