5 fun science websites to use with church small groups and youth groups
There’s nothing like trying a science experiment hands-on, but that doesn’t have to mean getting messy. (If mess is what you’re looking for, we suggest you start here!) If you need computer-based demonstrations and tools which can help you engage with topics from AI to the marine environment, look no further.
Gaugan AI http://gaugan.org/gaugan2/
This website is a great prompt for discussions about creativity and science. Draw a rudimentary picture (think Microsoft Paint) and give the program an idea of what you’ve drawn, and it will transform it into a unique work of art. You can save, print, or share your masterpieces – or even create your own ‘AI Art’ exhibition. It’s a great starting point for discussions about artificial intelligence and prompts questions like: Can a computer create art? Who gets the credit? How else could AI augment the human experience?
2. Satellites tracker http://stuffin.space/
This website shows you the scary amount of satellites and space junk presently orbiting the Earth. We live in an age where human rubbish is everywhere, from Mount Everest to the Mariana Trench, from microplastics in the placentas of unborn babies to the surface of the Moon. This website is a great visual demonstration of how humanity’s waste problem goes beyond our atmosphere. It can prompt discussions about our role as stewards of creation and the need to balance exploration with responsibility.
AI yourself https://generated.photos/face-generator/new
This is another AI tool, which allows you to design an artificially-generated face based on sex, hairstyle, and more. Some of the results look more realistic than others! There are plenty of ways to use this program – perhaps get people to attempt a self-portrait, or imagine what Bible characters could look like based on their descriptions. It’s also a great way in to talking about human uniqueness and identity, and whether and in what ways that could be challenged by advances in robotics and AI.
Whale tracker https://whaletrack.hwdt.org/sightings-map/
This website lets you explore recorded sightings of sea life along the UK coast. Despite the name, it’s not limited to whales – you can see which sharks, dolphins, jellyfish and sunfish have visited, too. It’s a wonderful way to explore some of the amazing creatures we share our coastline with and can help us consider all the other blessings and mysteries there are in life that, sometimes, we can forget to look for.
If looking up other people’s whale sightings got you itching to try something similar, look no further than the Zooniverse. There are several citizen science initiatives to get involved in from the comfort of your own sofa. Current projects include helping to identify endangered frogs in New South Wales, classifying terrain to train Mars Rovers, and transcribing historical health records for Victorian postal workers. Something there for everyone, I’d say.
This is a great opportunity to try science again for people who haven’t thought about it since school. It’s also a great example of people power – what could take one person years is achieved much more quickly when enough people join in.
If you use any of these suggestions with your church, small group or even by yourself, we’d love to hear about it! And please share any other suggestions you’ve found helpful that we haven’t included here. Tag us on twitter @eclasproject or drop us a line through the contact form.