Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 26 - Interactive Sims

We have had several tools that are generally of more use to the language teachers in our midst.  Today's post is an effort to balance the load a little bit.  We are posting on two websites that offer free interactive simulations.  One of them belongs to the University of Colorado, Boulder and their list of math and science simulations.  The other is a science manipulative site called the BioDigital Human.

The Physics Education Technology (PhET) website from the University of Colorado on Interactive Simulations


http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulations/category/new
This site provides interactive simulations (manipulatives) for elementary through university level concepts in math and science.  You can search the simulations by concept, subject, or grade level.  Once you find the simulation you would like to use, you can play it from the web, download it or even embed it into a website or blog.  At the elementary level, teachers without 1:1 could use these at the interactive whiteboard for the students to use there.  In addition, there are resource PDF's available on the site for all of the simulations that include tips for teachers and links to related sims.

Here is an example of an elementary simulation on fractions.

Fraction Matcher
Click to Run


Here is another one for middle school on Plate Tectonics.

Plate Tectonics
Click to Run


Not to leave out a high school example, here is one on graphing equations.

Equation Grapher
Click to Run


BioDigital Human

The BioDigital Human is a website dedicated to a 3-D model of the human body.  I know that it is very specific to science, but I though it worth throwing out there to balance things out a bit and challenge those language teachers among us to come up with a creative idea for it's use in class.

https://www.biodigitalhuman.com/
The BioDigital Human website asks for a login, but you can use your google login if you would like to.  Using your google login will keep you from having to remember another login.  The account is free and allows all the major manipulative pieces of the 3-D model.  You can add different layers of the body, choose male or female, dissect parts of the model and isolate individual pieces of the model.  Take a minute or two to play with the model and add layers to it from the navigation menu on the right.

Your Challenge:

If you are a math or science teacher, I challenge you to use at least one of the simulations in class and report about how you used it and how it went.  If you are not a math or science teacher...   I challenge you to share a way that you can use these or other interactive simulations in your classrooms.

24 comments:

  1. I am not a math or science teacher but teach geography as part of our 6th grade social studies standards. In our first unit, there is a lot of overlap with science -- seasons, climate, & plate tectonics to name a few. I've notices plate tectonics are particularly difficult for students to grasp, so perhaps this offers another approach to drilling in a concept.

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  2. As a middle school math teacher I will definitely use this place. Since it goes up through High School level I can always find the difficulty I will need for my students which many math sites with interactive games and applications seem to either support High School or Elementary but not both. I am thrilled and have already found a fraction matching game to try and use with my students.

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  3. I do not teach math or science, but Latin has a strong bond with science. I can use the BioDigital Human to teach students the Latin names for parts of the body using it as a model instead of me!

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  4. I do not teach math, but I could see elementary teachers using this on the white board with the whole group, or they could use it as a math station. I also think this would be good practice to do with partners. I especially liked the one on fractions. I also think kids could write "how to" steps to go along with one of the simulations.

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  5. Great find! High school students still like to "see and move" math like in elementary and middle school so this site can be used to show FOIL and many other concepts. I hesistate to teach high school algebra concepts with algebra tiles and other hands on manipulatives in full class settings since they will not have the tools like those to take the ECA with so this a good blend of seeing andtouch it differently. It will also be a good tool as we overhaul into CCSS, PARCC, and RTI at the high school level. Thanks!

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  6. Cool site! I am definitely going to use the Arithmetic Table for my 1 semester Algebra 1 class. They usually struggle with basic math facts and this one tests your multiplication tables and shows you how many blocks at the same time. It could be a good beginning or end of class activity to fill a few minutes. Did you see that some simulations have attaches files for lesson plans, worksheets, homework assignments, etc? This is so neat! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I did, but forgot to mention it... I have added this to the post. Thanks!

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  7. Oh, wow, that's really neat. I like the 3D body. I could see tying it in with a descriptive writing assignment.

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  8. I think these will be good for a cross-curricular lesson. Also, I will be paying the knowledge forward and sharing with my math and science friends! Very cool!

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  9. I teach an inclusion science class, and we have used the first site. The kids used one of the simulations to explore changes in states of matter. The site is very user friendly and the kids really liked it. I think I would like to use the Plinko probability simulation with my math class.

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  10. I do not teach math or science but I can see the uses in other classes. I have some music games that are like these sites, they simulate music and can grade students on their playing.

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  11. I love this site. Lot's of opportunities for students to engage in inquiry. I have added a lesson plan and student activities to Build A Fraction - https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/build-a-fraction

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  12. I am excited - there is one for eating and exercise! I can use this with my 7th & 8th grade when we are discussing nutrition! This would also be a good one for any PE/Health teachers. I have one class that could try this out next week - it fits in with their current topic. They enjoy sites like these so much better than reading the text.

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  13. Great site! At first I was afraid this was like SIMM city or Roller Coaster Tycoon and I was going to have to build something! I am glad it wasn't. I can see using this in my science and social studies classes and will be sharing with my math folks. I was very interested in the glaciers one because we actually make glaciers, out of frozen water in dixie cups, and melt them on a clay map of IN for our Social Studies. However, I really could not get it figured out so I guess I will have to get a kid onto it and I bet they figure it out in a second!. I also think we can use Balloons and Static Electricity, Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only, and Signal Circuit with our fourth graders. We have already covered that FOSS kit but I will for sure put it down for next year!

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  14. I really like that each interactive activity has one or more lesson plan attached. I found several I can use layer this year and will share this with several teachers of science and math. Nice site, lots of uses here.

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  15. Although I'm not a math or science teacher, I'm looking for ways to use this site cross-curricularly.

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  16. Love this! I'm a third grade math/science teacher - how perfect! I already have checked out the fraction simulations, as we're doing fractions right now! I'm adding it to one of my station choices for tomorrow. I also liked the estimation one. That can be really hard foro elementary students in both math and science! Lastly, I loved that the fraction match game had varying levels. My two math classes are both the same grade level, but different ability levels. I can differentiate for the two groups on the pro board!

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    1. Denise, How did your fractions station go today?

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  17. Love it! This is awesome. I used the molecular shape simulation in class today - it was alright. I look forward to using some of the others - especially the balancing equations simulation. thank you!

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  18. Great site, thank you for sharing. This really looks interesting.

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  19. This looks really good. I looked at the one for fractions and I will share it with our 4th grade teachers. I was hoping maybe something for music. I could see an interactive of making music measures or a working instrument or sound production diagram would be interesting. I'll be checking back in the future to see if they make more.

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  20. I think this could be utilized for cross-curricular learning, but anything can be made into a writing topic! It could also help for some background information depending on a particular nonfiction piece or concept.

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  21. This is a great way to make math and science more concrete for students. It seems the topics that have video representation are the ones that are most difficult for students to interpret through text.

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  22. I'm with Kara - I will be sharing this with math teachers in my building. I love Karla's suggestion of adapting it for writing lessons. I love the various levels, and I think this could lend itself to our RTI period. I can't wait to see how the students react to it. I'm going to put it in my math centers this week. This will be a great way to get a head start on fractions, which will be our focus in January.

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