Physics and Math for Everyone with Exploriments

Last week I spoke at the CUE Conference and having arrived early, I was able to check out all of the vendors. About 90% of it was similar to last year and SMART/Promethean boards and projectors always have a huge presence. I also saw a few companies promoting Augmented Reality, which you can see in the video below.

The research is showing that when students can interact with learning in a visual, kinesthetic way they are more likely to remember the content.

I am not promoting or encouraging these tables/tables/boards etc as they are expensive and do not promote learning in and of themselves. However, when you can make the content itself interactive, then your students can really get into it.

I have created a few of these myself with Geogebra, and also some modules with Python but I have always wanted something more complete that would support the learning in the classroom. PhET is definitely the kind of thing I am referring to. It is interactive and has lots of features. Plus it is asynchronous so students can learn from it even when I am not specifically working with them. You can find these and many more free applets on my Math and Science Resource page. My only frustration with these are how few there are and sometimes they are intended for college students and are thus over complicated for high school students.

Exploriments - Amazing Science/Math Modules

Back to the CUE Conference, I came across a booth whose demure appearance understated the excellence of what they were promoting. Exploriments has created amazing Shockwave based demonstrations, experiments, and explanations.

Too often, I want to demonstrate a concept but a powerpoint or whiteboard explanation will not suffice. Sometimes there is a YouTube video but there are far too few quality videos out there. Additionally, if your school is suffering budget setbacks like the majority are, then it is difficult to afford the expensive lab equipment and materials. Yet, with Exploriments, much like Geogebra and Khan Academy, this levels the playing field so all students have an opportunity to learn even if their resources are limited. All of the benefits of online learning software come along with it:

  • Students can learn at their own pace any time (could be given for homework before a lab or lesson).
  • Repeatable and accessible anywhere that has a computer with internet.
  • Interactive learning and teachers can follow along to see how they are progressing.

There is a free trial which allows you to explore the quality and thought that went into designing these simulations. However, the cost is far cheaper than any science video set or even the cost of a single lab experiment for an entire class. In the full version, you have access to:

Physics - Electricity, Electrostatics, Weight vs Mass, Motion (1D), Projectiles, Force, Friction, Momentum, Moments, Simple Machines, Gravitation, Oscillation, Pendulum, Spring, Pressure, Fluids, Light, Heat, Vectors and the list goes on!

There are experiments and demonstrations that would be expensive (electrical charges) or impossible (gravity at high altitudes) that are brought into the classroom and easily accessible for you and your students.

The math portion is growing as well as currently offers number sense and basic algebra. Chemistry has just started with compounds, but the representatives spoke with me about all of the modules they are working feverishly to add. If you have a subscription, you have access to all of the newest stuff.

If you are a math/science teacher, I strongly encourage you to check Exploriments out. I think that you will see that these can help your students learn and understand in a way not possible before.

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