Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Physics Is Phun!

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

Physics Is Phun!

Article excerpt

Understanding the underlying concepts is essential for uncovering the magic of physics.

ENTER the wild world of physics, where appearances and logic are often turned upside down. Understanding the underlying concepts is essential for uncovering the magic of physics. It can be a thrilling adventure for students as they discover lots of cool methods for lasting knowledge. Browse these Web sites and discover a variety of interactive simulations, experiments, and ideas to use in your classroom.


Plan a virtual field trip to Amusement Park Physics sponsored by the Annenberg Foundation. Learn about freefall and gravity using a paper cup with holes and water. While riding the carousel, think about the laws of motion. Are some horses moving faster than others? Predict the outcomes of bumper-car collisions based on the laws of acceleration and interaction. Explore these questions regarding pendulum rides. What causes the feeling of "weightlessness" on pendulum rides? Why do riders experience high G-forces on pendulum rides? Then, design a roller coaster. Select the height of the first hill, the shape of the hill, the exit path, the height of the second hill, and whether you should include a loop. After making your selections, test your coaster for safety and fun. Enjoy your visit and be sure to pass the link on to other teachers.


More than 400 math and science Gizmos populate this subscription-based Web site. A Gizmo is visual and interactive, has depth of content, and encourages inquiry and exploration. The learning process allows students to actively participate in guided simulations that teach specific concepts. Students gather data, manipulate variables, and view the results of their hypothesis. At the end of the experiment, there is a related assessment. Teachers can use these Gizmos in whole class, group, orindividualized instruction. Each Gizmo is accompanied by an Exploration Guide with suggestions for using it in the classroom. The entire collection of Gizmos correlates to textbooks and state standards. You are allotted 5 free minutes per day per Gizmo, or you can thoroughly evaluate the site with a 30-day free trial. Pricing varies depending on the number of licenses purchased. Check the Web site or call (toll-free): (866) 882-4141 for further information. This is a five-star site.


Animated demonstrations and virtual activities will engage students in critical thinking about the how and why of physics. Predict which object will finish first in a race between a ball and two different cylinders. Determine where the fulcrum and children should be placed on a seesaw. Choose the path a spinning ball will take when the string is cut. These are a few of the investigations for students to study and analyze. Take the fear out of physics by visiting this site.


Students will enjoy these virtual learning modules on matter, electricity and magnetism, energy, and fusion. Through a series of interactive visualizations, students will learn about the basic concepts of matter, static charges, how to construct a circuit, temperature effect on atomic movement, Coulomb force versus velocity, and fusion versus temperature. This project originated in 1996 at the Princeton University Plasma Physics Laboratory as part of a National Science Foundation grant, administered by the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) at the Stevens Institute of Technology.


Walter Fendt has created a fabulous set of Java applets that may be used by educators. You are permitted to copy the HTML texts and the applets for noncommercial purposes. You are allowed to put the applets on a Web server if you don't remove the copyright remarks and the original URLs. Newton's cradle, a simple pendulum, buoyant force in liquids, and motion with constant acceleration are wonderful examples of the subjects covered. …

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