Learning can happen all year! PBS LearningMedia has thousands of games that allow students to explore a wide range of interests during summer months. From constructing arches to composing music, check out a selection of games that gets students diving deeper in a variety of subjects. Create a free PBS LearningMedia account for full access to a treasure trove of games for learning.
Hip Hop | Grades 3-6
Play along with Chuck and Ramona as part of the Hip Hop band! “Chuck Vanderchuck’s ‘Something Something’ Explosion” is designed to help children ages 6 to 9 understand music and music composition by teaching basic musical concepts and performance skills through the study of popular song styles from around the world.
The “A” Game | Grades 4-7
The “A” Game is a fun, interactive game reinforcing the impact decisions can have on future goals. The game takes 30 minutes to play and includes advice from current High School students. Sample subjects: Why it is important to ask for help, stay in school, show up to class on time, manage your time outside of school, choose your friends wisely, participate in educational activities over the summer, and prepare for life after High School. The game also features funny educational animated videos, avatar creation, 12 in-game questions touching upon the Early Warning Indicators, and additional 5-minute videos for a deeper discussion on themes.
Antarctic Food Web Game | Grades 5-8
This interactive game adapted from the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences challenges players to build a food web, a complex model that shows how various food chains in an ecosystem are connected. Players must position the names of producers and consumers in the correct places in a diagram. The completed diagram reveals how energy flows through an Antarctic ecosystem and the relationships between predators and prey.
Trouble at the Mill | Grades 5-10
A interactive desktop computer game and website designed to impart decision-making and critical thinking skills in the study of American history, Past/Present takes place in a New England mill town in 1906. Students can play either an immigrant female worker or a native-born male manager. Both characters must deal with labor strife as well as earn money to support their families. Covering industrialization, immigration, the Progressive era, and organized labor, the game promotes historical reasoning, fosters cooperative learning and intellectual teamwork, and teaches the use and interpretation of primary sources, all while being fun to play.
Proportions & Music | Grades 6-7
In this interactive, students explore the relationship between sound frequencies and the length of pipes on a pan flute. By answering questions about the values of ratios and completing a chart, students are introduced to the concept of an inverse proportional relationship. The accompanying activity helps students explore the mathematical relationships that exist among musical notes and their frequencies.
Mission US | Grades 6-8
Mission US is a multimedia project featuring free interactive adventure games set in different eras of U.S. history. The first game, “For Crown or Colony?,” puts the player in the shoes of Nat Wheeler, a 14-year-old printer’s apprentice in 1770 Boston. As Nat navigates the city and completes tasks, he encounters a spectrum of people living and working there when tensions mount before the Boston Massacre. Ultimately, the player determines Nat’s fate by deciding where his loyalties lie.
Deep Time | Grades 6-12
Earth has been significantly altered over its 4.6-billion-year history by climate swings, vulcanism, drifting continents, and more. These dynamic conditions, in turn, have influenced every living thing that has inhabited the planet. This interactive timeline from the Evolution Web site provides a framework through which to learn about geological events that have shaped the planet and its past and present life forms, and to better appreciate the timescale over which numerous remarkable transformations have occurred.
NOVA Elements | Grades 6-12
Learn about chemical elements and molecular structure in this interactive activity from NOVA. Explore an interactive periodic table to learn more about each element, including its properties, uses, and other interesting facts. Build an atom in the atomic sandbox where you can experiment with atomic structure and determine how many electrons, protons, and neutrons you need to construct an element based on its atomic number and weight. Construct elements and molecules found in everyday objects, such as a cup of coffee, in the “Essential Elements” game. In addition, watch the full episode of NOVA: “Hunting the Elements,” a two-hour program hosted by David Pogue, New York Times technology columnist.
Balloon Blast Activity | Grades 7-9
In this interactive game, learners explore the fundamentals of projectile motion as they fire a virtual catapult at a target. Change the velocity, then see if you can adjust the initial angle so the projectile will hit the target. Resource introduces the idea that projectiles have both horizontal and vertical components of motion; students will not perform calculations.
Physics of Arches | Grades 7-12
The stone arch is one of the simplest and most elegant structures in architecture. But if an arch is built incorrectly, gravity can quickly cause it to crash into a heap. To prevent catastrophic collapses, architects came up with several tricks to keep their arches standing, including buttresses, pointed arches, and pinnacles. In this interactive activity from NOVA, try your hand at constructing a stone arch and learn more about the physics behind it.
A Plant’s Eye History of the World | Grades 8-12
This map charts four plant-human relationships over time and across the globe. Use it to trace the apple’s journey from the ancient forests of central Asia, across the Silk Road to Europe, and eventually to America. Or trace the tulip’s journey from Asia to Turkey, western Europe, and beyond. You can also see how marijuana made its way from India and China to all corners of the world, and how the potato traveled from South America to Europe to the deserts of southern Idaho — and most recently, to the biotech laboratories of St. Louis.
Microbe Clock | Grades 9-12
With each passing generation, mutations accumulate in the DNA of living cells. Among bacteria, which have very short lifespans, new mutations arise very rapidly. In the case of disease-causing bacteria, rapid mutation rates produce antibiotic-resistant strains faster than medicine can keep up. Visit this Evolution Web feature to see how many mutations one sneezeful of bacteria can produce in just one minute.