Examples

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
Advertisements

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

New York Times

The New York Times App offers quality articles that can be used in class, be it in arts or science classes. The download is free of charge and includes FIVE free articles per month. These can be shared, thus used in class.

The articles are possibly relatively long for students with English as a second language. However, the topics cover a wide spectre, from art, human interest, politics to technology.

 Purchase Basic subscription $1.88 per week for education
(students and     teachers)
Free App with 5 free articles per month
 Hardware iOS, Android, Kendle
 Requirements App

Riddles and Puzzles

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.

Puzzles and riddles that are fun. They require language skills, understanding, logical thinking and can be solved individually or in groups. The Brainzilla website offers a number of ‘Zebra’ puzzles and riddles. An easy one to start with is Movies Night and a pretty difficult one to solve is Einstein’s Riddle. Brainzilla puzzles and riddles are suitable for K4-10.

It is advisable to print out the riddles and puzzles, as the solutions can easily be found online. You can help the pupils to organise their thinking by providing a card for every clue and a stack of cards for the values given. Allow pupils to work together, because not all will enjoy the puzzles if they get stuck.

More similar puzzles can be found on Math is Fun under the so called ‘Einstein Puzzles’. The vocabulary used in the clues here is more suitable for K8-12.

Visualisation of so called ‘Einstein’s Riddle’ which can be found on many websites.

 

Chemistry: pH scales and acidity

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.

The PHET simulation pH Scales enables students to experiment with acidic and basic fluids.

Note that pH scale and acidity are complex concepts for students especially for primary school pupils. A lower pH value means more ‘acidic’ and a higher value means less acidic, or more ‘basic’.  Neutral is indicated by the pH value 7.0.

However, the simulation can help the students to familiarize themselves with the concept(s). The simulation can be used in grade 6 or 7. Depending on how much time you wish to spend and how much structure you wish to give, in addition to the simulation, you could encourage the students to experiment and discover the basics about pH values in fluids and its application in every day life.

Suggestions for tasks and experiments:

  1. Check out the different fluids available.
    Rank the fluids from most basic to most acidic before you start measuring. Write down your estimation.
  2. Measure the pH values for the fluids given and write the results in a table.
    Which fluids are closest to pH 7.0?
    What does it mean if  the pH value of a fluid is close to 7.0?
  3. Use water to dillute the fluids and try to make a fluid that is closest to 7.0.
    Write down what you have done to reach your result.
    Make a screencast of your closest result(s) and print it out.
  4. Can you dillute a basic fluid with water to a pH value below 7.0?
    Can you dillute an acid fluid with water to a pH value above 7.0?
    Try to explain the result?

Think beyond the simulation.

  1. How could you make an acidic fluid basic? In other words, how could you for example change the pH value of an acidic fluid from 5.0 to 7.5?
  2. a. Your body functions best if the pH value is neutral. How does your body manage this?
    b. With the knowledge about the pH value of your body, how can you support your body to remain healthy?

pH value paper strips

In addition to the simulation students could use pH paper strips to measure the acidity of fluids. It becomes particularly interesting if the fluids you use can be tasted. Students can describe the taste they experience. Use for example coca cola or other fizzy drinks, fruit juice, tea, milk, coffee, water. This real life experiment makes it possible to neutralise an acid/basic fluid using other chemicals, for example by adding bicarbonate (baking soda) to an acidic fluid.

battery hydrometer

Another interesting tool is a battery gravity hydrometer, which actually measures the acidity (pH value) of the battery acid. You could also say that it measures the gravity of the battery fluid. Together with a Volt meter it is used to check if the battery is charged and in good condition If your battery is fully charged the pH value should be near 1.28. If the battery is discharged, the pH value will be near 1.14. The battery hydrometer only measures accurate with pH values around 1.2. So is useless to measure pH values over 2.

More PHET simulations. See also Balancing Act, The moving man, Energy skate park, and Density and Buoyancy.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  browser

Gossip 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.

The Gossip Simulation shows how fast gossip spreads through a group of a hundred people. The simulation enables the user to change the number of people that start to spread a message. Besides the variable number of initial processes (= number of people) there is the variable message loss. The value behind message loss can be attributed to different factors. It could for example be based on the percentage of the people that is not likely to pass on the message.

After the students have familiarised themselves a little with the simulation, you as a teacher could discuss what (other) reasons may lie behind the variable message loss.
The value will be different when the message is a secret and when people are being asked to keep the secret, than when the message contains interesting but harmless information. The value of message loss will also vary in different groups . Some people may be too busy, ill, travelling and are therefore not communicating intensively within the group for a while. There are more factors that could influence the value of message loss.

To explore the simulation students could be asked technical/mathematical questions such as:

  • How many rounds does it take before everyone has got the message with x processes and a message loss of y?
  • Why is the outcome not exactly the same if you run the program several times with the same values for the variables?
  • Can you calculated/estimate the amount of rounds it takes? Explain how and what you did?
  • How could you extrapolate to a thousand people, or to the whole population?

The simulation could be used to discuss group behaviour in real life and on social media. Also topics related to safety/security systems based on communication could be discussed. Warnings about oncoming disasters (tyfoon, floods, earthquakes, pollution etc.) and messages related to evacuations need to reach as many people in a short timespan.

Additional questions for students could be:

  • Considering different scenarios, what could the rounds represent? (minutes, hours, days, weeks ….)
  • When is rounds more likely to be days than minutes?
  • If you want to prevent a message to spread on Facebook, how could you prevent or stop this?
  • What else could this model represent? (spread of warning, spread of a disease, spread of a product, ….)
  • Could you come up with a better name for the simulation.
  • If the police wishes to spread a warning as fast as possible, how could they best go about it?
  • In what way could you use this model to visualise a disease from spreading too fast?

Proposed age group: grade 5-10.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  Browser

Simulation: Diversity

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.


This blog is about two simulations based on the same concept namely Thomas Schelling’s Model of Segregation. The model tries to explain social phenomena and shows for example how difficult is it to build and sustain a diverse community. Schelling tries to explain when and why ghetto forming takes place and under which conditions this can be prevented or even reversed.
In other words, people with shared identities tend to cluster/group together. In most classes boys and girls form their own groups.

The first simulation by Frank McCown is named Schelling’s Model of Segregation. The second is by Vi Hart and Nicky Case and named Parable of the Polygons. The two simulations have different interfaces. Both simulations use two groups. The first simulation has four variables (and a interval timer) whereas the Parable of the Polygons offers different simulations for different variables.

The simulation by Frank McCown can be found if you scroll down on the page. The simulation generates a multitude of questions that can be explored.

    • When do communities remain diverse?
    • When and why does clustering take place even if people are relatively tolerant and open-minded?
    • Can segregated communities be tolerant?
    • Under what circumstances does segregation happen and why?
    • How can a segregated community become diverse?

The Parable of the Polygons contains a group of simulations and uses scaffolding to explore the concept. Contrary to Mc Cown’s simulation the Parable of the Polygons visualise if people are happy or not. Additionally the user can move ONE person and see what happens. The last simulation is a particular interesting one.

 

The Parable of the Polygons could be used as inspiration for the teacher. However, in our opinion the degree of scaffolding will limit the curiosity, thinking and reasoning by the students themselves.

As teachers we have to be careful how to introduce the simulation and how to discuss the issues. Minority groups in class can easily feel uncomfortable. It is up to the teacher to choose the context and vocabulary that suits the class. As you may have observed have we tried to use the word diversity instead of segregation.

Additionally, the simulations can be used by policy makers, but also by students in relation with religion, geography/demography. It has been known in chemistry that seperate molecules and molecules in small quantities react differently than in mass. The same can be observed with people. Individual people can be tolerant and open-minded, but the large group will nevertheless become clustered under certain conditions.

 

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  Browser