Showing posts with label physics games. Show all posts
Showing posts with label physics games. Show all posts

Monday, November 18, 2013

5 Fun Physics Games for Students

One of my former colleagues always seemed to have his physics students in the hallway, in the stairwells, or outside for various physics demonstrations. His students always seemed to be having fun. I was a little jealous that he hadn't been my physics teacher too. He showed students that physics was fun. The following games might not be as fun as hands-on demos, but they could still be good for getting students interested in various physics concepts.

Funderstanding, a learning systems design firm, offers a free roller coaster design activity. The object of the Roller Coaster Simulator activity is to get the coaster through the track without any roll-backs. To that end the Roller Coaster Simulator allows users to design the height and spacing of the rise and fall of a roller coaster track. Users can also adjust the speed of coaster, the mass of the coaster, the friction of the coaster on the track, and the strength of the gravitational pull on the coaster.

Engineering Interact is a site for elementary school students designed by the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Engineering Interact offers five games designed to teach students physics concepts. The games address concepts related to light, sound, motion, electricity, and space travel. Each of the five games presents students with a scenario in which they have to "help" someone solve a problem. The games require students to learn and analyze the information presented to them.

X Construction is an Android app that allows you to design railroad bridges and test whether or not they could support a train crossing. The app offers a series of progressively more difficult challenges to try. In each challenge level you are given a limited number of construction pieces to use in order to span an expanse that your virtual train needs to cross. When you think you’ve designed a suitable bridge press the play button to send the train over the bridge. If the bridge collapses you will see and hear a crash (warning, the crash sounds are bit annoying after the fourth or fifth try). If the train crosses your bridge, you can move on to the next level. X Construction could be a neat app for students to use to test out and see the benefits of various design concepts. For example, they can see why a triangle design might be superior to a square bridge design.

Autodesk Digital STEAM Applied Mechanics is a free iPad app that contains five simple games. The games are designed to let students experiment with five connected physics concepts. The concepts in the games are energy and work, force, power, loading, and mechanisms. In each game students control one variable to see how changing that variable affects other aspects of the equation. The five games that students can play are Energy & Work, Forces, Power, Loading, and Mechanisms. In Energy & Work students control how much hot air is pumped into a hot air balloon as it is pushed along by the wind. Students have to manage the rate at which fuel is burned so that the balloon doesn’t run out of hot air before the end of the game. The Forces game has players using a catapult to lob meatballs (at least that’s what they look like to me). In the Loading game students use a crane to correctly distribute weight to waiting trucks. In Power players control the thrusters of a spaceship to navigate obstacles and safely land at a destination. And in the Mechanism game students maneuver a helicopter by controlling the ration of the gears powering the rotor.

Hill Climb Racing is a fun Android game that has a little bit of physics built in. The purpose of the game is to reach the end of each level of the race. To reach the end you have to use your allotments of gasoline rationally. In order to do that you must control your acceleration and deceleration throughout the course. As you play through each level you can collect coins that you can then use acquire different tires and suspension systems for your vehicle.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Simple Machines - Fun Game for Learning About Physics

Earlier this week I wrote about Code Fred from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. Code Fred is a fun game for learning about the human respiratory system. This afternoon I had a bit of fun playing Simple Machines which is another game from the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago.

Simple Machines is a game that is designed to help students learn about the basic physics principles involved in the use of levels, pulleys, planes, axles, and wheels. The object of the game is to help a robot character named Twitch gather the pieces needed to make a simple machine. In order to gather the pieces students have to help Twitch climb over objects using inclined planes, roll to objects as efficiently as possible, and lift objects by using pulleys and levers.

Applications for Education
Simple Machines could be a fun game to use as the introduction to an elementary school lesson about levers, pulleys, and basic physics principles. At the end of each section of the game students can read a short lesson about the planes, levers, pulleys, wheels, and axles.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Slower Speed of Light - A MIT Game for Learning About Special Relativity

The MIT Game Lab recently released an interesting game designed to demonstrate the visual effects of special relativity. A Slower Speed of Light seems simple enough on the surface, you walk through virtual worlds picking up orbs, but the game gets quite difficult because of the visual effects. The game attempts to mirror the speed of light to the player's actual walking pace which is what changes the visual complexity displayed in each level of the game. Learn more about the game in the video below.


Applications for Education
I won't pretend to know what all of these things mean, but according to the MIT Game Lab's website A Slower Speed of Light could be used to introduce students to the concepts of time dilation, Doppler effect, searchlight effect, and Lorentz transformation.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Games for Teaching Students About Balance and Stability

Rumble Blocks and Beanstalk are educational games developed and produced by DARPA's Engage Program. The games are designed for elementary school students to play to learn about and reinforce the concepts of balance and stability.

In Rumble Blocks students build towers by moving and placing a series of blocks. The object of the game is to build a tower that is tall enough and stable enough to support a "friendly alien's" spaceship.

In Beanstalk students balance flowers and bugs on a plank that is supported by a beanstalk. The better students get at balancing the plank, the taller the beanstalk grows.

Applications for Education
Rumble Blocks and Beanstalk are simple games that can be used to reinforce the principles taught in the hands-on lessons on which the games are based. Get the Rumble Blocks lesson plan here. Click here for the Beanstalk lesson plan.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Dozens of Physics Games for Your Blog

Physics Games.net, as the name implies, is a website of games based on simple physics concepts. Physic Games offers dozens of games based on a physics concept or two. Each game can be played directly on the Physics Games website or embedded into your blog or website. The one downfall of the site is that before each game starts there is a short commercial. I checked out a few different games and I did not see any advertising that would be unacceptable in a public school classroom.

Applications for Education
The games on Physics Games.net are based on simple physics concepts and are best suited for elementary or middle school use. Being able to embed a game into your class blog is a good way to make sure that students are on task and is also a good way to keep students interested in the classroom blog.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Roller Coaster Simulator - Design Your Coaster

Funderstanding, a learning systems design firm, offers a free roller coaster design activity. The object of the Roller Coaster Simulator activity is to get the coaster through the track without any roll-backs. To that end the Roller Coaster Simulator allows users to design the height and spacing of the rise and fall of a roller coaster track. Users can also adjust the speed of coaster, the mass of the coaster, the friction of the coaster on the track, and the strength of the gravitational pull on the coaster.















Applications for Education
Funderstanding's Roller Coaster Simulator could be a good way for mathematics and physics students to experiment with all of the elements that go into designing a working roller coaster.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Design a Wind Turbine
Physics 4 Kids
Understanding Einstein

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Design a Wind Turbine

National Geographic has a neat little interactive activity designed to help people understand how wind turbines generate power. Harness the Power of Wind walks viewers through the basics of wind turbine design. After reviewing the design principles you can design and "test" your wind turbine's efficiency. You can adjust the height of your wind turbine, the wind speed, the altitude, and the blade radius.

Applications for Education
Harness the Power of Wind could be used for teaching a lesson on wind power that incorporates basic physics and mathematics concepts.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Engineering Interact - Physics Games for Kids

Engineering Interact is a site for elementary school students designed by the Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge. Engineering Interact offers five games designed to teach students physics concepts. The games address concepts related to light, sound, motion, electricity, and space travel. Each of the five games presents students with a scenario in which they have to "help" someone solve a problem. The games require students to learn and analyze the information presented to them.

Thanks to Casey Mayfield for sharing the link to Engineering Interact on Twitter.

Applications for Education
Engineering Interact is a fun learning environment for elementary school students. Unlike a lot of educational games that are simple "drilling" exercises, the games on Engineering Interact require students to evaluate information.

Engineering Interact offers teachers a resource section in which they can find the concepts and questions present in each game without the game environment. This could be helpful to teachers who are trying to plan a pre-game or post-game lesson. Engineering Interact also offers a list of external resources for further learning about the concepts addressed in the games.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
10 Sources of Educational Science Games
Five Sources of Fun Mathematics Games
Ten Problem Solving Games for K-8 Students

Monday, February 8, 2010

Physics 4 Kids

Rader has been producing useful self-study lessons and quizzes for kids for quite a while. Many readers have probably seen this Rader before, but it's worthwhile to post for the benefit of those who aren't familiar with Rader's offerings. Physics 4 Kids is one five collections of science resources for kids produced by Rader.

Rader's Physics 4 Kids is part of a series of Rader's 4 Kids lessons about science. Physics 4 Kids takes students on tours of different sub-topics of physics. After each stop on the tour there is a quiz that students can take to test their understanding of each topic. Along with text and image information there are some short videos about different physics concepts along the tour.

Applications for Education
Student directed tours like the ones offered on Physics 4 Kids are great tools for differentiating activities within the classroom. Physics 4 Kids is a good resource for science teachers to link to a class web page or blog so that students and parents can study and test themselves outside of the classroom.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Coaster Creator - Learn About Energy

One of the great things about blogging is that almost everyday someone contacts me with a website or a service that they want me to look at. On Tuesday, I shared a post about Amusement Park Physics and not long after that post went live I got an email about Coaster Creator.

Coaster Creator is an interactive lesson about potential and kinetic energy. Coaster Creator provides a audio/ visual tutorial in which students learn about the physics behind roller coasters. After completing the tutorial, students can design and test their own roller coasters. If the roller coaster is designed improperly it will either crash or stall out.

















One of the things that differentiates Coaster Creator from Amusement Park Physics is the audio component of Coaster Creator's tutorials which is something not offered on Amusement Park Physics. If you don't have enough computers for your students, Coaster Creator's tutorials can also be downloaded and printed as PDFs.

Applications for Education
Coaster Creator could be a fun way for students to explore the concepts of potential and kinetic energy in an application that they could experience at an amusement park.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Amusement Parks Physics - Design a Roller Coaster

Amusement Park Physics is an interactive lesson produced by Learner.org. In Amusement Park Physics students explore how a roller coaster works and how wood and steel can alter the ride. At the end of the roller coaster section students can design their own roller coaster and have it evaluated for safety and fun. (My design was rejected as unsafe and not fun).














In addition to exploring the workings of roller coasters students can explore the workings of carousels, bumper cars, pendulums, and free fall rides.

Applications for Education
Amusement Park Physics could be a good way to introduce students to physics. In years past my school used to take physics students on a field trip to an amusement park as a fun, educational, end-of-year trip. Amusement Parks Physics would have been a good resource for those students to explore before or after their trip.


Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Physics Games for Your Blog or Website
This is Phun - Physics Simulator
Physics 4 Kids

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Physics Classroom - Tutorials and Animations

The Physics Classroom is a great resource for high school Physics teachers and high school Physics students. The Physics Classroom was developed by Tom Henderson, a high school physics teacher since 1989. The Physics Classroom offers detailed tutorials on thirteen different physics topics including waves, static electricity, Newton's laws, and vectors. In addition to the written tutorials, The Physics Classroom also offers more than 50 animations and 6 videos demonstrating physics concepts.

Applications for Education
The Physics Classroom could be a very good resource for high school physics teachers and their students. The animations in particular could be very helpful to students that learn concepts better when they can see those concepts in action.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:

Physics Games for Your Blog or Website
Understanding Einstein
This is Phun - Physics Simulator


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Physics Games for Your Blog or Website

Physics Games.net is, as the name implies, a website of games based on simple physics concepts. Physic Games offers 54 different games, each one can be played directly on the Physics Games website or embedded into your blog or website. The one downfall of the site is that before each game starts there is a short commercial. I checked out a few different games and I did not see any advertising that would be unacceptable in a public school classroom.

Applications for Education
The games on Physics Games.net are based on simple physics concepts and are best suited for elementary or middle school use. Being able to embed a game into your class blog is a good way to make sure that students are on task and is also a good way to keep students interested in the classroom blog.

Here are five other educational game websites you might be interested in:
Who Wants to Be a Science Millionaire?
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves Punctuation Game
Free Rice and Free Poverty
Find Country
Ghost Blasters, Math Blasters