The Physics of Santa Claus and Much More!

December 2nd, 2008 by ClickSchooling Leave a reply »

I have several physics websites to share with you today. While most were designed with first year high school physics students in mind, some of the animations and explanations will intrigue elementary and middle school students as well. Preview them to determine suitability for your children.

Recommended Websites:
See Below…

The Physics of Santa Claus

If you clicked on the Holiday Curriculum link
that I posted yesterday,
you may have seen the calculations by the National Association of Scholars
(NAS) that maintains the laws of physics would cause Santa to burn up in the
atmosphere preventing him from making his rounds. Well, at the
website you can read a rebuttal to NAS’ position. Apparently, if Santa uses
an ionic shield and time-travels through 11 dimensions, he can safely make
his annual gift deliveries. :)

If that springboards your students’ interest in physics (and even if it doesn’t) then check out these terrific physics sites discovered by ClickScholar MaryAnna…

Multimedia Physics Studios

This site houses a collection of animations that cover common physics principles with explanations of major physics concepts that were specifically designed for beginning students of physics. The physics concepts include:

  • Newton’s Laws
  • Vectors and Projectiles
  • Momentum and Collisions
  • Work and Energy
  • Special Relativity
  • Static Electricity
  • Waves, Sound and Light

To get a good idea of what this site offers check out The Monkey and Zookeeper animation.

Even young children will enjoy aspects of this animation that MaryAnna summed up as follows: “A zookeeper wants to toss a banana to a monkey who is in a tree. The problem is that the monkey has a habit of dropping out of the tree the instant the banana is tossed. Where should the zookeeper aim the banana so that the monkey will catch it while falling out of the tree? Watch the animation to see what happens when the zookeeper aims the banana at the monkey directly. Now watch again in a zero-gravity environment. How about if the zookeeper throws in slow motion? Fun!”

The animations provide a strong visual reinforcement but are not interactive. For interactive physics animations visit…

Shockwave Physics Studio

This collection of Shockwave activities allows users “to manipulate variables and explore the outcomes of a variety of interactions.” Some topics and titles include:

  • Name That Motion — Learn the language of kinematics
  • Two Stage Rocket — Analyze the motion of a two-stage rocket
  • Projectile Simulator — Alter the launch height, speed, and angle to see the effect on trajectory
  • Beat Patterns — Investigate wave patterns of beats by combining waves of similar frequency
  • Refraction of Light — Investigate the reflection and refraction of light

Then, for those who get bitten by the physics bug, you’ll want to explore…

The Physics Classroom Tutorial

This site provides a free online tutorial written for high school introductory physics students. As the website explains, it covers basic physics topics using informative graphics and an easy-to-understand language. Each unit is broken up into lessons and sub-lessons…and are accompanied by an opportunity to assess one’s understanding of the lesson material.

Now, the tutorial was designed to be combined with the other resources mentioned above (Multimedia Physics Studios and Shockwave Physics Studio, etc.) to provide students of physics with a great opportunity to learn and test their understanding. The three sites work in conjunction to deliver a terrific introduction to the study of physics.


Are You The Parent of a Preschooler? You’ll Love Universal Preschool’s Learning Calendar! It’s chock-full of fun, easy activities & time-saving resources for learning with little ones all year long! Get your copy today…

DID YOU MISPLACE A ClickSchooling Review? Do you need to find an educational website — fast! Visit the ClickSchooling archives.


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