Multimedia Science SALE – December 2016 – 50% Off

End of the year sale on all chemistry, physics, and teacher tools software and materials on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Multimedia Science Materials On Teachers Pay Teachers Site


Multimedia Science creates teaching software and materials in the areas of Teacher Tools, Physics, and Chemistry.



These materials can be found on the Teachers Pay Teachers site.


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Multimedia Science Pinterest Science Pins

Visit Multimedia Science’s Pinterest site for pins of available physics and chemistry materials and pins from other sites.


Multimedia Science Physics Pinterest Site
Multimedia Science Science Pinterest Site
Multimedia Science Chemistry Pinterest Site

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Free Adding Two Vectors Software


Sign up on the right to get your copy of Multimedia Science’s Adding Two Vectors software.

Adding Two Vectors – Maximum and Minimum is a piece of software designed to illustrate how to find the maximum and minimum values of the resultant of adding two vectors. screenshot

Software Curriculum: All Level: K – 12
Used With: PC Computer
Objectives: Illustrate how to find the maximum and minimum value of the resultant when two vectors are added
Requirements: PC computer, Windows 98 or newer

To run the software, download and unzip the Zipped file  Then run the InstallAddingTwoVectors.exe and follow the directions to install.

After starting the program, set the values of the two vectors that are to be added. You can choose values from 0 to 10 for each of the two added vectors by clicking on the up and down arrows for Vector 1 Size and Vector 2 size.  Then click on the angle button.  The angle will change from 0 to 180 degrees in 10 degree increments.  The size of the resultant will be shown.

After looking at a number of examples, students should be able to figure out that the maximum value of the resultant is the two values of the two added vectors added together and the minimum value of the resultant is the two values of the two added vectors subtracted from one another.


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Tennis Ball Cannon Saga – Shoot First and Ask Questions Later

Science Teaching & Technology by Multimedia Science
Tennis Ball Cannon Saga
Shoot First and Ask Questions Later


The Original Cannon

After teaching physics and chemistry for several years, I attended a physics demonstration seminar.  One physics teacher mentioned that he had built a cannon out of tin cans that would shoot a tennis ball and could be used as a demonstration of momentum.  Thus began a twenty year process of building and rebuilding the tennis ball cannon which became one of the most effective and popular demonstration in my physics classes.

Some research led me to the basic design which was to use several tin cans taped together attached to another can used as a firing chamber.  A small hole was made in the firing chamber to both insert some propellant and to ignite it.

In order to make the cannon into a demonstration for momentum, it had to be able to recoil.  So I constructed my prototype cannons on momentum carts.  Finding the right tin cans was quite a challenge.  Some cans had such a tight fit around the tennis ball that the ball would not come out.  The balls were so tight, that I had to disassemble the cannon to remove the ball.  Other cans were so loose that, after ignition, the ball would literally just roll out the end of the cannon.


After many tries, I found the perfect sized can, which turned out to be small cans of V8 vegetable juice.  The cannon was set up on a laboratory bench, the tennis ball was inserted, and casually I lit the propellant.  BOOM!  The tennis ball shot out of the cannon, bounced off of the wall across the classroom, and hit me right in the middle of my glasses (no lie).  The cannon, meanwhile, recoiled, hit my hand, turned over, and hit floor.  For the next several years, the physics cannon had a large dent in its firing chamber.  Obviously, I had become careless after so many unsuccessful attempts.

I devised a lab where the students were supposed to be government researchers investigating a new secret cannon.  They had to use both momentum and projectile motion to calculate the velocity of the ball using two different methods.  One student from each lab group were assigned to set up the firing range and the others worked on setting up the equations to calculate the two velocities.


After everything was set up, it was time to fire the cannon.  Many of the students were not particularly impressed with the cannon.  The propellant was added and the flame was set to the ignition hole.  BOOM! The ball shot out of the cannon, hit the wall, and caromed back across the room. I saw that all of the student’s eyes were now wide open and they began clamoring to do it again.  I usually stood with the student whose job it was to catch the cannon, since the recoil was unexpected enough that they often missed.

While there was some variation, the speed of the tennis ball often exceeded 100 miles per hour.  All and all, it was the one demonstration / lab that students mentioned when they returned to visit after graduating.

The New “Improved” Cannon II

I continued to use the lone cannon for several years and soon other physics teachers began using it.  Then one day I looked in the closet and the cannon was GONE!  One of the teachers said that the cans had come apart so they had thrown it away.  I was without my favorite toy that year and tried to recreate it without success.  V8 juice was no longer sold in cans and the other cans I tried did not work.
Here is a YouTube video of an attempt to create a cannon using Pringles tubes which had a few problems.

The following year, I came into school one day to find a large white plastic object on my desk.  The other physics teachers had built a new beautiful cannon out of PVC piping.  I trotted the new cannon out for my classes and they were very impressed, since it was much more imposing looking that the original.  Instead of lighting the propellant with a match, this cannon had an electric ignition.  The cannon was set up and anticipation was high in the classroom.  The cannon was fired and POOF!  A large cloud of smoke appeared and the ball rolled slowly out of the mouth of the cannon onto the floor.


Over the next year, we all tried to make the new cannon work.  We tried buying extra-large tennis balls and different propellants.  Over the summer, I took the cannon home and worked on it with some other physics teachers.  We increased the size of the hole to the firing chamber which did not work.  We got better results by lining the barrel with waxed paper, but the ball came out followed by a flaming piece of wax paper.

The New “Old” Cannon III

At the beginning of the next teaching year, I arrived at my office to find a new cannon sitting on my desk.  It looked just like the original cannon, just using different tin cans than in the original.  The teacher who had thrown out the original spent a lot of time that summer trying out every tin can that he could find and hit upon a winner.  It turns out that the size of the opening of the can is a very important variable.  When it is just right, you get very high velocity.

That year several cannons were constructed so that every physics teacher had one and one as a spare.  It was interesting that some of the cannons worked better than others, even though they were built using the same components by the same person.  An some days a particular cannon would work better than it did on other days.  It would make an interesting study to try and determine just what those variables were.  I’m just glad to have my favorite toy back and I would think my students do also.

You can get a complete guide on how to build a tennis ball cannon and the associated lab report at Teachers Pay Teachers.


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The Electric Arc Furnace – Smoking is Bad for Your Health

Science Teaching & Technology by Multimedia Science
Industrial Experience & the Science Classroom
 The Electric Arc Furnace – Smoking is Bad for Your Health

After fifteen years as a chemical engineer, I made a career switch into high school science teaching.  One of the pluses of entering the classroom from industry was that I could relate stories about the real world of work and use examples showing how the science was used during my career.

One of my favorite stories occurred in my first job working for Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem.  I was working in air pollution control and one of the problems I was assigned was cleaning up the electric arc steel furnace.

The electric arc steel furnace was used to make specialty steel like stainless steel.  This furnace was several stories high, was filled with the steel making ingredients, and then three huge electrodes were lowered into the furnace.  Electricity was used to melt the materials and while this was happening, the furnace’s top was open, and huge amounts of smoke rose upwards filling the furnace building.


Our engineering group’s assignment was to measure the velocity of the smoke as it left the furnace in order to design a ventilation system to remove the smoke.   The first attempt to measure this velocity relied on a velocity measuring probe that could be placed in the rising smoke.  You can probably guess who got the job of holding the probe.

Above the electric arc furnace was a movable platform crane that was used to load the material into the furnace.  I was positioned on the platform with the velocity probe attached to a long pole so that it would extend over the railing and into the rising smoke.  Unfortunately, I found that the crane did not stop or start smoothly, but jerked violently as the operator moved it back and forth trying to keep the probe in the smoke.

Well, I needed both hands to hold onto the probe and the box that indicated the results.  But I also needed my hands to try to keep myself from either falling against the railing in front of me, which was red hot, or falling backwards into the electrical motor which would have fried me.  There was also smoke all over the place rising into my face and into my eyes.


The end result was that I had to make a decision between falling into the furnace or letting go of the probe.  I was able to watch it fall down into the furnace, disappearing into the semi-molten steel below.

OK, it was time for plan B.  Somehow we got talking about our high school physics course where we measured the velocity of a moving object by using what is called a ticker or spark timer.


The moving object is attached to a piece of tape which runs through the timer.  The timer makes marks on the tape at equal time intervals.  These marks can then be measured to calculate the velocity or the acceleration of the moving object.

But how could this idea be applied in this situation?  There was not any way to attach a piece of tape to the smoke!  What we came up with was to hang a long 1 foot wide strip of aluminum from the ceiling along the side of the furnace.  There were dots painted on the aluminum strip every meter.  Then we blew up balloons and let them go, the balloons rising with the rising smoke.  Finally, we took pictures of the balloon against the aluminum strip every second.  What we ended up with was the vertical position of the balloon every second so that we could calculate its velocity.

While this worked, it was neither quick nor easy.  The aluminum strip tended to blow around in the smoke and attract enough static electricity to give anyone holding it shock after shock.  I found this out the hard way.

I find this story as a great introduction to the motion experiment using the ticker or spark timer.  First, it answers to question, “When will we ever use this.”  But it also illustrates the need for out of the box and creative thinking.

I use this story as part of my Click & Teach unit on Motion Graphing which is available at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Physics Motion Equations Unit – Click & Teach Bundle



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The Semantics of Chemical Bond Energies

Recently, I received an e-mail about a product called Snatoms.  No, this is not a new low calorie snack made out of atoms, but a clever molecular modeling kit.


While listening to one of the Snatom YouTube videos, it was mentioned that atomic bonds do not “store” energy.  Since this was how I was taught, and has served me well through 40 plus years of being a chemical engineer and high school physics and chemistry teacher, I wondered what was going on.

Poking around on the Internet, I found a number of sites with posts that talked about chemical bond energies.  At least one article commented that:

Why do chemical bonds appear to “store” energy? They certainly “contain” energy, but energy must be added to get any energy out. 

Here is the full article.

So, my question is, is there really a difference between saying that chemical bonds “store” or that they “contain” energy.  Or is this just a game of semantics?

Your opinion would be appreciated.

Brought to you by Multimedia Science.

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Why I Started Creating & Using Computer Based Simulation Labs

Science Teaching & Technology by Multimedia Science
Why I Started Creating & Using Computer Based Simulation Labs
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Terminal Velocity Lab – The Good & The Bad

For many years I had students run a lab to find the terminal velocity of equally sized spheres of different materials.  It was an excellent hands-on lab for the students which led to a good understanding of both the concepts of and finding of terminal velocity and was one of my favorites.

However, there were difficulties associated with the set-up, running, and results of this lab as follows (see schematic below):

  • The equipment setup was tedious and time consuming, both for me and the students
    • There were lots of pieces to store, unpack, and lay out including a 6 foot glass tube, not to mention the storage requirements.
    • Students had to set up two photo-gate timers precisely with several ring stand holders that tended to slide and twist to make that difficult. Again, this was time consuming.
  • The data was not always very accurate leading to graphs that were difficult to analyze
    • When the balls were dropped into the glass tube, they would actually bounce back and forth against the sides. This turned out to only be a problem for the lighter balls, like the Styrofoam ball. It was found that when the ventilators were on, the lighter balls were affected by the air currents.
    • Students found it very hard to drop the balls close to the top of the glass tubes, since they were standing on the desks and the tubes were above their heads.
    • Heavy balls that were dropped, occasionally, would bounce up and break the bottom of the glass tubes.
    • The glass tubes were replaced with plastic tubes but these became cloudy over time and slits had to be cut to make the photo-gate timers work.
  • Due to the set-up time and other difficulties, it was difficult to predict the timing and when to schedule the computer lab for students to evaluate the data

Even considering all of this, I persisted with a lot of effort, in running this lab successfully for many years.


Terminal Velocity Lab Setup Schematic

Course Scheduling – The Ugly

As a former engineering graduate, I found that I had enough college credits to be certified in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics.  This was great for finding a job and allowed me to teach a number of subjects so as not to become bored.  BUT, over a number of years, I found myself the “fixer.”  Everyone’s schedule would be determined and I would fill in and cover what was left.  This led to having several new preps each year.

OK, that made life pretty difficult, but along with that, I often was teaching out of a number of different classrooms, not necessarily on the same floor or in the same part of the building.  I tried to make the Terminal Velocity Lab work for the first year.  Imagine me wheeling a cart around the hallways with large glass tubes hanging out the front and back through a teeming hallway of teenagers.  And each room often had certain idiosyncrasies that made the setup of equipment even more challenging or exciting, take your pick.

Clickteam Authoring Software – The Good

For many years, I had been working on creating game, demonstration, and simulation software using an authoring program called Multimedia Fusion or now Clickteam Fusion.  That summer I set out to reinvent the Terminal Velocity Lab.

Creating the lab in software form was quite challenging.  I wanted the computer based lab to be as close to real life as possible and I had to make an acceleration of gravity engine that could be tweaked to simulate the effects of air resistance.  After two years of writing, testing, and re-writing, the software was completed.

To make it as real life as possible, students had to:

  • Drag the ball to the top of the tube
  • Not hit the top of the tube
  • Drop the ball within a small distance from the top of the tube
  • Drop the ball down the center of the tube

The Final Computer Lab – Even Better

The final lab guaranteed that students got good data since the program would not let them make mistakes like dropping the ball too high above the top photo-gate.  The program just made them do it again.

And I learned something also.  Since I programmed that small distance within which the ball needed to be dropped, the data was not perfect.  There was still error that showed up when the data was graphed.  I felt that was one sign of a good simulation.

Over the years since then, I continued to use the software based Terminal Velocity Lab even when I had my own classroom.  I ran plenty of hands on labs but both I and the students liked this simulated lab and it worked as well as the original.

The Terminal Velocity Lab software is available at Teachers Pay Teachers or at  TES.

There is now both a PC version and a PC & MAC Flash version. Some screen shots are shown below.



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Remembering My Period 6 Physics Class

The Joys of Science Teaching or
Be Careful What You Say


There is an old saying “out of the mouths of babes,” which means something that you say when a small child says something that surprises you because it shows an adult’s wisdom and understanding of a situation. Well, I learned my lesson about this the hard way when my 6th period class presented me with a list of things that were said in my classroom, many of them by me. Yes, they were 12th graders about to graduate, but as a “lower level” class that seldom seemed to be paying really close attention, I was taken aback by the list.

I’ll share a few, just those said by me, as follows:

Showing My Age



No tickie, no washie. (ie: no work, no grade)

Shushie. (trying to make them be quiet)

Fickle factor.

Not Sure I Believe I Said This

The tractor goes meee-rrr….meee-rrr! high pitched (pointing out that the tractor’s velocity is not 100% constant)

Whenever you see a naked number… (one without a unit)

They’ll whip out their Krypton laser… (talking about the ability to measure the unit of the second)

Leeft…Leeft…Leeft Right Leeft… (talking about my marching experience in ROTC in college)

Yeah, I wouldn’t argue politics…especialy if I was as wrong as you are.

How ‘bout you make fun of him when I’m not talking.

The units tell all. (kind of zen like)

That’d be the end of this place. (if they had chemistry classes in the physics rooms)

This guy isn’t tied too tight.

It’s sneaky. (talking about the loss of energy)

The names will be changed to protect the guilty. (something about lab reports)

He’s got me, what can I say. (student answers question correctly unexpectedly)

This is the 6th period class… something shady has to be going on.

Plugging and chugging. (putting numbers into an equation and cranking out the answer)

I might even get to nickels, dimes, and quarters! (after placing pennies on my arm and grabbing them to demonstrate the first law)

If I locked you in the trunk of a car. (a hypothetical question to talk about frames of reference)

So think about it: You’re a pair of underwear…. (talking about centripetal force)

We call this simple demonic motion.

It was in the moment.

The earth is like a giant repository of momentum.

Levin-dog here? Linus-dog? Waldinger-dog? (taking attendence)

You know, Andrew, in the beginning of the year, I wondered what people meant when they said that you were annoying…now I know.

Let’s say I jump out of an airplane without a parachute. (class claps)

You have a fecal imagination. (don’t remember ever saying this)

And The Worst Of All

I remember my first year of teaching, you know, the year where you do everything right. I was using the “happy” and “sad” balls to demonstrate elastic and inelastic collisions. Holding up the two identical looking rubber spheres, I announced, “These are my balls.” I’m only glad that I was not being observed at the time.

Turns out there were a number of innocent comments that could also be taken in a less than innocent fashion that I had not thought about.

Kinda neat, they bounce up and down. (metal spheres on springs)

I stood on the ceiling and blew on the ball. (probably not accurate – talking about a monkey and the hunter demo where I blew into a tube with a ball in it near the ceiling)

Both rods are attracting. (electrostatics)

Don’t stick the ball in! (keeping student from putting tennis ball in cannon)

Wait, let me get out everyone’s favorite toy. (Newton’s cradle)

How can objects be electrified by rubbing?

Rubbing it slow or fast doesn’t matter. (believe I said rubbing the strip)

I like my strings real tight. (talking about my tennis racquet)

I think you guys noticed that you get in pretty deep pretty fast. (comment about how vector problems get complicated easily)

Put a point protector on. (when making a graph)

I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t play with them any more than you have to. (students playing with motion lab cars)

Provided By Multimedia Science

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The Smokestack – Not All It’s Stacked Up To Be

Science Teaching & Technology by Multimedia Science
Industrial Experience & the Science Classroom

Question: Does industrial experience help a teacher to explain science concepts in the classroom?

My findings after spending 15 years in chemical engineering and 30 years teaching chemistry and physics at the high school level is a resounding YES.

The link below leads to a story about one of my first jobs as a chemical engineer working for Bethlehem Steel in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  My students always found this real life story about climbing smoke stacks to do air pollution testing both amusing and interesting.  It helped them to understand how what they were learning was used in the real world and gave them a taste of what a real world job required.

The Smoke Stack – Not All It’s Stacked Up To Be


Brought to you by Multimedia Science, creators of science software and materials and teacher tools to create games for any grade or curriculum.

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Multimedia Science Android Apps Now On Appliv Discovery Platform

A number of Multimedia Science’s chemistry and physics applications have been ported to and are now available as Android Apps.  One example is the Torque Challenge where you must understand torque to balance the beam.  And several of these apps are free, like the Physics Acceleration game, which gives you a real understanding of acceleration, the signs of acceleration, and the difficulty of accelerating and navigating in space.


One of the places that you can find these applications is on the Appliv Discovery Platform which catalogs tons of Android and  iPhone / iPad applications.  Their mission is, ” “Bringing apps closer to you”. Using Appliv, you can find apps you want from many app reviews such as popular Android game apps, productivity apps, music apps and more.

Appliv -iPhone/Android App Discovery Website

On Appliv you can find a review for the Torque Challenge application with more on the way.

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Evaluating Software Use in Science Education

What are the benefits of using software in the science classroom? Let’s look at a sample software physics game problem. This will lead to some guidelines on how to evaluate this type of software.


Today’s Students Have Different Needs

Today’s students have been exposed extensively to visual input and interactivity in the form of video and games of all types on computers, tablets, and smart phones. It is only natural that they are used to working and learning using these modalities. The old fashioned lecture is no longer effective in the modern classroom environment. Educators have been turning to more visual and interactive tools, like video and PowerPoint presentations. While these tools add a visual component to the lesson, they fail at adding an interactive element. Educational software is ideally suited to add this interactivity to student learning while including a number of other benefits as well. More on this later.
Let’s say that your students need additional practice in solving physics motion problems for an upcoming test. The standard word problem worksheets used last year are readily available but the students found those worksheets boring. A lot of time was wasted keeping students on task.

Alternately, you could use a software game that covers the same problems in a more visual and interactive way, hopefully increasing student engagement.

Software Games – Yes or No?

Do you feel that educational software games are an effective learning tool in the science classroom?
• Yes
• No
• No opinion


Following is a video (without sound) showing a physics motion problem set up as a software game.

A Sample Software Game Problem

This video illustrates one of the problems included in Multimedia Science’s Motion Problem Challenge game based software. The software takes typical physics’ motion word problems and turns them into game based simulations. For example, one word problem might be: A spaceship is 4000 meters from a rescue point and must be there in 14 seconds. If your starting velocity is 120 meters per second, what acceleration must you use to get to the rescue point at the exact time?
How does this computer based problem differ from the word problem? First, students find it more difficult to name the known and unknown values in these real life situations. And they find it more challenging since they also have to take a measurement in order to solve the problem. So, many students find this computer based problem more difficult than the same word problem even though they are virtually identical. This can lead to students just trying to guess the answer. But since the program changes all of the variables for each problem try, guessing is not likely to succeed.

Benefits of the Gaming Software

Students really like the fact that they can actually see the physical setup of the problem and watch it play out on the computer screen. The simulation gives them feedback on how their input solution affected the outcome and whether they were correct.
If their answer is incorrect, students are given the correct answer and use it to figure out what they did wrong. Then they get another chance at solving the problem.
The software keeps scores, allowing the teacher to use those scores to create competition or for extra credit to increase motivation.
If the software is used in front of the classroom with a projector, the teacher can ask students to come up and input their answers and the class can discuss the problem solution. If used I a computer lab setting, the teacher can move from student to student, giving them hints and encouragement and acting as a facilitator.
My experience is that students will start by complaining about how hard the software problems are. But they will continue working on the problems throughout the period and will still be working when the bell rings at the end of class. What a difference from using a worksheet approach!

Students Are Engaged by Gaming Software

Source: Animation Factory

Not All Software Games Are Created Equal

It sounds easy to insert an entertaining game into your curriculum. But the end result may provide great entertainment with little educational value. There is also a tendency to emphasize the use of the latest technology, like 3D simulations. Sometimes the pretty pictures (eye candy) and technology becomes more important than the effectiveness of the game itself. Some of the most effective software games use the simplest and cheapest technology and are the simplest to use.

The most important aspects of choosing game software is to make sure that the software will run on your computer equipment and was designed specifically for your curriculum.

Where Is The Great Educational Software?

Well, it’s too bad that really good and effective educational software and computer games are hard to find. But they are out there and can be found with a little research effort.
Making a best-selling game, like Halo, takes lots of talented people and a lot of money. But the rewards can be quite profitable. There isn’t that kind of funding for the creation of educational games, probably due to the fact that schools and teachers don’t have the budgets to make these games profitable. Most teachers are scouring the Internet looking for free games and curriculum materials. Until we decide to devote more resources to the creation of educational games, it will be difficult to find quality games for your curriculum. I suggest that you write your representatives to fund educational technology at the local, state, and federal levels.

One way to solve the problem would be for teachers to develop computer software and games for themselves. But few teachers have the time and expertise to accomplish this.
How to Choose Educational Software

Software should be aimed at your specific curriculum.
Software should run on your computer equipment.
Software should have good directions for students.
Software should include sample problem answers for the teacher.
Software should allow students to work on their own and at their own pace.
Software should allow the teacher to be a facilitator.
Software should include some form of assessment or competition.
Software should integrate with other elements of the classroom lecture and lesson plan.

Examples Using the Sample Physics Game Problem

This problem is part of a game called Motion Problems Challenge created by Multimedia Science and available from Teachers Pay Teachers:

  • Software should be aimed at you specific curriculum.
    The Motion Problem Challenge software covers the typical motion problems taught in a high school physics class.
  • Software should run on your computer equipment.
    The example software runs on any PC running Windows.
  • Software should have good directions.
    The software has directions for each of the five types of problems. A screen shot is shown below.
  • Software should allow students to work on their own and at their own pace.
    This software is best used by taking students to a computer lab where the software is loaded onto each computer. It often works well to have students work in pairs, especially if there is a limited number of computers. Students can then work on the problems one by one as quickly as they can.
  •  Software should allow the teacher to be a facilitator.
    As the students work on the problems, the instructor can walk from computer to computer, giving encouragement, hints, and suggestions. Since students are often engaged in solving the problems, little time is spent in dealing with behavior problems.
  • Software should include some sort of assessment or competition.
    The instructor can hand out small pieces of blank paper to each student or team of students. They put the name(s) on the paper. Near the end of the time period, the teacher notes the student(s)’ scores on the papers in a hard to duplicate pen or ink. The top scores are then given additional extra credit points.
  •  Software should integrate with other elements of the classroom lecture and lesson plan.
    Several days are typically spent illustrating to the students how to solve motion problems. Additional time is spent on practicing similar text book or worksheet paper and pencil word problems. When the students have gotten to the point where they have just about mastered the problem solving, a trip to the computer lab to play the game works well. Some final practice as necessary and the students should be ready for a quiz or test.2

    Final Overview & Thoughts

    As most good teachers know, there are seldom any rules that work all of the time. Many pundits believe that the use of drill and practice is bad pedagogy. But as part of the overall lesson plan, drill and practice has its place. For a time, collaborative learning was an educational buzzword. Teachers were using it continuously in their lessons. It took a while for both teachers and administrators to realize that ANYTHING that is used too often becomes boring and repetitive. The key is to have a balanced set of lesson plans where educational software use, drill and practice worksheets, lecture, blended learning, cooperative learning, etc., are used where it fits best and provides the most effective learning outcomes. I like to think of your course as an instructional timeline where various instructional techniques are hung sequentially as shown in the graphic below.

Sequential Multimedia “Modules”
Source: Multimedia Science, CC-BY

More Multimedia Science Materials On Teachers Pay Teachers

Blogs: Science Technology, Educational Technology, Teachers Tools

Pinterest: Educational Science, Educational Physics, Educational Chemistry, Educational Technology, Using Games In Education

Multimedia Science Web Site

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SMALLab Learning & Embodied Learning


Many physics teachers out there may have used a Pasco sonic ranger attached to a computer and a projector to show a graph of a student’s motion as they moved across the room.  SMALLab Leaning has taken that a huge step further by creating an almost room sized stage where a student’s motion could be turned into sounds, arrows on the straight line they are walking along, and a graph simultaneously.

One reason that science educators think that modeling motion this way helps students learn is that they are relating these measurements of motion to the motion of their body.  SMALLab has given this a name.  They  have called it embodied learning, which is “kinesthetic, collaborative, and multimodal.”  They believe that these embodied experiences will lead to more effective instruction.

Check out the video below showing how constant velocity can be examined by students in SMALLab’s embodied learning environment chamber (so to speak).

Internet Page With More Videos

I found it a bit unclear on the web site, but it would seem that schools could purchase a SMALLab setup that would cover a number of  science “scenarios” including chemistry titration, color mixer, disease transmission, gear ration game, to name a few.

My gut feeling is that this new technology is promising and they claim to have empirical data that it enhances student learning. So the question is whether this setup would be worth the investment, upkeep, and use of the space.  There is also the issue of scheduling the room.  Comments welcomed.

Multimedia Science has taken a somewhat similar and certainly cheaper route to try and enhance student learning of constant velocity and acceleration motion.  They created several pieces of software that allow students to see and match seeing the motion of an object, the dots formed by the object, the values of the variables of the object, and the graph of the motion of the object.  The key idea is that this software would help students to see that there are many ways of representing motion, one of which might be more intuitive for an individual student.  And that by having the students match these various methods of representing motion, they would achieve a better understanding.

Check out the software and handouts How To Represent Motion.

graphscreen     timermian

Again, comments are welcomed.


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