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Phantastic Phun with Physics!

Welcome to a STEM  post that will have you discovering another incredible resource for the STEM classroom!  In fact it is a resource that will provide hours of Phun engagement. It is always rewarding to hear from author Melanie Wiscount, who is an amazing educator from the state of Pennsylvania.  She is also a past STEM Institute Fellow and is active across the state of Pennsylvania and the nation in advocating STEM, technology integration, and 21st century skills. Melanie has provided a resource that will provide new engagement for your students as they study STEM concepts. Be sure to read  upcoming  Siemens STEM Academy blog posts to discover the other great resources for those interested in integrating technology in their STEM classroom! Don't miss out, perhaps now is a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad. Thanks for joining us at the Siemens STEM Institute and enjoy the post!  - Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Physics is one science that some students get and other students need to work to understand the laws of this fascinating science. Even though we witness physics in our everyday lives around the clock, the laws of physics and putting the actions into mathematical formulas is not always an easy for students.

I was introduced to the interactive software Algodoo Phun, created by the Swedish software company Algorix about two years ago in my Media Design class at Wilkes University and I have been sold on it ever since! It not only puts the laws of physics into motion, but provides students a digital canvas to be a constructivist of their knowledge and understanding. Phun is termed by its creating company as a “2D Physics Sandbox!” It is a 2D physics simulation environment where students can draw and transform objects, build their own models and scenes and interact with the physical systems they create. With Algodoo Phun, students can:

  • draw shapes and construct gears, pulleys, ropes, chains, vehicles, engines, transmissions, walkers, pendulums – any physical model!
  • add hinges, motors, springs, fluids, light rays, optics, lenses, tracers
  • assign weight, density, matter, “bounciness”
  • simulate gravity, friction, attraction, refraction, restitution
  • liquefy shapes
  • explore velocities, forces, momentum, thermal dynamics, density, elasticity, viscosity, inertia
  • create visual representations of data with graphs
  • create videos or screencasts of creations to share in the Algobox

Here is a Phun video I created for my technology classes to show them how “phun” physics can be!

Check out these other Phun Physics videos:

The 15-hour demo download link and resources to use Algodoo Phun in the science classroom:

Below are more resources to add Phun to your physics instruction and student learning? It would be great to introduce the laws of physics through these interactives, videos, simulations and animations and then have students re-create the law by drawing and constructing their own physics system and scene inside of Algodoo Phun!

Algodoo Phun helps promote interest and inquiry in science and technology which are forefront in STEM education initiatives. The Phun graphical user interface with its open-ended capabilities offers our students “cognitive apprenticeships” in the laws of physics. It also enables learning through the constructivism model and places learners into the role of inventor, problem-solver and critical thinker. It is authentic learning at its best! What else can we ask for in the science classroom?

Please take a moment to view this video Melanie has shared with all of as.

About the author:

Melanie Wiscount, Palmyra, PA Palmyra Area Senior High School

Melanie Wiscount, a computer technology teacher at Palmyra Area High School in Pennsylvania, earned her Master’s degree in Business Education from Bloomsburg University and completed all course work in the Educational Technology doctoral program at Wilkes University. She has taught at the middle school, high school, community college and university levels. Mrs. Wiscount holds PA certification in Business, Computer & Information Technology K-12, Middle Level Mathematics 7-9, Library Science K-12, Instructional Technology and English as a Second Language program specialist. Melanie has also designed, developed and delivered educational technology professional development sessions for fellow teachers. “Having been named a Siemens STEM Institute fellow in the 2011-2012 class is the most rewarding honor I have received as a teacher. Through this training and experience, I hope to bring back to my school and district, methods to promote the importance of science, technology, engineering, math, and 21st century skills in our instruction, student learning, and everyday world.

We sure hope you enjoyed this incredible idea you might use tomorrow in  your STEM classroom.  Don't miss out on great posts and resources dedicated to STEM education. Now is a great time to sign up for an RSS feed and also follow us on twitter at SiemensSTEMAcad. You may even wish to share this post with others via a quick email or even a tweet! Have a great week and a summer that is totally STEMtastic and filled with Phun! - Mike Gorman (21centuryedtech)

Posted on June 16, 2012 by Michael Gorman

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Meet the Contributors

Mike Gorman

Mike is an advocate for transforming education and bringing 21st Century Skills to classrooms. He was awarded Indiana STEM Educator of the Year and honored as a Microsoft 365 Global Education Hero.
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Lance Rougeux

Lance has been featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer and was recently highlighted in The Emergency Teacher, a book about urban teaching.
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Kyle Schutt

Kyle has worked with educators throughout the country to help them better understand how technology and digital media can be used to support instruction, motivate students, and increase passion for learning.
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