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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Simulation game: Fishbanks

overfishing_500Fishbanks – a Renewable Resource Management Game is a simulation program and management game from MIT. The game targets the dilemmas surrounding the exploitation of natural resources, such as fish, clean water, fresh air. These resources are not owned by anybody, yet can easily be depleted by some big industries. This is also know as The Tragedy of the Commons.

The game is about subject areas such as: economy, management, resource management, and environmental studies.

You can try out and viw part of the Fishbanks simulation program without registration. Educational institutes can use the simulation for free after registration (administrator).

Below a introductory video of the previous version of the game on The Tradegy of the Commons.

The game is suitable for higher education classes and possibly in grade 11 and 12.

 Purchase  Free for educational institutes
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser

Pattern problems

Pattern problems are a relatively new phenomenon in mathematics education. They can be used both for early algebra in primary school as well as in secondary school. At primary level students reason and come up with a description of how the figure or pattern grows using word formulas. At secondary school level, students can be encouraged to describe the formula for the nth pattern using symbols for the variables.

figure numbers

Two applets from the Freudenthal Institute make it easy to experiment with pattern problems:
Spotting number problems, if you wish to work with given patters
Spotting numbers, if you wish the students to design their own patterns

Introduce a pattern to the class and ask them to look at it first. Then ask them: How do you see the pattern grow?

For the example below we have used the applet Spotting Numbers and coloured in blue the different views students could have on how the pattern grows.

Thereafter students can explore:

  • With how many dots does the figure grow?
  • What about the 20th or 50th figure?
  • How many dots are required?
  • How many dots are on the base?
  • Can you describe a ‘rule’ for the growth?
  • Can you describe a formula for finding the nth figure?

Information on the applets: Spotting numbers and Spotting number problems.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser, JAVA


golab logoGoLabz project is an international platform for online science labs. It aims at promoting and encouraging inquiry learning and experimenting in science education. The large database with resources can be searched on subject area, age group, science topic etc. We selected the most interactive, online labs for age 8-14:


  • Balancing Act – simulation, game about weight using a balance scale
  • Density and Buoyancy – simulation, game about mass, volume and density (coming soon)
  • GearSketch – drawing pad enabling you to draw gears and chains and learn about transmission
  • Energy Skatepark – game with information about kinetic, potential and thermal energy
  • Electrical Circuit Pad – easy to use drawing pad for simple electrical circuits

Concept Cartoons

concept ice in waterConcept Cartoon is a relatively new approach to teaching, learning and assessment in science. Concept Cartoons were first developed and created by Brenda Keogh and Stuart Naylor in 1991. Concept Cartoons feature cartoon-style drawings showing different characters arguing about an everyday situation. They are designed to intrigue, to provoke to encourage discussion, and to stimulate scientific thinking. The problems or questions posed may not have a single “right answer”.

The characters in the Concept Cartoons offer the students a role model they can identify with. This encourages students to choose a character and thus discuss freely. It does not become too personal what the student expresses about the concept. The cartoons can be used with pupils from 6 to 14.

Concept Cartoons can be an introduction to a more practical and hands-on experiment, a summary after experimenting, or just a discussion in class.

concept cave dark light

More on Concept Cartoons-2 and Concept Cartoons_3.


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.

In the Davinci project we used GearSketch to experiment with how gears and chains transmit motion. GearSketch is one of the many resources and programs/simulations available from GoLabz.

It’s always a challenge to come up with interesting tasks that require inquiry and reasoning. Below two tasks where students have to explore both the program as well as features of and patterns within the use of gears.

Task 1: Clockworks


  • Design a combination of gears resulting in a driving wheel showing the hour hand of the clock and another wheel in the gears showing the minutes hand of the clock.





Task 2a: Bicycle


  • Compare the two different bicycles and write down at least five (technical) differences.

Task 2b Bicycle with gears
On a modern bicycle you will often find 6–8 gears on the rear wheel and maybe 2-3 gears on sprocket where the pedals are.

fiets met versnellingen uk

  • Where must the chain lie when you cycle uphill? Explain your answer.
  • Where must the chain lie when you cycle downhill or downwind? Explain your answer.

GoLabz and GearSketch

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC , iPad, tablet
 Requirements  browser

Cube 3D-2D

In the DaVinci2020 project we design interdisciplinary activities in the field of science, technology and mathematics (STEM). We use an inquiry-based learning and hands-on approach. All activities are tried out in grade 5 and 6 (age 10 – 12) at to different schools in Norway.

Transformation from 3D to 2D and vice versa is an important mathematical skill. Pupils require enough opportunities to explore, use and apply the different forms and shapes. We introduce the cube, and netts that can be folded into a cube. In this activity we offer Polydron (or Jovo) bricks to build a cube and take it apart into a 2D piece (the nett). Thereafter we ask the pupils to draw the different netts they can find.

Before the pupils will be able to master the 3D <-> 2D conversion visually and later mentally, they need many situations and opportunities in which they can practice this over time. They can for example be asked to make a dice from heavy paper/cardboard. They will have to find out where to draw which number of dots. Thereafter they have to find out where to add the edges used for gluing the sides of the nett into a cube. Other tasks involve the design and construction of packaging.