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Pros: By adding pause points, notes, and quizzes to simulations, teachers can help build and assess student understanding.
Cons: Not all simulations are customizable yet, but there are plans to add more in the future.
Bottom Line: Science simulations become more effective with teacher-added edits and formative assessments.
Prepmagic simulations are best used when teachers create their own interactive lessons and formative assessments to weave into their curriculum. Sometimes, like in the Peppered Moth Activity, the information in the simulation introduction gives away the explanation. Teachers might consider skipping this part and playing the simulation for the students on a projector. Then, use the pop-quiz option to see how students make sense of the phenomena themselves.
Teachers who are flipping their classroom can assign a simulation and pop quiz for homework. Then have students come to class ready to discuss the phenomena they observed.
Prepmagic uses simulations to help students visualize real-world scientific phenomena. They can watch a person bungee-jumping as a way to explore Hooke's Law or observe how populations of rabbits and foxes fluctuate in an ecosystem. Alongside each simulation are real-time data or graphs that allow students to view the changes in different ways.
For some simulations, labeled with a green L, teachers can add pauses, captions, and icons such as arrows to emphasize the key points they want students to notice. Teachers can also add pop quizzes during interactives to check for understanding. Students can take the quiz on their phones or other device by entering a specific code. Each simulation has been labeled with NGSS Science and Engineering Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and overarching Disciplinary Core Ideas. But it is currently not available for teachers to search by specific DCI or by Performance Expectation.
Prepmagic is a great resource for teachers looking to create phenomena-centered lessons. Each simulation gives students an opportunity to use data to explain a real-world situation. The custom lessons empower teachers to tailor the simulation specifically to their lessons and curricula by adding their own descriptions and symbols. The simulations have some minor bugs that can baffle kids, however. In Mutation – Fitness of Mutant Allele, birds with the alleles "DD" are blue while "rr" birds are red. Unfortunately, when students select the allele percentages, these colors are switched. The editing tools do allow teachers to add notes and help students with possible areas of confusion.
In an effort to assess the 3-Dimensional Performance Expectations of NGSS, many standardized science tests are becoming enhanced by tech. Prepmagic offers students a chance to practice multiple-choice problems, but the tool could be improved by providing other question types, like drag and drop, to match the types of items students will see on their high-stakes tests.