Springs simulation

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

PHET has an interesting new simulation for primary school Masses and Springs. An easy to use simulation where pupils can investigate weights (mass) using springs. The program has three levels: Stretch, Bounce and Lab.

Stretch
The first challenge is to find out what ‘Spring strength’ actually means. The next task is to use it to find out the mass of the unknown weights. Pay attention to the availability of a ruler.
Instruct pupils check out all the options/buttons that are available on the screen. Many oversee some of them that come in handy in the next level.

Bounce
Some additional tools have been added. Lines for ‘resting position’ and ‘movable line’ and a stopwatch (chronometer). Estimate the mass of the three unknown weights again. How can you find this out using the chronometer? How does mass influence the bouncing of a spring? How does the spring strenghts influence the bouncing of the spring?

Lab
The last level is more suitable for secondary school students. Terms like ‘velocity’, ‘acceleration’ and ‘period trace’ are quite complex.  To explain how different values are related and to describe cause and effect using these concepts is quite a challenge.

More PHET simulations. See also Chemistry: pH scales and acidity Balancing Act, The moving man, Energy skate park, and Density and Buoyancy.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  browser (HTML5 is used)
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Padlet

Padlet an App for collaboration. I am going to try this out in class. The most interesting feature for me as a teacher is most likely the KWL chart. The KWL chart represents three columns
(1) What we Want to Know
(2) What I Wonder
(3) What I Learned.
You can add more columns if needed. You can enter text and pictures.

Will we get really interesting questions that probe for inquiry, investigation, exploration and creativity? The example given on ‘giraffes’ is very much oriented on facts, yet what interesting and creative questions could come up?  For example:
How do giraffes give birth so that their offspring does not die immediately when falling from such a height?
How and why did giraffes get their long necks?

My first KWL Padlet is a discussion on Inquiry-based learning aimed at first years teacher training students.

Padlet can be used as an App or in your browser. The latter gives you a much better overview. You can join this KWL and contribute.

 Purchase  Free for the first three padlets.
PRO version US$ 12.99
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad, Google Play/Android, PC
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or later, Android 5.0 or higher, browser

 

 

LearnLab

LearnLab is an online presentation platform that enables teachers and lecturers to combine PowerPoint presentations with interactive questions. You can easily upload your PowerPoint slides, and organise them. You can add slides with interactive questions that you would otherwise  have created with a Student Response System such as; Socrative, Mentimeter, Smart Notebook Response System, or Kahoot.

The advantage of LearnLab is that you do not have to switch between programs for content and interactive questions while presenting.

LearnLab offers nine types of content. The basic content is uploaded from PowerPoint presentations, the other eight are shown below.

Advantages of LearnLab over Socrative and Mentimeter

  • Combines PowerPoint (1) content, and (2) interaction, through questions and responses in one program.
  • LearnLab combines the variety of questions, and visualisations of the responses that can be found in Socrative and Mentimeter.
  • LearnLab offers the possibility to work with a two-step interaction, namely first the question and thereafter participants can cast their votes or ‘like’.
  • Some new multi-media features are available, such as upload of a picture by the participants which can thereafter be rated.

Disadvantages of LearnLab

  • Editing of content, such as font and layout, is limited.
  • You cannot present a picture with the question.
  • The videos in your uploaded PowerPoint presentation do not work any longer, so you have to create new slides for them in LearnLab.
  • You lose all animations, hyperlinks, actions that were built in the PowerPoint.
  • You have no control over how to stop and close a LearnLab session. You can activate a new lab session, but it remains unclear which lab session you have activated and how to deactivate it.
  • Participants cannot delete sessions themselves. They remain visible.
  • Participants have to open a browser, there is no App available for answering the questions like with Socrative.
  • LearnLab does not provide the option to let participants work through questions at their own pace.

Conclusion:

LearnLab is a nice and useful tool for presenters and lecturers, because it can enhance interaction and participation. For use in a classroom it is important to realize that the tool supports teacher-centered learning, not student-centered learning.

Critical on Maps

Rotating globe
Why all maps of the world are wrong. Or in other words: Why do all maps of the world present a wrong, distorted image.

Why do we use maps? How can we present the globe in two dimensions? What challenges do we face?

Start with the first video and than move on to the second one. The latter is spoken fast and uses a wider, more scientific vocabulary.

The only correct representation of the world is a globe. Every projection serves a specific purpose. It’s interesting to explore the different projections and their use and purpose throughout history. It appears that projections and perpectives change over time and place and are culturally bound.

To get a good impression use the tool ‘The True Size. This tool makes it possible to drag a chosen country over the world and compare its (true) size with that of other countries. Visit the website  https://thetruesize.com

This topic can be addressed from many different angles: geography, politics. history, mathematics, ethics….

World Atlas App

logo atlas AppThe World Atlas App is a comprehensive educational app for geography. Position maps, flags, and data for more than 240 countries and territories of the world are available. Data from wikipedia is attached to the App. The App is suitable for secondary and higher education students.

The free edition offers political maps with regional units and comprehensive economic and statistical country data for all African countries.  For extensive information on all countries in the world and for the complete Quiz function, the full version must be purchased.

See also Maps of the World,which is more suitable for primary and lower secondary students.

 Purchase  Basic version : Free

 Full version :  $ 4.00  (approx.)

 Hardware  iPhone, iPad, Google Play/Android
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or later, Android 4.1 or higher

Maps of the World App

Maps of our World App describes itself as a geography quiz. yet, the App is more than a quiz, it is a training tool on topographic features such as countries, capitals, other major cities and rivers.ains etc. In addition it shows information on countries. The maps are highly clickable. The free version is very useful, shows mainly political maps, and is so far free from advertisements. The full package offers fysiological maps as well.

Many Apps that claim to offer World Maps have a strong focus on the USA. The App Maps of our World is a genuine tool for more than just the USA.

It ia a user friendly App which is a great tool for primary and lower-secondary students to train there knowledge on the position of countries and cities in the world and some main features.

For more extensive geographic information see the World Atlas App.

 Purchase  Basic version : Free

 Full package :  $ 12.99

 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 9.0 or later