Potential and Kinetic Energy Explained


by Arthur Murray

Teaching about potential and kinetic energy is always exciting, whether your students are in kindergarten or college.  There is so much to explore, and the world is full of examples of these types of energy in action.  Any time that you’re chewing gum, typing on your computer, or launching a rubber band into the air…  you are demonstrating potential and kinetic energy in all its glory.

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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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How Electricity Works: An Animated Guide


by Arthur Murray

Electricity is everywhere!  If you’ve ever experienced a power outage, you know how important this form of power is for our daily life. From brewing our morning coffee to keeping our smart phones charged, electricity is all around us.  It’s the spark of lightning during a thunderstorm or that tiny shock when you touch a doorknob.

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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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Making Scientifically-Accurate Snowflakes


By Priscilla Robinson

Snowflakes!  They arrive in flurries, storms and blizzards, not to mention “Winter Bomb Cyclones!”  I’ve always thought the science behind snowflakes is amazing.

A snowflake begins when a tiny dust or pollen particle comes into contact with water vapor high up in Earth’s atmosphere.  The water vapor coats the tiny particle and then freezes into a tiny crystal of ice.  This tiny crystal will be the “seed” from which a snowflake will grow.  The process is called crystallization.

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