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We are bringing Chemthink back!

Category : High School, Middle School · (12) Comments · by February 25, 2016
We are bringing Chemthink back!

Chemthink has been an outstanding chemistry resource for many years.  Its Flash-based tutorials and quizzes were a great way for…


Melting and Boiling is now online!

Category : Biology, High School, Middle School, Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 16, 2016

Melting and Boiling
This week in physical science we needed a basic simulation to show a particle model of the melting and boiling of ice. “Melting and Boiling” is designed to address very basic questions, such as “What is ice?”, “What is water?”, “What is steam?”, and “What happens to water molecules as temperature rises?”

Would you like to see more basic chemistry simulations? If so, comment below, and I will try to get to them when I can!


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…


New DC Circuit Builder Element – The Knife Switch!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by January 19, 2016

DC Circuit Builder

After over one year on iTunes, Google Play, and online, DC Circuit Builder has proven to be Nerd Island‘s most successful app.  It works well in our physics classrooms because it is simple.  It doesn’t include a lot of bells and whistles, and doesn’t worry about the fact that in most beginning electronics labs you are working in kilo-Ohms and milli-Amps rather than Ohms and Amps.  Students seem to respond to the fact that it is laid out on a grid and that you can draw wires across the screen simply by swiping your finger.  However, as with any app, there will always be room for improvement and new features.  The most common feature request by far is to add switches to the simulation.

Thanks to our school’s time off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and a little nudging from another teacher, I made the time to add knife switches to the simulation.  Under the “Draw” tab, students can now choose between a wire, a knife switch, a resistor, a light bulb, and an inline ammeter.  By adding switches, students can now model household lighting circuits as well as more complex systems.

I will push the new version out to iTunes and Google Play when I have time, but for now you can find the new version of DC Circuit Builder right here on SimBucket.  If you have previously run the web-based version of DC Circuit Builder, make sure to clear your browser cache so that you can load the most up-to-date version.

Please give it a shot, and let me know what you think!

-Chris


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!


SimBucket Team Makes The News!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 26, 2015

Chris Bruce, Martin Kulak, Kevin Shane, and David Torpe were featured on Sunday night’s news broadcast on KTUU Anchorage for their work at the ASTE Conference 2015.  Check out the news clip on the KTUU website!

SimBucket Team on KTUU Anchorage


Chris Bruce Leadership Summit Introduction

Category : Uncategorized · (2) Comments · by February 21, 2015

Chris Bruce                                                                                                                Leadership Summit Intro
High School Science Teacher in Illinois – 8 years
Born and raised in Ketchikan, Kayhi graduate, MIT engineeering graduate, US Navy submarine officer, Navy satellite engineer

I teach at James B. Conant High School: 2400 students/200 staff, Chicago suburb, middle class population, 1:1 iPads for all 13,000 students in the district – Any questions about how to do this well, I would be happy to talk to you!

ipadsinphysicscropped

In late 2011, our technology coordinator asked us if we had any preference for devices for our upcoming 1:1 mobile device program we said we wanted Microsoft Windows devices. He said “tough – you are getting iPads, but it is okay because there is something called HTML5 that someone will soon make all of the tools you need!” Little did we know, that “someone” he meant was us.

I became an Apple iOS developer + Google Play developer + web developer, and have been trying to figure out the best ways to use the devices with my students, without waiting for someone else to build it!

Making learning personal, 2 main projects:

  1. Simulations in the hands of every student
  2. Shortening the time required for feedback, with individualized homework based on each student’s weak areas

 

  1. On your phone/iPad, www.simbucket.com -> “Go to the sims!” -> Accelerometer -> drop your device!
  • With iPads, no more groups of 4 where 1 person does, 1 person watches, and 2 people do nothing!

 

  1. My class vision – Wouldn’t it be great if:
  • Each student could take a completely randomized quiz on a variety of learning objectives, and…
  • The quiz were graded instantly, and…
  • Each student knew immediately when they got the question wrong and what the right answer is, and…
  • When they are done with the quiz, they are linked to a series of activities that are tailored to address their own weak areas, and then…
  • They can fix what they don’t understand within 1 class period, instead of waiting a few weeks to learn it right before the test and forget it immediately afterward?

 

This exists, and we have been using it for the past two years. Questionbank system. The ideas here aren’t new, but the system requires a few things to work:

 

  1. A stable wifi connection for EVERY device
  2. A stable internet connection
  3. Hundreds of questions tagged by objective, with different randomized versions of each question
  4. A server running a database of questions, creating quizzes for students, and tabulating results and reports as appropriate.
  5. A great set of “reinforcement” activities
  6. Most Importantly: A teacher that is willing to run around like crazy helping students on each of their individual assignments!

 

If any one of these are missing, the system doesn’t work. Our biggest challenge has been with wifi. Initially our district was concerned with the size of the broadband pipe to our school, but we are still fighting the wifi issue 3 years later. Here’s an exercise:

  • How many people in this room? How many devices in this room?
  • 28 student ipads + 2 teacher ipad + 29 cell phones, 2 teacher laptops, 50 student devices walking down the hall… you get the picture.

It is so important that we have the technology infrastructure to support innovation in the classroom. From a teacher’s perspective, it is so exciting to see students engage with material in new ways. Thank you


Simbucket Dev Team at ASTE Conference 2015

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 21, 2015

The Simbucket development team has arrived in Anchorage, where they will be featured speakers for the 2015 ASTE Conference “Game On!”.  They are looking forward to showing teachers from all over Alaska how to build HTML5 simulations and games using Construct 2.  Here is a teaser of a new simulation built entirely on the plane ride from Chicago to Alaska:

Center of Mass BuilderCenter of Mass Builder Simulation


Circuit Electron Flow Is Online!

Category : Uncategorized · No Comments · by February 5, 2015
Circuit Electron Flow

Circuit Electron Flow Simulation

 

Inspired by the work of Professor Bruce Sherwood to create a new, more intuitive way to teach electrical circuits, “Circuit Electron Flow” simulates the flow of electrons through a wire caused by electric fields created by surface charges.  Four different situations are presented, in order of increasing complexity:

  1. Electron flow through a straight wire
  2. Electron flow through a wire with a 90 degree bend
  3. Electron flow through a simple circuit
  4. Electron flow through a “snaky” circuit

This simulation deviates from traditional Ohm’s Law-based circuit analysis techniques, and shows students behavior of the individual electrons in a circuit.  Students no longer are asked to merely accept that electrons flow along a wire, but rather are asked to show *why* electrons would flow along a wire rather than merely away from the negative end of a battery and toward the positive end of a battery.

The simulation is designed to be simple enough to understand by itself, while the corresponding worksheet walks students through a set of increasingly complex scenarios to build their understanding of the physics behind electron flow in a circuit.  For an introduction to the mechanics of electron flow through metal, please see our “Drude Model Conduction” simulation.

 

Please let us know what you think of “Circuit Electron Flow” in the comments below!


(c) 2014 Nerd Island Studios, LLC