Tech Play 4: Content Objects for Science

Because this is our last Tech Play assignment, we would like to offer the opportunity to explore content objects that are specific to your needs or desires. You can play with different websites, software or apps that you can use for teaching your subject area. These can be virtual manipulatives, creativity tools that you did not have the opportunity to explore last week, apps that you would like to explore, etc.

We have tried throughout this semester to offer broad tools that are not content specific and have many uses. While some of the tools you might explore this week could be content specific, we would like to challenge you to make sure the tool allows for students to approach it in many different ways. For example, the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives offers mathematical manipulatives (specific content) but students can approach their thinking with those manipulatives in many different ways. Of course, the teacher is then needed to structure work around those manipulatives that allows students to play with the concepts under study and to draw conclusions. That is exactly what we would like to see! As another example, simulation software like Celestia offers students the ability to explore the solar system. But we know that the standards have specific knowledge that might or might not come about through a student’s exploration with Celestia. So, how would a teacher structure work around the simulation tool so that students can explore but also complete the work and understand the important concepts delineated in the standards? These are important questions with which to wrestle and we would like to see you wrestling with them in this Tech Play assignment!

Play with some content objects and then answer the following questions on your blog:

a. Discuss the tools you explored, what you liked or disliked about each one and which one you selected one to continue to reflect on.
b. Describe how this content object that you selected might fit into the TPACK model. Specifically, describe the content, pedagogical and technological aspects of some student work that uses the creativity tool you selected. Make sure you discuss the type of work you would design around that tool so that students would learn the information required by the standards.
c. Identify other ways that students could use the content object you selected.

   A. This is a List of Websites that I researched and would use in the future for teaching secondary science. Free Technology for Teachers Educational Technology and Mobile Learning  is a teaching resource for secondary science  teaching tips   Smithsonian Science Education Center for Middle School that has Teaching Resources   is a collection of great web sites maintained by 5th to 9th grade science teachers across the country.  (Peer-reviewed journals for middle level and junior high school science teachers)   NSTA academy to help teachers inquiry-based science projects that engage students in STEM activities NSTA’s latest ready resource: Science Objects!  National Science Foundation is known as the “intellectual” agency of the United Nations. Learning Practice

  B. Science and engineering of the Olympic Winter Games: Engineering faster and safer bobsleds

Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

Ask students to watch the following website: (

For homework, have the students identify four ways a bobsled could be modified to increase the velocity of the sled without violating any of the rules and requirements.

The rules for Olympic bobsledding can be found at

Connection to Science

The concepts described in this video include force, mass, acceleration, friction, velocity, surface area, drag, and gravity. The use of models and modeling is made explicit within the design process of the bobsled and the bobsled track. The video emphasizes design considerations related to weight distribution, the materials used to build the bobsled, and the bobsled’s contact with the track with the intent of building the fastest possible bobsled.

Connection to Technology

The video highlights technologyused to model both the bobsled design and the design of the track, which allows the scientist to predict outcomes without investing time and money in building a bobsled or bobsled track or putting a bobsled and track testers at risk. Additionally, technology is used to build the precise computer models generated through the design process and aid in the actual construction of the bobsled.

Texas common core standards can be found at the following:

Chapter 112. Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science
Subchapter B. Middle School

§112.18. Science, Grade 6, Beginning with School Year 2010-2011.

(C)  Force, motion, and energy. Energy occurs in two types, potential and kinetic, and can take several forms. Thermal energy can be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation. It can also be changed from one form to another. Students will investigate the relationship between force and motion using a variety of means, including calculations and measurements.

(8)  Force, motion, and energy. The student knows force and motion are related to potential and kinetic energy. The student is expected to:

(A)  compare and contrast potential and kinetic energy;

(B)  identify and describe the changes in position, direction, and speed of an object when acted upon by unbalanced forces;

(C)  calculate average speed using distance and time measurements;

(D)  measure and graph changes in motion; and

(E)  investigate how inclined planes and pulleys can be used to change the amount of force to move an object.

C. Integrate Video in Instruction

As Part of the Day

·         Bellringer Play the video, muted, as students are getting settled on a day when the Related Science Concepts noted earlier are a focus. Ask them to reflect on what they think are important characteristics for a competition bobsled and how the bobsled’s design features are involved.

·         Compare and Contrast Replay the video segment from 3:42 to 4:04, which shows designers using computer models to develop and test the bobsled design. Have the students evaluate the computer modeling design process from a cost/benefit perspective.

Explain Show the video in its entirety. Introduce the idea of models and modeling as a practice of science and engineering.


The above lesson came from the following site:


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