All of these articles this month reflect Isaac Newton’s work on forces and motion and the application of these principles to our daily lives – from seat belts and amusement parks to tools and trains. Check out additional web resources available in SciLinks. Use the keyword “Newton” for sets of websites on Newton’s Laws and biographies of Sir Isaac.
Who would think that juggling could be a great way to teach these principles? The article Juggling Makes Physics Fun does just that. I can just see a team-teaching class with the physical education teacher! Wouldn’t it be interesting as a teacher to learn a new skill along with the students? I’m sure that most of my students would be better at this than I would be! But that’s OK – I can work with them on the physics. The authors mention inviting a local juggler to class to demonstrate. But if that’s not possible, there’s always YouTube! Some of the videos there are not what I’d use in class, but here’s one on juggling that is appropriate for the classroom. Another good resource is How Juggling Works from the How Stuff Works website. I find the ads on the HSW site to be very distracting, so I’ve provided this link to the print version, which still includes the graphics and additional resources.
For more resources on roller coasters, in addition to the trade books and activity in Teaching Through Trade Books, check out the Science Teacher posting for this month. These resources may be a little advanced for elementary students, but they have good ideas and background information. And secondary teachers may want to check out this article, especially there are inexperienced students in their classes!
The article Using Simple Machines to Leverage Learning has more than a clever pun in its title! The diagrams that illustrate levers and the activity are terrific, but what really intrigued me was the authors’ use of a KLEW chart. I’ve used KWL graphic organizers (Know, Want to know, Learn), but my students seemed to have trouble with the Want to know segment. Many of them just didn’t know enough about a topic to express what else they wanted to learn! But this chart – What do we think we Know, What are we Learning, What is our Evidence, and What else are we Wondering (KLEW) looks like an excellent way to for students to organize their thoughts during a lesson or unit. It looks perfect for science, regardless of grade level! If you’re like me and haven’t seen these KLEW charts before, they are described in the February 2006 issue of Science and Children.
The article Simple Machines in the Community describes how students in the Philippines found examples of simple machines, and the article has simple activities to investigate each type. For more ideas, go to SciLinks and enter the keyword simple machine. Here are a few of my favorites: Simple Machines takes students on a virtual tour of a house and garage to find examples of simple machines. The site has explanations of why the tools are simple machines, and there is a comprehensive teacher’s guide. Inventor’s Toolbox has brief descriptions of simple machines and a “Gadget Anatomy” page that shows how simple machines can be combined into more complex ones. Marvelous Machines is a teacher site with many activities geared for third-graders (or third-graders at heart!).