Teaching Color Theory With Simulations

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics · No Comments · by February 1, 2016
Teaching Color Theory With Simulations

What do you do with the last two weeks of physical science class before the final?  I needed to come…


Teaching Heat Transfer Using the Particle Model in Physics

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics · No Comments · by December 19, 2015
Teaching Heat Transfer Using the Particle Model in Physics

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a presentation by Matt Krehbeil from Achieve, Inc., the nonprofit organization that coordinated…


2 New Simulations For the New School Year!

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics · No Comments · by October 8, 2015

With all the free time (hah!) afforded by the new school year, we have been busy putting together new simulations for our students.  Two of these made their way onto simbucket.com: “Graph Matching” and “Tennis Ball Cannon”.  Both simulations are built using HTML5 technology and are optimized for phones and tablet screens.

We built “Graph Matching” as a supplement to the classic physics experience where students have to walk forward and backward in front of a motion sensor to match the graph on a computer screen.  Our simulated version is miniaturized to fit on the small screen.  Each student guides a character walking forward or backward to match a graph on their mobile device.  It worked great in physical science class to drive home the idea that steeper slopes = faster speeds.

Graph Matching

Beware the wrath of an improperly matched graph!

“Tennis Ball Cannon” is a model of our tennis ball launcher that we use to shoot football field goals from ridiculous distances.  Our real-life tennis ball cannon typically launches tennis balls at greater than 80 meters per second, which meant that it was necessary to account for air drag in the model.  Students can easily adjust launch speed, launch angle, drag coefficient, air density, ball mass, and ball cross-section to make more accurate predictions of the trajectory of a tennis ball.  Our students had a great time using the model to determine how fast our cannon shoots.

Tennis Ball Cannon

Wow! Look at how much air drag slows things down!

We hope you enjoy these simulations as much as we have.  Please give them a try and let us know what you think!


Balloon Charging Lab is online!

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics · No Comments · by January 24, 2015

Balloon Charging LabWe are excited to announce our newest simulation, “Balloon Charging Lab”. This simulation walks through the process of charging a balloon, and then allows users to charge other objects. We took great care to represent the motion of the electrons in the various materials in a way that is accessible to middle school and high school physics students, and are looking forward to using it in our classes next week.

The simulation features:
-A realistic balloon hanging from the ceiling by a stretchy string
-Insulators whose electrons randomly move in their atom’s “cloud”, but are influenced by all of the charges around them
-Conductors whose electrons are free to move throughout the material
-Electron transfer between the balloon and the other objects
-Physics-accurate force calculations based on the location of all point charges

Please let us know if you are using the simulation in the comments below!


AAPT eMentoring Webinar – Using Interactive Simulations in the Classroom

Category : High School, Middle School, Physics, Uncategorized · No Comments · by January 13, 2015
AAPT eMentoring Webinar – Using Interactive Simulations in the Classroom

Welcome to the AAPT eMentoring program members! The following is an outline of the presentation given by Chris Bruce on…


Featured Simulation – Satellite Motion

Category : High School, Physics · No Comments · by December 28, 2014
Featured Simulation – Satellite Motion

“Satellite Motion” is now available! This interactive is designed to simulate the motion of a commercial satellite in orbit around Earth….


Another Great Physics Simulation Resource

Category : High School, Physics · No Comments · by December 27, 2014

Winter break is a great time to look for new teaching resources.  Here is an excellent one from the “Physics Education” Google+ group:

http://www.tandftechnology.com

There are a huge number of physics simulations here, all developed by Frank McCulley, a high school physics teacher in New Jersey.

We have been looking for a good way to plot data for the “Constant Speed Motion” toy car lab we do at the beginning of the year, and his “Quick Graph and Linearization” tool is exactly what we needed.  It will work on any device with a browser, and it gives a linear best fit line way more quickly than Microsoft Excel.

Let us know in the comments below if you have tried any of Frank’s simulations or tools, or have any other recommendations for great sites!


(c) 2014 Nerd Island Studios, LLC