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Examples of Teaching with Demonstrations


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Understanding the Work Energy Theorem: In the lab or as lecture demonstration part of Examples
This series of questions before instruction, in-class peer instruction as students come to understanding, and visualization of an important mathematical relationship allow students to iterate and improve their understanding of work incrementally.

Subject: Physics:Classical Mechanics:Work and Energy

Experiment Problem in Kinematics: How Much Does it Take to Win the Race? part of Examples
In this activity, students are presented with two objects that have different constant speeds and that will race each other. The students must determine which object will win the race, as well as either how much time elapses between the objects crossing the finish line.

Subject: Physics:Classical Mechanics:Motion in One Dimension

Understanding the Motion of a Harmonic Oscillator part of Examples
This inteactive lecture and series of demonstrations develops the concepts and vocabulary of oscillatory motion as it relates to the motion of a mass on a spring.

Subject: Physics:Oscillations & Waves

Introduction to Work and Energy: The Hopper Popper Surprise part of Examples

Subject: Physics:Classical Mechanics:Work and Energy

Helping Students Discover Total Internal Reflection part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Students learn the basic relationship of Snell's Law, practice applying it to a situation, then are given another situation where it "doesn't work."??? This situation turns out to be one in which total internal reflection occurs. Students are then shown what happens with classroom apparatus.

Subject: Physics:Optics

Vectors: Lifting a Bowling Ball part of MnSCU Partnership:PKAL-MnSCU Activities
Compare lifting a bowling ball directly (one small person) to lifting a bowling ball at an angle with two people holding the ends of a rope and the ball hooked to the middle of the rope.

Subject: Physics:General Physics:Vector Algebra

Thermohaline Circulation Demonstration part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
This activity helps the students to visualize the effects of temperature and salinity on water density, and the resulting thermohaline circulation. Important processes visualized in this demonstration are ...

Using Popcorn to Simulate Radioactive Decay part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Popping popcorn in your class is an excellent way to illustrate both the spontaneity and irreversible change associated with radioactive decay. It helps students to understand the unpredictability of decay.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Historical Geology, Geochemistry:Radioisotopes

M&M Model for Radioactive Decay part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
A tasty in-class demonstration of radioactive decay using two colors of M&M's. Illustrates the quantitative concepts of probability and exponential decay. This activity is appropriate for small classes (<40 students).

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Historical Geology

The nature of volcanism as controlled by viscosity part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
This activity is fun to include in a classroom. This activity has the students design demonstrations using ketchup and peanut butter to document how viscosity differences between rhyolite and basalt control various ...

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology:Igneous Processes, Volcanology