game

Untangle

untangle-iconThe game we discuss here is (also) called Lazors, but a more suitable name could be Untangle or Network Points. This game is a typical example of a game that allows for ‘low floor – high ceiling’ activities. It is easy to start, yet very complex questions can be asked about the graphs.

Mathematical knowledge and skills that lie in the game are:

  1. spatial awareness
  2. geometry
  3. graph theory (topological characteristics of graphs).

The first task is to find out what the aim is. Don’t tell the students, but ask them to find it out and describe it. Perhaps write an instruction or guideline for a user.

After solving many levels students can think of new questions such as the ones below.

lazorsm5

 

How many different solutions are there?

 

 

 

lazorsm6

Is it possible to move all the triangles (and squares) to the outside so that no triangle lies within another triangle/square? When is this possible and when not?

Can you make a network that cannot be untangled in the way this game requires? If yes, how do you design such a network? What are it’s characteristics.

Can you predict whether a network can be untangled or not without trying it out. Evidence, proof!

The program GeoGebra can be used to draw the networks and discuss the reasoning and show the different options.

The game is suitable from primary school up to university level.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad, tablet
 Requirements  browser

Lazors game

lazors-iconLazors is an interesting App about principles in physics such as light beams and how they are reflected, bent, or broken by different materials. As a player you have discover for yourself what the aim is and how to reach it. There are many different levels.

Students can be asked to explain the game and about their reasoning in solving the problems. Thereby, the teacher can introduce vocabulary like: light wave, straight line, ray, beam, reflection of light, refraction of light (bending of light), breaking light, prism, angle of refraction, angle of reflection, mirror, glass, crystal.

A  pre-designed page on Smart Notebook can help to discuss the principles and reasoning.

Practical applications:

  • Stick a straw in a half filled glass of water and observe the refraction of light. This visual distortion occurs at the water-air boundary.
  • The same phenomenon protects fish from a hunter who is spearfishing from the shore. Due to this bending of the path of light, a fish appears to be at a location where it isn’t. The hunter launches the spear at the location where the fish is thought to be, but isn’t, and misses the fish.
  • How big needs a mirror be for you to be able to see yourself from top to toe (while standing)?

The game can be used from age 10 onwards.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPad, iPhone, (PC)
 Requirements  IOS, Android/Google Play

Density and Buoyancy

Density and Buoyancy is a simulation from the GoLabz project. The game uses colored cubes that can be dropped into an aquarium. Students can experiment with different volume, mass or density.

The program is one of many simulations by PHET, designed and developed by the University of Colorado.

density example

You can download a worksheet Density and Buoyancy for this game.

In addition to the game it would be great to use real cubes of different materials in an aquarium with real water. The students can make their own mystery cubes, of which the appearance does not give away the type of material used. Cubes should also be made water proof.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  browser

Balancing Act

Balancing Act is a simulation from the GoLabz project. The game uses a simulation with a balance scale. Students have to solve problems which involve the relation between weight and position of the weight on the balance scale.

The Balancing Act program is one of many simulations by PHET, designed and developed by the University of Colorado.

Balancing Act

Are students able to find the rule by which all problems can easily be solved?

balance rule

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  browser

Monster Physics

Every month DiScoro writes about resources that can be used in schools and about inspirational issues. See Services in the Menu for workshops, training etc.

monster physics iconMonster Physics Lite is a building App and a game whereby the user has to complete missions involving many concepts from physics: gravity, balance, momentum, mechanics, construction, friction, speed etc. The App combines learning and entertainment.
The learning aspect will be considerably higher when two children work together or when they have to explain to each other how they managed to complete the task and what was important to solve the problem.

Suitable for age 10-12.

 Purchase  Free, full version $ 1.99
 Hardware  iPad, iPhone
 Requirements  IOS 4,3 or later

Gears

Every month DiScoro writes about resources that can be used in schools and about inspirational issues. See Services in the Menu for workshops, training etc.

Gears is an applet that offers short tasks based on gears. The game applies knowledge, skills and concpets from both maths and engineering/mechanics.

gears screen

The applet Gears can be found at two different locations in the Primas project and on the RekenWeb. The applet can be used in grade 4-8. We used the applet as preparation for more complex tasks using GearSketch.

Note: The applet does not work on an iPad.
 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser, Java

Digital Dementia

Why is this important book not yet translated into English?

Prof. Manfred Spitzer writes about the dark side of the digital world. Spitzer is a well-known German scholar in the field of brain research and psychiatry. “In reality, using digital media in kindergarten or primary school is actually a way of getting children addicted.”

He does NOT claims that we should completely forbid the use of computers, but too much time spent on digital media makes us dumber instead of smarter. When children have access to a computer at home, there school results in language and mathematics drop. Intensive use of digital media by children actually damanges the brain. Children who spend a lot of their time on social media, have less friends in the real world than children who don’t spend a lot of time on social media. Spitzer recommends to limit the time spent on digital media for children of all ages.

Many people advocating ICT in education do not want to hear about Manfred Spitzers’ agruments at all. However, in particular those who work in this field should be informed about what thorough research shows, in order to be able to avoid the pitfalls and curb the disadvantages that come along with the use of ICT.

Digital Dementia is published in German, Dutch, Spanish and in Norwegian.