The purpose of this learning video is to show students how to think more freely about math and science problems. Sometimes getting an approximate answer in a much shorter period of time is well worth the time saved. This video explores techniques for making quick, back-of-the-envelope approximations that are not only surprisingly accurate, but are also illuminating for building intuition in understanding science. This video touches upon 10th-grade level Algebra I and first-year high school physics, but the concepts covered (velocity, distance, mass, etc) are basic enough that science-oriented younger students would understand. If desired, teachers may bring in pendula of various lengths, weights to hang, and a stopwatch to measure period. Examples of in- class exercises for between the video segments include: asking students to estimate 29 x 31 without a calculator or paper and pencil; and asking students how close they can get to a black hole without getting sucked in.
This trick from Exploratorium physicist Paul Doherty lets you add together the bounces of two balls and send one ball flying. When we tried this trick on the Exploratorium's exhibit floor, we gathered a crowd of visitors who wanted to know what we were doing. We explained that we were engaged in serious scientific experimentation related to energy transfer. Some of them may have believed us. If you'd like to go into the physical calculations of this phenomenam, see the related resource "Bouncing Balls" - it's the same activity but with the math explained.
The Drawing Board consists of a marking pen that remains stationary and a platform that swings beneath the pen, acting as a pendulum. As the platform swings, the pen marks a sheet of paper that is fastened to the platform, generating beautiful repetitive patterns. These colorful designs contain hidden lessons in physics. This resource includes instructions for making a large-scale Drawing Board as well.
In this activity, learners use pattern blocks and mirrors to explore symmetry. Learners work in pairs and build mirror images of each other's designs. In doing so, learners will examine principles of symmetry and reflection.
In this game, learners explore the different sizes of things in the world. In this Twister-like game, learners must place a hand or foot on a circle of the right scale - macro, micro, or nano. This activity is a fun way for learners to investigate the sizes of different objects.
This video lesson is an example of ''teaching for understanding'' in lieu of providing students with formulas for determining the height of a dropped (or projected) object at any time during its fall. The concept presented here of creating a chart to organize and analyze data collected in a simple experiment is broadly useful. During the classroom breaks in this video, students will enjoy timing objects in free fall and balls rolling down ramps as a way of learning how to carefully conduct experiments and analyze the results. The beauty of this lesson is the simplicity of using only the time it takes for an object dropped from a measured height to strike the ground. There are no math prerequisites for this lesson and no needed supplies, other than a blackboard and chalk. It can be completed in one 50-60-minute classroom period.
In this game, learners try to find nano-related objects on a game board. Learners investigate the different ways nano is in the world around us.
In this hands-on inquiry activity, students will design and construct an apparatus that will permit an egg to survive a nine foot fall. Students are given limited materials, so they must critically think about the design and improvise strategies during the building of the apparatus
This lesson unit is intended to help you assess how well students are able to: Calculate the mean, median, mode, and range from a frequency chart; and to use a frequency chart to describe a possible data set, given information on the mean, median, mode, and range.
A collaboration between the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the CK-12 Foundation, this book provides high school mathematics and physics teachers with an introduction to the main principles of modeling and simulation used in science and engineering. An appendix of lesson plans is included.
The objective of this lesson is to illustrate how a common everyday experience (such as playing pool) can often provide a learning moment. In the example chosen, we use the game of pool to help explain some key concepts of physics. One of these concepts is the conservation of linear momentum since conservation laws play an extremely important role in many aspects of physics. The idea that a certain property of a system is maintained before and after something happens is quite central to many principles in physics and in the pool example, we concentrate on the conservation of linear momentum. The latter half of the video looks at angular momentum and friction, examining why certain objects roll, as opposed to slide. We do this by looking at how striking a ball with a cue stick at different locations produces different effects.
The mission of Understanding Science is to provide a fun, accessible, and free resource that accurately communicates what science is and how it really works. The process of science is exciting, but standard explanations often miss its dynamic nature. Science affects us all everyday, but people often feel cut off from science. Science is an intensely human endeavor, but many portrayals gloss over the passion, curiosity, and even rivalries and pitfalls that characterize all human ventures. Understanding Science gives users an inside look at the general principles, methods, and motivations that underlie all of science. This project has at its heart a re-engagement with science that begins with teacher preparation and ends with broader public understanding. Its immediate goals are to (1) improve teacher understanding of the nature of the scientific enterprise, (2) provide resources and strategies that encourage and enable K-16 teachers to reinforce the nature of science throughout their science teaching, and (3) provide a clear and informative reference for students and the general public that accurately portrays the scientific endeavor. The Understanding Science site was produced by the UC Museum of Paleontology of the University of California at Berkeley, in collaboration with a diverse group of scientists and teachers, and was funded by the National Science Foundation1. Understanding Science was informed and initially inspired by our work on the Understanding Evolution project, which highlighted the fact that many misconceptions regarding evolution spring from misunderstandings of the nature of science. Furthermore, research indicates that students and teachers at all grade levels have inadequate understandings of the nature and process of science, which may be traced to classrooms in which science is taught as a simple, linear, and non-generative process. This false and impoverished depiction disengages students, discourages public support, and may help explain current indications that the U.S. is losing its global edge in science. Even beyond the health of the U.S. economy, the public has a genuine need to critically assess conflicting representations of scientific evidence in the media. To do this, they need to understand the strengths, limitations, and basic methods of the enterprise that has produced those claims. Understanding Science takes an important step towards meeting these needs.
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This video is meant to be a fun, hands-on session that gets students to think hard about how machines work. It teaches them the connection between the geometry that they study and the kinematics that engineers use -- explaining that kinematics is simply geometry in motion. In this lesson, geometry will be used in a way that students are not used to. Materials necessary for the hands-on activities include two options: pegboard, nails/screws and a small saw; or colored construction paper, thumbtacks and scissors. Some in-class activities for the breaks between the video segments include: exploring the role of geometry in a slider-crank mechanism; determining at which point to locate a joint or bearing in a mechanism; recognizing useful mechanisms in the students' communities that employ the same guided motion they have been studying.