Teachers will love that Edheads activities require very little in the way of pre-activity instructions, and typically take about 30 minutes to complete. Activities for younger kids work best individually or in pairs, while those that are more advanced may require small groups. The Edheads teacher guides provide tips on setup and logistics.
Chemistry teachers could have students apply their knowledge in “Nanoparticles,” while simultaneously pulling kids for one-on-one conferences. Just be sure that segments are completed before pausing, since progress can’t be adjusted within a section. If you're teaching health units on substance abuse, you may find a connection with the “Crash Scene” and “Trauma” simulations. In anatomy class, students in small groups could work on separate virtual surgeries and report to the class. MS teachers will enjoy “Simple Machines” as a learning activity. While some students work online, others could build examples at stations. “Compound Machines” is a great extension, but be aware that young students perusing the entire site may find some more mature content.Continue reading Show less
Edheads offers online simulations containing content from middle school to advanced levels. Users begin by choosing from 17 activities in a drop-down menu. There's a significant audio component, though captions are provided. It's recommended that kids have access to headphones. All simulations have coordinating worksheets and assessments; some are optional, while others are more necessary. There are teacher guides with helpful information.
Activities vary in design and length, but each starts with an introduction and is chunked into segments. The scenarios place kids in content-related professional roles, such as surgeons or engineers. A few topics are geared toward younger students (machines and weather), but most are for advanced high school students, especially in the life and medical sciences. Teachers should know that some of the content here (surgeries, car crashes, etc.) could make kids squeamish or upset.
Edheads has done an exceptional job of simulating real-world contexts for kids' learning, and created exciting, content-based activities. For instance, kids might be asked to design labs for doctors’ offices. In another example, middle school kids pretend to be a weather intern while reading meteorological maps and predicting the weather. High school students may help an engineer chemically create and then test nanoparticles to treat brain tumors. Elsewhere, kids get into the forensics of a car crash by interviewing witnesses and calculating speeds. Thankfully, the teacher guides provide worksheets, implementation tips, discussion ideas, and even extensions.
Overall, placing learners into the active role of a professional helps build engagement in a way that makes content meaningful. There are a few caveats, of course. Teachers should realize that any user (kids, too!) can access the answer keys, and that most simulations don’t provide reports on students' in-activity responses. But overall, this dive into real-world science is likely worth it.
Key Standards Supported
Write a function that describes a relationship between two quantities.
Determine an explicit expression, a recursive process, or steps for calculation from a context.
Combine standard function types using arithmetic operations. For example, build a function that models the temperature of a cooling body by adding a constant function to a decaying exponential, and relate these functions to the model.
(+) Compose functions. For example, if T(y) is the temperature in the atmosphere as a function of height, and h(t) is the height of a weather balloon as a function of time, then T(h(t)) is the temperature at the location of the weather balloon as a function of time.
Write arithmetic and geometric sequences both recursively and with an explicit formula, use them to model situations, and translate between the two forms.
Identify the effect on the graph of replacing f(x) by f(x) + k, k f(x), f(kx), and f(x + k) for specific values of k (both positive and negative); find the value of k given the graphs. Experiment with cases and illustrate an explanation of the effects on the graph using technology. Include recognizing even and odd functions from their graphs and algebraic expressions for them.
Find inverse functions.
Solve an equation of the form f(x) = c for a simple function f that has an inverse and write an expression for the inverse. For example, f(x) =2 x3 or f(x) = (x+1)/(x–1) for x ≠ 1.
(+) Verify by composition that one function is the inverse of another.
(+) Read values of an inverse function from a graph or a table, given that the function has an inverse.
(+) Produce an invertible function from a non-invertible function by restricting the domain.
(+) Understand the inverse relationship between exponents and logarithms and use this relationship to solve problems involving logarithms and exponents.
Geometric Measurement And Dimension
Give an informal argument for the formulas for the circumference of a circle, area of a circle, volume of a cylinder, pyramid, and cone. Use dissection arguments, Cavalieri’s principle, and informal limit arguments.
(+) Give an informal argument using Cavalieri’s principle for the formulas for the volume of a sphere and other solid figures.
Use volume formulas for cylinders, pyramids, cones, and spheres to solve problems.
Identify the shapes of two-dimensional cross-sections of three- dimensional objects, and identify three-dimensional objects generated by rotations of two-dimensional objects.
Vector And Matrix Quantities
(+) Understand that the zero and identity matrices play a role in matrix addition and multiplication similar to the role of 0 and 1 in the real numbers. The determinant of a square matrix is nonzero if and only if the matrix has a multiplicative inverse.
(+) Multiply a vector (regarded as a matrix with one column) by a matrix of suitable dimensions to produce another vector. Work with matrices as transformations of vectors.
(+) Work with 2 × 2 matrices as transformations of the plane, and interpret the absolute value of the determinant in terms of area.
(+) Use matrices to represent and manipulate data, e.g., to represent payoffs or incidence relationships in a network.
(+) Multiply matrices by scalars to produce new matrices, e.g., as when all of the payoffs in a game are doubled.
(+) Add, subtract, and multiply matrices of appropriate dimensions.
(+) Understand that, unlike multiplication of numbers, matrix multiplication for square matrices is not a commutative operation, but still satisfies the associative and distributive properties.
(+) Add and subtract vectors.
Add vectors end-to-end, component-wise, and by the parallelogram rule. Understand that the magnitude of a sum of two vectors is typically not the sum of the magnitudes.
Given two vectors in magnitude and direction form, determine the magnitude and direction of their sum.
Understand vector subtraction v – w as v + (–w), where –w is the additive inverse of w, with the same magnitude as w and pointing in the opposite direction. Represent vector subtraction graphically by connecting the tips in the appropriate order, and perform vector subtraction component-wise.
(+) Multiply a vector by a scalar.
Represent scalar multiplication graphically by scaling vectors and possibly reversing their direction; perform scalar multiplication component-wise, e.g., as c(vx, vy) = (cvx, cvy).
Compute the magnitude of a scalar multiple cv using ||cv|| = |c|v. Compute the direction of cv knowing that when |c|v ≠ 0, the direction of cv is either along v (for c > 0) or against v (for c < 0).
(+) Recognize vector quantities as having both magnitude and direction. Represent vector quantities by directed line segments, and use appropriate symbols for vectors and their magnitudes (e.g., v, |v|, ||v||, v).
(+) Find the components of a vector by subtracting the coordinates of an initial point from the coordinates of a terminal point.
(+) Solve problems involving velocity and other quantities that can be represented by vectors.
Key Standards Supported
Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.
Define a simple design problem reflecting a need or a want that includes specified criteria for success and constraints on materials, time, or cost.
Generate and compare multiple possible solutions to a problem based on how well each is likely to meet the criteria and constraints of the problem.
From Molecules to Organisms: Structures and Processes
Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the structure of DNA determines the structure of proteins which carry out the essential functions of life through systems of specialized cells.