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The Art of Approximation in Science and Engineering: How to Whip Out Answers Quickly
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
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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.

Subject:
Engineering
Algebra
Numbers and Operations
Physics
Material Type:
Lecture
Provider:
MIT Learning International Networks Consortium
Provider Set:
M.I.T. Blossoms
Author:
Stephen M. Hou
Date Added:
06/02/2012
Astrophysics Science and Technology Project: Integrating Research and Education (ASPIRE)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
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The ASPIRE Lab is now one of the most innovative and interactive science education websites available on the Internet. You will find not only fun interactive labs, but well designed and produced curriculum content, created by teachers for teachers. The powerful combination of inquiry-based content, along with interactive, hands-on labs provides a powerful visualization tool for you and your students to use. Best of all, the ASPIRE Lab is free!

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
University of Utah
Provider Set:
ASPIRE
Date Added:
10/13/2005
Balloons & Buoyancy (AR)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Experiment with a helium balloon, a hot air balloon, or a rigid sphere filled with different gases. Discover what makes some balloons float and others sink.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Carl Wieman
Danielle Harlow
Kathy Perkins
Ron LeMaster
Date Added:
07/02/2009
Balloons and Static Electricity (AR)
Conditions of Use:
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Rating

Why does a balloon stick to your sweater? Rub a balloon on a sweater, then let go of the balloon and it flies over and sticks to the sweater. View the charges in the sweater, balloons, and the wall.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
07/02/2008
"Baseketball"
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
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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.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Paul Doherty
The Exploratorium
Date Added:
11/07/2012
Battery-Resistor Circuit
Conditions of Use:
No Strings Attached
Rating

Look inside a resistor to see how it works. Increase the battery voltage to make more electrons flow though the resistor. Increase the resistance to block the flow of electrons. Watch the current and resistor temperature change.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Carl Wieman
Sam Reid
Date Added:
11/20/2008
Battery Voltage (AR)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Look inside a battery to see how it works. Select the battery voltage and little stick figures move charges from one end of the battery to the other. A voltmeter tells you the resulting battery voltage.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Carl Wieman
Sam Reid
Date Added:
07/02/2008
Buoyancy (AR)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

When will objects float and when will they sink? Learn how buoyancy works with blocks. Arrows show the applied forces, and you can modify the properties of the blocks and the fluid.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Archie Paulson
Carl Wieman
Chris Malley
Jonathan Olson
Kathy Perkins
Kelly Lancaster
Noah Podolefsky
Patricia Loblein
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
10/01/2010
Conductivity (AR)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Experiment with conductivity in metals, plastics and photoconductors. See why metals conduct and plastics don't, and why some materials conduct only when you shine a flashlight on them.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Carl Wieman
Kathy Perkins
Sam McKagan
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
07/01/2004
Density (AR)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Why do objects like wood float in water? Does it depend on size? Create a custom object to explore the effects of mass and volume on density. Can you discover the relationship? Use the scale to measure the mass of an object, then hold the object under water to measure its volume. Can you identify all the mystery objects?

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Archie Paulson
Carl Wieman
Chris Malley
Jonathan Olson
Kathy Perkins
Kelly Lancaster
Noah Podolefsky
Patricia Loblein
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
09/01/2010
Double Wells and Covalent Bonds
Conditions of Use:
No Strings Attached
Rating

Explore tunneling splitting in double well potentials. This classic problem describes many physical systems, including covalent bonds, Josephson junctions, and two-state systems such as spin 1/2 particles and ammonia molecules.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Carl Wieman
Chris Malley
Kathy Perkins
Sam McKagan
Date Added:
10/04/2006
Drawing Board
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

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.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Provider Set:
Science Snacks
Date Added:
12/07/2012
Eating & Exercise
Conditions of Use:
No Strings Attached
Rating

How many calories are in your favorite foods? How much exercise would you have to do to burn off these calories? What is the relationship between calories and weight? Explore these issues by choosing diet and exercise and keeping an eye on your weight.

Subject:
Health, Medicine and Nursing
Life Science
Anatomy/Physiology
Biology
Ecology
Forestry and Agriculture
Mathematics
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Interactive
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Franny Benay
Kate Semsar
Kathy Perkins
Noah
Noah Podolefsky
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
10/01/2008
Electric Field Hockey (AR)
Conditions of Use:
No Strings Attached
Rating

Play hockey with electric charges. Place charges on the ice, then hit start to try to get the puck in the goal. View the electric field. Trace the puck's motion. Make the game harder by placing walls in front of the goal. This is a clone of the popular simulation of the same name marketed by Physics Academic Software and written by Prof. Ruth Chabay of the Dept of Physics at North Carolina State University.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Danielle Harlow
Michael Dubson
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
07/02/2008
Electric Field of Dreams
Conditions of Use:
No Strings Attached
Rating

Play ball! Add charges to the Field of Dreams and see how they react to the electric field. Turn on a background electric field and adjust the direction and magnitude. (Kevin Costner not included).

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Carl Wieman
Sam Reid
Date Added:
11/16/2007
Energy Skate Park (AR)
Conditions of Use:
Read the Fine Print
Rating

Learn about conservation of energy with a skater dude! Build tracks, ramps and jumps for the skater and view the kinetic energy, potential energy and friction as he moves. You can also take the skater to different planets or even space!

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Simulation
Provider:
University of Colorado Boulder
Provider Set:
PhET Interactive Simulations
Author:
Carl Wieman
Danielle Harlow
Kathy Perkins
Michael Dubson
Patricia Loblein
Sam Reid
Wendy Adams
Date Added:
07/02/2008
Experimenting with Symmetry
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

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.

Subject:
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Exploratorium
Author:
Exploratorium
Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
National Science Foundation
The Exploratorium
Date Added:
12/07/2010
Exploring Size - StretchAbility
Conditions of Use:
Remix and Share
Rating

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.

Subject:
Engineering
Life Science
Mathematics
Physics
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Diagram/Illustration
Game
Lesson Plan
Reading
Provider:
Nanoscience Informal Science Education
Science and Math Informal Learning Educators (SMILE)
Provider Set:
NISE Network
SMILE Pathway: Science and Math Activities in One Search
Author:
Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network
National Science Foundation
NISE Network
Sciencenter
Date Added:
01/02/2010