Using Physical Science Gadgets and Gizmos in Elementary Grades

gadgets3-5The authors of the popular Phenomenon-Based Learning series have released a new book geared toward elementary-age students. Using Physical Science Gadgets & Gizmos, Grades 3-5: Phenomenon-Based Learning is the latest book by Matthew Bobrowsky, Mikko Korhonen, and Jukka Kohtamäki. The activities they include are designed to building learning on observations of real-world phenomena—in this case of some fun toys or gadgets.

In the phenomenon-based learning (PBL) approach, students work and explore collaboratively: Exercises are done in groups, and students’ conclusions are also drawn in groups. “With the PBL strategy, the concepts and the phenomena are approached from different angles, each adding a piece to the puzzle with the goal of developing a picture correctly portraying the real situation.” In other words, it’s not so much a teaching method as it is a route to grasping the big picture.

The 30 PBL activities included in the book are divided into 8 main categories. Here are some examples of the fun you and your students can have while teaching and learning important science concepts:

  • Speed: Using a Constant-Velocity Car, learn about constant speed, and measure some speeds with simple tools.
  • Friction and Air Resistance: With an Air Puck, study how objects act if there is very little friction.
  • Gravity: Using an IR-Controlled UFO Flyer, explore how gravitation tries to pull things toward the ground.
  • Air Pressure: Using an Air-Powered Projectile, see the effect of gravitation and excess pressure.
  • Electricity: With a Plasma Globe, explore electric charges and the phenomenon they cause called static electricity.
  • Electric Circuits: Using a Hand Crank from a Snaptricity (a box of electric components that snap together for easy use), create a voltage just like a battery and light up a lamp.
  • Magnetism: From the same Snaptricity box, take the compass and find out what it does when a bar magnet is brought close to it.
  • Energy: Using a music box, explore moving energy with sound to learn what makes hearing possible.

The authors emphasize three reasons to buy this book:

  1. To improve your students’ thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.
  2. To get easy-to-perform experiments that engage students in the topic.
  3. To make your physics lessons waaaaay more cool.

Ordering information for all of the gadgets and gizmos used in the book is included. This book is also available as an e-book. Learn more about the other books in this series.

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