Physics Experiment – Helium Balloon in a Car

In physics, labs and lecture demonstrations are great teaching tools, but sometimes there are experiments that may not be easy to duplicate in a classroom.  In these cases, a short demonstration video can fill the need.  These days there are a huge number of demo videos that can be easily found on YouTube or other video hosting sites.  At WebAssign, we enjoy finding interesting videos that instructors may find useful in their own teaching.

Here is very nice demonstration (made by a student!) of the buoyant force and the differential in air pressure created by acceleration.  Watch for the comparison between the helium balloon and an air-filled balloon starting at around 5:35.

For more on enhancing your physics class with video, check out WebAssign’s Physics Direct Measurement Video content, developed by physics instructor Peter Bohacek.

Have you or your students produced a video demonstrating a principle of physics? If so, we want to see them!  Send in your recorded physics experiments today.

Advanced WebAssign Training Workshops

If you are new to WebAssign this semester, I hope you have had a chance to check out our WebAssign 101 virtual training workshops, which are a great opportunity to learn some best practice tips for using our online homework system.

In these sessions we focus on:

  • How to create a course
  • Rostering your classes
  • Adding and managing assignments
  • Setting up the GradeBook
  • Utilizing supplementary materials

If you have already mastered the basics and are looking for some more in-depth training, we now offer a WebAssign 201 session that is the perfect next step to enhance your learning!  Our 201 trainings are taught by WebAssign experts and cover the following topics:

  • Advanced template settings
  • Propagation
  • Communication tools
  • Advanced scheduling options for assignments

Visit our WebAssign Workshop page today and sign up for a time that works best for you!  Looking forward to seeing you there!

Friday Funny!

Today’s Friday Funny is brought to you by one of our readers, Robert Fries!  As always, please share your best math/science/teaching jokes with us!

Q: What is the shape of the world?

A: Once upon a time it was thought to be flat. Then it was discovered to be round, then spherical.

Now it is flat again – rectangular – and about the size of one’s hand.

Apps for Physics & Chemistry

We recently received some great app suggestions from several of our science instructors that we wanted to share with the rest of you!  Hopefully some of these new technology tools will enrich your classroom teaching experience and make learning physics and chemistry easier for your students.

Coaster Physics by Ziconic, $0.99

Coaster Physics makes learning physics easy and fun, whether you actually interested in the physics or if you are just curious about roller coasters. Design and ride your very own realistic roller coaster, and see how quantities like speed, acceleration, energy, and g-force change as you ride along the track. This app can easily work in whole class demos or in a group lab setting.

Vernier Video Physics by Vernier Software & Technology, $2.99

Video Physics brings physics video analysis to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Take a video of an object in motion, mark its position frame by frame, and set up the scale using a known distance. Video Physics then draws trajectory, position, and velocity graphs for the object. Share video, graphs and data to Facebook, your Photo Library and to your computer running Vernier’s Logger Pro software.  This app was a 2012 CODiE Awards Finalist for Best Educational Use of a Mobile Device.

Atoms in Motion by Atoms in Motion, cost $2.99

Discover the fundamental nature of matter; everything is made of atoms. The atomic theory is brought to life in “Atoms in Motion” — a fully interactive atomistic simulation that uses sophisticated Molecular Dynamics (MD) algorithms to perform computational chemistry calculations right on your iPad. Such computations reveal the motion of atoms as they attract, repel, and collide with one another.

Periodic Table of the Elements by Kevin Neelands, Free

This is a standard periodic table of the elements – a necessity for anyone interested in or studying chemistry. However, this version differs in that instead of cramming all the information for an element into one little square, you can select a chemical attribute and have the entire chart color coded to plainly show how the different elements vary with regard to the selected trait.

Molecules by Sunset Lake Software, Free

Molecules is an application for viewing three-dimensional renderings of molecules and manipulating them using your fingers. You can rotate the molecules by moving your finger across the display, zoom in or out by using two-finger pinch gestures, or pan the molecule by moving two fingers across the screen at once. These structures can be viewed in both ball-and-stick and space-filling visualization modes.

As always, we would love to hear from you!  Please share any additional teaching apps and tools that have worked for you in the comments section below.

Friday Funny!

Q: What is the most important rule in chemistry?
A: Never lick the spoon!

Have a better math or science joke than this one? Send it in today!

Tips and Tricks: Announcements

Did you know that WebAssign lets you easily alert  your  students to pertinent course information?

By utilizing the Announcements functionality, you are able to communication information such as:

    • A cancelled class
    • A change in an assignment or due date
    • Course description
    • Test reminder
    • Link to a website
    • To clarify a point or concept that may have your students confused

Your students can see your message to them on their Homepage when they log in to WebAssign. You can preview your announcement before you post it for your students.

When you no longer want your students to view an announcement, you can remove it from your students’ Homepage by archiving it, or remove it completely by sending it to the trash.

Additionally, you can reorder how announcements are shown to students and even share announcements across classes and sections.

To access the Announcements page, click on the Communication link under Class Tools from the ClassView page.

This flexible communication tool is a practical and easy way to keep your students up-to-date regarding your course. For more information visit our instructor support page.

How have you used this tool in your classroom?  Let us know here!

Apps for Math

Now that WebAssign’s math tools are compatible on the iPad, we wanted to share with you some apps that our math instructors have found particularly useful in the classroom and for us by their students.  Please let us know if there are any additional apps that have worked for you.  We would also love to hear from our science teachers if there are any apps that are helpful for teaching physics, chemistry, or biology!

Quick Graph, by Colombiamug, Free

Quick Graph is a powerful, high quality, graphic calculator that takes full advantage of the multitouch display and the powerful graphic capabilities of the iPad and iPhone, both in 2D and 3D. A simple, yet intuitive interface makes it easy to enter and/or edit equations and visualize them in mathematical notation.

Graphing Calculator HD, by Appcylon LLC, $1.99

Another graphing app that turns your iPad into an intuitive high-resolution function plotter and scientific calculator.  This one is the most downloaded graphing calculator for the iPhone/iPod and is now available for the iPad. The GUI has been completely rewritten to take advantage of the iPad’s bigger screen.

MathRef, by Happy Maau Studios, LLC, $0.99.

Math Ref is an excellent reference app for mathematics that includes over 1,400 helpful formulas, figures, tips and examples of the equations, and concepts. It also includes example problems and solutions that you may see in specific subject areas. The information is easily searchable and a great reference for teachers and students alike.

Algebra Solver, by Christopher Thibault and Brendan Lee, $0.99.

Algebra Solver is a must have application for your students. Unlike most math programs, this program is not just a flash card application. Algebra Solver helps solve math formulas and equations and after you solve them, you can email them to others using the built-in email button.

Calculus FTW, By MathFTW LLC, $2.99

Written by a college professor, Calculus FTW is an app that helps students learn calculus from a problem-based approach.


ShowMe, by Easel, Free

We shared this app previously, but it can be especially helpful for detailing math expressions and allowing students to write and speak explanations of their problems. This iPad app lets you easily create and share video lessons for students who may need to review concepts outside of class.