Showing posts with label Exploratorium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exploratorium. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Solving Problems With Simple Machines

A couple of weeks ago one of the most popular posts of the week was A Cute Series of Videos About Engineering. That post was about a SciShow Kids series containing a lesson about what engineers do and two lessons about using engineering to solve problems. This week SciShow Kids released a new video that makes for a great follow-up to the series about engineering. 

Solving Problems With Simple Machines is a compilation of a few videos from a few years back. The segments of the video explain what simple machines are and give examples of using simple machines like levers, pulleys, axles, and wheels. 

Applications for Education
Before showing the video to students I would ask them to answer a question like, "what is a machine?" or "what do you think machines do?" Then after watching the video I'd follow-up with a question along the lines of, "can you think of other examples of simple machines?" before moving on to having students build simple machines like those found in Exploratorium's Science Snacks.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Three Hands-on Pi Day Lessons

Tomorrow is Pi Day. If you're looking from some Pi Day activities to do with your students, take a look at the following three activities available on Exploratorium's Science Snacks site. I have provided brief summaries of each activity below. Click the links for the activities to read the full directions and materials list for each activity.

Pi Toss is an activity in which students toss tooth picks is a physical recreation of Buffon's Needle Problem.

Pi Graph is an activity in which students graph the diameter and circumference of a series of objects in order to see the linear relationship between any circle’s diameter and circumference.

Cutting Pi is an activity in which students use string to measure the circumference of an object and then attempt to cut the diameter of the object from the string as many times as possible. In other words, it's a physical way to divide the circumference by the diameter.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Science Snacks - Fun, Hands-on Science Lessons

Science Snacks from Exploratorium is a great collection of hands-on science lessons for middle school and high school students. Science Snacks features activities that can be conducted with inexpensive and readily available materials. Each Science Snack comes with a materials list and step-by-step directions. Science Snacks are also accompanied by a written explanation of the science at work in the activity. Many Science Snacks, like Penny Battery, include video demonstrations and explanations.

You can search for Science Snacks alphabetically or you can search by subject. The subject search is the best way to search if you are looking for an activity to match a lesson plan or curriculum standard that you already have in mind.

Applications for Education
While originally designed for middle school and high school students, many of the Science Snacks could be altered to fit in an elementary school setting.

Many of the Science Snacks activities could be conducted by middle school and high school students at home with the help/ supervision of parents. Using the Science Snacks in that way could be a good alternative to typical homework assignments. Have students do one of the activities for homework and report their observations in Google Documents or as comments in Google Classroom.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Virtual Tour of a Sailing Canoe and Lessons on Navigation

Exploratorium is one of my favorite places to find short educational activities that can be conducted online and offline. Over the weekend I browsed Exploratorium's list of activities and found a neat virtual tour of a Polynesian canoe. The virtual tour is more than just a look at a canoe.

In addition to touring the canoe, students will find information about its history and construction. Students viewing the tour will also find information about navigation at sea. In the section on navigation students can learn about wayfinding methods.

Applications for Education
While the virtual tour of a Polynesian canoe is interesting, my favorite aspect of the tour is the section on navigation. The navigation section will help students understand how people navigated at sea before GPS and cell phones were available.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Online and Offline Fun With the Science of Pickles

Exploratorium is one of my favorite places to look for interesting science lessons, activities, and iPad apps. If you head to the Explore section of Exploratorium you will find a great mix of online and offline activities that students can do to learn about the science that is around them in their daily lives. Two of the activities that I like that are currently featured on Exploratorium's Explore section are Pickle Lab and Kosher Dill Current.

Pickle Lab is an online activity in which students experiment with the quantity of salt, temperature of their pickling solutions, and length of time to make pickles. In each round of the activity students get feedback on whether or not their chosen combinations of variables will or will not produce a quality pickle.

Kosher Dill Current is a hands-on activity in which students create a electric circuit using a pickle and some other fairly common household goods (the alligator clips and buzzer are the only things you might not have at home, but can get cheaply at Radio Shack). The purpose of the activity is to help students see how two metals suspended in an ion-rich liquid or paste separate electric charge and create an electrical current around a circuit.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Road Salt and Salt Sculptures

Like many other towns and cities in North America, my town's maintenance crews are pouring road salt and sand at a seemingly frenetic pace. The town manager is concerned that the salt supply will run out before spring. This leads me to the question, "where does road salt come from?" Your students might wonder the same thing.

Last week National Geographic published a short article about where road salt comes from. Today, they followed up on that article with a video explanation of where road salt comes from. The video explains the primary ways that salt is made. The end of the video includes an explanation of how salt can prevent icing of roads.

Applications for Education
After learning about where road salt comes from, have your students try this Exploratorium activity to learn how salt crystals are formed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Science of Skateboarding, Bicycling, and More

Earlier this week I shared some resources from ESPN and Well Home that deal with the math and science of sports. Another resource students can explore to learn about the science of sports is Exploratorium's Sports Science website. Exploratorium's Sports Science site contains many pages on which students can explore the math and science of team sports as well as the individual sports of bicycling and skateboarding. The bicycling section has a calculator that students can use to calculate the aerodynamic drag and propulsion power of a bicyclist.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Planet Science - Science Games and Lesson Plans

Planet Science, produced by the NESTA, provides students from pre-K through middle school with online games and activities for learning about science. Planet Science also offers teachers lesson plans that include the use of online and offline resources. Parents looking for activities to get their children excited about learning science should the parents section of Planet Science.

The Battle for Planet Science is one of the featured games on Planet Science. Battle for Planet Science requires students to use their knowledge of a variety of science concepts in order to succeed in the game. Prior to playing Battle for Planet Science you may want to have students review by trying the quizzes in the science news quiz archive.

Applications for Education
Planet Science has something for most science students and teachers. The activities, games, and lesson plans are appropriate for use in grades K-8.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Great Science Activities from Exploratorium
Science is Fun - Home Experiments
Science Projects and Posters for Elementary Schools

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Great Science Activities from Exploratorium

Exploratorium has an absolutely fantastic collection online activities for science students and science teachers. There are so many great educational resources on Exploratorium that I barley know where to begin. The online activities page of Exploratorium has learning activities for life science and physical science topics. From activities about sports science like fastball reaction time to activities about mutant fruit flies and activities about Antarctic ice, there is something to engage just about every science student.

In addition to the online activities page, Exploratium also offers some great online exhibitions and an online magazine packed with educational material. Science teachers looking for hands-on activities to use in their classrooms will want to check out Exploratorium's hands-on activities page. Those teachers and students that use Second Life will want to visit Exploratorium Island in Second Life.

Applications for Education
Exploratorium has something for just about everyone. The bulk of the online activities can be accessed by students in the fourth grade or older. If you're not in a one-to-one computing environment the hands-on activities page provides some great directions for fun off-line learning activities. Some of the virtual tours could be used on a Smart Board/ White Board.