First up is Microsoft Physics Illustrator - Written at MIT this program allows you to create 2-D mechanical devices. It is a little limited, but it is fun to play with. The video below seems to be an early version. You can do everything you see in this video, but in some cases you do them a little differently. It was written for Tablet PC's but I've included a link for non-tablet users below. This looks like it would be great with a Smart Board. (mouse control isn't the greatest)
- How to use Physics Illustrator on Non Tablet PC's - Download links near the top.
- If you have a Tablet just go to Power Toys for Tablet PCs at Microsoft.
Sketchy Physics - This is a plugin for Google Sketch-Up. Sketch-Up is a program originally designed for architecture to create 3-D models. Someone has created a plugin that will allow you to give physics to your objects. It is really limited currently, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to play with. I've challenged my students to create a Rube Goldberg Machine using it, but none of them have taken me up on it yet.
PhET Simulations - You may also want to check out the PhET Simulations created by the University of Colorado. These are outstanding. For a more educational version of Line Rider you should check out the Energy Skate Park. It is outstanding. I may use this in class this year to test an idea. Eric Bergoust of the U.S. Olympic Ski Team wonders about holding a ski jumping competition on the Moon. With less gravity you should be able to soar higher and further. However, as any physics teacher would tell you, less gravity means you leave the jump at a lower speed. So, is there any benefit at all?
Michigan State Physics Standards:
Your mileage my vary, but these tools can be used to enhance instruction of the following standards (I'm sure I've missed some):
- P2.2g, P4.3B, P4.3C, P4.2C, P4.2e, P4.2f