Homepage: http://www.edheads.org/

Tool Category/ies: Critical Thinking   Problem Solving  

License Type: Free


Overall Rating





Edheads is an online educational tool that provides free science and math games to be used by teachers in a classroom or by students on their own. The activities are addressed to elementary, middle and high school students.



Rating: 4/5

Reviewed by: Joanna Wojciechowska on 03/21/2013

Edheads is an online educational resource that provides free science and math games and activities that promote critical thinking. There are several interactive modules, that can be used immediately such as Weather where students learn about predicting weather and then can practice their knowledge online, Design a cell phone where a student is provided with population demands and then has to create a desired cell phone, and Virtual hip replacement surgery where learners participate in the virtual surgery. There are 15 different modules for now, ready to use and with easy access via the Choose an activity tab.

Teachers are invited to join the online teachers community where they can swap ideas about how to use the games and can discuss the teaching process that happens. When a teacher registers, he/she becomes a part of the teachers community and can add content, search for content other teachers have added, participate in online discussions on the games or post their opinions about the games.

Edheads partners with a number of individuals, colleges, universities, and corporationsto create their activities. Among the sponsors are Ohio State University - College of Engineering, Case Western Reserve University's National Center for Regenerative Medicine, The Ohio State University Medical Center, a local surgeon that provided a surgery activity in her specialty, etc.

Resources for using Edheads

Working computer with audio and downloaded Flash Player

How to use Edheads in a teaching environment
All the games/resources are sponsored and each comes with a teachers' guide and a glossary.  I might use it as an educational resource for patients. Lets say I am an oncologist who is seeing adolescent patients with leukemia in a clinic. I also have pediatric residents who have to spend 1 month in my clinic during their oncology rotation. In such a scenario I would discuss AML with the residents first to make sure that they understand the concept and are knowledgeable about the treatment options. Then I would ask the residents to familiarize themselves with the game. Next, I would ask the residents to spend some time with a patient and introduce the game to him or her, walk the patient through it and answer any questions he or she might have. This way I would teach the residents, the residents would learn and immediately apply new knowledge by teaching the patients. In the end the patients will know more about their disease and what to expect.

Advantages of using Edheads
  • It definitely has advantages if used in schools. It introduces new subjects in a very interesting way, it actively involves the learners in the process of learning, it is fun, and it uses technology that the younger generation thrives on.
  • For undergraduate and graduate education it might be used as an example of one of the available tools.
  • For patient education it might be a valuable tool in some situations, when there is a need to introduce difficult issues like life threatening disease or a surgery in an easy and safe way.

Disadvantages of using Edheads
  • Disadvantages: some modules are not well created. I got frustrated at some point with the cell phone designing module when I was not able to get better results with the available tools despite being encouraged to improve my design.


Rating: 4/5

Reviewed by: Andrew Kapral on 03/21/2013

Edheads, provides a series of 15 interactive, web-based, simulations covering math and science topics in grades 2-12.  The simulations are animated and require students to make content related decisions while navigating through a scenario related to the topic.   11 out of the 15 resources are targeted at the 7th grade and above, so this tool is tilted towards secondary instruction.  This is somewhat odd considering the fact that the animation for the simulations is somewhat kid like.  I am sure that elementary and middle school students would be engaged by Edheads, but I wonder whether high school students would find the delivery, not the content, somewhat simplistic or childish.  Edheads also comes with a variety of supplemental materials including worksheets, lesson plans, glossaries, and assessments.  These tools are delivered as .pdf files and appear to be well written and alignment is based on Ohio state and US national standards. Edheads is sponsored by the Ohio State Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University, which probably explains why the majority of the simulations are focused on detailed medical topics.

Things to know before using Edheads
Edheads does not require any specific technical knowledge to use.  Each simulation is on a particular science topic, so using the higher level simulations might require some background knowledge on the topic addressed during the simulation.  There is a good deal of reading involved with even the elementary simulations, so students will need to have good reading comprehension skills to follow along with some of the directions.

Resources needed to use Edheads
Edheads is web-based, so there is no software to download and install.  Users will need access to the internet and a web browser to view and interact with the simulations.  In addition, because there is an audio component to the simulations, users may want to have headphones available. Unfortunately, EdHead simulations are Flash based therefore are not compatible with iOS devices such as iPads or iPhones.

How to use Edheads in a Teaching Environment
The creators of Edheads are specifically trying to create tools that can be used by students to learn particular math and science content, so there are many possible applications in a teaching environment.  One way I might use Edheads is as follow-up or intervention activity to supplement hands-on exploration.  In this scenario, a teacher would need to be able to provide a student with internet connected computer to run the simulation.  Edheads does provide diagnostic and summative evaluation tools, so teachers could also use these tools as part of a lesson cycle.

One potential use of Edheads that I would not recommend is completing the simulations with large groups of students while utilizing a computer projector.  I have seen teachers use other similar tools in this way, and it seems to defeat the purpose of having an interactive simulation.  If the vast majority of students are not actively participating in using the simulation, then it is the same as watching a content related animation, such as Brainpop. This does not mean that tools such as Brainpop do not have value, but converting a tool like Edheads into a passive experience misses the opportunity to force students to make decisions and think critically.

In addition, Edheads has a social component that allows teachers to connect with other Edheads users to share ideas and resources or make suggestions to developers.

Advantages of using Edheads
Edheads is extremely easy to use and provides specific science content resources at multiple grade levels.  The simulations are well thought out, engaging, and scientifically accurate.  In addition, the simulations do require students to do some decision-making with respect to completing the challenges posed by each simulation.

Disadvantages of using Edheads
Unfortunately, the total number of simulations is very limited at this point, so the number of topics for which Edheads will be useful is small.  Additionally, there is no assessment component to Edheads, so students do not actually create anything while using the program.  This is fine as a delivery of direct content, but because of this limit, Edheads should be seen as an alternative to lectures or bookwork rather than a replacement for group activities, project based learning or student exploration.

Also, the topics covered by Edheads are very narrow, with the majority of simulations being dedicated to medical topics including surgery and the use of stem cell treatments.


Examples and External Resources


Using the Weather example by Andrew Kapral uploaded on 03/20/2013