Sound Insulation Experiment
sound_insulator.pngGroups are given a question to consider: a local manufacturing company is worried about damage to its employees' ears due to high levels of sound on the factory floor - which of the materials suggested would best improve the company's ear protectors? The pupils had to design an investigation to answer this question.

The pupils decided to record themselves shouting into a laptop and take the highest reading each time. The distance between the sensor (or microphone - you could still see levels of sound if using Audacity or Garageband) and the source of the sound had to remain constant, as did the volume of insulation material used. The pupils decided to resolve the problem of keeping different types of material constant in volume by placing the sound sensor in a small box.

Each group had the opportunity to use the computer, sound sensor and software to record results. After they had tested each material, the teacher asked them to discuss and predict the next results. Then they entered the results into a spreadsheet, found the average of each reading, and generated a graph. To complete the lesson, the pupils discussed why they thought cotton wool was the best sound insulator. The pupils produced a word-processed report using imported graphs from the spreadsheet to display their results.

LEARNZ Field Trips
external image kakapo82.jpgSign up (for a very small fee) and go exploring with a real person as they investigate specific topics and environments. There is often the chance to get involved with the ability to audio conference your questions to experts. A great resource. They list their upcoming trips such as this one focusing on the Kakapo in Term two. You can read diary entries, watch videos, join in audio conferences and use the ready made worksheets. This is an example of one of their worksheets about Somes Island.

Crayon Physics
This software is coming soon (for PC) Lots of potential for teaching kids about physics. There is a simplified version on it for free from here.