from Educators' eZine

More than 30 Federal agencies formed a working group in 1997 to make hundreds of federally supported teaching and learning resources easier to find. The result of that work is the FREE web site. FREE stands for Federal Resources for Educational Excellence. The web sites listed below are excerpted with permission from the FREE web site. This month, we highlight web sites for physics, space, and aviation science; in other months, we feature other subject areas. You can search our site for the word FREE to find them.

Physics Education Technology (PhET)

produces fun, interactive simulations of physical phenomena. More than 35 simulations let students experiment with circuits, string tension, kinetic and potential energy, radio waves and electromagnetic fields, balloons and static electricity, ideal gas and buoyancy, velocity and acceleration, sound waves and the Doppler effect, and more. (NSF)

Physics to Go

is a collection of reviewed resources for teaching and learning about astronomy, electricity and magnetism, fluids, light, modern physics, motion and energy, quantum physics, and waves and pendula. (NSF)

The Physics Front

provides selected resources for teachers of high school physics. Hundreds of lessons, labs, & activities can be found in four categories: conceptual physics, algebra-based physics, AP physics, & K-8 physical sciences. They can be accessed also by topic: measurement, motion, forces, momentum, energy, springs, heat & temperature, wave energy, electrostatics, electricity & circuits, magnetism, electromagnetism, optics, particles & interactions, & astronomy. (NSF)

21st Century Explorer

answers questions that include: Why do we want to travel to Mars? How would your body change in space? Where would a space explorer find water and oxygen? How can we travel faster in space? Student actors (on video) and hands-on activities are featured with each answer. The site is for Grades 3-5 and available in Spanish. (NASA)

Calendars Through the Ages

looks at the astronomical basis of calendars, the history of our calendar, and when various countries moved from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. Learn about Leap Year, the solar cycle, equinoxes and solstices. (NIST)

NASA Kids' Club

features interactive games (for Grades K-4) on the solar system, rockets, addition, "guess what number I'm thinking of," and NASA spinoffs (everyday items developed from NASA research). A teachers' area links to guides for teaching about clouds, precipitation, energy, winds, weather, planetary geology, flight, the Wright brothers, rockets, the electromagnetic spectrum, and careers. (NASA)

Exploring the Extreme

provides lessons (K-8) on key concepts in the design of F-15 fighter planes: center of gravity; its relationship to thrust vectoring, pitch, and yaw; how thrust is created in a jet engine; how vectoring (directing the thrust from a jet engine) affects movement of a plane; and fuel efficiency and drag. (NASA)

Learning to Fly: The Wright Brothers' Adventure

sends students undercover to Dayton and Kitty Hawk to report secretly on the activities of two brothers who are making a big glider in their bicycle shop. Students prepare by researching aviation history and then, posing as news reporters, interview the brothers (and neighbors). Instructions are included for building the Wright brothers' gliders and first plane. (NASA)

NASA Educator Guides

offer lessons and activities for learning about aeronautics, clouds, energy, the electromagnetic spectrum, the International Space Station, Mars, microgravity, the moon and the Apollo missions, ocean winds, optics (light and color), planetary geology, rainfall, rockets, sun-earth connections, weather, the Wright brothers, and the brain in space. (NASA)

Space Science Education Resource Directory

helps find NASA space science resources for learning. Hundreds of resources can be sorted by science type (earth, physical, or space) or by grade range. Topics include algebra, atoms, big bang, black holes, comets, cosmic distances, energy, force and motion, geometry, graphing, gravity, heat, light and color, measurement and estimation, planets, satellites, solar energy, solar system, space missions, stars, telescopes, and waves. (NASA)

features reviewed resources for teaching about asteroids, astrobiology, the big bang theory, black holes, cosmology, dark matter, galaxies, the Milky Way, telescopes & satellites, planet formation, planetary atmospheres, space exploration, stars, the sun, & more. (NSF)

Astrophysics Science Project: Integrating Research & Education(ASPIRE)

offers lessons for exploring cosmic rays, force, gas particles, kinetic energy, lunar phases, machines, momentum, the night sky, refraction, the scientific method, scientific notation, seasons, seismic waves, stars, the angle of the sun, tides, & waves. Find out about careers; read interviews with scientists. (NSF)