Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fantastic Contraption: Physics Simulation

I just lost a couple of hours playing this online physics game, Fantastic Contraption. My high school students spend huge amounts of time playing similar games that aren't as complex. Usually while I am in the front of the room praising the beauty of a perfectly placed HTML tag. ( Classroom management, that's a story for another day)

Today, I want to praise this simulation and the learning that occurs unbeknownst to your unwary child, student or spouse.

Years ago I used a similar program ( the name escapes me?) in my 6th grade technology lab. It gave the kids a chance to create and test mechanical contraptions without getting their hands dirty. I observed a lot of crossover when they went to build an actual contraption and referred back to an experience they had in the computer program.

I had to justify that game every time my principal walked through.
Al, It looks like they're just playing a game.

No....really, they have to do some higher level critical thinking.

But they look like they're having fun.

Those are just nervous smiles. Some kind of adolescent stress related facial rigor.

Oh...all right. Just turn it off when I give a tour of the building. I don't want people to get the wrong idea.
I eventually won her over when I had her sit down and try it out. Who knew that learning could be fun?

(Via GeekDad)
[Image: Captured from GeekDad because I never thought to grab a picture while I was playing and now it's late and I feel rushed. Oh the pressure!:]

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