CK-12's Physics module has something for almost any physics topic including motion, energy, electricity, and waves. The number of resources available for each topic can vary; some may offer just one method to explore the content, while others might offer reading passages, video clips, animations, and formative assessments. Some lessons utilize the excellent simulations from external resources like PhET. One such tool lets kids change resistance and voltage on a simple circuit to figure out Ohm’s Law for themselves. Animations like this emphasize that equations are simply mathematical models that we use to make sense of our world. The Next Generation of Science Standards identify mathematical modeling as a key Science and Engineering Practice that students should utilize across various science disciplines.
Because the quality of different tools varies widely, spend some time looking around and choose wisely. For instance, the Ohm’s Law practice quiz available from the external Wisc-Online site gives specific instructions when kids get questions wrong -- this feature isn't available when it's completed within CK-12. Nevertheless, some of CK-12's original resources, like the Portrait Gallery, are very helpful at showing kids real-world applications for physics concepts like Vectors. And while CK-12's Physics Videos can be rather dry, they can be great for students to review at home, or to use as part of a substitute lesson plan.
- Portrait Gallery: Change vector variables to see when the picture hanger will snap.
- Ohm's Law Simulation: Adjust voltage and resistance to see how it impacts current.
Key Standards Supported
Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.
Develop and use models to illustrate that energy at the macroscopic scale can be accounted for as a combination of energy associated with the motions of particles (objects) and energy associated with the relative position of particles (objects).
Develop and use a model of two objects interacting through electric or magnetic fields to illustrate the forces between objects and the changes in energy of the objects due to the interaction.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.
Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.
Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.
Waves and Their Applications in Technologies for Information Transfer
Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.
Develop and use a model to describe that waves are reflected, absorbed, or transmitted through various materials.
Use mathematical representations to support a claim regarding relationships among the frequency, wavelength, and speed of waves traveling in various media.
Evaluate questions about the advantages of using a digital transmission and storage of information.
Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning behind the idea that electromagnetic radiation can be described either by a wave model or a particle model, and that for some situations one model is more useful than the other.
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