# Posts from the ‘science’ Category

This article about a fascinating piece of ‘academic research’ (that was published in a bonafide journal, somehow!) should be grist to the mill of any good Theory of Knowledge or A-Level Philosophy course.

I stumbled across this lovely page from the University of Utah today, which is extremely simple, but nevertheless well done:

Cell Size And Scale

From a scientific perspective it is interesting to reflect upon the relative sizes of elements, from a Coffee Bean to a Carbon Atom (through various things such as a human Ovum, Sperm, various viruses, compounds and so on).

From a mathematical perspective it is also interesting for the way in which the relative scales are measured in the top-left. Exploring the different notations for small sizes would be a useful exercise in place-value for all levels of Key Stage 3 and 4.

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

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.

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?

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.