Using Solar Cells to Teach Series and Parallel Circuits


By Marty Mathiesen

During the electricity unit in my high school physics class, I like to do an activity in which students determine the effect of having batteries placed in a series circuit and also in a parallel circuit.  We explore questions such as What are the similarities?  The differences?  What are the advantages of each method?  Do you see any patterns?

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Classroom Coasters, Mazes and More!


Chris Herald

By Chris Herald
NSTA STEM Teacher Ambassador 2017

I always love when Spring arrives because we start physics topics in my eighth grade physical science class!  Don’t get me wrong—my first love is chemistry and I have a Master’s degree to prove it—but there’s just something about physics in the Spring.  My students delve into the topics of speed and momentum with great gusto.  Two highlights?  Rolling marbles down a ruler and designing their own Hot Wheels experiment.  Not only are these students exploring some key physics topics, they are ALSO getting a chance to dabble in engineering:  a great combination!

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You Said It! STEM Product Reviews


You Said It! Product Reviews - Educational Innovations Newsletter

STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is a curriculum driven by problem solving, exploration, and discovery while incorporating technology and engineering into the teaching of science and mathematics.

Educational Innovations carries a number of products that fit perfectly into the STEM classroom.  These materials promote exploratory learning, and require students to actively engage themselves to discover the solution to the situation or problem at hand.

If you have a favorite STEM experiment or product, please let us know in the comments section below!

 

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The Power of Electricity, Magnetism… and Infomercials!


Educational Innovations BlogBy Cathy Byrne

Virtually all fourth grade students explore electricity and magnetism.  As part of this unit, students are asked to do two things:

1 –   Make observations to provide evidence that energy can be transferred from place to place by sound, light, heat, and electric currents (4-PS3-2)

2 –   Apply scientific ideas to design, test, and refine a device that converts energy from one form to another (4-PS3-4). 

This year, the teachers at my school put a new twist on our electricity and magnetism unit… and the results were amazing!

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A Light at the Smithsonian: Notes from a Spectroscopist


Alex Scheelineby Alex Scheeline

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, on the national mall in Washington, D.C., has an especially fascinating exhibit on Thomas Edison.  The exhibit highlights the development of electricity and lighting, and, more generally, invention.  In late 2017, I visited an area that featured a set of lamps—including a low-pressure sodium vapor lamp, a mercury lamp, an incandescent lamp, and a compact fluorescent lamp.

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