Using widgets for physics class

My son brought back a pinball book from a book fair.  Not just a book but also a complete build-it-yourself pinball machine with a description of the physics principles demonstrated by the machine.

What a great choice as an introduction to physics… it’s a fun game, enjoyed by young and old.  The ball, launched by a spring, bouncing happily over it’s inclined plane as it’s pulled down by gravity and reenergized by the flippers is a great physics demonstrator.

The pinball machine makes the physics tangible… and that’s the right place to start.

With a goal of understanding how our universe works there is ample opportunity to tie it to the world around us… experiments driving the theory as the knowledge was constructed.  And where real-live experiments or demonstrations are not practical, computers and tablets are the next best thing.

YouTube is filled with great video material illustrating physics principles (e.g. and there are many free and paid ‘virtual labs’ (e.g. which give you a virtual hands-on experience.

Our YouTube, Vimeo and WebEmbed widgets help you incorporate these into your books – that’s if you’re writing books of course – if you’re not there are many other ways in which our widgets can help your students master physics.

Understand formulas

Physics covers a very broad range of topics.

In trying to understand and describe the world around us – going from the movement of planets, objects, light, fluids, electricity, … observations ended up with models, mathematical formula describing what they observed.

The leap from the physical world to the formula can be a great one, and Active Plots help to bridge the gap.  By playing with the formulas parameters students can experience their impact and get a better understanding of how the formula ‘works’

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Solve problems

The Active Plot is more than an interactive graph…by allowing students to:

  • Annotate the plot
  • Add their own (dynamic) formula
  • Mark points on the plot
  • Make annotations on the integrated scratchpad
  • Send in their work

It’s is a powerful platform for problem solving.

The Whiteboard is another widget supporting problem solving where drawing is involved.  Or use a whiteboard question in a Quiz or Worksheet and combine it with auto-correcting question type so you can quickly identify the answers you need to check in more detail.

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Go on a quest

Stimulate your students by sending them on a self-paced exploration tour using a Web Quest.

The Web Quest widgets allows you to create an interactive quest by combining text, web links, online video and embeddable simulators. Integrate other widgets as required, e.g. add a worksheet to collect the data that they’ve found, add a survey to collect feedback on the exercise, ...

You can also use the Web Quest widget to create a small interactive booklet.

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Worksheets are great in helping students practice.  Because of the automated correction students can work and get feedback at their own pace.  They can easily repeat the exercises until they’ve mastered them.

Videos or HTML5 simulations can be easily integrated in worksheets and quizzes, making it easy 

Table questions are a great way to test and practice the understanding of formula in different ways.

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Document physics experiments

Worksheets are a great way to steer physics experiments.  

Students can follow the steps, document their measurements, perform their calculations, take and annotate pictures of the experiments.

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Whether used for formative or summative assessment, by using automated correction you free up time…. There are always better ways to spend your time than doing what a computer can do for you… 

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Use the student work web view to quickly figure out the parts that aren’t well understood and warrant more attention, which students need more help or extra challenge.

And more...

Of course other widgets can also be used... just use your imagination...

  • Flashcards are a great way to learn.  Physics topics are no exception.
  • Use the timeline to document or investigate the interesting history behind the discoveries of the natural philosophers.
  • Use crossword, word search or hangman games with topic-specific words to give your students a break
  • ...

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Xavier Van Elsacker

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BookWidgets enables teachers to create fun and interactive lessons for tablets, smartphones, and computers.

Choose from over 40 exercise templates (quizzes, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, ...), and adapt them with your own content.