Ariana White
Product Designer

Crafting phenomena-based science curriculum for Grades K-8.

Science Simulations | UX/UI

This page is for work that is either still in development or not yet public

What is Amplify Science?

Amplify Science is a K–8 science curriculum that blends hands-on investigations, literacy-rich activities, and interactive digital tools to empower students to think, read, write, and argue like real scientists and engineers.

Amplify Science for grades 6–8 has recently been rated all-green by EdReports.

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What are science simulations?

Science simulations are computer programs or virtual environments that mimic real-world phenomena or processes, allowing students to conduct virtual experiments, explore complex systems, and visualize scientific concepts. They are used to teach a variety of science subjects, including physics, chemistry, biology, and earth science.

Science Simulations | UX/UI

What are TEKS?
Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills or TEKS are the state standards for Texas public schools from kindergarten to year 12. They detail the curriculum requirements for every course.

Science Simulations | UX/UI

“I want a curriculum with TEKS alignment of STEMScopes, sims like Gizmos, and differentiated, integrated literacy on a platform that doesn’t suck. Oh, and new STAAR-aligned assessments.”

- Texas school teacher

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STEMscopes Texas (Grades K-12)

STEMscopes Texas uses the 5E plus intervention and acceleration learning model to engage your students in the wonder of STEM. 

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Gizmos are interactive math and science virtual labs and simulations for grades 3-12. Over 400 Gizmos aligned to the latest standards help educators bring powerful new STEM learning experiences to the classroom.

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State of Texas Assessments
of Academic Readiness

STAAR, is a series of standardized tests used in Texas public primary and secondary schools to assess a student's achievements and knowledge learned in the grade level

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Designing for Texas Standards

• Sims will have very little text

• Sims will never directly explain the standard. Students will be asked to make a claim and will collect evidence in the sim to either adjust their claim or have evidence to support their claim

• There will be an assessable moment as a result of the sim. Ideally, the assessment would be embedded in the sim, but if that's too difficult to collect data and persist it for reporting, then we would always have a way in digital/print to assess students' knowledge/understanding that is directly tied to their experience in the sim.

• Sims will be playable in more than one grade level or module.

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Modes in simulations

Explore phase:

In this phase, students should be able to use Sims independently, even without getting full instructional support from teachers. Students should be able to play around with components, see the effects of manipulating variables, and how the Sim responds to their choices. The purpose should be observing and sharing ideas about patterns, and building background knowledge through exposure.

Explain phase:

In this phase, students should be using the Sim to demonstrate and represent patterns, model, and test ideas to answer questions that stem from activities and exploration within the module. Sims used in this phase should include data tables, charts, graphs, and other informational pieces that students can refer to when using them. Please note: strategic Sims may not be as well tied to an Explain activity that is directly linked to answering the module's essential question, since they will be built to address knowledge and skills outlined by the TEKS.

Elaborate phase:

In this phase, students should be applying their knowledge to familiar and novel contexts. To this end, Sims should allow students to pursue new lines of questioning, and push them towards not only gathering evidence to support claims about patterns they encountered in the Explain phase.

Science Simulations | UX/UI
Science Simulations | UX/UI

Learning Objective:
Students know sources of heat in everyday life.
Students know that changes can sometimes be reversed and other times can't. 

Investigate and describe applications of heat in everyday life such as cooking food or using a hair dryer, and hot plate.

Essential Question:
Why can't you un-bake a chocolate chip cookie?

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The prototype was developed by MITR media, so I am showing how a user would make a selection.

Science Simulations | UX/UI
Science Simulations | UX/UI
Science Simulations | UX/UI

Student Reactions

  • "I learned that chocolate can become a liquid and then turn into a solid."

  • "I learned that hot plates if you turn it on the hottest level, the block will turn black."

  • "If you heat a block it doesn't melt with this kind of heat. It needs hot lava."

  • "I learned what a heat plate was."

Science Simulations | UX/UI


This project was amazing to work on. I loved working closely with teachers, and vendors to create beautiful solutions for students and users. Science simulations are a powerful tool for teaching science, as they provide students with an interactive and hands-on way to explore scientific concepts and conduct experiments, regardless of their physical location. They can help to make science more engaging and accessible to students, and can provide students with a better understanding of complex systems and phenomena.

Thank you for reading!