For a couple of years I ran the SETI@home project
screensaver on one of my classroom computers. It
had a great interface that examined data collected
from radio telescopes for evidence of ET :)
The kids loved it!
software has now been expanded and you can get your
class involved in all sorts interesting projects
in your computer's 'down time'.
Climate change research, Search for Extraterrestrial
Life, Search for Gravitational Waves or Malaria
I feel that even though the students may not fully
understand the research being conducted, it is important
for them to see that they can easily participate
in worthwhile worldwide projects.