Decibel meter App

decibel-icon-appHow loud is the noise? Whether sound or noise is considered (too) loud or not is often subjective. The App Decibel enables one to measure the noise level and make it objective. It is a sensor that shows the results in three different ways: digital, analogue and in a graphical. There are many Decibel Apps but some show the results of the measurement only anlogue, and some analogue + digital but not graphical. When using this App in class students should be aware of how they measure, what to pay attention to so that results can be compared. Factors influencing the measurement could be: the distance to the source, the direction of the sensor/phone, pitch of the sound, background noise etc.

Combining the use of the App with the screenprint function of the device makes it possible to record, store and present the measurements at a later stage.

Students could plot their own measured sounds on a scale: unplugged musical instruments, birds, voices, traffic etc. There are plenty charts on the internet that show which levels are dangerous and damaging.sound-levels

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 8+  (similar Apps are available for Android and on Google Play)

FlaskFiller simulation

glazenFlaskFiller, or rather GlassFiller, is a simulation which enables teachers and students to experiment with and reason about the relationship between the shape of a glass, and the change in speed while filling it up (time vs height of the liquid in the glass).


The simulation program enables the user to

  • Select the horizontal axis’ quantity, which is one of height, time, volume, or rising speed.
  • Select the vertical axis’ quantity, which is one of height, time, volume, or rising speed.

Note that you can select the same quantity for both axes, which can make for an interesting topic of discussion. See some screenshots below.

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Read the information about the simulation and how to use it on FaskFiller Education.
Read the Research done on FlaskFiller software used with grade 5 pupils.

The simulation has been used with grade 5 pupils in a one-to-one setting. When using this simulation in class you might want to use a hands-on experiment first, whereby you use a measuring cup to fill up glasses with different shapes. Let the pupils measure, observe and reason about what is happening with the different glasses.

Afterwards let the pupils experiment with the simulation based on clear questions/tasks. Students should be encouraged to record their findings and discoveries on a worksheet.
Most grade 5 pupils understand the principle of instantaneous speed, but lack the vocabulary. After experimenting in small groups, you could start the simulation on your SmartBoard and discuss the findings. Here the pupils will learn to extend their vocabulary and express what they see and think. Vocabulary: (rising)speed, volume, height, shape, cola-flesjetime, timelap, decrease/increase in speed of height of liquid visible in the graph.
After experimenting and discussion, pupils should for example be able to match a glass (or bottle) with a graph and vice versa.

The simulation can be used from grade 5 up to grade 10 depending on the tasks given.

The simulation program is available online as an HTML file, but can also be downloaded for off-line use.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser

Concept Cartoons-3

Every month DiScoro writes about (digital) resources that can be used in schools. In addition you will find issues that may inspire you. See Services for workshops, training etc.

Two more concept cartoons that can be used in class. Use pictures of characters with the speech balloons that fit your situation . See also earlier posts Concept Cartoons and Concept Cartoons-2. Many Brainpower problems can also be introduced with the Concept Cartoon format.

I discussed the first problem with grade 5 and grade 6 pupils. The were perfectly able to reason what would happen, even though they we never instructed on Archimedes’ Law. You can also use the concept cartoon in grade 8 or 9 after students have learned about Archimedes’ Law. Do not be disappointed if the students are confused.

Problem: We take a glass basin and place a plastic net with marbles and korks in it. We make sure that the net with the marbles and korks floats in the water. There is nothing that sticks out above the water and the net does not toach the bottom of the basin.

You can also bring the materials in class and let pupils fill the net so that it floats in the water. Discuss and finally cut the net. The answer requires reasoning about why this happens, but there are so many factors that these should come from the students and do not fit into the speech clouds.

What will happen to the water level if we cut the net open?


The second concept cartoon is suitable for a younger age group (grade 2 or 3).

How can you go down faster on your sledge?

During the discussion words and concepts like speed, acceleration, friction (both with the surface as well as air friction), weight, size may be used.

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

The Moving Man

The applet The Moving Man enables students to experiment and learn about motion, position, velocity and acceleration. The movements of the man are plotted in charts.

  • Move the little man back and forth with the mouse and plot his motion.
  • Set the position, velocity, and/or acceleration and let the simulation move the man for you.

Moving man 1

Learning Goals

  • Interpret, predict charts/graphs on position, velocity and acceleration.
  • Describe, make sense of and reason about the charts.

If you register at the PHET website as a teacher, you have access to the information for teachers. The website offers examples of worksheets and questions for students at different levels.

Students can make a graph that fits a story, or make a story that fits a chart. At primary school level focus on one chart in the beginning. For example: What is the story behind this chart?

Do not underestimate the complexity of only the first chart. It shows a timeline, the position, negative numbers, and a man who covers a distance.

Moving man 2

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser, JAVA

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

Energy Skate Park

Energy Skate Park is a simulation from the GoLabz project. The simulation introduces the basics of energy conservation.

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

We have given students age 10-12 some tasks while using this simulation. See below.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC, iPad
 Requirements  browser


Find out about a skate boarder and design a skate park on Energy Skate Park simulation.

Issues to investigate:


  1. What is mass?
  2. Does the weight of the skater influence his/her speed?If yes, how?
  3. How does the size and weight of the skater influence the total energy?
  4. What does the bar graph tell you about energy?
  5. Use the bar graph to find out what is meant by kinetic energy and potential energy?
  6. The skater continues endlessly? How is this possible? Is this realistic? Why/why not?



  1. What does friction do?
  2. What kind of energy is related to friction?
  3. Does friction have (1) a larger,  (2) a smaller,  or (3) the same impact on a big skater than on a small skater?
  4. Match the concepts in the first column with the correct sentences in the second column.
 1. speed  A.  When the skater is at the top of the track ……  energy is highest.
2. friction  B.  The skater’s weight does not influence the speed.
 3. mass  C.  When still moving the skater has …………  energy.
 4. kinetic energy  D.  The skater is moving faster in the beginning.
 5. potential energy  E.  On a smooth track the skater will go faster.
 6. thermal energy  F.   At the end of the skating tour all energy has been tranferred into heat.
For correct answers see bottom.

skate track


  1. Design a skate track whereby the skater makes a salto and does not fall off the track.
  2. Present the skate track to your classmates and explain what you have done to reach your goal.







answers Skatepark