Posts from the ‘physics’ Category
June 6th, 2008
Below I review two media resources that are well worth a listen, for teachers, interested adults, and perhaps older students. These are not resources in themselves, but I am sure that educators will find stories and examples in these programmes that can have direct application in the classroom.
Cosmic Quest This fabulous narrative history of human understanding of the Cosmos tells one of the greatest stories in the history of ideas. It is pleasingly compact, and easy to listen to. All the episodes are available to listen to from the BBC website.
In Our Time – Probability
Melvyn Bragg’s excellent In Our Time broadcast and podcast on probability last week was an excellent discussion of the history of probability with, among others, Prof. Marcus du Sautoy, who is always worth listening to! The podcast can be found here.
March 5th, 2008
Phun is a free two-dimensional physics sandbox for Windows.
A video of it in action can be found on this You Tube. Unfortunately they don’t yet have a Mac version, so I haven’t been able to try it out myself, but the videos looks stunning.
This has fantastic potential educational value for physics and maths, but in the same way that the Geometer’s Sketchpad does – it is easy to see the potential, but rather more difficult to harness it.
There must be some middle road between the openness of this sort of ‘sandbox’, which for university students and older computer literate school students has tremendous educational value, and something more rigid that allows more nervous or younger students to engage with the simulations it offers constructively. The problem is, what is that road?
October 11th, 2007
Launchball is a game produced for the Science Museum website. It is an excellent and well thought out little game that has highly transparent educational content. Despite this, it it fun to play.
Most of the puzzles deal with the concepts of power and force, both in terms of their generation and their effect. The aim is to make a little (metal) ball reach a particular goal. It can be done by using wind power to blow the ball, magnetism to attract it, or ‘rollers’ to move the ball along. Some or all of these effects require power, and the different mechanisms for generating and transferring power are really interesting and innovative.
This game is a wonderful way to introduce physics.
July 30th, 2007
Gravity Pods is a 50-level game which requires a great deal of problem solving and creativity.
It is a good example of a game which is educational in the sense that it requires students to problem solve and explore the structure of the game. It is certainly not intended to be educational, and has some elements that are not perhaps suitable for an educational scenario (the name of the website for example).
Nowhere on the curriculum could you pinpoint an aspect of mathematics or any other subject which this game addresses. However, if that is a necessary criterion for you as an educationalist, you are in the wrong place! I do not believe that what is learned in mathematics classrooms can be meaningfully described in terms of the criteria prescribed by the national curriculum.
Oh, and I was unable to do the 50th level. It is really, really hard.