Shine white light or a single-color beam through a prism. Explore how a prism refracts light and investigate the factors that affect the amount of refraction. The index of refraction of the prism, width of the prism, prism angle, light angle, and light wavelength can be adjusted.
Explore the processes of photosynthesis and respiration that occur within plant and animal cells. The cyclical nature of the two processes can be constructed visually, and the simplified photosynthesis and respiration formulae can be balanced.
Cell Energy Cycle
Chemical changes result in the formation of new substances. But how can you tell if a chemical change has occurred? Explore this question by observing and measuring a variety of chemical reactions. Along the way you will learn about chemical equations, acids and bases, exothermic and endothermic reactions, and conservation of matter.
Trace the path of blood through a beating heart and the network of blood vessels that supplies blood to the body. Take blood samples from different blood vessels to observe blood cells and measure the levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, sugar, and urea.
Explore the relationship between the correlation coefficient of a data set and its graph. Fit a line to the data and compare the least-squares fit line.
Build a glucose molecule, atom-by-atom, to learn about chemical bonds and the structure of glucose. Explore the processes of dehydration synthesis and hydrolysis in carbohydrate molecules.
Measure the mass and volume of a variety of objects, then place them into a beaker of liquid to see if they float or sink. Learn to predict whether objects will float or sink in water based on their mass and volume. Compare how objects float or sink in a variety of liquids, including gasoline, oil, seawater, and corn syrup.
Drop a chunk of material in a beaker of water and observe whether it sinks or floats. Cut the chunk into smaller pieces of any size, and observe what happens as they are dropped in the beaker. The mass and volume of each chunk can be measured to gain a clear understanding of density and buoyancy.
Density Experiment: Slice and Dice
Digestion is a complex process, involving a wide variety of organs and chemicals that work together to break down food, absorb nutrients, and eliminate wastes. But have you ever wondered what would happen if some of those organs were eliminated, or if the sequence was changed? Can the digestive system be improved? Find out by designing your own digestive system with the Digestive System Gizmo.
Calculate the difference between the times given by two analog clocks. Rotate the hands of the clocks to change the time and see how the calculation changes.
Use protons, neutrons, and electrons to build elements. As the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons changes, information such as the name and symbol of the element, the Z, N, and A numbers, the electron dot diagram, and the group and period from the periodic table are shown. Each element is classified as a metal, metalloid, or nonmetal, and its state at room temperature is also given.
Investigate the motion of an object as it falls to the ground. A variety of objects can be compared, and their motion can be observed in a vacuum, in normal air, and in denser air. The position, velocity, and acceleration are measured over time, and the forces on the object can be displayed. Using the manual settings, the mass, radius, height, and initial velocity of the object can be adjusted, as can the air density and wind.
Drop a number into a function machine, and see what number comes out! You can use one of the six pre-set function machines, or program your own function rule into one of the blank machines. Stack up to three function machines together. Input and output can be recorded in a table and on a graph.
Function Machines 3 (Functions and Problem Solving)
Compare the equation of a rational function to its graph. Multiply or divide the numerator and denominator by linear factors and explore how the graph changes in response.
General Form of a Rational Function
Test your hearing range by listening to low-, medium-, and high-frequency sounds. Compare the relative loudness of sounds at each frequency to create an equal-loudness curve. In a quiet room, measure your threshold of audibility for each frequency, and compare your results to others. The volume of each sound can be adjusted.
Hearing: Frequency and Volume
Control a simulated person running on a treadmill. Your challenge is to use clothing, exercise, and sweat to maintain a constant body temperature as air temperature goes up and down. Sweating (perspiration) can be controlled automatically by the Gizmo or, for a challenge, manually by the user. Don't forget to eat and drink!
Sort and pair the images of human chromosomes obtained in a scan. Find differences in the scans of the various patients to find out specific things that can cause disease, as well as the gender of the person.
Use data from up to three weather stations to predict the motion of a hurricane. The wind speed, wind direction, cloud cover and air pressure are provided for each station using standard weather symbols.
Determine if a relation is a function using the mapping diagram, ordered pairs, or the graph of the relation. Drag arrows from the domain to the range, type in ordered pairs, or drag points to the graph to add inputs and outputs to the relation.
Introduction to Functions
Fit a line to the data in a scatter plot using your own judgment. Then compare the least squares line of best fit.
Least-Squares Best Fit Lines
Drag bar magnets and a variety of other objects onto a piece of paper. Click Play to release the objects to see if they are attracted together, repelled apart, or unaffected. You can also sprinkle iron filings over the magnets and other objects to view the magnetic field lines that are produced.
Factor a polynomial with a leading coefficient equal to 1 using an area model. Use step-by-step feedback to diagnose any mistakes.
Modeling the Factorization of x2+bx+c
Multiply two fractions using an area model. Vary the vertical area to change one fraction and vary the horizontal area to change the other. Then examine the intersection of the areas to find the product.
The alien school children from the planet Zigmo travel to distant planets on a field trip. The goal is to select a bus size so that all buses are full and no aliens are left behind. This is a nice illustration of division with remainders.
No Alien Left Behind (Division with Remainders)
Observe the five main types of nuclear decay: alpha decay, beta decay, gamma decay, positron emission, and electron capture. Write nuclear equations by determining the mass numbers and atomic numbers of daughter products and emitted particles.
How do scientists measure and describe the weather? In this introductory lesson, students will practice using a thermometer, anemometer, rain gauge, and hygrometer to record weather conditions in a variety of locations and dates. This lesson uses U.S. customary units.
Observing Weather (Customary)
Derive the sum of the angles of a polygon by dividing the polygon into triangles and summing their angles. Vary the number of sides and determine how the sum of the angles changes. Dilate the polygon to see that the sum is unchanged.
Polygon Angle Sum
Observe the populations of grass, prairie dogs, ferrets and foxes in a prairie ecosystem. Investigate feeding relationships and determine the food chain. Bar graphs and line graphs show changes in populations over time.
Experiment with spinners and compare the experimental probability of particular outcomes to the theoretical probability. Select the number of spinners, the number of sections on a spinner, and a favorable outcome of a spin. Then tally the number of favorable outcomes.
Lift a variety of heavy objects (armchair, safe, piano) using pulleys and a rope. Systems of one, two, four, or six pulleys can be used. Up to six people can be used to pull on the rope, which adds force (effort).
Compare the graph of a quadratic to its equation in polynomial form. Vary the coefficients of the equation and explore how the graph changes in response.
Quadratics in Polynomial Form
Test your reaction time by catching a falling ruler or clicking a target. Create a data set of experiment results, and calculate the range, mode, median, and mean of your data. Data can be displayed on a list, table, bar graph or dot plot. The Reaction Time 1 Student Exploration focuses on range, mode, and median.
Reaction Time 1 (Graphs and Statistics)
Explore how river erosion affects landscapes in the short term and over long periods of time. Describe the features of mountain streams and meandering rivers, and use a floating barrel to estimate current speed. Witness the changes that occur as mountain streams erode downward and meandering rivers erode from side to side.
Plan a cross-country road trip through various U.S. state capitals. First choose a vehicle to drive, and then fill up the tank with gas and go! Find the range and gas mileage of each vehicle, and discover the shortest path between two cities.
Road Trip (Problem Solving)
Gain an understanding of the causes of seasons by observing Earth as it orbits the Sun in three dimensions. Observe the path of the Sun across the sky on any date and from any location. Create graphs of solar intensity and day length, and use collected data to describe and explain seasonal changes.
Seasons in 3D
Meet Spidro, a quirky critter with an appetite for algebraic expressions! As Spidro's adopted owner, it's your responsibility to feed him so that he grows into… whatever it is that a Spidro grows into. But be careful - Spidro is a picky eater who prefers his food to be as simple as possible. Use the commutative property, distributive property, and the other properties of addition and multiplication to put expressions in simplest (and tastiest) form.
Simplifying Algebraic Expressions I
Solve systems of linear equations, written in standard form. Explore what it means to solve systems algebraically (with substitution or elimination) and graphically. Also, use a draggable green point to see what it means when (x, y) values are solutions of an equation, or of a system of equations.
Solving Linear Systems (Standard Form)
Compare the graph of the tangent function with the graph of the angle on the unit circle. Drag a point along the tangent curve and see the corresponding angle on the unit circle.
Create a set of stuffed animals: monkeys, giraffes, and rabbits. Toys can be painted red, green, or blue. Describe the makeup of the set (animals or colors) with fractions. Arrange the toys into groups to simplify the fractions.
Toy Factory (Set Models of Fractions)