Compare the Size of the Planets with this Handy Site
Aug03

Compare the Size of the Planets with this Handy Site

A quick webtool for a Monday morning. Planet Compare is a handy site for science teachers who want to demonstrate the relative size of each of the planets in our solar system. The tool includes 3d models of all 8 planets, plus Pluto and the Sun. Simply click on the first planet, then the second to see them side by side. You can also double-click anywhere on planet 1 to “stick” the other planet onto its surface – handy for comparing a planet like Pluto to somewhere on Earth like Europe. It’s a neat little website that’s worth a few minutes of your time to explore. Check it out here. If you like this, also check out these tools for Visualising the Big and the Small....

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Track the Planets with this Solar System Orrery
Aug02

Track the Planets with this Solar System Orrery

This Solar System Orrery by Jeroen Gommers provides a top-down view of the solar system so you can observe how the planets move relative to each other. The orbits and size of the planets has been squashed to make it fit onto the screen, but their relative motion are accurate. In reality their orbits are elliptical as well, rather than circular as shown in this model. Drag any planet around to see how the other planets move. The simulation includes the dwarf planets as well as the 8 major planets. Use this in class to show how the inner planets complete their orbits relatively quickly, whilst the outer planets can take many years to do the same trip. If you like this, then check out Space Resources for your Interactive Whiteboard which has more interactive resources like this....

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BBC Biggest Bangs – Interactive Chemistry Experiments on Video
Jul31

BBC Biggest Bangs – Interactive Chemistry Experiments on Video

BBC Brit’s Biggest Bangs is a interactive experience where you get to mix dangerous chemicals with explosive results behind the safety of your screen. The site uses an interactive YouTube video with annotations to provide different reactions depending on the chemicals that you select. This would make a great resource to use in class, or for a homework task. The children can choose a chemical to start off with and then select a second chemical from the table to mix it with. Ask them to predict whether it bang or won’t it? Let me know what you think in the comments!...

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4 Great Augmented Reality Apps for teaching Science
Jul23

4 Great Augmented Reality Apps for teaching Science

Augmented Reality is the term used by apps which overlay content on top of real world objects. Imagine viewing a textbook page through your iPad and the pictures come to life with sound and animations. This can have some great educational uses. From bringing spacecraft or animals into the classroom, to bringing worksheets to life with interactive 3D models. The tech is still in its infancy. At the moment you still need to view things through some kind of device – a tablet, phone or webcam. Can you imagine what this would be like when viewed through something like Google Glass? But that’s something for the future. There’s many different apps out there, but here are a few of my favourites that could be used to teach Science. Elements 4D Elements 4D is an AR chemistry app for iOS and Android devices which provides a fun way to look at various different chemical reactions. The app uses blocks that are inscribed with the symbols of 36 elements from the periodic table. The site will eventually sell ready-made cubes, but you can download paper templates for free here. When viewed through the app, these blocks instantly transform a simple, inanimate object into dynamic, dimensional, 4D representations of each element. Place them close together and they’ll react! You can read more on Elements 4D here Zookazam ZooKazam is a fun app for IOS that allows you to bring wild animals into the classroom without all the mess and inevitable legal action. When the targets are viewed through the app, an animal will magically appear. You could get a whale on your desk, or a hippo in your school hall! If you are teaching about animals with your class then this is an app well worth getting. Children could create images of different habitats, and then use the target to bring the correct animal into the scene. They could create images of different animals and then label them to show their main features – use them for classification. It could even be used as a prompt for creative writing. You can read more about ZooKazam here Nasa Spacecraft 3D NASA’s Spacecraft 3D is a free app for iOS devices that lets you learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used by NASA to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe. The app includes Curiosity, Hubble, Cassini and more!  Hold your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch up and point it at the marker and the spacecraft will appear. Choose from different animations to show how different parts of the craft work – such as Curiosity’s robot arm or antenna...

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Augmented Reality Chemistry Experiments with Elements 4D
Jul09

Augmented Reality Chemistry Experiments with Elements 4D

Elements 4D is a neat Augmented Reality chemistry app for iOS and Android devices which provides a fun way to look at various different chemical reactions. The app uses blocks that are inscribed with the symbols of 36 elements from the periodic table. The site will eventually sell ready-made cubes, but you can download paper templates for free here. When viewed through the app, these blocks instantly transform a simple, inanimate object into dynamic, dimensional, 4D representations of each element. If the correct elements are placed next to each other, they will react and the resultant chemical reaction is displayed on the screen. A good activity would be to ask the students to make a prediction about whether two blocks will react before touching them together. Or they could look at patterns – which elements never react, and which always react. The Elements 4D website has some suggested lessons plans that are worth exploring. As always, this shouldn’t replace carrying out some of these reactions for real in the classroom, but for revision or plenary purposes this would make a good supplementary activity. Obviously this is also good for those combinations that are just too dangerous to explore in the classroom! It’s another indication that Augmented Reality is getting more sophisticated. I like the fact that it does more than just display an image over a piece of paper, and that you can start to interact several objects and produce something different. The app is free, and if you don’t mind a little cut and paste you can make the cubes for free as well. Get more information about Elements 4D here....

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Teaching Science Blog Revamped
Jun10

Teaching Science Blog Revamped

So for those who don’t know about it, I run a sister blog to this one, called Teaching Science, It was initially aimed at the student teachers I work with, but it grew to just be a general science teaching blog. Well anyway, it had a bit of a revamp today. It needed a bit of TLC – so it now has a new logo and new site template that users of this blog might find familiar! I want to get more practical ideas and advice for teaching science onto it over the next few weeks. So if you know any science teachers, then please send them over to http://www.scittscience.co.uk/ There’s also a facebook page, and twitter account if you’re interested!...

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Add Your Voice to a Photo with the Talking Cutie app
May15

Add Your Voice to a Photo with the Talking Cutie app

Talking Cutie is a fun free iPad app that lets you add voices to images. Simply take a photograph, and then record up to 60 seconds of narration over the top. You can then add a talking face to the object – choosing from a wide range of different features.   This would have lots of uses in the classroom. Children could add a short description of an artefact in history, historical characters, famous people, they could describe different animals and plants in science. This would be great for foreign language work, with the children speaking short phrases in the target language. The app changes the voice, so children who hate hearing themselves shouldn’t have a problem when the finished video is played back, as it doesn’t sound like them. Here’s an example of Talking Cutie in action: http://www.whiteboardblog.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/ani-2015-05-14-142809.m4v The finished video can be uploaded to YouTube or Facebook directly from the app if you want. For classroom use, just being able to use the feature to save it to the Camera Roll should be enough, but you can also send it to Dropbox if you want an easy way to get the file off the iPad and onto a regular computer. As a class you might want to make a few of these, and stitch them together into iMovie. You can download Talking Cutie here. It’s great fun, and it’s free, so do check it out! Thanks to Joe Dale for tweeting about the app last week and making me aware of it. What do you think of Talking Cutie? Let me know about any other similar apps in the comments below!  ...

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Explore Your Eyes with this Interactive Guide
May14

Explore Your Eyes with this Interactive Guide

This resource from Lenstore provides an interactive guide to the human eye. It takes you on a journey through the eye, with detailed explanations for each of the different parts. Rather than the usual cross-section view, you can explore the eye in first-person, zooming in through the pupil all the way to the optic nerve. The pop up labels give a short description of each part, with a link to find out more. This would be very useful for science teachers when talking about the eye, combined with a more usual cross-section diagram, such as this one. You might also enjoy this resource : http://www.visiondirect.co.uk/the-human-eye See more at www.lenstore.co.uk/how-your-eyes-work...

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Explore the Sun with the DIY Sun Science iPad App
Apr20

Explore the Sun with the DIY Sun Science iPad App

DIY Sun Science for iPad allows children (and teachers!) to investigate and learn about the Sun, using live footage, archive images and practical activity ideas. The app was developed by UC Berkeley’s The Lawrence Hall of Science in association with NASA. The observatory module allows children to view live (or very recent) images of the Sun from NASA’s SDO satellite. They can select images taken using different wavelengths of light and compare the different features that they can see. The app also contains a video and image gallery which allows the children to view collections of images and videos of the Sun from various observatories on Earth and in space. This helps the children to learn about the various features of the Sun, how scientists are studying the Sun, and view videos of the Sun from the past 48 hours. As well as the on-screen content, the app provides 13 free, easy to use, hands-on practical activities. Each activity includes material lists, step-by-step instructions, and detailed explanations. Activities include making prisms, exploring eclipses and building a solar oven. Do make sure to follow all safety precautions for any experiments involving the Sun. This is a great free resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the Sun. Download it and take a look for yourself! You can download DIY Sun Science from the app store for free....

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Essential Skeleton App for the iPad
Mar31

Essential Skeleton App for the iPad

Essential Skeleton 4 is a great free app that lets you explore the human skeleton. The app allows you to pan and move around the skeleton, zoom in on different bones and get information about each one. The ability to hear the name of each bone being read aloud is a nice feature. Teachers will also like the annotation and notes facility. At a basic level of demonstrating the bones and how they fit together, this app would be suitable for upper primary. The language used in the descriptions would make it more suitable for secondary. Download it from the app store here. Whilst the basic app is free, it is being used to showcase a larger more expensive suite of applications. Be aware of the buttons which will take you to the app store to buy it. If you like this – also check out Zygote Body Browser. You need to register, but it’s free to get basic features....

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Hands on with Vernier LabQuest 2 Datalogger
Mar10

Hands on with Vernier LabQuest 2 Datalogger

After writing about Vernier‘s LabQuest 2 system after I saw it at BETT a while back, I’ve now been able to get my hands on the kit and try it out. It’s a neat little unit, comprising a datalogging interface with a built-in screen, running  its own OS. It allows up to 5 sensors to be plugged in at any one time, should you need to monitor that many things at once! There are several different ways that the Labquest interface can be used. 1. Used a datalogging interface. Obviously, the Labquest interface can be used as a “traditional” datalogging interface. It can be connected via a USB lead to a PC or Mac running Vernier’s Logger Pro software. This software is very powerful, and can allow detailed analysis of any collected data. Data can be saved as a CSV file for analysis in spreadsheet software such as Excel. Once the software is installed this was a simple plug-and-play set up. Connect the interface and off you go. The interface should detect the probes automatically, all you need to do is click on the “collect” icon to start collecting data. This could be left running on a computer connected to an interactive whiteboard whilst the students carry out the practical. 2. Used as a standalone data recorder. The Labquest interface could be used as a standalone device with no need for a computer to be attached. This makes it much simpler to use. It also makes it very simple to use outside the classroom, especially on field trips. It’s much easier to use for monitoring the temperature of the school pond or light levels in a woodland for example. The interface has a touch sensitive screen which works well with fingers, or with the plastic end of a pen! Data collected on the Labquest2 interface can then be imported to a computer running Logger Pro. One computer could be used as a “hub” to collect the data from several Labquest interfaces. A mobile cluster for taking on a field trip could be made up of a single laptop and several Labquest interfaces, with the laptop being used to collect and save data for analysis back in the classroom 3. Used as a wireless hub Now this is where it gets interesting. The third way it can be used is as a wireless devices. The interface has built-in wifi so that it can connect to multiple devices. This can include iPads, Chromebooks and Android devices. Setup was quick and painless. I just connected my Labquest to my wireless network and entered the network key. Once connected, I was able to...

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Reach Out: Free Science CPD for Primary Teachers
Feb26

Reach Out: Free Science CPD for Primary Teachers

I wrote about Reach Out CPD back in September when the first block of modules was launched. Well, this week the final  block of modules has gone online, so it’s a good time to write about it again. If you are a primary school teacher, and you are looking for some support and ideas to help teach the new Science Curriculum, then Reach Out CPD is well worth visiting. And even better, it’s totally free! Reach Out CPD is a collaboration between Imperial College London and Tigtag – the award-winning online science and geography resource for primary schools. The resources have been mapped to curricula for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are 30 online courses in total. 24 of which cover Science content knowledge such as Space, Plants, Food and Feeding, Rocks and Soils, and 6 units which cover science skills, such as Working Scientifically, Inspiring Future Scientists and Cross-curricular Science. Each online course is broken up into short learning units that include films featuring Imperial College London academics, tailor-made factsheets, images, diagrams, quizzes and lots of ideas for practical classroom activities. The site is totally free, all you need to do is sign up for an account. If you are a primary teacher, or know one who might need some support in teaching science, then do please let them know about the Reach Out CPD site. Disclaimer. I’m slightly biased in my view of Reach Out, as I’m the author! But I think you’ll agree it’s a very useful free resource. Spread the word!...

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